'Soft Power' is a contrasting concept with 'Hard Power' which refers to physical power such as military and economic power. This was presented by Joseph S. Nye, who described it as "the power to get what you want by attracting peoples’ mind rather than coercion or reward." As the international status of the US began to falter after 1980s, Nye disputed the decline of the US by claiming that it has strong Soft Power.
Nye proposed the concept of "Soft Power" as a means to maintain the supremacy of the US in post-Cold War era. 'Soft Power' uses tangible and intangible resources that can be universally sympathized without using oppression or appeasement. And in terms of seeking voluntary consent, cooperation and support through the path of 'inspiration', the concept contains many elements to improve human society. Due to highly developed globalization and hyper-connectedness of communications and media, various information can be exchanged almost unlimitedly at low cost and high speed. Countries with weak Hard Power is now able to raise their national image and power through the expansion of Soft Power. Enhancing “Soft Power” is becoming the focus of attention all over the world, and Korea is no exception.
Soft power is a holistic concept composed of various elements. The Korean Wave, which focuses on popular culture such as K-drama, K-film, and K-pop, has greatly contributed to the development of Korea’s Soft Power. However, popular cultural products are less relevant to the nation's awareness, and it is a difficult way for a serious understanding of the humanistic values of Korean society. Also, there is a risk that a scandal or excessive commerciality of individual pop stars could cause a negative effect on the national image. Therefore, Korea's cultural products, which are drawing attention from the international community, and the 'Humanistic Soft Power' resources of the Korean society must be distributed and spread together, in order to promote a long-term and stable Soft Power and raise the overall level and vitality of the 'Korean Wave'.
In order to achieve a long-term and reach higher level of national image improvement, Korea needs to develop “Soft Power Humanities” by utilizing the humanistic resources of Korean as a source of Soft Power. In author’s opinion, 'Soft Power Humanities' is a practical humanistic study that re-examines Korean humanistic resources from the perspective of 'Soft Power', and conducts collaborative research that transcends the boundaries and activity fields of academic disciplines, as well as the boundaries of regions and countries. As a wide range of region and diverse culture are set as targets of Soft Power, the cultural disposition and characteristics of each, and the preferred contents and formats are also included in the interests of research.
Soft Power Humanities not only could be a process of deepening academic research, but also pursues ideas to solve problems faced by Korea and the world. The publicity of scholarship will also be enhanced by establishment and implementation of a system that reflects humanistic values in the research. If we spread and practice humanistic values in Korean society in advance, and deliver it to the international community further on, it will not only enhance the national brand but also improve human life.
If the Humanistic research in Korea discuss the concept of 'Soft Power Humanities' and promote related academic fields, it will not only encourage the expansion of the reflective study, but also be able to better respond to the social expectations. Based on the idea that further interest and research in this field need to be promoted for strengthening Korea's Humanistic Soft Power, I suggest rudimentary opinions to academia.