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

ASK BOX →
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
Facebook
Twitter

visitors by country counter



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
Posts tagged "korea"

image

Some of the many street entertainers you may stumble across when in Hongdae. More about this particular group later!

Though I shouldn’t even be online right now, my brain is literally about to melt and bleed out of the holes in my face thanks to this essay that just never seems to end. Figured it won’t hurt to procrastinate for a few hours. (It will.) Anyways, I’m in Hongdae right now; and given that I can’t even allow myself to think what I’m none the less thinking, I should just settle for the next best option and write. I’ll be window shopping and vicariously living the Friday Hongdae nightlife through this edition of AKF in Korea. Sad. So sad. 

When I first visited the area the day I got off the plane, it was like love at first sight. Since then I’ve been going out of my way to make regular visits, whether it be on my own or with friends. But before I start raving, I should probably start with a brief introduction.

Read More

Usually low levels of education, with an unstable job. Lives by herself or in a boarding house, has open and impulsive sexual values. A person whose socioeconomic situation is low, and who lives apart from her parents,” is how a website health guide operated by the past Ministry of Health and Welfare defined unwed mothers.

…according to the survey “Koreans’ attitudes toward and perception of unwed mothers and fathers,” carried out in 2009 by the Korean Unwed Mothers Support Network and the Korean Women’s Development Institute, unwed mothers were found to be the group that experienced the most prejudice, after homosexuals.

Also, of the 2,000 people who participated in the survey, over 60% answered that unwed mothers “are people who lack judgment and a

sense of responsibility.”

Things are changing (ie. organizations are starting to mobilize against this derogatory perception of the “미혼모” (mi-hon-mon/”unwed mother”)), but to think that as recent as 2009 there were pre-1900s attitudes floating about… 

This was so heartbreaking to read. Regrettably, like in many other places around the world, South Korea still has a long way to go in terms of women’s rights. 

The following week I re-visited the clinic but this time a different doctor checked the fetus. And what she said made me upset. Basically, she told me that I shouldn’t have such a loose lifestyle, that I should care more about contraception, why I had waited so long before coming to visit, and so on and so forth. But I had no choice, since if I go to a different clinic I have to pay for the ultrasound again.

This part was especially disturbing. I perceived it as a micro-example of ‘shaming the woman’: it’s her own fault she got pregnant, her sexually active lifestyle is an irresponsible one, and just a bunch of other bs ‘moral’-injections this young university student doesn’t deserve to hear.

I remember watching an episode of MiSuDa a while back in which there was a discussion about female reproductive health in South Korea. (I couldn’t find the video online, unfortunately.) While the foreigners were saying how regular visits to the gynecologist was not only normal but also important, the Korean female celebrities on the show confessed that they are incredibly intimidated from seeing the doctor even for a routine checkup because in many people’s  eyes, it suggests possible pregnancy (and the gossip gets especially ‘scandalous’ when it is known that the celebrity is not married). If this is the case for the nation’s biggest stars when it comes to something like pregnancy, I can only imagine what regular girls and women must endure when the issue at hand is abortion. According to Roboseyo, women get reprimanded by their local pharmacists even if they’re only buying birth control pills! (By the way, check out the rest of his post for a good overview of his thoughts of what should be done in terms of making reproductive health services more available to women in South Korea.)

Also, I’m not so sure about the availability of family-planning services in South Korea, but based on the following stats, it seems that the lack or inefficiency of such services is having quite a detrimental effect:

… the reasons why married women, who make up 58 percent of the women who have undergone abortion procedures, chose to have abortions are because they do not want children (70 percent) and financial difficulties (17.5 percent). In the case of unmarried women, 93.7 percent said they underwent an abortion procedure because they were not married. They are saying that having children is difficult because of child-rearing and economic burdens in the case of married women, and because of social prejudice and financial difficulties in the case of unmarried women.

(source: originally The Hankyoreh, via The Grand Narrative)

I say “detrimental” because why is it that more than half of the married women who chose to go through abortions have it because they didn’t want kids? Though abortion is a choice to rid yourself of an unwanted pregnancy, this huge percentage suggests that the forms of birth control available are shitty because they don’t seem to be working, or women are not even aware of its availability; therefore making abortion the only choice, and that in itself is wrong.  

And as for that whopping 93.7% of unmarried women who got abortions, holy shit! Who says it’s absolutely necessary for you to be married in order to rear a child? (A society that stigmatizes unmarried women (and pregnant women in the workplace)  does!) Regardless, again, what happened to birth control? (Oh wait, nevermind.)

You know what else sucks? Apparently South Korea has one of the lowest birth rate in the world, and the Lee Myung-Bak administration actually believes one of the causes of this are abortions, which is why it decided to reinforce its anti-abortion laws in 2009. A closer analysis of the problem will reveal deeper and more fruitful reasons than this (then again, we’re talking about the same guy who condemns homosexuality as abnormal, so yeah): 

But first and foremost, what is needed is a change of mindset. People need to be educated and enlightened about reproductive health and the importance of its awareness. The stigma surrounding gynecology and birth control methods need to be removed, and people need to understand that part of the core of female empowerment is the right of a woman to have full control over her own body. To quote Change.org (via The Grand Narrative, thank you very much ^^), 

Abortion shouldn’t be the only, desperate choice of women whose voices are silenced by their society, and it shouldn’t be used as a form of population control by the government. It should be one option for women who have the power, education, and awareness to make informed decisions. Unfortunately, it seems South Korea still sees abortion as one more issue for men to deal with, one more choice they make when and how they feel like it.

Only a woman can make decisions about what to do with her own body, not society. 

[Edit: Read Depressing Facts’ reblog of this post, who elaborated with insightful reasons behind Korea’s strict regulations]

(Sorry I’ve been posting nothing but links to articles these days. I’m currently working on a new post, but it may still be a while. I’m really preoccupied with packing and goodbyes as I’m about to fly back to Canadaland for school T_T)

A quick rundown of the banning spree the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family seems to be having fun with nowadays (extracted from the article):

  • More than 2,600 songs have been banned in the past two years after being flagged for ‘hazardous media content’…
  • This month, 24 songs have been banned as a result of their references to alcohol - 160 for this year alone…
  • The Korean public have also blamed the Ministry’s unclear standards and inconsistency in censoring music. While the aforementioned songs were categorized as “hazardous” due to references to drinking, Nam-jin’s “Empty Glass” and Lim Chang-jung’s “A Glass of Soju”, whose major themes are alcohol, escaped the regulation [ko]. 

Agencies have already taken matters into their own hands. In fact, SM Entertainment has already won their lawsuit against the Ministry for issuing a ban on “Another Day,” by SM The Ballad group, while Cube Entertainment plans to follow suit for the condemnation against BEAST’s newest album. 

And it’s about time, too. I understand the intent here, but banning songs and restricting creative rights and freedom of expression is honestly not the best way to battle society’s ills

(found via The Grand Narrative)

It may take you a while, but it’s soooooo interesting. I definitely learned a few new things today. 

A particular point of interest is in the final installment of the series, where The Korean argues that Confucianism is not "the only mode of thought that guides Korean society…”

In fact, the Korean would say Confucius is not even the philosopher whose ideas guide modern Korea the most. Any guesses about who that philosopher might be? Buddha and Dharma, based on Korea’s long Buddhist tradition? Lao Tzu and Zhang Tzu, the pillars of Taoism?
—————-
Would you have guessed… Thomas Hobbes? In his book Leviathan, the 17th century British philosopher described the state of nature: bellum omnium contra omnes, “the war of all against all.” In such state of nature, life of a person is “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.”

—————-

Hobbes might as well have been speaking of the way Korea found itself as it began its venture as a modern nation in the 1940s, devastated by Japanese imperialism, World War II and Korean War. Just how ugly Korea was post-World War II is described in harrowing detail by a recent book, “Birth of the Modern Man." The book, which chronicles the history of Korea’s public medicine, recounts the disastrous state of Korea’s public health. Within one year of the liberation, 2.3 million Koreans from overseas (mostly from Japan and China) returned to Korea. During Korean War, 500,000 people escaped North Korea to come to the South. Cholera epidemic covered the country. Seoul, in particular, was a crowded sea of bodies, alive and dead. In 1950, there were 800,000 refugees in South Korea without a home. Out of the 440,000 infants born in 1948, 180,000 died before their first birthday. During Korean War, American medics reported that a surgery for a Korean soldier shot in the stomach usually entailed catching hundreds of parasites that were crawling out of the dying host.

—————-

In the face of these Hobbesian conditions, Korea dragged itself to where it is now by, in significant parts, allowing the war of all against all to happen. The winners of that war — the Lee Byeong-Cheol (founder of Samsung) and Chung Joo-Young (founder of Hyundai) of the world — have built the empires that few in the world, and even fewer in the shithole that was Korea, could dare to envision in their wildest imagination. The losers barely carried on with their lives with no one else to alleviate their misery, or simply died off.

—————-

Understanding the mindset created in this process — of brutal competition and (literal) survival over the next person in every aspect of life — is the more important to understanding Korea than understanding any other Eastern philosophy, including Confucianism. This survivalist philosophy — crude and uncivilized, yet pragmatic and efficient — pervades Korean mindset more than any other philosophy. Like a black hole, this survivalist philosophy (or is it an anti-philosophy?) pulls in everything around it and twists its surroundings in accordance with its pull.

—————-

(source)

Please take the time to check out the rest of Ask A Korean! as well. Real interesting stuff. So adding him to the recommendations list

(Found via The Grand Narrative

Just read a Seoul Beats article covering this latest development, whose writer Patricia interestingly mentions that “whenever a K-pop idol leaves for the army, it’s a huge reality check”:

Because let’s face it: for the most part, K-pop is the stuff of fantasy, and K-pop culture monopolizes on that fact: idols are molded to be as superhumanly perfect as possible, themes deemed too heavy for popular consumption are censored out, and things like love, sadness, and tragedy are trivialized.There’s a reason why you’ve got so many fans flocking to K-pop as a means of escape from the real world.

—————

But the history and politics behind Korea’s mandatory military requirement is very, very real. Whenever another K-pop star heads to the army, it temporarily breaks the K-pop fantasy and serves as a reminder that beyond the wonderful, fanciful world of K-pop, these people whom we have deemed ‘idols’ live in a country with issues that transcend beyond the triviality of who-is-dating-who and who got cheated out of a music show award.

—————-

Korea is a lot bigger than just K-pop, and many fans who get caught up in K-pop idoldom (myself included) can sometimes forget that fact. In a way, Super Junior epitomizes all that is wonderful and fanciful about K-pop: the good-looking members, the infectiously catchy music, the shipping (the shipping!), and the legion of fans who have decidedly fallen in love with them. It’s really humbling to see this titan of K-pop fantasy begin to fall back to reality, one by one. We’ll miss them as they go, of course, but I think that seeing K-pop idols go off to the military is a good thing for both the idols and the fans. Like most Korean men who have served their time in the military, the idols return with new, matured perspectives on life and reality. Here’s hoping that the fans will do the same.

(Oh.. I just blockquoted like 75% of the article ^^)

When it comes to K-pop, for many it’s a hard fight against the inevitable descent towards the dark and lonely abyss of fandom. But you know you’ve crossed the line when you find yourself running away from home in hopes of meeting oppahr, blackmailing idols, or spamming them on Twitter. There’s no excuse to treat those we idolize like only non-reactive, non-human entities, nor as ‘entities’ we think we ‘unquestionably’ know inside-out and have complete control over… precisely the dangerous tendencies of those who’ve let themselves go a little too deep into the K-pop fantasy. And unfortunately, those tendencies don’t stop there. Take five minutes and browse through the posts of a site like Kpop Secrets and you’ll see what I mean. The world of fandom truly is an ugly one.

And it’s true what Patricia says: K-pop is NOT what Korea is all about. It never fails to leave me completely mindfacked whenever I hear fellow fans talk about the country as if the idols themselves were roaming the streets 24/7. Sure, K-pop can be seen as a force that serves a very important role for modern day Korea. But that doesn’t mean we should immediately associate aspects such as the Korean everyday life, Korean history, Korean food, Korean language — things that deserve to be appreciated on its own — to K-pop. True, understanding such aspects helps us foreign fans get a better grasp on the ongoings in the K-pop world, but to subject everything Korean to what you see in K-pop is not only ignorant, but disrespectful. 

Anyways. Heechul will be officially enlisted September 1st, and instead of active duty he’ll be instead involved in public service duties due to a past leg injury. All the best to him! 

Since my last post I’ve seen and heard excellent comments online and off on the topic of Sousuke Takaoka and his remarks about the Hallyu Wave in Japan. A notion that has come up more than once was that of K-pop’s “over-hype”, its ”aggressive marketing” and the potential “borderline nationalism” that underlies it; and the more people I talked to, the more mentally obsessed I became. In keeping up with my own thoughts I had to consume dozen amounts of sugar over the past few days (I’m looking forward to the imminent crash), but even as I write this post I’m on the fence with many issues (if not all); and I still have a lot of questions waiting to be answered.

Read More

(image source: kiseki.blog.onet.pl)

A few days ago, there was a very controversial matter reported by Allkpop that involved Japanese actor Sousuke Takaoka and his thoughts about the Hallyu Wave taking over Japan. On his Twitter he expressed the following (translated by Allkpop): 

"I used to be indebted to Fuji TV in the past, but now I’m suspicious that they may actually be a Korean network”

“I’m questioning about what country I’m in as well”.

“It offends me”

“If anything related to Korea is on broadcast, I just turn the TV off”.

“It troubles me because I feel like I am being brainwashed”

 “Since we’re in Japan, I would like to see Japanese programs. I get scared every time I hear the word, ‘Hallyu’”.

The article’s comment thread is completely saturated with enraged netizens, who accused Takaoka of being “xenophobic” against South Korea. Among them are individuals who on the other hand expressed their understanding of his thoughts and agreed with his points. In addition some insist that he isn’t being “xenophobic” and defend his ‘right to an opinion’.

I have to admit many commenters brought up very good points; however most of them failed to recognize the core issue here. Although freedom of speech; how, why, or whether it’s right that Hallyu is dominating Japan; and comparisons between K-dramas and J-dramas are somewhat related, such points are merely peripheral to the central question of whether or not Takaoka’s comments were bigoted against the Korean nationality and population. What we have to examine right now is the manner in which he expressed his thoughts, and that alone is what he needs to be called out for. It should not be mistaken as an attack to his right to speak his mind (because by all means, he can say whatever he wants. There are, however, the repercussions), nor is it a stance against (or for) the bigger-picture issue his words refer to. 

Read More

(Done as a request by taezon. Sorry for the delay — my internet’s signal wasn’t very nice to me over the past few days T_T)

(Image source: Google)

It was only until after I read an article given to me by taezon a few days ago did it truly, truly dawn on me the extreme lengths fans (“fans”) are willing to go to achieve… well, I don’t know what ends exactly. Granted, I’ve commented here and there about delusional k-pop/k-entertainment maniacs, but the story of Epik High’s Daniel Lee (or known to the masses as Tablo) is unlike anything we’ve seen before. “The Persecution of Daniel Lee" illustrates the chilling reality of the impact netizens have, and how something seemingly harmless like a small online community can garner enough power to dominate national headlines and eventually destroy not only the lives of a celebrity and his loved ones, but anyone who chooses to put forward their support.

Read More

Two international media bloggers recently published their views on the kpop phenomenon; but most importantly, on how and why they believe that the wave is, well, not up-to-par as a truly global force. 

Read this invalidation of Hallyu as a “global domination” force by CNN Go’s Esther Oh, and this post about its “soft power” by Neil Manticore-Griffin from the Chicago-based In These Times. 

Then read hellokpop blogger Ceefu criticize their critique of kpop (same link as post title). 

Ceefu refutes the legitimacy of the articles’ main points by bringing up how they failed to take into account “the heart of kpop”, which is its massive fanbases, both international and Korean. The two writers also get called out for illustrating a very narrow knowledge of kpop — Oh for not acknowledging other acts besides Se7en and BoA, and Manticore-Griffin for basically not backing up his claims with any sort of proof that he actually took the time to engage himself in the trend. Ceefu labels his “scathing indictment of Hallyu” as nothing but “opinions [based] on generalizations instead of first-hand knowledge.” 

In addition, Ceefu notes,

" […] my criticism is about the writing and not about the people who write. This is not personal. I’m sure Oh and Manticore-Griffin are perfectly lovely people, but they are people who have written about Kpop, of which they know little.  Okay, so a couple of articles contained some smack talk about Kpop. What’s the big deal? The big deal is that in introducing Kpop to broader readers, they both either leave out or dismiss fans, the heart of Kpop. I’m not talking about people on the fringe who are just one step away from a restraining order. I’m talking about regular people who like their Kpop.”

Millions of points go to Ceefu for speaking up on behalf of the rest of us international fans when it comes to defending against the dismissal of the kpop craze as something with a lot of international appeal. Because if it really was a global flop-and-drop, how else would you explain BIGBANG’s comeback album in the US top 10 iTunes albums chart (and just below Rihanna at that)? What about the massive sell-out of tickets for SM Town Paris? (A record of 15 minutes… holy heesus.) 

Ceefu has basically covered everything that came to mind while reading Oh’s and MG (Manticore-Griffin)’s posts, but there are some comments I’d like to add.

(click on the link to see more… I placed my review in a separate post to keep this post from hogging up space on your dash.)

I told myself I’d wait at least 24 hours before writing up a post about the issue, just so there would be time for the release of several ‘official statements’… which in fact, is what fans need to also consider doing — giving time for the ‘facts’ to be announced before forming a judgment. 

I know more statements are bound to be released over the next few days, but I figured there were enough sources right now to at least formulate the foundation for an opinion. 

Read More