I have been blissfully living in the
heavy-handed orderly conservative world of Johnny Kitagawa that there are things that confuse and shock me in my newly immersed world of the Korean side of pop culture. Well, not exactly the entire K-pop but supporting a Korean group gives an idea on the psyche, culture and business model that are so different from what I’ve been used to.
Fo sho, these things are not entirely alien concepts to me being a fangirl myself. But just the same, I am still trying to grasp them and some I have previously written about here.
We’re talking here of crude language that would even make Cruella de Vil quake in her Dalmatian fur. Washing filthy mouths (or in this instance, filthy fingers that typed such vitriol) with antiseptic is not even enough. The language and the ill will are both shocking.
Words are sometimes not enough to express one’s hatred. Some people actually take time and effort to put up sites aimed not only at discrediting but vilifying celebrities they don’t like. If they actually have time to do that, wouldn’t it be more productive to devote that time instead to supporting the stars they like?
It’s normal in any fandom but you haven’t seen fan wars until you witness them in the K-side. And we’re talking here of an intensity that’s even more severe than the animosity between North and South Korea or that between China and Japan. It’s like a matter of life and death, with some fans staking everything they have including their liver, limbs and entire lives.
These are actually entertaining to watch for an outsider but it’s no longer amusing when the stars you care about become the target. It’s tempting at times to join the fray but fans of Korean idols are scary, more scary than the invisible influence of Uncle Johnny.
It’s obvious that the top entertainment companies see comebacks as a proxy war. And in order to win that war, they need the fans’ zealousness to ensure that their idols win in whatever popularity instrument that networks, agencies and marketing teams could think of from YouTube views, Inkigayo votes to even retweets. It must be fun judging from the enthusiastic response they get. But I wonder how these clicks and views actually translate to revenues for the companies?
It has made me realize how Uncle Johnny has made life easy for me. The only click I need to do is that button that says “BUY”, a few taps on my keyboard and voila, let Oricon figures declare who topped the CD or DVD charts. No sweat, just a few scratches on my credit card.
Don’t get me wrong. The J-side of entertainment also has its dark and treacherous waters. But as a fangirl, all I ever want to do is just to support my idols through their work, spazz and flail over them, though I draw the line on stanning. Maybe it comes with age and years of being a fangirl. Or maybe I’m just a lazy fangirl.
After all that’s said, I still don’t understand what a comeback is. And just how many comebacks do Korean idols need to do in their entire career?
P.S. Quite coincidentally–while trying to finish this post that’s been weeks in the making–I came across this post comparing the major Korean entertainment agencies and for someone who is not really familiar with the K-side of entertainment, it’s been an interesting read. The comments, more so.
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