The government announced Tuesday it was awarding rapper Psy, who swept the world with “Gangnam Style,” one of its highest cultural honors.
The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism said Psy will receive the Okgwan Order of Cultural Merit for his contribution to increasing the world’s awareness and interest in K-pop and Korea.
Psy will be awarded with the order — the fourth among five grades of orders of cultural merit — on Nov. 19. However, the singer will not be able to attend the ceremony due to his overseas commitments.
The 35-year-old rapper’s “Gangnam Style” opened a new era for K-pop by ranking second on the U.S. Billboard’s Hot 100 Chart and topping the British charts. The music video is currently the second most-watched YouTube video of all time.
Psy is currently in Europe to promote “Gangnam Style” and more than 20,000 people came to see him at Trocadero Square in Paris Monday.
He will fly to the United Kingdom where he has been invited to be a guest speaker at Oxford University’s Students Union, and then on to Frankfurt, Germany to attend the MTV Europe Music Awards, where he has been nominated for the Best Video.
Other popular singers who received the medals, including Cho Yong-pil, Lee Mi-ja and Ha Chun-hwa, have performed for more than 30 years and it is exceptional for Psy to get the order of merit.
Along with Psy, nine other cultural figures will receive the order. Kim Ki-duk, director of “Pieta,” winner of the Golden Lion for best film at this year’s Venice Film Festival, will receive the Eungwan Order of Cultural Merit, the second highest award. The film’s leads Lee Jung-jin and Cho Min-soo will also receive the Okgwan Order.