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K-Wave: Character Exhibition image

K-Wave: Character Exhibition

As Korean popular culture has taken the world by storm, children’s animation has been a key part of this creative trend driven by compelling characters and cutting-edge technology. The Korean Cultural Center Washington, D.C. proudly presents K-Wave: Character Exhibition, a new exhibition and opening reception family event that celebrates this exciting field and its colorful characters.


Visitors will get to know some of the most famous faces in Korean animation, including Pororo the Little Penguin, Tayo the Little Bus, Larva, Robocar Poli, and Pinkfong, famous for its Baby Shark song, through art and video displays, toys and dioramas, coloring and paper craft activities for children, introductory presentations, a photozone with life-size cutouts, reception, and more. This special exhibition event is presented in partnership with the Korean animation studios who brought these featured characters to life: ICONIX, TUBAn, Roi Visual, and SmartStudy.   


Korea’s modern animation revolution began in the early 2000s with the debut of the now world-famous CGI penguin, Pororo. Since then, a whole host of Korean characters have become part of daily life for millions in Korea and in countries around the world. Animation had been around in Korea for decades before Pororo, but this new generation was original, clever, high-tech, and perfect for international audiences. The rise of portable media technology has helped further this growth, but the heart of the industry has always been advanced animation techniques and fresh character designs. Preschool entertainment like those in this exhibition is also perhaps Korea’s most famous animated export, but the wider industry now boasts award-winning young adult productions, feature length films, and a host of world-class animators.


The opening reception event is free, but advance registration is required (below). The exhibition is also open to walk-in visitors Monday – Friday, 9 a.m. – noon and 1 – 6 p.m., through August 28. 


K-Wave: Character Exhibition

WHAT: Animation character exhibition & family event featuring Pororo, Tayo the Little Bus, Larva, Robocar Poli, & Pinkfong

WHENFriday, August 16 at 6:00 p.m. (Opening Reception Family Event)

ON VIEW: August 16 – 28, 2019 (open M-F, 9am-noon & 1-6pm)

WHERE:  Korean Cultural Center Washington, D.C. (2370 Massachusetts Ave. NW)



Due to strong interest, the Opening Reception Family Event is now at full capacity and no longer accepting RSVPs. Thank you for your understanding. 

Visitors are still welcome to experience the exhibition during regular hours (9am - 12pm & 1-6pm) without an appointment, M-F, August 19-28! 

Pororo (뽀로로)


Planned and produced jointly by ICONIX, OCON, and other Korean studios and debuted in 2003, Pororo is a TV animation for young children that has been broadcast in more than 130 countries. Besides its immediate charm, the show is anchored by moral lessons that play out between its characters: a little penguin, a beaver, a fox, a dinosaur and others who always find ways to get along.The Pororo brand has grown so popular that it even spawned its own theme park located in Korea. The show has received numerous awards, including the the Culture and Tourism Minister’s Prize at the Korean Animation Awards, Prime Minister’s Prize at the Korea Digital Contents Awards, Culture and Tourism Minister’s Prize for Contributor to Exports, and numerous iterations of the President’s Prize at the Korea Character Awards. 

Tayo the Little Bus (꼬마버스 타요)


Created by the Metropolitan Government of Seoul and Korean broadcaster EBS with production by ICONIX, Tayo the Little Bus is an animation brand that has become an icon of mass transportation in Korea. It emphasizes traffic safety and transportation systems through its characters, as seen in its TV show and shorts.To mark the city’s public transportation day in 2014, Seoul decorated four city buses as the show’s main characters: Tayo, Rogi, Lani, and Gani. Tayo the Little Bus can also be seen representing cities throughout Korea. The show has since made the jump to Disney Junior, seen widely outside Korea.

Larva (라바)


Produced by TUBAn, Larva is a nonverbal comic animation that often takes the form of 90-second short films about the antics of Red and Yellow, two butterfly larvae who live in New York City. It became so popular that it spawned hundreds of related merchandising products such as stationery, toys,books, clothing, and more. It received the grand prize at both the Web Animation Festival and SBS Animation Awards in 2009 and also the President’s Prize at the 2012 Korea Content Awards.

Robocar Poli  (로보카 폴리)


Produced by ROI VISUAL and aired by Korean broadcaster EBS1 starting in 2011, Robocar Poli is an educational animation that emphasizes friendship, cooperation,altruism, and other moral virtues through its characters and stories. It has been broadcast around the world, including in Japan, France, China, Australia,and spawned a hugely popular toy brand. In 2009 it was selected for the Global Animation Project hosted by the Korea Creative Content Agency, and won the President’s Prize at the 2015 Korea Content Awards.


Pinkfong (핑크퐁)


Produced by SmartStudy, Pinkfong is one of the most recent big hits and has evolved into a brand with varied content including animation, children’s song, games, and more. At its heart, Pinkfing is an educational medium for children, and its most famous work is probably The Shark Family, including the Baby Shark song, which has been translated and remade in languages across the globe. Pinkfong’s YouTube channel has more than 2.6 billion hits in total as a result. In 2017, Pinkfong’s The Shark Family and its shape and color application were the most popular videos on YouTube in Korea and were selected for the Family Application of the Year Grand Prize by Google Play. Pinkfong also won the President’s Prize at the 2018 Korea Content Awards.