JYJ’s recent stop in the U.S. on their world tour has me thinking about them. Actually, it has me thinking about their only video from The Beginning, “Ayyy Girl.” And when I think of the video for “Ayyy Girl,” it’s hard for me not to think of one thing: one minute and fifteen seconds.
So, this week I ran across a brief story by Esther Oh on the “failure” of Kpop. While I’m always open to hearing what others have to say about Kpop, good or bad, I disagreed with several points that she made. Ok, it’s not just I don’t agree with what she says. What she says is not the Kpop world I know.
First of all, her story had “tone.” It just didn’t take a position on Kpop, it set out from the get-go hatin’ on Kpop. It’s clear she has no love for Kpop. She says she “cringe[s]” when she hears about the Wonder Girls or Rain. Personally, I have a different reaction when I hear about Rain, but that’s just ME, and I’m not even the biggest Rain fan in the world.
So, Nabi has given you a pretty good overview of the book and our general observations of it. Chapter 2 includes Sun Jung’s reading of the masculinity represented by Bae Yong Joon. We here at KPK have pretty strong opinions because most of the time, we are fairly confident in what we’re talking about. This is the reason why I’m not going to talk about Sun Jung’s analysis of Bae Yong Joon. I haven’t seenWinter Sonata, so I can’t tell say anything about her reading of the way “middle-aged Japanese women” (her phrase) read Bae Yong Joon’s masculinity.
But that’s doesn’t mean I don’t have things to say about this chapter, because she talks about more than Bae Yong Joon. I was really struck by the way she framed her discussion of Bae Yong Joon by talking about “pretty boys” in Korean popular culture in general.
–KPK’s Reimagining of Eric’s intro to Shinhwa’s Crazy
“You cannot understand Kpop unless you are Korean.”
Recently, I heard this statement, in more than one place, uttered by more than one person. Not only is this perception narrow-minded and old-fashioned, it does not reflect the international reality of Kpop.
So now I’m going to tackle Sun Jung’s analysis of fan reaction to Chan-wook Park’s film, Oldboy. Basically, Sun Jung argues that, well, I’ll let her explain it:
Chapter 4 focuses on Western cult fandom of the Korean genre film, Oldboy, and discusses how postmodern South Korean masculinitiy is reconstructed through the ambivalent desires of Western spectators based on the mixed practice ofmugukjeok, and neo-Orientalism. This chapter explains how the Western desire for the Other is expressed, transformed, and redefined by consuming hybrid South Korean masculinity, as exemplified by the “savage but cool” Dae-Soo, and how this transformed desire, “with a distinctly postmodern slant,” is different from earlier Orientalist desires towards the primitive Other. . . . Hence, Western audiences of Oldboy experience hybrid “time between dog and wolf,” which refers to the time when they cannot identify whether Dae-Soo is a “cool” friend or a savage stranger. (31-2)
When a Kdrama starts, I’m sure the writers have a clear idea of who the lead character is. Sometimes, that plan goes awry, as other characters become so compelling that they come in and steal the show.