Isha Singh, New Delhi
Jiwon also known as Korean G1 from South Korea, is a well known Korean influencer who is deeply in love with the Indian culture, music, languages, food, dress, festivals, people etc. To express her love towards India and to deepen India-Korea’s friendship, she makes content – like Indian song covers, dance covers, movie reviews, food similarities etc. Read this interview, to know more about her:
During the pandemic, Korea has been an example for many countries like India to eradicate the tough situations, please tell us about your daily life in the pandemic?
A few months back, the pandemic situation in Korea was not good. The number of COVID virus cases kept increasing every day. However, fortunately we are being vaccinated systematically. People wear a mask and follow the quarantine rules well. I am also living a safe life following the government guidelines.
Moving on to your story of your love for India and other neighbouring countries like Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal. please tell us about how this story started?
In 2012, when I was a student, my school teacher showed us some Bollywood movies in the class. I watched 3 Idiots and My Name is Khan through my school teacher. From then, I started to love watching Bollywood movies. That time I also joined some English study group community where I met sub-continent countries’ people and learnt about Indian cultures through group friends.
They say learning about the country’s language and culture is the best way to explore a particular country. How did you start learning Hindi? For the foreigners learning Hindi, please recommend some tips and tricks.
Exactly! I also learnt Hindi from native speakers. In my case, when I study a new word, I try to use the word and make sentence to a native speaker and I ask my friends to correct me if I made a mistake. So, I was able to remember the word clearly as much as I used it.
What other languages do you know or are planning to learn in the future?
I worked in Japan for 5 months so I can speak Japanese a bit and I can read Urdu alphabet too. But, actually now I want to focus on Hindi and if I can, I want to study some other Indian languages like Telugu, Kannada, or Tamil.
Despite of you working in a Korean company, you are a content creator (YouTube) named as Korean G1. What made you start one?
It’s a story in 2015. As I said in previous question, I liked Bollywood and I liked Bollywood songs too. So, even though I didn’t know any Hindi, I listened to the songs again and again and took a video of me playing the guitar. I showed it to my friends and my Indian and Pakistani friends loved my cover video and asked me that can they share my video to their friends and family. Then they uploaded my video on their private Facebook account. Many people shared my video and sent me messages that they are my fan. I felt happy and I decided to make more videos for people who support me and love me.
We have seen you covering Indian songs so beautifully and you have created content related to Indian culture and Bollywood music. Were there times when people around you teased you or made you feel low as you were learning something new?
When I had less subscribers on YouTube, many people around me looked at me with strange eyes. My family and friends also said to me “Why don’t you make videos for America or Europe?” maybe because from Korean point of view, Western countries are more developed countries. However, with time after I got more subscribers, I got an award from the Indian Embassy, and won in Indian community competition, people’s mind changed. My family is also proud of me and I am satisfied with what I do. I have grown and gained confidence in myself too.
You haven’t been to India yet but you have an Indian soul inside you. Are there any places you really wish to explore when you visit here?
I’ve always been working and my parents didn’t allow me to go travel India alone because I’m a girl. So, I couldn’t get a chance to travel until now. However, as I watched videos about many Indian places and as India is a huge country, there are so many beautiful places. If I talk about the places to travel in India, I won’t stop speaking. But, I really want to visit Jaipur, Rajasthan; Taj Mahal in Agra, and U.P’s Varanasi when I travel to India.
In your videos, we have seen you cooking various Indian delicacies. Please tell us about some of your favourites and is there anything you really want to try on your visit?
Whenever I went to Indian restaurants, I used to eat non-vegetarian food. But, recently I made a vegetarian Indian friend and I ate “Paneer kadhai” from my friend’s recommendation. I really loved it. There are many South Indian food which is not available in Korea. The name is “idly.” I am curious about bhature too so when I go to India, definitely I will try that.
As you have been into Indian culture since a pretty long time now, please tell us about your views before you explored it vs now? How has everything changed?
The thing that surprised me the most was diversity. I knew that India is a huge country and has big population. But, before I knew about India, I thought all Indian is like North Indian. but after I see North East India, South India, I realized that every state in India have their own cultures, tradition, languages and different out-looking. It made me more interested in India and now I want to know and see more about India.
As a Korean who is enthusiastic about Indian culture (in general South Asian culture), what are your views on the relationship between India and Korea?
Unfortunately, in my opinion, the relationship between India and Korea is not close. I don’t know well about Indian people but I saw many Indian who loves BTS, Blackpink, K-pop and K-drama. Some people like Korean cosmetics, mobile, and car. But, as I’m a Korean, Korean don’t know much about India in general. I had an experience to ask to Korean on the street, “Do you know anything about India?” and people answered “No” or “curry” so I want to introduce India to Koreans after learning and experiencing various things about India.
Please tell us about your further plans regarding the content on your channel. Are the viewers going to see something newer?
My biggest hope is to go on a trip to India after the pandemic is over. For Indian viewers, I want to make a video about my experience about Indian trip, try the food, celebrate festival, people’s reaction about my Hindi skill. For Korean viewers, it is not common for Koreans to travel to India, I want to make an information video such as precautions when traveling, Delicious Indian food recommendations, and beautiful place recommendations and how to go there.
Lastly, please say something to your Indian viewers, we really hope you get to visit us soon after the pandemic!
I don’t know when the pandemic will end, but I really hope to visit India as soon as possible. Thank you to people who always support me and watch my videos. At first, I was interested in India because of Bollywood, but now I am interested in India because of you guys. From my small effort, from our interest in the cultures of each country, I hope that the relationship between India and Korea will be more closer. Thank you.
To know more about her in detail, please check out her YouTube video:
We would like to thank Korean G1, on behalf of our entire team of Hallyuism for taking out her valuable time for this interview. We wish all the readers from India and South Korea, a very happy Independence Day and Liberation Day respectively. May this Indo-Korean relationship flourish and strengthen further in future thanks to the amazing people like Miss Jiwon who are working hard to solidifying the ties between the two countries.