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. Fans aren’t wrong when they say that his behavior has a negative effect on the team. At the same time, K-pop fans are very forgiving, and want to give him a second chance. See what I did there? That’s looking at the issue from both sides. No fans were hurt in the making of this post.
Tag: super junior
My Favoritest Favorite. . . Songs By Bias K-pop Groups!
I like a lot of K-pop groups (a LOT…of K-pop groups), but I have four bias groups (SS501, Shinhwa, SHINee and Super Junior), my favoritest favorites. I looked at my iTunes to see which songs by my bias groups I played the most. I was surprised!
Continue reading “My Favoritest Favorite. . . Songs By Bias K-pop Groups!”
What I’m Listening To: Inoo (Soldier/God of War OST), Kyuhyun,
I love a soundtrack, and OSTs for Kdramas are no exception. Lately, I’ve been listening to “Inoo” by Super Junior‘s Kyuhyun. Best known as one of the major vocalists for Super Junior and Super Junior K.R.Y, Kyuhyun lends his vocal talent to the soundtrack of the historical Kdrama, Soldier/God of War.
“Inoo” was frequently heard playing over the ending credits of episodes in roughly the first third of the Kdrama, and represents a departure from Kyuhyun’s usual style. “Inoo” sounds like standard soundtrack fare, quite different from Kyuhyun’s usual vocal talents on Super Junior’s R&B ballads like “Sorry Sorry The Answer” or Super Junior K.R.Y’s “Promise You.”
Image: “Kuhyun, Lotte Duty Free Magazine January 2014 (Super Junior ELF Forever),” Hallyu Harmony, accessed July 27, 2014, http://kpop.omeka.net/items/show/381.
Video: “[Official audio] 인우 Inoo – Kyuhyun OST for God of War (eng sub / 中字).” YouTube. 15 Mar 2012. Web. 27 Jul 2014.
What I’m Listening To: “Monster,” Super Junior
Ever so often, I like to share what’s on heavy rotation on my iPod. It isn’t always the newest thing, or the most popular thing, but for some reason this is the stuff that I’m grooving to. I make no distinction between idol and non-idol Kpop, popular and obscure, mainstream and indie. It’s just what I like, and some info about it. Maybe you might like it too.
What I’m Listening To
Who Does It
Super Junior is better known for dance tracks like “Sorry, Sorry,” but “Monster” is a little different. A non-promotional track, it is an electronic song with a slower tempo that has a heavy but slow bass-line that is lightened by the use of synthesizers on the choruses. The lyrics reveal a sense of anguish.
Why I Like It
This song reminds me of some of my favorite 80s fare mixed with K-pop. It’s a nice break from the heavy dance and R&B tracks that Super Junior is known for.
Is “Idol Music” Just Dance Music?
Super Junior‘s “Sorry Sorry” is, but “Sorry Sorry The Answer” is not. f(x)‘s “Nu Abo” is, but “Beautiful Goodbye” is not. TVXQ‘s “Mirotic” is, “Before U Go” is not, and who knows what’s going on with “Something.” Some want to equate popular K-pop music with dance music, but they may be surprised by the variety in the music produced by idols.
Because idols make up so much of popular K-pop, many equate their music with dance music. Park Si Soo refers to a National Assembly report that described 82% of the tracks on the Gaon Music Chart as “idol music.” According to Park, critics seem to equate “idol music” with dance music because K-pop is “dominated by hook-heavy dance music or ‘idol music.'”
Academics believe the popularity of “idol music” contributes to the homogenization of K-pop, causing all the music to sound the same. Solee I. Shin and Lanu Kim examined the top 20 songs published by Melon Music, an online music service in Korea, from 1988 to 2012 and found “a sizeable presence of dance and hip-hop music in the early to mid-1990s.”
Both journalists and academics limit the kinds of music associated with K-pop idols and equate it with dance music. Dance music is music designed to make people dance, and the beat is crucial. Mark J. Butler argues that “rhythm. . . is the raison d’être of electronic dance music” (4). But that does not mean that all dance music sounds the same: “There is an astonishing array of rhythmic diversity beyond the beat. . . . fans, musicians and critics [claim] that all of the myriad genres of dance music have the same meter (4/4) which they tend to link, through implicit or explicit comparisons, to perceived notions of simplicity” (5).
All dance music is not the same. Super Junior’s “Bonamana” is not the same as House Rulez‘s “Reset,” even though both may be considered dance songs because they share the “four on the floor” rhythm. “Bonamana” is the type of dance song that Super Junior is known for, but it contains standard elements of popular song, including lyrics, verses and a chorus. “Reset” is quintessential electronic dance music (EDM): “Most of [EDM’s] genres contain no consistent verbal components [or lyrics]” and are “created by synthesizers and drum machines rather than ‘real’ instruments” (11).
A comparison of songs by idols reveal differences. BigBang‘s “Fantastic Baby” sounds different from Infinite’s “Hands Up,” but both are dance songs. This is the case even with songs by the same artist. While Super Junior songs may reflect the trademark “Super Junior funky style,” “Bonamana” sounds different from “SPY.” “Bonamana”‘s rhythm stands out, while “SPY” features thick orchestration where horns are central.
In addition, music produced by idols goes beyond dance music: “There are many critics who are reluctant to define idol music as a genre, citing a lack distinctive musical identity. They insist idol music is like a “spaghetti bowl” in which various music genres including dance, hip-hop, rap and R&B are all mixed up in one category” (Park).
While charts tell us about popularity based on sales, listening to the music on albums reveals far more variety. A consideration of SM Entertainment (SME) artists show a variety of musical styles. With the largest roster of idols, SME is often cited as a primary producer of “idol music”: “‘SM style music’ was gradually defined as electronic-based, fast-beat, and strong with memorable lyrics with repeating ‘hooks'” (Shin and Kim).
It’s clear that SM has its share of idols producing dance music. As the first paragraph shows, artists such as Super Junior, TVXQ, f(x) as well as SHINee and EXO have their share of dance tracks. However, these groups release albums with songs that go beyond dance music.
Super Junior has had great success with dance tracks like “Sorry Sorry,” “Bonamana,” “Mr. Simple,” and “SPY.” However, the group’s albums feature other kinds of songs. “Good Friends (어느새 우린)” is not a dance track. It feels more like a throwback track to the 1970s with its use of horns and organs. “Memories” is a song with a slower tempo. “Sorry Sorry The Answer” is an old-school R&B ballad that focuses on vocals:
The same can be said of TVXQ. We all know TVXQ for their dance tracks, such as “Mirotic” and “Humanoids.” But the group also has a reputation for more pop-inspired fare like “Hug,” rock-influenced songs like “Tri-Angle” and “Athena,” and slower songs like “I Swear” and “Honey Funny Bunny.”
If we take a look at deeper cuts on SHINee’s albums, we see there are different kinds of songs that go beyond the dance fare like “Lucifer” and “Dream Girl.” SHINee fans always look forward to R&B-inspired songs such as “Excuse Me Miss” and “Symptoms.” But they often have surprises as well, like the acoustic track “Honesty.”
These songs are not only included on albums, they are also featured in set lists when groups tour, suggesting that they are just as important as promotional dance tracks. The set-list for Super Junior’s Super Show 4 includes “Good Friends” and Super Junior’s Super Show 5‘s setlist features an acoustic medley that includes “Memories.” TVXQ includes “Tri-angle” and “Honey Funny Bunny” in its setlist. “Honesty” appears on the setlist for SHINee’s performances at SM Town Week.
Music made by idols runs the gamut. In fact, it is the reason why fans like it. Instead of making assumptions, just listen to the music.
“Electrifying Super Show.” Seoul Rhythms. 28 Feb. 2012. Web. 14 Jan 2014.
“Super Junior(슈퍼주니어) _ SORRY, SORRY – ANSWER _ MusicVideo.” sment. YouTube. 10 Dec 2009. Web. 9 Jan 2014.
“SUPER JUNIOR 슈퍼주니어 _SPY_MUSIC VIDEO.” SMTOWN. YouTube. 12 Aug 2012. Web. 15 Jan 2014.
“TVXQ – I Swear.” Oumae24. YouTube. 23 Sept 2012. Web. 14 Jan. 2014.
“07 늘 그 자리에 (Honesty) – SHINee (Sherlock).” AmberInJapan. YouTube. 18 Mar 2012. Web. 15 Jan 2014.
“하우스 룰즈 (House Rulez) – Reset (With 안지석).” 3cinquesette. YouTube. 3 Aug 2012. Web. 15 Jan 2014.
Butler, Mark J. Unlocking the Groove: Rythym, Meter, and Musical Design in Electronic Dance Music. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2006.
Shin, Solee I. and Lanu Kim. “Organizing K-pop: Emergence and Market Making of Large Korean Entertainment Houses, 1980-2010.” East Asia November, 2013. doi: 10.1007/s12140-013-9200-0.
ICYMI: iFans Case Studies Status Update
Originally published on KPK: Kpop Kollective by CeeFu
If you keep with research on K-pop, you may be aware of the iFans: Mapping Kpop’s International Fandom project. The surveys that make up the qualitative studies seek to understand how the fandoms differ from one another and their relationship to the groups they support. K-pop fans know that the fandoms are unique. Because they have detailed knowledge of the groups they support, they provide a unique perspective on the appeal of their respective groups. Too often, commentators make assumptions about K-pop fans, while the iFans studies goes to the source: the fans.
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ICYMI: Bring The Boys Out!: Fan Attitudes on Male Kpop Groups Differ
Originally published on KPK: Kpop Kollective by CeeFu
Some people think that male K-pop groups are all the same. However, research suggests that fans differ in their attitudes towards individual male K-pop groups. Responses collected from fans of Super Junior and BigBang reveal that they also hold different opinions on their music and group dynamic. Such responses suggest that while some do not distinguish between male K-pop groups, fans do.
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Donghae is Not My Oppa, And I Like Super Junior
For Leeteuk, on the eve of his enlistment…..
I like Super Junior. A lot of people find it difficult to say that, for a variety of reasons. Some think that Super Junior doesn’t have any talent and represents everything that is “wrong” with K-pop. Others are lukewarm about them, saying, “Oh, I kinda like them. They are ok.”
Others like to talk smack about E.L.Fs, fans of Super Junior. They say Super Junior fans overreact when people talk about their “oppas.”
For example, E.L.Fs descended en masse in the comment section of Justin Hayes‘ “story” on Mokpo. After calling Donghae a “chap,” he describes Super Junior this way:
The “band” was formed in 2005 by Korean impresario Lee Soo-man. Obviously not a man to do things by half he decided that if the traditional boyband comprises four or five pretty but ultimately talentless stooges then to guarantee massive success the best thing to do would be to double or even triple the number of talentless stooges on stage at one time.
Some commenters saw comments criticizing Hayes as a knee-jerk reaction by E.L.Fs. Oh My wrote: “I see you managed to upset the rabid K-Pop fans and are being inundated by their rebuffs about how amazing their Super Junior oppas are….my condolences.” But if you look closely, E.L.Fs also corrected Hayes’ factual error. Hayes writes that Super Junior has, at its peak 13 members, but that is not true (as any halfway decent research would have revealed). So E.L.Fs point that out. Lots of E.L.Fs, from around the world, point that out. Go E.L.Fs!
Contrary to Oh My’s comment, I’m not a rabid K-pop fan because I disagree with Hayes. Members of Super Junior are not my oppas. And I like them anyway. You know what happens when you make assumptions…….
I didn’t always like Super Junior, and before I listened to them, I didn’t understand what all the buzz was about. But I listened to their music, a lot of their music, and watched their videos. I got over the fact there are lots of them and learned their names. That’s right, I like Super Junior. So what? Just because I like Super Junior doesn’t mean you have to like Super Junior. But even I’m not going to let you talk smack about me because I like Super Junior.
Even though E.L.Fs sometimes get overexcited (I mean, Hayes is writing for Redbull.com; it’s not exactly a respected publication), I admire their passion for their group. And the truth is, fans of other K-pop groups have the same kind of passion. And at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter what you say about E.L.Fs and Super Junior: people who like Super Junior will still like Super Junior.
So, rock on, E.L.Fs!!!!
Justin Hayes, Korean Grand Prix Six of the Best: Things You Never Knew About Mokpo, Redbull
Can We Get Some Facts, Ma’am?: Erroneous Reporting on Kpop by Mainstream Media
Originally published on KPK: Kpop Kollective in May 20, 2012 by CeeFu
Kpop fans are known for being strident in their opinions, but there is one thing we should all be able to agree on, and those are facts. If Kpop fans can do it, surely mainstream American media outlets should be able to get the facts right about Kpop. However, several recent stories show that some mainstream American media misrepresent Kpop, which can present a distorted view of Kpop in America to those who are less-informed.
To be clear, I am not talking about statements on which reasonable people may disagree. In April 2012, Los Angeles Times ran a story on Kpop entering the pop consciousness of Americans. We can have different opinions on whether the choreography of The Boys is “gently lascivious,” or whether the girl groups are “groups of women deploying butt-kicking superhero imagery,” or whether SNSD‘s Gee “drew the blueprint for a culture to come.”
I’m talking about fundamental errors that prevent individuals from making up their own minds about Kpop based on facts.
National Public Radio (NPR)
In December 2011, NPR ran a story on the worldwide fans of Kpop, but focused on SNSD. Here’s where Claudine Ebeid gets into trouble: “They [SNSD] sold out Madison Square Garden.” You do not need to be a SONE to understand how that is misleading. Here is an informational video about the SM Town show in Madison Square Garden to which Ebeid refers:
As you can see, this is not the SNSD Tour; it is the SM Town World Tour, where SM Entertainment showcases several of its artists in one large show. SNSD does not have “top billing.” All of the acts are promoted equally. The actual show did not showcase SNSD. Rather, the groups took turns performing, and members of several groups even performed with each other, as you can see with this performance of Hip Hop Papillon featuring Shindong and Eunhyuk of Super Junior and Minho and Key from SHINee (SNSD is not in this number).
The early placement of this statement in Ebeid’s story makes it seem that SNSD demonstrated its popularity through the SM Town show. If you are knowledgeable about Kpop, you know that is not true: SNSD did not headline the show, and as a result, did not sell out Madison Square Garden. If you are not, this misrepresentation of the SM Town show would skew your opinion of SNSD and its impact in the U.S.
On May 18, 2012, Rolling Stone ran a story speculating on Kpop groups are most likely to “break in America.” We can have civil discussion about who is and isn’t on this list, but there is a fundamental error. Jeff Benjamin describes Kpop this way: “K-Pop is a mixture of trendy Western music and high-energy Japanese pop (J-Pop).” This is not Kpop. August Brown did a better job describing the multiple influences found in Kpop in the Los Angeles Times story: “K-pop artists pull from techno, hip-hop, R&B and top-40.” Kpop is a mixture of several musical genres, and Jpop isn’t even the most dominant one. How do we know? Well, you could listen to some Jpop and Kpop, or you can compare the way people define Kpop.
Wikipedia: K-pop (Korean: 가요, Gayo) (an abbreviation of Korean pop or Korean popular music) is a musical genre consisting of pop, dance, electropop, hip hop, rock, R&B, electronic music originating in South Korea. In addition to music, K-pop has grown into a popular subculture among teenagers and young adults around the world, resulting in widespread interest in the fashion and style of Korean idol groups and singers.
Before you get up in arms about the Wikipedia entry, take a look at the citations for this definition. They include academics and authors of actual books:
Jung, Sun (2011). Korean masculinities and transcultural consumption: Yonsama, Rain, Oldboy, K-Pop idols. Hong Kong University Press.
Hartong, Jan Laurens (2006). Musical terms worldwide: a companion for the musical explorer. Semar Publishers.
Kim, Myung Oak; Jaffe, Sam (2010). The new Korea: an inside look at South Korea’s economic rise. AMACOM Div American Mgmt Assn
Holden, Todd Joseph Miles; Scrase, Timothy J. (2006). Medi@sia: global media/tion in and out of context. Taylor & Francis
What’s really problematic about Benjamin’s uninformed reference to Jpop and Ebied’s error regarding the SM Town show is that both writers fail to present basic information about Kpop correctly. This can affect their credibility, which is why the first thing in the Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics is: Seek Truth and Report It. Now, I know we are not talking about politics or the law, but oddly enough, SPJ doesn’t make a distinction. It doesn’t say “seek truth and report it” on national affairs, but “make it up” when you are talking about culture. Consistency is key. If writers take it upon themselves to write on a cultural phenomenon, then it is their responsibility to get the basic information correct.
August Brown, K-pop enters American pop consciousness, Los Angeles Times
Claudine Ebeid, K-Pop Blows Up: Korean Music Finds Fans Worldwide, NPR
SM Entertainment, SM Town Live in New York_Information, YouTube
iKimization, [SMTown New York] SHINee and Super Junior (Minho, Key, Shindong, Eunhyuk), YouTube
Jeff Benjamin, The 10 K-Pop Groups Most Likely to Break in America, Rolling Stone
SPJ Code of Ethics, Society of Professional Journalists
What I’m Listening To: Eoneusae Urin (Good Friends), Super Junior (2011)
Ever so often, I like to share what’s on heavy rotation on my iPod. It isn’t always the newest thing, or the most popular thing, but for some reason this is the stuff that I’m grooving to.
What I’m Listening To
Eoneusae Urin (Good Friends), ACHA, Super Junior (2011)
How I Came to Listen to It
I found Eoneusae Urin (Good Friends) while playing Super Junior songs on shuffle in my iTunes.
Why I Like It
It’s so happy, and I think that people forget that when they are talking smack about Super Junior. It definitely has a 1970s variety show vibe, and that’s why I like it! I think I remember reading somewhere online that it is part of the setlist for Super Show 4, so whenever SuJu decides to grace the United States, I’ll be looking forward to seeing it live. 😀
The REAL SM Entertainment Conspiracy
People, you have been fooled! SM Entertainment has distracted you with multi-year contracts, lawsuits and tales of exploitation, but I know what the REAL conspiracy is.
Are you ready?
SM is CLONING idols!!! YES! I am 84.7 % positive that SM has a team of scientists whose sole job is to clone idols. You haven’t noticed a slew of attractive Korean men who have cheeky cheeks and sing really well? Look!
Exhibit 1: Hye Sung of Shinhwa
Cheeky cheeks? Check! Pouty lips? Check! I suspect that Hye Sung is really the original, from which SM is taking genetic material for other idols. He is quiet and seems fairly sweet, and some have referred to him as a prince. These are things we will encounter with the clones. Oh, and let’s not forget about his singing ability!
Read more here at KPK: Kpop Kollective (originally published on July 1, 2011)
Psychedelic Gangster: A Super Junior Photo Essay
By now, you have survived the visual onslaught that were the Super Junior concept photos for Mr. Simple. Mayhaps you have forgotten how the members of Super Junior looked pre-Psychadelic Gangster? Not sure how they may show up in your neighborhood? If so, I invite you to mediate on the following photo essay as a helpful way to be prepared either way:
Read more here at KPK: Kpop Kollective (originally published August 8, 2011)
The Once and Future Kpop Concert
Over the last few months, Kpop fans in the United States have been treated to several high-profile concerts featuring a variety of artists. However, the reception by fans and coverage by media demonstrate that these efforts produce different results. Not all concerts are created equal, because they function in different ways, with radically different outcomes……
Read more here at hellokpop.com (originally published December 4, 2011)
Shock and Aww, What Are You Doing?!: The Use And Abuse Of The Concept Photo
With the recent slew of comebacks, Kpop fans have been exposed to some pretty surprising photos of late. I know agencies use such tactics to draw attention to their groups and artists.
Read more at hellokpop.com (Originally published on September 26, 2011)
Why I Do Kpop Even Though Chuckleheads Keep Giving Me The Side-Eye
Originally published on July 30, 2011 on KPK: Kpop Kollective by CeeFu
Hey shorty…It’s me (Kpop)
I gotta tell you something
It’s about us
I’ve been seeing other people
Millions of other people, around the world
I really think this is gonna work out baby
I’m not sorry
–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.
Let me start by saying one thing: this is not personal. This is not about Koreans. This is about this STATEMENT and IDEA about Korean popular culture. The love is overflowing here at KPK for Koreans, all things Korean and fans of all things Korean. So it’s only out of love that I say this: when people say that you have to be Korean to understand Kpop, my darlings, you are wrong. In the spirit of full disclosure, I should say that I am not Korean (I know, shocking!).
I have heard that you have to be Korean in order to understand Kpop from people who should know better: Korean academics. So part of this post has some big words and stuff, but don’t worry: I’m going to break it down!
When Korean academics says you have to be Korean to understand Kpop, it does not mean that you need to know the Korean language to understand Korean lyrics in Korean popular music. It means that there is something basically Korean about Kpop that you cannot understand because you are not Korean. They are saying that it (Kpop) is a Korean thing, and you wouldn’t understand. This is troubling coming from academics because it is essentialist. What is essentialism? According to the Sage Dictionary of Cultural Studies, essentialism:
Refers to the argument that there are fixed truths to be found about identity categories so that there exists an essence of, for example, women, Australians, the working class and Asians. Here words refer to fixed essences and thus identities are regarded as being stable entities. (61)
What this basically means is that when people say that all Asians are this way, or all women are that way, they are thinking that there is something basic about women or Asians that every woman or Asian has that makes them a woman or Asian. You can only be Asian or a woman if you have these traits, and only these traits. But what if the traits are something that all members of the group do not have? Are they still part of the group? If you don’t have dark hair, does not exclude you from being Asian? (we know Asians have many different hair colors). If you don’t have children, does this exclude you from being a woman? (we know lots of women who don’t have children). You see how this could become problematic, because essentialism basically lumps everyone together in ways that do not match the reality we see.
Ok, so why is essentialism bad? Christopher Warley answers this question this way:
Essentialism is bad because it is socially oppressive. It blindly stresses one side of a binary opposition (high not low; inside not outside; left not right); it naturalizes and universalizes the interests of a particular group (capitalists, men, The West, whatever) in order to dominate another group (workers, women, The East, whatever).
Ok, so let’s apply this to Kpop. When people say that you have to be Korean to understand Kpop, they are an example of “inside not outside.” Koreans, because of their “Koreanness”, understand Kpop. If you are not Korean, you do not have this “Koreanness”, so sucks to be you. But remember that people are different, cultures are diverse, so how can there be this universal “Koreanness”? So what about Koreans who don’t know Kpop, or don’t like Kpop, or (gasp) don’t understand Kpop? That undermines the whole “all Koreans have this “Koreanness”/you have to be Korean to understand Kpop” argument. Do you have to be Chinese to understand kung fu? Black to understand hip hop? Irish to understand Riverdance? You see how silly this gets, right?
So we know that there are millions of fans of Kpop around the world, who don’t speak Korean, who are not Korean, who understand Kpop. Because I think EVERYONE understands THIS:
You do not have to be Korean or know Korean to understand what Junsu is putting down in this video. Everyone understands the body roll.
Even more ironic is that so much of what makes up Hallyu Kpop comes from other cultures, especially American culture, ESPECIALLY African American culture. For example, let’s look at TVXQ’s Keep Your Head Down (yeah, that’s right, ANOTHER TVXQ video, just sit down and watch):
And this, a marching band sequence from the 2002 movie Drumline (sorry about the sound, but this was the best video I could find):
See anything similar? Hear anything similar? I’m not one of those people who are saying that Kpop is imitating African American culture. What I am saying is that a good deal of Hallyu Kpop is a mixture of Korean and African American popular culture. I NOT mad at that. So it would follow that in order to understand Kpop, you really need to understand Korean and African American culture. From what I’ve read from some of my Korean academic counterparts, this is not always the case. I’m not saying that they couldn’t form arguments based on some knowledge of African American culture. I’m saying that they tend not to.
Need more evidence? Who is Yunho’s favorite singer? Michael Jackson. Who does Onew count as one of his favorite singers? Stevie Wonder. Who does Eunhyuk, Shindong and Donghae imitate in the Super Show? Beyonce.
And what about Big Mama?
Yes people, that’s some straight up GOSPEL they are putting down for you. My point is, that really to understand Kpop, it seems to me that you need to understand the things that go into Kpop.
I really thought that in this day and age, we all understood that no one owns cultures, that cultures travel, intermingle, make friends. Once your culture decides to go global, you can’t control that. It’s going to do what it do. And, people who are not OF that culture can STUDY that culture. I really thought that what matters is what you KNOW when it comes to talking about a subject, not who you are. But in the two times I’ve heard the statement, there was no mention made of what others may know, just the assumption that if you are not Korean, you can’t know anything worth knowing. At least call non-Koreans out on whether or not they know all the members of Super Junior, know that Jay Park used to be in 2PM, know that Cheongdung of MBLAQ and Dara of 2NE1 are related, know the debut date of SS501. I don’t care about who you are, I care about what. you. know. And if you can take the time to learn about Kpop, then why can’t you speak about Kpop?
I am not Korean. I know as long as I live I will not know everything there is to know about Kpop. I will never be able to tell you what Koreans think about Kpop like someone who has spent a large chunk of time in the culture or studying the culture (my research tends to focus on what international audiences think about Kpop). But what should matter is that whatever I say about Kpop has an argument that makes sense and that is well-supported by evidence. I know I know a little something something, and when I speak about my little something something, I’m fairly confident that I know what I’m talking about. We can discuss it until the cows come home; reasonable people can reasonably disagree. But you just cannot dismiss out of hand people who aren’t Korean, who know their Kpop and like it. Last time I checked, Kpop was equal opportunity.
And this is not to say that ALL Koreans hold this opinion. I know there are lots of Koreans who throw their arms wide open for anyone who is down for Kpop.
So, if you think that only Koreans can “understand” Kpop, then YOU don’t understand Kpop.
Chris Barker, The Sage Dictionary of Cultural Studies.Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications, 2004.
Christopher Warley, Patience: Still A Virtue, Arcade