We have just about a week to go before we usher in the new year of 2020.
For a wrap-up of the biggest Korean stars in sports and culture for this year, we have our Kan Hyeong-woo and Lee Min-sun in the studio with us.
So Hyeong-woo, let's start with footballI think it's safe to say Tottenham Hotspur's South Korean star Son Heung-min had a pretty good year.
Indeed, Aram. Now if we go back to April, Son scored the very first goal at the new Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in north London,… which will forever be recorded as the first goal at the club's new home.
Son continued to show his brilliance in the latter half of the year.
In early November, he set a new record for most goals scored by a South Korean footballer in the European league, surpassing Cha Bum-kun's previous record of 121 goals.
As of today, Son has 126 goals in his professional career in Europe.
Earlier this month, he became the top Asian finisher in the Ballon d'Or voting an annual award given to the world's best football player.
Son came in 22nd place out of 30 nominees.
He was also named Tottenham Hotspur's 2019 MVP last week by CIES Football Observatory.
The research group rated Son as the player who had the biggest influence on the team's results.
What a year 2019 has been for the South Korean football star.
But Hyeong-woo, we have to talk about Son's 'wonder goal' against Burnley earlier this month.
Of course. This goal drove football fans and experts into an absolute frenzy. It earned him a spot on the BBC's 'Team of the Week' and Tottenham fans voted him player of the match. Here's the breakdown of Son's 'wonder goal.'
It was on Saturday, December 8th against Burnley,… when Tottenham Hotspur's South Korean winger picked the ball up on the edge of his own side's penalty area in the 31st minute.
Twelve seconds and twelve touches later, he slammed the ball into the back of the net to put his team up 3-nil… after dribbling a remarkable 70 meters.
And it was not like Son had an empty pitch in front of him.
He basically shredded the entirety of Burnley's defense,… zipping past seven defenders.
BBC football analyst Garth Crooks said Son's goal "must be an early candidate for goal of the season."
Son Heung-min wasn't the only South Korean icon to be recognized in Europe this year. A South Korean film managed to grab the top award at the Cannes Film Festival, and it's continuing to win even more awards around the world. Can you tell us about that?
Sure. Another big success in South Korea's cultural space this year was director Bong Joon-ho and his film 'Parasite.' In May, 'Parasite' became the first South Korean film to win the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival.
The black comedy focuses on the basic unit of society to portray the polarized social structure of a capitalist country. Two families in the film, rich and poor, start to have overlapping areas in their lives and develop a parasitic relationship. Despite its local setting and storyline, the universal message in it made won the sympathy of international audiences.
Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, film director and jury head of the Cannes Film Festival, said the 'Parasite' was a unique experience and unfolded in an unexpected way. He explained that the film goes through different genres. It used humor to deal with something that's relevant, urgent and global.
It's been a while since 'Parasite' won the Palme d'Or, but it looks like the craze continues. We might even be looking at an Oscar in addition to all these other awards.
That's right. 'Parasite' has received a number of recognitions at U.S. film festivals and other awards. From the L.A. Film Critics Association, it got Best Film, and from the San Francisco Bay Area Film Critics Circle, it won Best Director, Best Original Screenplay and Best Foreign Language Film, just to name a few.
'Parasite' has also been selected as South Korea's entry in the category of Best International Feature Film and Best Original Song at the upcoming Academy Awards in February. The final nominations will be announced in January, and critics say 'Parasite' could even be nominated for Best Picture and Best Director.
At the 77th annual Golden Globe Awards to be held on January 5th, Parasite has been nominated for three awards: Best Foreign Language Film, Best Director and Best Screenplay.
It's also the first time that a South Korean film has been nominated for the Golden Globes, an important milestone for the South Korean film industry, which marks its 100th anniversary this year.
Speaking of doing well in North America,… in baseball, South Korean pitcher Ryu Hyun-jin is heading to the Toronto Blue Jays after spending seven seasons with the LA Dodgers. Hyeong-woo, how big is Ryu's new contract with the Canadian team?
Well Aram, it looks like the South Korean left-hander's Christmas gift will be a four-year contract worth 80 million U.S. dollars… for an annual salary of 20 million dollars.
Ryu has not signed the deal yet… and accordingly, the Blue Jays have not made an official announcement.
But the lefty is scheduled to leave Korea on Christmas Day to head to Toronto and finalize his contract with MLB's only Canadian team.
Once Ryu passes medical tests and puts pen to paper, his deal will be the biggest ever for a South Korean pitcher,exceeding Park Chan-ho's five-year, 65-million-dollar deal with the Texas Rangers in 2001.
The deal will also be representing the biggest free agent pitching contract signed by the Blue Jays' franchise.
Based on the size of the contract he's expected to sign,… Ryu, known as the Korean Monster, had a pretty massive season, right?
Yes, so Ryu just had arguably the best season of his career in the big leagues.
Since 2015, various injuries caused him to miss big chunks of the regular season getting surgery and going through the healing and rehab process.
But Ryu came back stronger than ever,… finishing the regular season with 14 wins and 5 losses in 29 starts.
To wrap up what he achieved during the regular season,… we have to start with his 2.3-2 ERA which put him at the top of both the American and National leagues.
Ryu stands as the only Asian player to achieve that feat.
In the meantime, the Korean left-hander earned his first all-star selection… and became the starting pitcher for the National League.
He was also the runner-up for the National League's Cy Young Award -- an annual honor given to the best pitcher of the regular season.
In the process, he became the first Asian to receive a first place vote.
With all these sports stars and Korean films making a big impact in Europe and America, we can't leave out K-pop's biggest stars, BTS, who have a huge fan base around the world.
It was probably the greatest year for South Korean boyband BTS, who released their album "Map of the Soul: Persona" in April, which topped the Billboard 200 and the UK's official album chart.
The music video for "Boy With Luv" set the record for the video streamed the most times within 24 hours of its release, amassing 74.6 million views.
That's one of many records that BTS has broken this year.
According to Guinness World Records, BTS set new records in seven categories including group with the highest digital and physical sales, group with the most followers and retweets and the fastest account to reach one million followers on TikTok.
The group collected three awards at the MTV Europe Music Awards and for the second year, BTS were recognized at the American Music Awards, winning Tour of the Year and Favorite Social Artist. They were named Favorite Duo or Group in the Pop and Rock category, making them the first non-English-language singers to win that honor.
With all those records and awards, it feels like an understatement to say that BTS are a K-Pop sensation. They had another major achievement, though -- one reserved for only the world's biggest stars.
Right, BTS successfully completed their first worldwide stadium tour in thirteen countries, including the U.S., England, Japan, Brazil and Saudi Arabia, drawing millions of fans from around the world.
The 'LOVE YOURSELF: SPEAK YOURSELF' world stadium tour was a dream-come-true moment for BTS as they made their debut at some of the highest profile concert venues including Citi Field baseball park in New York and London's Wembley Stadium. BTS made history by becoming the first South Korean artists to headline Wembley Stadium and also the first ever international band to hold a solo stadium concert in Saudi Arabia.
According to figures reported to Billboard Boxscore, the boyband have earned nearly 117 million U.S. dollars from that tour.
That's about 970-thousand tickets sold for 20 shows in Asia, Europe and the Americas.
Thank you Min-sun and Hyeong-woo for coming in today.
Thank you for having us.
Always a pleasure.