KPop CloseUp #5

Tuesday, January 13, 2015
Hi guys! This week I'm going to look at something that I call 'fan control', where the fans seem to have more control over the idols than they do over themselves, and also when fans kind of go... wild.

There have been many instances over the years where artists have broke down into tears over feeling like they have been 'lying to' their fans, or letting them down in some way. Taeyeon of Girls Generation did this late last year (2014) because it was discovered that she had been secretly dating Baekhyun of EXO. And then, once the fans found out and it was confirmed by SM Entertainment, both Baekhyun and Taeyeon made apology posts on social media - apologising for lying to their fans, for hurting them, and also to try and alleviate some of the betrayal that fans were experiencing because of what had come to light.

Bear with me here.

When it was revealed that Jonghyun of SHINee was dating someone (I believe an actress called Sin Se-kyeong), fans of Jonghyun attacked Sin's personal website, causing it to be shut down. Apparently they were leaving multiple unsavoury and vicious comments, because they were angry that she was dating their favourite idol. (For a look at some of the other things SHINee has had to cope with over the years, head to this fanpage. It stops around mid-2013, but it gives an idea.)

These are just two examples, but there are many others. Privacy is apparently not a thing in the world of a KPop Idol. [as a side note, I just want to say that I think this is ridiculous. But we will get to that more later.]

And that's not all. There's also these people called sasaeng - sometimes referred to as 'sasaeng fans', but I'm with other people here in that I will not call them 'fans', because they just go so far that they seem to only want to hurt the objects of their obsessions.
Sasaengs are stalkers, people that take their affection so far into the realm of obsession that they have been known to grope stars as they walk past, break into their homes and steal their underwear or try to kiss them while they're sleeping, hire cabs to chase their favourite band's van on the road - often leading to horrific car accidents, or even to drug drinks that they give to idols, because it would be 'funny'.

One of the worst affected groups is JYJ, the group formerly part of TVXQ that I mentioned last week. JYJ has had it all and then some - fanatics (not 'fans', fanatics) that follow them 24/7, take photos of their houses, sell their contact information online, even send them their menstrual fluid (I just... what?). A couple of articles detailing some of the things that have happened to them, including being physically injured by fans throwing rocks at them can be found here. Read if you're in desperate need of a way to be angry at the state of the world.

I'm quite new to the KPop fandom, I must admit. I dabbled in asian pop back in early high school (when I was about 13 or so onwards), but have only recently started buying albums and supporting my favourite artists, but I have to admit that I am often horrified and disappointed by the behaviour of fans and sasaengs towards idols. The sasaengs are obviously way over the line with their behaviour - legally, morally, emotionally - but I do find that sometimes 'normal' fans upset me, too. They feel like they own these people, and thus are allowed to dictate who they date, what they wear, and comment on their choices in life. We do this with pop stars in the Western world, too, but at least then assualts of idols are few and far between. In Korea it seems to happen on a regular basis, which saddens me greatly.

Generally, when stuff like this happens and idols are forced to comment, they often state that they just wish they could have a normal life - dress how they want, write music about what they want, date who they want, without people attacking every little thing they do. I know some people are going to say 'but that's what happens when you get famous. they should have known what they were getting into', but shouldn't a line be drawn somewhere here?

And, to return to my favourite two people at the moment, here is another video from Eat Your Kimchi that talks about why they would never become KPop Idols - it pretty much sums up my feelings here.

I haven't yet thought a lot about what I'm going to write next week, but maybe I will go into more detail about specific groups! I'll try not to cover SHINee first... XD


1 comment:

  1. Holy moly. I had no idea that the fan-culture was so intense, and in some places, twisted. That sense of ownership really bothers me, and the sasaeng... It must have been very upsetting to research this post - I couldn't even read the article you referenced when you mentioned the rock-throwing. How disturbing...

    The EYK video sounded heartbreaking as well. They made is so relatable - several events a day, sleeping in vans, convenience store food, no sick days, having to live with people 24/7... It's absolutely crazy. I love Simon and Martina (S&M - oh my) and their presenting style. Thanks for sharing. I wonder if there's a Part 6 coming...


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