The K-Iceberg


Past versions of the K-Iceberg can be found here.

After seeing an image online of the "Cultural Iceberg" (of which there are many versions), I took one and created the K-Iceberg. While culture is indeed a complex concept and the iceberg demonstrates that culture is composed of a lot more things than we think, the Korean version shows how one simple type of branding has become widespread across many industries in Korea.

It is clear these all derive from K-pop. The idea when I started to collect these was that these various other things would benefit from the success of K-pop, which was absolutely taken for granted by the Korean government and much of civil society long before it was apparent in the real world. Many articles mentioning these things mention the unstoppable global popularity of K-pop.

I found out about most of the first ones, and the ones up top, from Korean government publications, which were zealous to add even more ridiculous ones such as K-Roads. But over time I've encountered others reading the news, or just driving around. I occasionally post the latest version on Facebook, and people shower me with other entries.

To qualify for the K-Iceberg, the term must be put in use by a notable enough source, preferably a government agency, but others include private companies, artists, and celebrities. The name also must begin with a K or k and a hyphen or substitute punctuation such as an apostrophe, period, or asterisk. This disqualifies names that have no hyphen (K League, K Shop, K bank) or have no space at all (Knetizen).

There are also a lot of websites for things that have proper names, but add a k at the start of the URL for half-assed branding they probably didn't follow through on, such as Hypertension Seoul 2019 run by Korean Society of Hypertension, Cultural Corps of Korean Buddhism, Korea Health Promotion Institute, Korea Adoption Services, Korea Institute of Youth Facility & Environment. I see you, and there's likely to be a tweaking of the rules someday to add all of you.

Due to poor consistency, a name may be branded several different ways, and if it is disqualified by format, it only needs to appear in the proper format in one place that is official enough. For instance The-K Twin Towers was ineligible because the hyphen was on the wrong side of the K, but it is "The K-Twin Towers" above the entrance. Same thing happened with The-K Hotel if you look at the URL. This article refers to K-Care but in official sources it is only ever KCARE so far. I am keeping track of almost-rans and waiting for an example of them being formatted properly, or for them to step further forward into K-dom.

I have tried to exclude sources that don't meet notability standards, such as K-pop fan sites and my own friends giving me suggestions they made up. The K also should represent Korea. For instance K-rock and K-punk have not met notability standards for their use. It also is preferable that the concept is apparent; I've been on the fence about K-Exciting and K-Rookies, for instance, and still am about K-global, K-monster, K-master, K-demo (demolition? demonstration?). Maybe in the future the rules will change to let them all in, or I'll find an example where they stylise it differently, or they slip up just once and hyphenate.

As some of the items have quite long names, usually because they are part of an event name or slogan, I will trim them down to a core concept, even if this somewhat obscures their original purpose. The longest is probably "K-route expedition unit," which didn't make sense to trim. I also reserve the right to make the name format more uniform, such as changing the punctuation to a hyphen, capitalising the K, or lowercasing the following word so it doesn't look as much like a proper name.

As it gets more crowded, I've found more difficulties curating the K-Iceberg. Two duplicate entries have been found and removed. Also, my standards for what qualifies have tightened. I decided rather than remove entries, I would cross them off. Some remain on there for humorous purposes. It became necessary to list all the entries in text, because it was becoming too difficult to tell whether a new entry was already on the K-Iceberg.

Below is a list of sources for as many of the K-Iceberg items as possible. For most of the time, I've been uninterested in recording the sources, so a few are currently unknown, but in most cases they are not the most outlandish ones.

If you know the origin of any of the unknown ones, or have others to add, don't hesitate to contact me.

If you want to use the K-Iceberg for a presentation or publication or something, you're free to do so, although I appreciate a shout-out through proper citation and I especially appreciate a proof photo. So far I have spoken to four academics who have used it.

  • K-animation - comes from a government publication
  • K-Apps - a video of the Korean Life Dictionary series produced by the government
  • K-architecture - comes from a government publication
  • K-art - comes from a government publication
  • K-Art Market - short name for Korea Art Market Information System
  • K-ARTS - Korea National University of Arts
  • K-Asian - taken from K-Asian Festival, a K-pop concert held in August 2019
  • K-attire - unknown
  • K-auction - an auction website
  • K-Aussie - a network for Koreans who studied abroad in Australia
  • K-bags - believed to be an online store
  • K-ballet - not surprisingly, K-ballet hopes to fuse the government's two favourite things to promote: high art with the runaway popularity of K-pop, as seen in this government article and the K-Ballet World international ballet festival, which rebranded in 2013 on the heels of "Gangnam Style"
  • K-bank - disqualified, no hyphen in name
  • K-bases - apparently all airbases in Korea have a K- prefix, and the National Museum of the United States Air Force phrases it just right to qualify here.
  • K-beauty - a term for not just skincare products originating from Korea as well as an expo, but also plastic surgery
  • K-biz - Korea Federation of SMEs
  • K-boat - seen on a sign at Dongincheon Station
  • K-book - a website run by the Publication Industry Promotion Agency of Korea to reach out to overseas publishers, as well as used by the K-Book Export Center (K-BEC) which has a K-Book Review webzine, and also the K-Book exhibit at the Beijing International Book Fair
  • K-BPR - a local version of a law, known elsewhere as Biocidal Products Regulation (BPR)
  • K-caddie - from the Korea Golf Caddies Association
  • K-car - disqualified because the K doesn't stand for Korea
  • K-cash - a name for the Korea Cash Network as run by the Korea Financial Telecommunications & Clearings Institute (KFTC)
  • K-cat - taken from K-Cat Fair at Coex in January 2020, connected with K-Pet Fair
  • K-CDC - Korean version of the CDC, disqualified because official name unhyphenated
  • K-celeb - a video series run by YTN
  • K-character - unknown, nominaetd 20190314, believed to be from a store, festival, or sale of character merchandising
  • K-chicken - located on the menu at YG Republique's pub
  • K-chopsticks - government campaign connected with Korean Life Dictionary series featuring video, events at Korean Cultural Centers
  • K-CIA - former name of the NIS, disqualified because official name unhyphenated
  • K-city - a fake city built for testing autonomous vehicles
  • K-classic - name for International Bodybuilding Fitness Championships, also possibly name for a K League event, and the K-Classic Piano Tour/Concert
  • K-classics - comes from a government publication about (non-Korean) classical music in Korea
  • K-classical music - unknown, believed to be a government publication that came later than K-classics
  • K-coal - possibly claimed by the Korean Coal Association, certainly by this private company
  • K-coffee - seems to come from this brand, created by "Korea’s first barista Lee Dong-jin to pay homage to Emperor Kojong"
  • K-comedy - taken from the K-Comedy Award apparently given out at Busan International Comedy Festival; also comedian Park Na-rae seems to like the term
  • K-comics - taken from K-Comics Academy run by Korea Manhwa Contents Agency less so from K-Comics, a publishing company
  • K-concert - part of the basis for KCON, a major K-pop festival held overseas; seen here and here and here
  • K-consafety - from K-Consafety Expo, an exhibition held at Kintex in September 2019 on construction and industrial safety, seemingly alongside K-Safety Expo
  • K-convention - part of the basis for KCON, a major K-pop festival held overseas; seen here and here
  • K-content - from K-Content Expo which is run overseas by KOCCA
  • K-contents - no, you're not seeing double; mentioned in promotional materials about KCON, as seen here
  • K-cooking - taken from the K-cookingclass which seems to be privately run
  • K-cops - Korean Transformers ripoff
  • K-cosmetics - unknown
  • K-Cruelty - PETA campaign about horses
  • K-cuisine - taken from a lecture series at the Korean Cultural Centers in the US; seems to especially be used to refer to temple food
  • K-culture - comes from a government publication; also cited for CJ Logistics' sponsorship activities
  • K-cup - disqualified, unrelated to Korea
  • K-cycle - seen on a sign at Dongincheon Station
  • K-dance - comes from K-Dance Agency which offers K-Dance Camps
  • K-delivery - a video of the Korean Life Dictionary series produced by the government
  • K-developedia - a development resource
  • K-drama - used colloquially everywhere
  • K-eco - name for Korea Environment Corporation
  • K-EDM - appears in a series of Arirang videos as well as seems to be the name of a festival or festivals
  • K-eVote - Korea Securities Depository (KSD) electronic voting system
  • K-Exciting - appears to be an outdoor adventure store
  • K-Expo - taken from the 2019 Newsis K-Expo in August 2019 as well as this event in 2018 run by "All That Korea"
  • K-family - troubling government campaign about using family titles to strangers, also claims a Korean monopoly on family closeness, part of Korean Life Dictionary seriesproduced by the government
  • K-fashion - comes from a government publication
  • K-festival - from this event held May 24-26, 2019
  • K-fiction - a publication series from the Literature Translation Institute of Korea, also seen here
  • K-fish - Korean fishery national brand; there is also a K-Fish Fair
  • K-food - comes from a government publication
  • K-fried chicken - located on the K-chicken section of the menu at YG Republique's pub
  • K-games - abbreviated name for Korea Association of Game Industry
  • K-goods - mentioned in promotional materials about KCON, as seen here and here
  • K-growth - a name for the Korea Growth Investment Corp., which appears to be a fund manager
  • K-handmade - from K-Handmade Fair
  • K-herb - seen in the name K-herb Research Center, and the URL of Korean Oriental Drug Association
  • K-Heritage - taken from K.Heritage which seems to be an online mall, and Korea Heritage Education Institute which stylises its name as K*Heritage, which doesn't have a website but has a Korea Times columnist who's pretty good
  • K-hip-hop - taken from the Korea Hiphop Festival K-Hiphop Award and the K-Hiphop Vision Proclamation, both by the Korea Hiphop Culture Association
  • K-hole - disqualified because K stands for ketamine, not Korea
  • K-hospital - name for an annual fair on Korean hospitals
  • K-hot food - seen at a promotional stand in Lotte World Seoul Station
  • K-hotel - taken from The-K Hotel, of which the hyphen appears properly only in the website URL
  • K-ICT - taken from the K-ICT Born2Global Center; read more here
  • K-IFRS - a Korean version of the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS), in order to prepare for the tightening of accounting rules
  • K-incentive - a KTO contest with the prize being an incentive tour to Korea; see the title of this page
  • K-indie - colloquially used mostly on K-pop websites talking about non-K-pop Korean music
  • K-innovation - a publication of some kind offered by Kumho Petrochemical
  • K-insurance - seen in the name K-Insurance Capital Standard by the Financial Services Commission; also abbreviated to K-ICS but the K-Iceberg's gotta have some standards
  • K-ISMS - a Korean certification for Information Security Management Systems
  • K-jewelry - unknown
  • K-lab - the name for "the global technology leader for scan head laser welding systems"
  • K-League - disqualified because real name not hyphenated
  • K-Lecture - a lecture series at the Korean Cultural Center in Washington, DC
  • K-literature - comes from a government publication
  • K-live - a performance hall featuring K-pop holographic (not live) performances
  • K-love - the title for a trashy-sounding romance novel based on K-drama cliches
  • K-mall - unknown
  • K-market - an event run by the Ministry of SMEs and Startups
  • K-mart - disqualified, because Kmart is not hyphenated or Korean
  • K-medi - branding used by Seoul K-Medi Center, which I think may also be the same organisation that wanted to use the branding "Ko-medi." Also used by the Korea Medical Dispute Mediation and Arbitration Agency.
  • K-medicine - unknown, but believed there is a source unrelated to K-medi
  • K-MICE - a term used by the Korea MICE Bureau and found in its web address
  • K-momentum - a publication of some kind offered by Kumho Petrochemical
  • K-MOOC - a website for online courses
  • K-mountains - unknown
  • K-move - a government organisation for helping Koreans find employment overseas, while painting this as part of Korea's rising status
  • K-movie - comes from a government publication, titled used over the more natural sounding K-film or K-cinema
  • K-music - from the name of a music festival held by the KCCUK that probably had to cope with the obstacle that it wasn't presenting K-pop
  • K-musical - taken from the K-Musical Road Show run by the Korea Arts Management Service (KAMS), as well as the K-Musical Tour offered by the Seoul Tourism Organization, and from this entry
  • K-opera - referenced several times in an interview with the Korean National Opera
  • K-OTC - a market for over-the-counter (OTC) medicine, run by KOFIA
  • K-packet - an EMS-like delivery service offered by Korea Depart(ment Store)
  • K-performance - taken from an event run by the KTO in Malaysia in July 2019
  • K-pet - taken from K-Pet Fair, an event held at Ilsan Kintex and Songdo Convensia in 2019, as well as a trade event called K-Pet Missionorganised by the Canadian Trade Commissioner Service
  • K-petro - abbreviation for the Korea Petroleum Quality & Distribution Authority
  • K-phile - a programme or video series produced by Arirang
  • K-poet - a poetry book series by Asia Publishers
  • K-police - seen in the K-Police Wave, and the creation of a K-Police Wave Center
  • K-pop - pretty obvious, the start of it all
  • K-PPP - standing for Korea Public-Private Partnership, and taken from this wiki site that sees fit to include entries for only this, K-musical, K-IFRS, K-Voting, K-OTC, and K-pop
  • K-products - unknown
  • K-pub - a pub run by YG Republique in Malaysia
  • K-rap - referred to in this article, but for obvious terms usually K-hip-hop is favoured
  • K-religion - unknown
  • K-ribbon - taken from K-Ribbon Selection, a collection of Korean cultural products as organised by the culture ministry
  • K-rice - unknown, but nominated on 20190518, so probably something I saw in Namdaemun
  • K-roads - used for the cover story for an issue of Korea Magazine, published by the culture ministry, despite my urging not to.
  • K-rookies - a program run by KOCCA to give new bands a chance for...something?
  • K-route expedition unit - an Antarctic expedition unit of the Korea Polar Research Institute
  • K-safety - from K-Safety Expo, held at Kintex in September 2019, seemingly alongside K-Consafety Expo
  • K-sale - taken from K-Sale Day, an attempt to spur consumer spending by somehow repeating the success of events like Black Friday or Korean Sale Festa
  • K-Sauna - a video of the Korean Life Dictionary series produced by the government
  • K-school - a school at KAIST combining entrepreneurship and engineering education, created in 2016 by what Kakao Translate translates to the Ministry of Creation Science (really the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning)
  • K-scissors - a cringeworthy ad made by the Korean government for its "I Like K" K-series campaign
  • K-seafood - unknown
  • K-security - taken from K-Security Business Meeting intended to help Korean security companies penetrate the Indonesian market, hosted by the ICT ministry and organised by KISA
  • K-shamanism - a performance held on Oct. 3, 2016
  • K-shopping - taken from "Best Way to K-Shopping," found in the title and metadata for 11st's global page
  • K-shuttle - a "foreigner-only national bus tour" program
  • K-side dish - a video of the Korean Life Dictionary series produced by the government
  • K-smart city - there have been references to a K-Smart City theme pushed by the Korean government
  • K-Smile - campaign by the KTO for Visit Korea Year, which lasted from 2016 to 2018
  • K-snack - located on the menu at YG Republique's pub
  • K-soap opera - used mostly colloquially as a synonym for K-drama; mentioned in promotional materials about KCON, as seen here
  • K-sool - website now defunct and visible through Wayback Machine or Facebook; unknown whether this was a government effort
  • K-Sports - a shady foundation set up by Choi Soon-sil to funnel money extorted from chaebols, also comes from a government publication
  • K-stage - a video of the Korean Life Dictionary series produced by the government
  • K-Star - taken from K-Star Road in Gangnam
  • K-startup - taken from K-Startup Grand Challenge; also apparently an agency of the Ministry of SMEs and Startups
  • K-store - the name used on the KOCIS website, which has a section for videos and another for publications, and all of it seems to be for free
  • K-style - comes from a government publication as well as K-Style Hub
  • K-subway - an ad made by the Korean government as part of its "I Like K" K-series campaign
  • K-Taxi - seen on the side of a taxi one day
  • K-Technology - seems to be the name for this company, which is confusingly laid out and may also be called Maxpower
  • K-town - a K-pop column or section in Billboard
  • K-tradition - a video of the Korean Life Dictionary series produced by the government
  • K-travel - taken from K-Travel Bus, or K-Tavel Bus according to one popup at that site right now
  • K-Twin Towers - a variation on the name The-K Twin Towers
  • K-voting - online voting system
  • K-water - Government utility agency
  • K-wave - commonly seen all over as an abbreviation of Korean wave, but here's a Korean language school in the Philippines and here's seemingly the 59th video in a K-wave video series with YTN
  • K-waxing - one abbreviation for International Korea Waxing Festival
  • K-weather - a privatized company formerly known as Korea Weather Association under Korea Meteorological Administration; has rebranded itself, though uses hyphen inconsistently
  • K-wedding - taken from a proposal to create a K-Wedding Town resort
  • K-wings - a Korean fried chicken product available in Japan
  • K-world - from K-World Festa
  • Please remember that these photos are all copyrighted to me. If you want to use them in any way, there's a 90 per cent chance I'll give you my permission, and be able to give you a copy with a higher DPI.
    Copyright Daehanmindecline 2014