IFANS PROJECT UPDATE: Online Interview with BigBang Fan

iFans: Mapping K-pop’s International Fandom is a digital project that examines the attitudes, practices and creative output of global K-pop fans. VIPs (as fans of BigBang are called) were given the opportunity to participate in an online interview with questions geared toward their experience as BigBang fans. Whale, a VIP, wrote about the criticisms about BigBang as…

Can’t Stop Loving You: Fans Find Happiness, Solace in K-pop

Whether it’s excited yelling by fans or crying by K-pop artists, emotions run deep in K-pop.  While some focus on obsessive emotional attachments and behaviors by fans, research shows that fans themselves describe a range of emotional responses to K-pop.  100 responses by 18- to 30-year-olds show that fans find K-pop to be a source…

Pure Love f(x): Feminisms and K-pop Girl Groups

K-pop girl groups tend to be described as sexy, fierce or cute.  Some suggest that images of fierceness encourage girls to be empowered, while images of cuteness take away their agency.  However, responses by fans of f(x), a K-pop female group, suggest that fans prefer unique and diverse images of women. Male groups outnumber female groups…

K-pop Fandom 101

Many know that K-pop fans play an active role in K-pop, but few may know just how complex K-pop fandoms are. What is a Fandom? The Oxford English Dictionary defines fandom as “the world of enthusiasts for some amusement or for some artist.”  Fandom refers to a collection of fans of the general pursuit or to a…

CONFERENCE ABSTRACT: Cross-cultural Visual Aesthetics in K-pop @ AAS 2015

Glamour Girls: Cross-cultural Visual Aesthetics in K-pop March 26-29, 2015 ♦ Association for Asian Studies ♦ Chicago, IL One of the reasons for the global resonance of K-pop comes from its visuality, which crosses language barriers to reach a diverse and global audience. While governments and corporate agencies use this visuality to promote soft power, the global audiences…

Hallyu Harmony Update: S.E.S – Original Queens of K-pop

S.E.S is an acronym for “Sea, Eugene, Shoo,” the names of the three members of the group. Formed in 1997 by SM Entertainment, this female group consisted of Sea (better known as Bada, born Choi Sung Hee), Eugene (Kim Yoo Jin) and Shoo (Yoo Soo Young) and became the first successful female group in the Hallyu K-pop era. . . . See the entire…

What is ‘Western’ Music?: Foreign Influences on K-pop

K-pop is well-known as a hybrid musical tradition, incorporating elements from musical traditions developed in locales outside of Korea, including Japan, Latin America and the United States. While some attribute some of the foreign elements to “Western” music, other scholars recognize the tremendous impact of distinct black American musical traditions. In “What Is the K…

Girl Culture, Individuals and Neoliberalism

As part of my research for my book project, Crazy/Sexy/Cool: Transnational Femininities in K-pop, I’ve been reading up on girl industries and girl cultures. Such scholarship invariably places these in a neoliberalist context, and this has a bearing on female K-pop groups.  On one hand, K-pop girl groups are created by Korean agencies to appeal…