South Korea’s Culture Ministry awarded rapper Psy one of its highest cultural honors on Nov. 6, namely the Okgwan Order of Cultural Merit, for “outstanding services” to the arts.
A ministry official told the press that “Psy has been chosen to be decorated for not only being a long-term artist, but also for advertising ‘Gangnam’ widely and increasing the world’s interest in Korea.”
The award shows just how seriously the government is taking Psy’s success, which has done more to popularize K-pop than anything the authorities or even the music industry has carried out in the past five years.
The government considers K-pop to be the country’s best chance at promoting Korea abroad and has already invested a lot of money in it, but Psy’s success came out of nowhere and has overshadowed their efforts. At this point they are just catching up.