Mark James Russell

Mark James Russell is writer based in Seoul, South Korea. He first came to Korea, after much wandering and wasting of time, in 1996. Through a series of happy accidents, he soon became a journalist, specializing in media and popular culture (although also writing about science, economics, politics and many other subjects), with a focus on Korea (although also writing about Mongolia, Japan, and the rest of Asia).  

Mark’s articles have appeared in the New York Times, Newsweek, the Wall Street Journal, Science, The Milken Review, The Hollywood Reporter, Billboard, and Television Asia and many other publications. He’s also given lectures about Korean pop culture in the United States, Europe and Asia and been quoted extensively in media outlets around the world.

In addition, Mark spent several years developing and producing several documentaries about Korean pop culture and history. He also founded the website the Korea Gig Guide, looking at the best music Korea has to offer.


  • “Mr. Russell’s book is the first by a non-Korean to explain the rise of Korea’s entertainment industries. With lots of pictures, lists (top TV shows, most expensive movies, worst flops) and sidebar articles, the book could hardly be more approachable.”
    Wall Street Journal
  • “The book reveals not only the challenges of Korean pop culture but also triumphs and feats in entertainment and arts with poignant analysis and anecdotes to help the industry move in a better direction.”
    Korea Times
  • “. . . a lively description of the industry and infrastructure which makes the creation and enjoyment of these stars possible. . . . Five stars out of five"
    London Korea Links