K-Pop. Korean Pop. It is synonymous with “Gangnam Style” in the West, but to K-Poppers (fans of K-Pop), it is more than that. It isn’t merely pop music, but multiple genres thrown into one category, and is one of many factors in the Hallyu, or Korean Wave. It is not only a genre of music, but a way of life. It’s not a hobby, it’s an obsession. K-Poppers are not merely friends, nor are they acquaintances, but they are our family.
We fangirl (and fanboy) with each other, we laugh, we cry, we become friends and confidants. Music has brought me close to people I would never have had the pleasure of meeting if it weren’t for K-Pop, and some of them are my best friends.
As cheesy as it sounds, for me, and many other K-Poppers, it has changed our lives, influenced our career paths, and made us better people. We strive to learn another language, to understand our idols, and in a sense, become closer to them. We watch the reality TV shows they’re on, buy their music, movies, and religiously watch their music videos to boost their views. In 3 days us V.I.P’s got BIGBANG’s “Fantastic Baby” to 3 million views! It’s astounding what K-Poppers can do.
A famous quote about K-Poppers (to us anyway), A psychologist said,
“Don’t underestimate those children who chase after Korean celebrities, their hearts are purer than anyone else, they love courageously, they will want to try their best to tackle difficult obstacles, the language and cultural barriers. They symbolize peace, they don’t discriminate based on race, they befriend people with the same interest from different countries, they’re more passionate and warm than anyone else. They don’t betray the ones they like easily, they are persistent and don’t give up easily. They are stronger than anyone else on the inside, because when they are loving these Korean stars, they experience the setbacks as they’ve never experienced in life. They are all sensitive children, easily touched to tears for a long time because of one incident. Through investigation, most of them understand gratitude. Their way of thinking is different from others, they don’t easily get carried away by love, they don’t harbour bad thoughts of doing bad things, and their criteria when looking for a partner is very high, other than looks, personality is more important, so the rate of marriage isn’t high, but neither is the rate of divorce. Their memory is very good, they can easily remember the Korean lyrics they don’t understand, and their coordination skills are also very strong. Most of them are cheerful children, not the kind who keep to themselves. Their will of determination is also very strong, they are able to persevere all the way just to buy something related to the celebrity they like. In short, they way these children think is vastly different from others, and their thoughts are not easy to understand. Generally, only those who have similar interests are to enter their world.”
This is a very touching quote, some of which are a bit misleading. Purer than anyone else? Don’t harbour bad thoughts? They look at personality most? They don’t discriminate against race? Don’t get carried away by love? Strong coordination skills? Not the kind to keep to themselves? This psychologist has a bit more to research.
One, We do harbour bad thoughts. Some though, you should probably take into context….oh yeah, that kind of bad. But anyway, we do. But mostly, it’s towards saesangs and trolls. Sometimes the younger K-Poppers are a bit too…passionate. They don’t seem to get that other people’s opinions matter too, and other people can have the same bias as you. In time, they will mature.
Two, purer? Please, this person obviously hasn’t read any EXO fanfiction. Pure ain’t the right word to use, honey.
Three, Look at personality most? Highly unlikely throughout K-Poppers as a whole. A lot of times, it is about looks. If you don’t measure up to our standards of perfection that have been set for us by K-Pop, you don’t qualify as a possible partner. A lot of times, if your not Asian. It sounds really rude, but its the truth. I have seen on some forums how young girls will fangirl and fawn over Asian boys, teachers, or Asians in general.
Sometimes I think it’s a bit much, but sometimes I can’t help it either. Yeah, I turn when I see the Asian isle at the supermarket. My head turns when I hear something about Asia. But I would like to think I’m a bit more in control than most young fans. By contrast, I’m old actually. I’m 20, but the youngest K-Popper I’ve met (not including my sister Emily) is 13 I think.
Fourth, They don’t discriminate against race? Yes they do. We aren’t super special saints, I have seen some pretty nasty comments about other Asians, Japanese mostly. I have seem some people make comments about White, Black, Hispanic people. K-Poppers are people too, not saints. I am not racist, but there are K-Poppers who are, and that’s fine. We’re all human. We all have our differences, just like anybody else.
Fifth, Don’t get carried away by love> You’ve obviously never met a saesang. Love can turn into stalking, just ask JYJ/TVXQ.
Sixth, Strong coordination skills? This person has obviously never seen me confront my mortal enemies: stairs, the ground, the wall, gravity.
Seventh, Not keep to themselves? Once again, you have obviously never met me. If I don’t think you’ll like what I like, I keep it to myself. Simple as that. I get enough shit for liking Asian culture, I don’t need more. I have had people mock Asian (any Asian language, it didn’t matter to them) to me, ask me why I would listen to it, it’s not in English, tell me that it’s just a phase, etc. And to those people, I don’t care what you think. I will learn the language if I have to, it’s a big part of my life, it’s not going anywhere, anytime soon. Or ever. I have been watching anime since I was six, if it was a phase, I would have stopped with Asian culture years ago.
I love the fact that in Asia, they actually perform, for the most part. they sing, dance, rap, act, model, sometimes they become judges for singing, talent and variety shows. They are multi-talented and a lot of times, multilingual. A lot of times in groups, there is at least one member from the US or Canada, on purpose. This way, the international fans from the West can feel closer to that person. There are people in groups that are from different parts of Asia, like the Philippines, Japan, China.
I love the fact that boy and girl bands are popular there, there are certain dances that are phenomenal, like SNSD’s “Gee”, SHINee’s “Lucifer”, Super Junior’s “Sorry, Sorry”. They train for at least two years before they have a chance to debut, during that time, they are taught different languages, schooled, taught to dance, sing, rap, act and model.
To me, without J-Pop, I would never have discovered my love for Korea and K-Pop. If I had listened to the naysayers, I would be missing out on a big part of my life that has brought me great happiness. I’m glad I never listened.