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Hallyu book author, web fiction app founder on K-pop, dramas

British writer and journalist Daniel Tudor at the Radish Fiction office in Mandaluyong. (Photo by Jonathan Hicap)

British writer and journalist Daniel Tudor at the Radish Fiction office in Mandaluyong. (Photos by Jonathan Hicap)

In 2002, British writer and journalist Daniel Tudor first visited South Korea to watch the FIFA World Cup.

He was still a college student then but he said the trip “changed my life.”

“It was so exciting, colorful and a bit crazy. It’s kind of a joyful time. I thought after I graduate, I want to go back (to Korea),” he told Bulletin Entertainment in an interview.

And so he did. After earning his degree in Philosophy, Politics and Economics from Oxford University, he taught English in Korea for one year and then worked for an investment firm.

In 2010, he started working as a correspondent in Korea for The Economist newspaper. His rich experience about Korea had led him to write three books. First was “Korea: The Impossible Country,” about South Korea’s success story, and the second is “A Geek in Korea,” a comprehensive book about Korea’s culture and the hallyu phenomenon including K-pop and dramas, both published by Tuttle Publishing.

He and fellow journalist James Pearson wrote Tuttle’s “North Korea Confidential” about life in North Korea.

Tudor is also the co-founder and chief curator of Radish Fiction, an app for serialized fiction, which has about 200 authors including 50 Filipino writers.

Tudor wrote the “A Geek in Korea” tell everyone that there’s more to Korea than hallyu.

“It’s mostly a fun one. There are a lot of people who are interested in Korea because of K-pop or dramas. We want to say to them, there’s also a country attached to this stuff that you like. Why don’t you learn about the country? It’s kind of a way of showing what Korea is like but present it in a fun way, like a gateway,” he said.

K-pop is a popular genre in many Asian countries including the Philippines but Tudor said he’s not much of a fan.

“It’s not that I hate K-pop specifically but general pop music. I don’t hate it. I just don’t care. It’s entertaining. Although I make an exception for 2NE1. I like 2NE1. I like indie music in Korea and old Korean music,” he said. He also prefers Korean films over dramas.

Tudor agrees that Korea is relying heavily on hallyu to project its image.

“I think it’s like a double-edged sword. Historically the Korean government has latched on to certain things or focused on certain things even from the 1960s, like the manufacture of certain items. The government identifies them and focuses all their attention on that. I think this could only lead to short-term success. I think it also results in long-term distortion of the image of Korea because if you ask people now in my country or wherever about Korean people, (they
would say) ‘a lot of plastic surgery.’ People have this superficial and kinda sad idea of Korea,” Tudor said.

Daniel Tudor with Filipino Radish Fiction authors.

Daniel Tudor with Filipino Radish Fiction authors.

Two things about Korea that he likes the most are food and the night culture.

“Korean food is something that I always come back to. I also like the night culture. That fact that you can eat and drink until 6 a.m. and they don’t close until you leave,” he said.

As for Radish Fiction, which has an office in Manila in addition to South Korea and London, he shared, “We’ve made an app for serialized fiction. We’re inviting writers. We charge people to read the next chapter (of a story).

Note the app has about 50,000 users mostly in the US, Philippines, Britain and Australia.

Tudor says the Philippines is a very good market for web fiction, reason why they are going to localize this year.

“We’ll make a Tagalog service,” he said.