- Why Mainstream Media Often Gets K-pop Wrong - Nothing raises the ire of the K-pop fan like having a mainstream media outlet provide sloppy coverage of K-pop. More often than not, writers for these outlets simply don’t know what they are talking about. Those who have been K-pop fans for a while feel ambivalent when they see a mainstream media outlet run a… Continue reading Why Mainstream Media Often Gets K-pop Wrong
- The Increasingly Elusive K-pop Fan - At a time when K-pop is more easily found than ever, it seems like the K-pop fan is disappearing. Increasing division driven by single-fandom obsession is becoming the norm. It seems strange to talk about back in the day, but not so long ago (2011), K-pop was hard to come by. So when K-pop fans… Continue reading The Increasingly Elusive K-pop Fan
- What Matters in K-pop? - I have often viewed increased visibility of K-pop in mainstream American media with ambivalence. On one hand, increased visibility may mean more opportunities for concerts and access to K-pop-related media. On the other hand, it may mean significant changes to K-pop and its fandom that take away the things that drew fans in the first… Continue reading What Matters in K-pop?
- Why The BTS Billboard Win Is Only One Half Of The K-pop Fan Story - Unless you have been under a rock, you are surely aware of the win by BTS for Top Social Artist at the Billboard Music Awards. While the win shows the way K-pop fans can mobilize in the moment, the celebration of group anniversaries demonstrates the longevity of K-pop fandom. Many have pondered what the win… Continue reading Why The BTS Billboard Win Is Only One Half Of The K-pop Fan Story
- Fan Hierarchy and K-pop - Fan hierarchy, which use criteria to declare some fans “better” than other fans, is not unique to K-pop. Nevertheless, it distorts the realities of fan dynamics in K-pop. It is no secret that Korean fans feel some type of way about global fans, and vice versa. For example, many global fans are multi-fandom, which means… Continue reading Fan Hierarchy and K-pop
- What I’m Listening To. . . . UP10TION, “Just Like That” - UP10TION departs from their usual upbeat tracks for “Just Like That,” from their 2016 mini-album, Burst, which has a slower tempo, sparse instrumentation and focuses on vocals. Image: 1 Kpop Dls. “[AUDIO/MP3/DL] UP10TION (업텐션) – JUST LIKE THAT [5th Mini Album – Burst].” YouTube. 20 Nov 2016. https://youtu.be/fP5cotQJ9d4, (26 Dec 2016).
- My Favorite…Solo Male K-pop Artists! - I’m back with another installment of My Favorites! This time, it’s solo male K-pop artists, the Kangta and Wheesung Edition. Wait! Before you even ask, “Where is [insert Rain, Park Hyo Shin, your favorite male solo singer, your cousin], these are male artists that I like. They are also primarily solo artists, not current members… Continue reading My Favorite…Solo Male K-pop Artists!
- How to Diversify Your K-pop Roster - If you’ve been a K-pop fan for a while, you might run into this problem. Sure, you have mad love for your favorite K-pop groups, but we all know that K-pop promotions run in a cycle. What do you do when your favorite groups are MIA? FIND MOAR!
- Can’t We All Just Get Along?: Kangin and Super Junior - The minute somebody says something about getting Kangin to leave, the mud-slinging starts (i.e. “you’re not a true fan,” “you’re an ANTIFAN!”). This is not confined to K-pop fandoms, but still. Why can’t we disagree and refrain from calling each other names? We all know this is not Kangin’s first trip to the trouble rodeo.… Continue reading Can’t We All Just Get Along?: Kangin and Super Junior
- EXO in LA!: A Report from Loge 10 - As a K-pop fan in the United States, I’m always excited to see my beloved K-pop live. The EXO show in Los Angeles on February 14, 2016 was no exception. Having seen EXO “grow up” from those 23 teaser trailers to Sing for You, I was looking forward to the show very much! Let us never… Continue reading EXO in LA!: A Report from Loge 10
- The Daily Grind: Misaeng (2014) - Misaeng (2014) is a quiet K-drama that perfectly captures how a job can be soul-sucking and emotionally rewarding at the same time. Jang Geu-rae (Im Siwan) is our intrepid protagonist, just a guy who spend a whole chunk of his life training to be a baduk player, only to find himself looking for a job… Continue reading The Daily Grind: Misaeng (2014)
- Strong Women and the Men Who Love Them: Strong Woman Do Bong Soon and Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo - Both Strong Woman Do Bong Soon and Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo place unconventional women in the center of K-drama in ways that do not diminish them for being strong. Interestingly, both dramas have origins in the childhoods of the main characters, where the female leads disrupt the conventional narrative by being the saviors of… Continue reading Strong Women and the Men Who Love Them: Strong Woman Do Bong Soon and Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo
- Hatin’ on Hae Soo in Scarlet Heart: Ryeo - There are many aspects of Scarlet Heart: Ryeo that make it a worthwhile K-drama to watch, but there is one that is quite annoying. Hae Soo (IU) is the female lead that drags this K-drama down. This is not a criticism of IU, who is supercute and an expert in the wide-eye closeup. This is… Continue reading Hatin’ on Hae Soo in Scarlet Heart: Ryeo
- Daebak. . . Is On My Mind! - I put this K-drama down for a minute, but I had to pick it back up once I realized that it had the Triple Threat!!!! First, Choi Min Soo as King Sukjong! He is one of my favorite actors, and he apparently is the founder of the School of Chill Acting. No matter the role,… Continue reading Daebak. . . Is On My Mind!
- Power in Unity!: Ideal Masculinity in Descendants of the Sun - We all know the primary reason we are all over Descendants of the Sun is Captain “Big Boss” Yoo Si Jin (Song Joong Ki). He’s become one of my favorite male protagonists in a K-drama, so central to the story that he takes attention away from the female lead. At the same time, he reinforces male… Continue reading Power in Unity!: Ideal Masculinity in Descendants of the Sun
- Chief Master Sergeant Seo Dae Young. . . Is On My Mind! - Don’t get me wrong, I see you, “Big Boss” Yoo Shi Jin (Song Joong Ki) right there, but his sidekick Chief Master Sergeant Seo Dae Young (Jin Goo) is no slouch in Descendants of the Sun! Even though those brooding good looks may suggest that he’s an aloof loner, he’s actually great friends with Shi… Continue reading Chief Master Sergeant Seo Dae Young. . . Is On My Mind!
- The Sons of Yi Seong Gye. . . Are On My Mind! - Six Flying Dragons keeps our attention on the shenanigans of Yi Bang Won (Yoo Ah In) and his buddies as they run around Goryeo trying to start a revolution, but let’s not sleep on Yi Seong Gye‘s other sons, Yi Bang Gwa (Seo Dong Won) and Yi Bang Woo (Lee Seung Hyo). Unlike their carefree… Continue reading The Sons of Yi Seong Gye. . . Are On My Mind!
- Yi Bang Won. . . Is On My Mind! - Every king has to start somewhere, and while Yi Bang Won (Yoo Ah In) is knee-deep in the foundations of the revolution in Six Flying Dragons, he makes time to give attention to his love life. I have to say I’m liking his criteria for women. Basically, it’s. . . “You see that girl over… Continue reading Yi Bang Won. . . Is On My Mind!
- Moody K-dramas and their Moody Leads - Dramatic music. Shadowy settings. Mysterious villains. This can only mean one thing: a moody K-drama! I love my romantic comedies, sageuks and melodramas, but I have a special place in my heart for the police story, especially the “special task force,” the detectives-not-detectives, the “we don’t exist” teams found in K-dramas. More importantly, I love… Continue reading Moody K-dramas and their Moody Leads
- K-drama Characters to Love and Loathe - We all watch K-dramas to see the actors we like, but if you’ve watched enough K-dramas, you may have noticed that certain actors frequently show up in strong supporting roles. As a result, some actors gain a reputation for playing good guys, and others gain a reputation for portraying punks. Here are some of my… Continue reading K-drama Characters to Love and Loathe
- The Valiant and the Vainglorious: The Fortress (2017) - The Fortress (2017) is a poignant look at the one place nobody wanted to be when the Qing decided to invade Joseon. Despite the fact that people make all the wrong choices, there are some people who maintain their dignity (hint: one of them is not the king). The 2017 Korean movie depicts the final… Continue reading The Valiant and the Vainglorious: The Fortress (2017)
- “He’s Different”: The Man From Nowhere (2010) - It’s not often that I say this, but you have to forgive me. I have been avoiding Won Bin like I owe him money. You know how everyone else goes on about a person, and just to be contrary, you stay far away? Yeah, that was me and Won Bin. Please forgive me. That’s the… Continue reading “He’s Different”: The Man From Nowhere (2010)
- Oldboy (2003) - I was eating my breakfast this morning, and it just popped into my head: Park Chan-wook’s Oldboy. Just like that. It’s been a few years since I saw that movie, but it’s kinda hard to forget it. I have it on good authority that the brains of some people have been irreversibly altered by watching… Continue reading Oldboy (2003)
- One of These Things Just Doesn’t Belong: The Good, The Bad and the Weird (2008) - Let me preface this by declaring my love of the quirky, dark Korean movie. I loved the dysfunction of The Quiet Family (1998), and the domestic hitman vibe of Guns and Talks (2001). So I’m thinking I’m going to like The Good, The Bad and The Weird. It’s seems to have so much going for… Continue reading One of These Things Just Doesn’t Belong: The Good, The Bad and the Weird (2008)
- Haeundae (2009): We’re Gonna Need A Bigger Boat! - I confess, I love disaster movies (actual disasters, not so much). But disaster movies are not all about the big spectacle. Sure, we expect to see buildings fall and cars get swept away, but the only way we care about the big spectacle is because of the small spectacle. I’m talking about the dysfunctional personal… Continue reading Haeundae (2009): We’re Gonna Need A Bigger Boat!