K-pop, society, and everything in between.

CALLING ALL K-POP FANS!
Petition for Infinite and Woollim Entertainment to cancel concert screenings and plans for release of "Inconvenient Truth": an awareness campaign for misogyny and rape culture
➔ BREAKDOWN OF "INCONVENIENT TRUTH"
➔ OPEN LETTER TO INFINITE & WOOLLIM
➔ BE A SIGNATORY & SPREAD THE WORD!
➔ UNSURE? VIEWS AGAINST THE PETITION

About AKF
FAQ
Recommended blogs
Communicate

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JOIN THE DISCUSSION →

FEATURES/SERIES
Academic articles on K-pop & the Hallyu
"AKF in Korea" series
사생 (sasaeng) fans series
The Block B files

ROUNDTABLE
Celebrity sightings, fan meets and the epistemology of K-pop idols: What do we know and how do we know?
K-pop fan-fiction: Thoughts by readers and writers

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEWS
STAZ OF MAN
Blud Bruthaz

IN THE MEDIA
"You can thank Google for your new obsession" (CNN Geek Out)
"When fans go too far" (CNN Geek Out)

SELECTED POSTS
K-pop fanart & fanfiction
Block B and media misrepresentation
Being branded as a 'K-pop fan'
Regulation & the KMRB's new policy
Fan behavior and decorum
"Plus size" in Korea
SNL Korea does blackface
Politics and Korean hiphop
Don't want to get AIDS? Masturbate!
"Skinny Baby" NOT hot
"Unwed mothers are ignorant whores"?
Shipping, fanfictions, and smut
"Getting an Abortion in South Korea"
South Korea's education system
Tablo, TaJinYo, and the implications of celebrity obsession
Jay Park, JYJ, and other issues that make you think twice about being a K-pop consumer
Block B and cultural silencing
Beauty standards and how idols propagate them
The multiple ventures of an idol
Korean indie vs. K-pop
Block B's comeback in a post-controversy framework
Idols tweeting about private matters
▪ The mentality of idol hopefuls [1] [2]
▪ Jay Park and being 'gangsta' in K-pop [1] [2] [3]
▪ Pursuing idoldom: AKF's advice [1] [2]
Shipping idols of the same sex
The role of visuals in K-pop
Can non-Asians make it in K-pop?
BEAST's 'racist' New York casting call?
Cultural insensitivity plagues K-pop
▪ English in K-pop songs [1] [2]
How 'Asian' are the MAMAs?
Thoughts on fan service
Plastic surgery: achieving 'natural' via unnatural means?
"National prestige" and the Hallyu Wave
Government takes action for sexual exploitation in K-pop?
Cracking down hagwons & education reform
The irony of the 'ethnic diversity' gimmick
BEAST & 4-Minute tells us not to watch porn?
The "Paradox of Korean Globalization" and K-pop
Japanese actor Sousuke Takaoka's "xenophobia" towards Hallyu?
Songs by BEAST, Jay Park, etc. banned
The "plight" of KoreAm idols?
Dalmatian's Daniel imitating accents: funny or "racist"?
What exactly makes K-pop "K-pop"?
Why "K-pop Secrets" sorta piss me off

SEE MORE POSTS →

CONTACT
▪ angrykpopfan@gmail.com
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DISCLAIMER
The name and the concept was inspired by Angry Asian Man and The Angry Black Woman. In my posts, I cite my sources accordingly. All images I include are not mine. None of the gifs are mine. Nope, not even that green fan. Credits go to their original owners. Someone please make me a less artistically-deficient banner.

Creative Commons License
Angry K-pop Fan's literary work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.

(Venting since March 2011)
Recent Tweets @angrykpopfan
Asker Anonymous Asks:
I am a huge fan of JYJ and it's tough being their fan when all their activities are being blocked. It's frustrating and it kind of makes me angry at SM. We all know they are blocking them and they lie to the courts they are not. What do you think about SM using their resources to block JYJ? I personally think JYJ did nothing wrong with their break up - I mean why else would you go to court during the height of popularity if something wasn't severely wrong.
angrykpopfan angrykpopfan Said:

djbullock:

suuzaaa:

angrykpopfan:

suuzaaa:

angrykpopfan:

Hi there, thanks for stopping by!

You should be angry - SM is a bully. There is nothing fair nor moral about them using their overbearing influence and resources in the industry to block JYJ and their continued pursuits. It’s also cowardly, as they are well-aware of JYJ’s popularity and are basically perceiving it as a threat to their own standing. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again - what SM is seeking is a monopoly, to essentially be the sole K-pop industry by buying (or ‘weeding out’, in JYJ’s case) competition. As a fan, I want to know exactly where my energy and my money goes when I ‘fangirl’; and furthermore, it’s all about having the power to choose, having room to maneuver between practices and values I agree or don’t agree with and investing support exactly where I want to. It is disempowering when all the music I listen to and all the idols I follow are from the same company; and from a company who likes to play it dirty, apparently. Screw that :( 

It’s surprising to see the usually level-headed angrykpopfan so willingly accept and promote the ‘truth’ that it’s all SM’s doing blocking JYJ from doing activities, effectively claiming all those others industry professionals are just pawns in SM’s hands (but only when it comes to stop other artists, not for promoting their own?).

It’s also surprising to see angrykpopfan advocate the idea of SM wanting to create a K-pop monopoly (!), when there is little to no evidence supporting it. If SM had the resources to single-handedly block a big group as JYJ from all music activities in order to create a monopoly, why wouldn’t they block other popular groups as well?

There are more - and bigger - bullies in the Korean entertainment industry, which opens up for the possibility of SM not being the one and only source of grief for JYJ fans. Maybe that doesn’t matter to some people, but it should matter to those who want to try looking at the bigger picture.

Hi suuzaaa,

I appreciate this critique a lot and the legitimate questions you ask. I will do my best to address them and elaborate on my opinion; and I do admit that I have a bias against SM Entertainment that is based on the accounts I have read and heard over the years.

With that said, from what I am aware, SM was indeed the common denominator in the blocking of JYJ’s activities. I refuse to invest too much trust into the KFPCAI’s claim (and that of many other bodies) that they didn’t side with SM when they too issued all those blockage requests to numerous broadcasters and album distributors. And AVEX is an SM affiliate. It’s undeniable how huge SM is in the K-pop industry, and when odds happen to be in their favor, in my eyes that is enough to assume strings are being pulled somewhere, whether directly or indirectly.

As for SM not playing their influence to promote their other artists, the sole fact that SM artists are among the biggest and most internationally promoted in the industry is evidence of their influence and star power, both passive and actively played. BoA in Japan was not just a happy accident, EXO has an enormous fanbase for a reason (even before they debuted), and SNSD would not have appeared on American television if SM didn’t know a few somebodies. 

SM wanting to create a K-pop monopoly is my own little conspiracy theory, because if we zero in on the nuances, of course K-pop is not a monopoly per se as you still have the other “big two” (or “big three”, if you count Cube Entertainment), as well as the other labels. But I have a bone to pick with SM for ‘merging’ with Woollim Entertainment, a label I believe had potential to join the higher ranks if it remained on its own feet; as well as partnering with Samsung to create another sub-label. At the very least, SM is seeking to be a major music company with all these ‘merges’ and partnerships; and that’s a smart and tactful strategy from a business perspective, for sure. As a consumer, however, I don’t like how this label is becoming all the more widespread in the Korean cultural industry, not just in K-pop (they have subsidiaries in the travel, technology, and drama industries; and the one out of the “big three” with the most subsidiaries); and apparently, in many other music industries in Southeast Asia. Again, it’s great for them and for SM artists, having access to ventures and opportunities beyond the music world. But as I wish to be in control of my consumer choices, I find it unnerving, unnerving enough to call it a pursuit towards an industrial monopoly. 

For SM to attempt blocking other popular groups the way they blacklist JYJ would not be a smart move, from where I see it. It is too risky as they place themselves head-to-head with labels and star power with the brawn to match theirs. Blacklisting and blockage involves measuring power differentials and taking advantage, which was the case with JYJ (and even the SNSD brand controversy from 2011, when the company tried to sue some person who had shares in the group’s trademark. In my opinion, they could have just offered compensation). It does not mean that SM will not challenge other labels and groups, as they’ve arguably done recently with YG (as YG with SM), when 2NE1 and SNSD returned to the scene in the same cycle. That is a fair way to play, not blockage nor blacklisting; and I call SM a bully because of what they did to JYJ, in believing they did have enough of an advantage to successfully pluck JYJ right out of the industry. Maybe they are not the sole players - and you are right, there are other (and bigger) bullies in the industry, but that does not diminish the unfairness of SM’s actions.

I understand there exists loopholes and unconfirmed speculations in the JYJ case (and perhaps in many others involving SM), but it is my conscious choosing to establish a solid opinion and express it when asked. Besides, isn’t almost everything clouded with a bit of uncertainty? With this issue, I essentially decided to navigate through the uncertainty with my own reasoning, which again, is my own. Everyone has the right to disagree, as we all have our own perspective of the issue; and it doesn’t mean I will not be flexible when presented with contrary views. It may just be so that I did not happen to come across those views. As always, I invite you and anyone to drop by and continue the discussion wherever you see fit. 

I guess we differ in that I see no rational reason to believe KFPCAI and others inside the Korean entertainment industry can’t have opinions of their own, regardless of what SM thinks and wants. Just as there are fans who don’t think JYJ handled things in an elegant way, I’m willing to believe there are people in the industry who share that same opinion. I actually suspect industry insiders are more likely to shun individuals who publicly criticize what’s going on in the entire idol industry - ‘the unique and succesful Korean way to do things’. The KFPCAI banned Jay Park from appearing on music shows for saying Korea was gay. In all honesty, it seems you don’t need to rock the boat very much to become a persona non grata in the Korean entertainment business. The public broadcasting companies ban celebrities who are deemed too vocal about social issues. It’s not right, but it happens. And as far as I know, it can happen even without some power player pulling strings in a personal vendetta.

With that said, I don’t mean to say SM are innocent, but I do think they have only done what is common praxis in their environment. Could SM have been more graceful about it and sent off JYJ with a smile, a wave, and a tear twinkling in the corner of their collective eye? Yes, of course. But that’s just not what you do in the corporate world.

As for your conspiracy theory, I too think Woollim were doing great with Infinite, and could have continued to do even better. However. If Woollim was in a financially vulnerable position (and ‘lack of money’ sure has been a theme throughout the years) there would have been a risk of losing everything. You can’t buy something that’s not for sale, and you can definitely not merge with someone who isn’t willing. Regardless of the reason, Woollim’s boss decided a merger with SM would be in his and his company’s best interest. Maybe he did it for completely selfish reasons, but at the end of the day, he did it. I don’t see why the ‘blame’ should fall only on SM in this case.

I’d like to thank you for taking the time to further explain your standpoint, and as always, I appreciate and applaud your contributions to the international K-pop community in encouraging healthy discussion around various topics.

I’m inclined to side with AKPF’s opinion… SM’s hand, whether direct or indirectly is still all over this JYJ block. IMO there have been enough commenters within the SK entertainment industry (albeit anonymous for understandable reasons) who have validated SM is the source behind the issue. And let’s be honest… SM does have a tendency to act like a butt-hurt teenager when something upsets them. (Past: Mnet/MAMA; More Recently: Music Bank B1A4 Suspected Sajaegi Controversy.)

For me, suuzaaa’s argument that broadcasting companies ban celebrities all the time is weak in that news of JYJ activities and/or their individual pursuits in other areas of the industry (i.e., dramas, music videos) have not been banned from being shown on these same broadcasting channels. When a celebrity is put on a broadcast industry blacklist, it’s global… not selective.

Thank you both suuzaaa and djbullock for your responses! Both reasonable arguments and offer a healthy range of insight into the same issue.

I think I continue to side-eye SM in the JYJ case, based on the same reasoning as djbullock’s, but I can agree with the motivations suuzaaa see of other players involved, in that they have similar interests (despite the potential for those like SM to pull strings) to keep the status quo because it benefits all of them. It is fair to consider that other industrial players retain some agency to decide their plan of actions for themselves (as they themselves are power-holders as well) and a possibility to consider when similar situations arise in the future. As for Woollim, I also agree it was a business strategy more than anything to shake hands on a merge. It just rattles me that it had to be SM…… anyways.

With only press releases and the media to depend on (as well as those anonymous commentators djbullock mentioned), we can only continue to guesstimate what really went on (and is going on) behind the scenes; and we should allow ourselves to depend on our own compasses (whatever they may consist of) and share our views with one another because that’s pretty much all we have.

With that said, many thanks once again for an enlightening debate thus far (and thank you suuzaaa, for the kind words towards the end of your response - it’s definitely not without fellow fans like you who are willing to add to the discussion!) Feel free to continue; and of course, anyone and everyone is welcome to hop on. 

AKF is humbled to announce that she now works for Canada’s Toronto Korean Film Festival, set to have their third annual event from May 27 to the 31st!

In the meanwhile, we are on the lookout for any local Canadian, Korean, or Canadian-Korean filmmakers to showcase for this year’s event, themed “On the Fringe: From Bounds to Bonds (경계의 사람들: 경계로부터 이어짐으로)” (more details on this seemingly mysterious concept in the near future), who meet one or more of the following criteria:

  1. Made by a Korean or shot in Korea
  2. Made by a Korean living in Canada
  3. On Korean culture/themed culturally Korean (e.g. Actors speaking Korean language throughout the film)

If you are interested, or know of someone who may be, please spread the word and check out this Facebook post for further details.

As for the rest of us, please check out the event and what we’re all about by visiting our website, our Facebook pageTwitter and YouTube channel. Moreover, you’re in the Toronto/Greater Toronto Area, or plan to be in May, please do make the time to attend the event; and finally, of course, feel free to contact yours truly for any inquiries or comments!

STAZ OF MAN, the Korean hiphop crew I got to meet up with two years ago for this exclusive interview, is back with their latest release “NEO SEOUL CYPHER”! Unlike previously, you get to see the entire crew in person in this music video, directed by ASH CRIMSON of GUEREALLAZ. An awesome rookie collaboration for all you hiphop heads to check out!

Asker sunling Asks:
Hello! I just wanted to write to you and say that this blog is all of my dreams re: k-pop come true and I'm glad I found it. Keep up the good work!
angrykpopfan angrykpopfan Said:

Thank you, again and again! I’m glad you found AKF as well! Please feel free to jump on board any discussion you see here; your thoughts and ideas are most welcome! Take care! 

Asker laylatb Asks:
Hello there. I always enjoy your articles on MVs. So I thought, what do you say about Cha Cha from Rainbow Blaxx and other similar MVs? Surely you have spoken about this issue, but I feel that there is never enough spoken on this topic. Plus these concepts are getting really irritating. Let's say a group that has sexy concept from the beginning, but those ones that were all "qwyomi"?! Saying that they want to mature is not an excuse and gives a wrong idea about what maturing is. What do you say?
angrykpopfan angrykpopfan Said:

Hi there, thanks for this question and sorry it took a while to answer it! 

The issue you bring up here, interestingly enough, partially characterizes the blow-up around Miley Cyrus and her ‘twerking’ during last year’s VMAs. Besides the discussions on cultural appropriation, one of the many brought up was the fact that we have this former child-star, having matured into a grown woman, engaging in a very “sexualized” performance. As you have pointed out, what makes this problematic are the distorted ideas it sends about what maturing is all about, particularly to consumers who have grown up with her from her Hannah Montana days (and those younger). 

In a more familiar context, I understand that Girl’s Day has also been receiving the same flak for their “highly sexualized” image and performances, particularly after having mentioned just before their latest comeback that they intend to return with a “mature” image as well.

All these examples, including yours, play to our concerns of how consumers of the media internalize what makes “the ideal woman”, or more specifically, how to, as a female in today’s society, grow up “the right way”, much of which perhaps encompasses subjugating oneself to an external ‘gaze’; or in other words, priming yourself to be looked at, or to be attracted to, very much like an object. However, the objectification argument can get a bit muddled when the question of whether the object is actually the subject, expressing her sexuality, or ‘being sexy’ at her own free will as opposed to the former. It is difficult to tell in the realm of media, however; and more often than not, when it comes to visuals and images being circulated among mass audience, the purpose of which is mass consumption, it is hard to remain purely as ‘the subject’ (with exceptions, those of which include actual campaigns). There’s a reason for the saying “sex sells”, because as far as mass media is concerned, it really does. 

Relatedly, we all have been instilled with ideas of what ‘maturation’ entails, many of which actually involve sex and relationships. The pressure of being among the last of your bunch to experience the ‘first kiss’, the ‘first girlfriend/boyfriend’, or the ‘first ‘time” has probably led us to think we were not ‘adults’ yet, or along similar lines, like there was something still ‘childish’, ‘immature’ about us (I know I have, at least!) That pressure is horrible, and if not handled well can lead us into making rash decisions and long-term regrets. ‘Standardized’ sexiness and adult relationships, ideally, have nothing in common, but media likes to convince us otherwise, as we see with the way K-pop likes to frame what “maturing” is all about: being sexy and attractive to those around you by rendering yourself the object of the ‘gaze’.

(However, there is a fine line between pinpointing the wrongs between how ‘sexiness’ is portrayed in media and slut-shaming: to subjectify an object is the former; to further objectify the object is the latter.)

It’s not easy to instigate changes in the way mass media works, which is why audiences are usually targeted. If many of us can watch these music videos and performances while retaining a critical eye, so can many others. 

I hope this addresses your question well - I know I may have left a few unanswered thoughts but do drop by again if you want to continue the conversation! 

EDIT: Any thoughts on the guys’ side of things? I feel it’s similar, the constructed junction between “mature” and “sexy”…

radio-palava:

Two exciting announcements!

1) You can now catch me both here on RP and over at Beyond Hallyu!

2) This is the first official collaboration between me and MJ! MJ crunched numbers, dug up stats, and brought much-needed business sense to this article. She was also a fabulous thought partner and talked me through the details with patience and fastidiousness. Many thanks and props to her!

Oh man, this is finally done. As promised, I updated my About page and opened up the submissions box; and fixed up all minor details I told myself I’d do like last year. Anyways, whether you’re new to this blog (hi and welcome and thank you for following!) or not, hopefully you’ll find this helpful!

Everything you need to know is on the sidebar, where you can find:

  • My awesome logo
  • Description (currently one sentence)
  • Special announcements (currently a campaign to raise awareness around Infinite and Woollim’s “Inconvenient Truth”)
  • The ask box and submissions box
  • Selected posts, series/features, exclusive interviews, AKF in the media, and ‘roundtable’ discussions (the rest of which you’ll be able to find in my archive)
  • My contact information (email, Facebook, Twitter, askbox)
  • Disclaimer (always important!)
  • Links to the other stuff ⬇

About AKF: A bit on the background of this blog as well as its intentions and where I’m coming from

AKF FAQ: Just some off-the-record info, most of which were personal questions asked by readers

Recommended blogs: a list of websites and blogs I personally recommend for awesome insight and discussion!

Communicate: Your options if you want to comment, ask/request something, submit something, etc.

I hope I covered everything. If there is any confusion, that’s what my ask is for!  

akiryu26 reblogged this from angrykpopfan and added:

Aww man I didn’t know guest posts are welcome. Wouldn’t know what to post about, though ;-;

Oh no, my bad! I opened up my submissions to encourage them (or a form of them - makes for a better alternative than the ask box and its stupid word limit) but I guess I didn’t advertise it as much as I should have :( Well, either way, when you find something you want to write on, it’s more than welcome! 

EDIT: My submission box isn’t even open at the moment. I am SO SORRY I WILL CHANGE THIS RIGHT NOW

Asker Anonymous Asks:
Hi, I've noticed you guys tend to talk alot about racism and also more korea centric/specific social issues here. What I wanted to know was, when you guys talk about poc and how we feel, are you saying this from a poc pov(like ok most korea related poc probs are about black people and the n word)? and if so, when you are talking about korea's political and societal issues are they from a more-so outsider/non korean pov? ok basically what are your racial backgrounds?? sorry this is so wordy.
angrykpopfan angrykpopfan Said:

Hey there! Thanks for sharing your thoughts; and no worries, I get what you’re saying.

I am myself a “POC” (Filipino), thus I’m not Korean, making my perspective on political and societal issues in Korea that of an outsider. Because of that very reason (just to be extremely clear), I do my best (sometimes with fail, but that’s all right - I want to be called out sometimes) to not assume expertise or in-depth knowledge about any issue I discuss - I’ve gotten my education on Korean culture and society from research, studies, as well as from Korean peers, but I will never be an “insider” to any issue pertaining Korean identity and nationality. (I seriously need to update my “About” section since I discuss this more articulately there aaahhhhrgu.)

Also, if it is relevant, though I was born in the Philippines I grew up in Cambodia and received American primary education there. I now live in Canada; received my secondary education here. In terms of “racial” background, I am indeed a “POC”, especially as I am here in North America; but when it comes to cultural background, I feel I’m sort of navigating through different realms - I don’t consider myself having been acculturated in one, single “culture”. 

All of this plays into the way I view things when it comes to K-pop, Korean society and anything else I bring up on this blog. My views are definitely biased, which is why I always try to encourage dialogue from others because I know there are always more than one side to any story. 

I hope that clarifies things! Also, I am the sole runner of this blog……… it gets lonely sometimes. (PS. Guest posts are welcome!!!!!!!!)

Asker Anonymous Asks:
Hey, what you think about non asians in kpop?
angrykpopfan angrykpopfan Said:

image

Hi, thanks for coming by!

Wrote on this a bit in the past: http://angrykpopfan.tumblr.com/post/28918510244/i-know-this-question-may-come-across-as-stupid-and-as 

Also, interesting articles from Ask A Korean!; and Seoulbeats on a new girl group The Gloss, with Olivia from France and the paradoxical implications of her being the first non-Asian (white) idol. 

To sum up, it would be awesome if K-pop embraced ethnic and cultural diversity as much as it markets it, but we’re definitely not there yet, unfortunately. And even if we’re inching close, it will not come without conflict and a clash of opinions. 

Asker Anonymous Asks:
ok i just wanted to make a little clarification for some people out there... bands like 10cm and standing egg are NOT indie. they are pop groups. so are snsd and all the other more manufactured-esque groups. however, the difference is when you search them up one is referred to as "indie and or pop" while the other gets an "idol" label. yea indie exists but the word is supposed to mean the group isn't signed to a label, which alot are!! a good comparison would be sara bareilles. she WAS indie.
angrykpopfan angrykpopfan Said:

That’s fair - “indie” is supposed to mean that a group or an artist does not belong to a label, but it often gets thrown around quite broadly to the point it sometimes signifies a stylistic genre of music rather than a descriptor of how a band or an artist operates or produces. Something interesting as well are those “indie labels”, which I see sort of as start-ups by an artist or a group of artists. 

Perhaps the better means of comparison between acts like SNSD and 10cm is indeed the “idol” label. None the less, I trip over myself when pondering what it means to be an “idol” (more thoughts spilled in this old post), and even whether in the context of K-pop, the labels “pop act” and “idol” are interchangeable. Quite a technical discussion, but with implications on the way we as consumers perceive K-pop. 

Thanks for stopping by! 

letterstooppar:

This is a ways back but I’ve been backreading your posts and I came across this -http://angrykpopfan.tumblr.com/post/4505525488/im-back-xd-sorry-if-it-feels-like-im-bothering-you

I just wanted to say that re: the Seungho/Mir thing, it was probably in jest. I remember an interview that they did when they were asked if they had plastic surgery (or something like that) and they started joking around about it - G.O got facial hair, Seungho dark eyebags, Mir a personality transplant, etc, you get the idea. I just cannot see any of them seriously saying that, lol. Not that there’s anything wrong with plastic surgery. 

Kudos on the great blog btw! It’s the only k-pop related blog I can bring myself to read. (and I love that you love Block B :D)

Fair enough, thanks for letting me know! :) Good to know that was most likely just a joke, though the plastic surgery phenomenon in Korea is often a topic of huge discussion for a reason. Yes, there’s nothing wrong with plastic surgery if it’s a choice, but the problem lies in the pressures imposed by societal standards of beauty that push many to go under the knife, which more often than not is the reason behind such ‘choice’. The discourse on plastic surgery specifically in K-pop is contradictory - idols who have gotten fixes are bashed for being “fake” or are defended on the reasoning that looks does not change nor influence one’s personality, which is more important. The paradox here is that if personality triumphs looks, why the plastic surgery in the first place? (And vice versa right - who cares is one got plastic surgery? Both sides still hold the value of looks to a degree greater than we would like.) This is all the more prominent in the context of the K-pop industry, where looks as well as personality are highly important to the point they often are manufactured. Individual cases vary (an idol may have gotten surgery because it was a ‘personal choice’ or it was demanded by the label); and as much as I myself have a number of reservations when it comes to plastic surgery, it is hard to be completely against it when outcomes translate to personal improvements such as greater self-confidence, greater satisfaction with one’s social life, even a better chance in the job market (many companies in Korea as well as Japan require job applicants to submit a photo of themselves). Those are not bad things in itself because what the individual is simply doing is making a choice most rational in the context of one’s environment - what is problematic is the environment itself. Plastic surgery is an issue of concern in a place like Korea, where physical looks are so important it affects one’s perceptions (and even chances) of success and happiness. 

I hope that makes sense; and as you’ve stated you see nothing wrong with plastic surgery, I hope you don’t take my criticism personally. I was just bringing up the other side of the dime that I feel also deserves to be considered.

Do come by again with your comments, and thanks for your supportive words and for reading!

And I love that you love that I love Block B ;)

I failed to drop by in time to wish you all a great start to the new year!! 2013 would have not been another purposeful year for AKF if it wasn’t for you readers and thinkers - thank you for sticking with this blog, keeping alive and motivated through its ups and downs :) May 2014 bring more resourceful dialogue and discussion from this blog to you; and all the happiness and enlightenment in your journeys ahead!

Asker Anonymous Asks:
Okay so I really love watching Running Man but they had an avengers themed episode where on of the staff they use to fill in roles for the plot and what not, black faced as Nick Fury. The whole episode I felt really uncomfortable as a poc. And I was really confused on why they did that and how they got away with it. Running Man, from what I've looked up is pretty popular in parts of Asia and here in the states. I understood they weren't intending to be racist but it was still offensive
angrykpopfan angrykpopfan Said:

You undoubtedly have every right in the world to feel offensive, and it is just an outright shame that K-pop continues to don the blackface, and with zero knowledge of its derogation towards many parts of the world (those that make up the global audience of shows such as “Running Man). But that exactly is the reality of the Korean entertainment industry, as well as the society as a whole - blackface and its history is not part of the common consciousness in Korea as it is with many of us and the societies we live in. We have to remember that many of us live in a very different bubble than those in the industry; and again, as I have stated many times whenever I address this issue, this is not a justification of it, but rather a way of trying to see where this is rooted. 

This may be a weak comparison, but off the top of my head, we can somewhat parallel this to the image of the rising sun in popular American culture, whether it be in fashion, music, TV, etc. To consumers of products that don this visual, it may just be some harmless stylistic and aesthetic appeal with connotation to Japan or “Japanese”; but to many Koreans, this comes off as offensive as it was a symbol of Japanese imperialism, particularly their occupation in Korea. Only small parts of the popular consciousness know this, and everyone else continue a neutral, if not positive, reception towards that image. Of course, I am sure there are efforts to complete obliterate its usage in frivolous ways, as there are in the Korean entertainment industry (or outside of it) to spread awareness about the wrongs of blackface… the only problem is industry powerholders themselves are not listening. 

But again, I doubt it’s all relatively “innocent” or “mindless” (if that is the impression some may have gotten from my spiel). You have a bunch of ridiculous assumptions still be broadcasted in either verbal or visual form. The infamous comment by SNSD’s Taeyeon on a radio show about Alicia Keys, or that from BIGBANG’s Seungri on his fear of being “attacked” by the black man whose van he accidentally entered in America, and many similar all show the gravity of the lack of intercultural education and sensitivity in Korean society, as well as many societies all over the world whose histories have been just as internal-looking and closed as Korea’s. How they have developed over the centuries may have been out of the hands of those in the present, but the present is in the driver’s seat for what’s to come. 

What I personally sense from the industry of K-pop is how as much as it is being received from many parts of the world, it still fails at being receptive towards those parts of the world. What I mean by this is that though you have international fans and consumers, what the industry continues to spew back to us is not reflective at all of its diverse audiences, both within Korea and outside. You still have these instances of blackface, as well as many others such as cultural stereotyping (either “positive” or “negative” ones… all of which are ultimately negative), phenotypical glorification (such as light skin over dark skin, skinny over big), etc. It’s about time that the industry start facing these issues publicly, constructively and seriously, and I think our frustration is also rooted in the fact that this still has yet to take place. It will take a bunch of time though, as well as a bunch of mentality changes; but the advantage is that K-pop has a global audience who continue to be adamant about these things. And K-pop and Korean society is a tough cookie - multiculturalism and ethnic diversity and respect towards it are still incredibly young in the country (remember, it is not like the US or Canada where much of their histories are stories of immigrants and “race”…. but even if that is the case, these things still happen. I think the difference is the way the localized public reacts to it - there is a greater sense of alert and readiness on a bigger scale to confront the issue than there is in Korea), as social benefits and rights for foreign settlers today are still very much lacking. It’s aggravating that it comes up again and again, but we definitely just have to keep talking about it and incrementally taking it to the next level, from discussions among ourselves to hopefully, opportunities of discussion and policy changing with industry insiders themselves.

I hope I addressed your concerns clearly and to your benefit! Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts (and sorry this is late ialjdfajkgf)