Last Fans Standing: A Multiple Case Study of Longtime and Adult K-pop Fans

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Crystal S. Anderson, PhD

Associate Professor of English, Longwood University

This survey has been revised! Click here for new survey!!!

Most people assume that the only audience for modern Korean popular music (K-pop) is teenagers. As a result, they also assume that K-pop music lacks longevity.  However, the presence of longtime fans suggests that K-pop remains appealing to some fans for years. The existence of adult fans challenges the notion that K-pop only appeals to teenagers.  This multiple case study seeks to understand why individuals remain K-pop fans for years and why adults find K-pop appealing. For three years, I will be asking questions about these atypical fans of K-pop. This survey contains several open-ended and multiple-choice questions that ask how fans see themselves and ask about their K-pop music preferences and fan activity. Please take the survey!

 

Not Just Pretty Faces: K-pop Idols and Quiet Storm Masculinity

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KPK Director Crystal S. Anderson writes about a different kind of masculinity in K-pop

“However, members of 2PM are more than pretty faces and fit bodies. Like many K-pop idol groups, 2PM is heavily influenced by R&B. While the group has its share of uptempo tracks, it is are also known for ballads informed by R&B vocals. Tracks like “Good Man” from the No. 5 (2015) album draws heavily from quiet storm”….Read the rest here!

CONFERENCE: Undergraduate Research and Digital Humanities @ CUR 2016 Biennial

Crystal S. Anderson, PhD

Associate Professor of English, Longwood University

Beyond the Classroom: Undergraduate Research and Digital Humanities

CUR 2016 Biennial Conference | Tampa, FL | June 23-28, 2016

Students may be “digital natives,” but how can we channel their informal interaction with digital environments into a rich research experience? This presentation shares digital tools that students can use for Internet research and explores the challenges of working on co-curricular collaborative digital humanities projects with undergraduates.

Undergraduate research is often constructed within a curricular context, focusing on the face-to-face experience between an instructor and student as crucial to mentoring and the transmission of inquiry and research skills. This presentation shares the experience of a collaborative digital humanities project conducted through the Internet. Because of its digital nature, the project invited students globally to participate as research assistants. Students were trained, received feedback on their work and participated in a research community almost entirely in a digital environment. As a result, new models of engaging students online emerged from the project. The project introduced students to an array of digital tools and trained them in skills that they could use in their curricular lives beyond the project. At the same time, the project encountered several challenges involved with motivating an undergraduate population outside of a course working on an unfunded project. The presentation will explore how the digital presents new opportunities for undergraduate research, especially in areas where faculty mentorship exists outside of the institution.

Presentation: Beyond the Classroom: Undergraduate Research and Digital Humanities

 

Fault Lines in Transcultural Fandom

Stock photo from Pixabay
                                                                           Stock photo from Pixabay

Crystal S. Anderson, PhD

Associate Professor of English, Longwood University

A recent clash of opinions over the status of Kangin, a member of the Korean pop group Super Junior, exposes fault lines that can occur with transcultural fandoms.

SM Entertainment issued a statement about Kangin’s recent DUI accident.  Not satisfied with the common period of self-reflection that typically follows a scandal,  a group of Korean fans created a petition to have Kangin leave the group entirely. Citing Kangin’s previous drunk driving incident and other controversies, the fans argue that Kangin’s continued presence will damage the group’s reputation:   “We see this series of acts not benefiting Super Junior’s image and career at all. Instead we view them as actions that only cause damage. From our position as fans who support Super Junior, we cannot help but discuss this issue that will influence their image greatly” (soompi).    However, comments on soompi’s Facebook post for the story reveals criticism of those who support Kangin’s departure. This is typical of several posts:  “Not true fans of Super Junior, if they want Kangin to leave the group.”

Such opinions reveal fault lines in the fandom that fall along lines of national identity. The original petition was brought by members of the Korean community site DC Inside, which cannot be accessed by those outside of Korea. While all who support Kangin’s departure are not Korean, the non-fan and anti-fan characterization of those who do certainly applies to the Korean fans who created the petition. Such statements overlook the contextualization of these fans. Operating within Korean culture, they reveal the danger they see to the reputation to the group, which plays differently inside of Korea than it does outside of Korea.  Subtly, fans who criticize the Korean petitioners ignore the Korean context and unwittingly impose their own cultural expectations.

Bertha Chin and Lori Hitchcock Morimoto argue that transcultural fandom offers “the possibility that a fannish orientation may (at times) supersede national, regional and/or geographical boundaries” (99). This certainly describes times when the transcultural fandom is in agreement. However, controversies often reveal how national perspectives inform how fans interact with one another over a controversy. Fandoms contend with notions of authenticity generally, creating hierarchies to determine who is a “real” fan. However, a scandal seems to make these existing fault lines even more pronounced.

With no in-depth knowledge of the petitioners, some fans question their identity as real fans. This is particularly odd given the history of the E.L.Fs, or Everlasting Friends, the Super Junior fandom. These fans reportedly have a history of taking action surrounding the membership of the group. Reportedly, they protested at SM Entertainment when it appeared the agency planned to add additional members to the group. Others have suggested that E.L.F’s pooled their money to buy SM Entertainment stock to become stockholders and have a say in such decisions. Documentation of such events are difficult to locate, but such stories point to the tendency for this particular fandom to be deeply concerned about the membership of the group. Moreover, given that this is a Korean pop group, it is intriguing that fans largely outside of Korea would question the fan identity of the petitioners.

Sources:

Adrian. “Some Fans ‘Abandon’ Kangin; Ask Him to Leave Super Junior.” hellokpop. 26 May 2016.

Chin, Bertha and Lori Hitchcock Morimoto. “Towards a Theory of Transcultural Fandom.” Participations: Journal of Audience & Reception Studies. 10.1 (2013): 92-108.

Soompi. “Do you think 슈퍼주니어(Super Junior)‘s Kangin should leave the group?” Facebook. 26 May 2016.

kokoberry. “SM Entertainment Releases Official Statement About Kangin’s DUI Accident.” soompi. 24 May 2016.

kokoberry. “Super Junior Fans Petition for Kangin to Leave Group.” soompi. 25 May 2016.

 

 

Fandom Case Study: Girls’ Generation (SNSD)

Fandom Case Study: Girls’ Generation (SNSD)

 

Girls' Generation
Girls’ Generation

Crystal S. Anderson, PhD

Associate Professor of English, Longwood University

Finally, the first fandom case study is complete on KPopCulture! Girls’ Generation (SNSD) Fandom Case Study contains an introduction to the discourse surrounding the group, which captures the difference between the way fans view the female group and the way commentators view the group:

Nevertheless, the group boasts one of the most active and well-organized global fandoms with fans who document the activities of the group as well as engage in philanthropic activities in the name of the group. This case study explores SNSD fans and their activities. SONES, or fans of SNSD, like the group for a variety of reasons, including the group’s music, appearance and individual members. Yet, there are some fans who are describe themselves as “not fans.” SONES well-organized websites provide fans with information about the group, images, video and forums for discussion. Site administrators also participate in philanthropic activities. SONEs also administer a variety of Twitter accounts, Facebook pages and Tumblrs, both in English and in other languages.  SONEs can be found in a variety of countries, including the United Kingdom, France, Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia, Peru, Spain, Colombia, Italy, Poland and Venezuela.  SONEs not only view videos and listen to the songs of SNSD, they perform the choreography and cover their favorite songs.

It also contains an analysis of survey data and a compilation of email interviews with fans. Read more and see downloadable and complete data sets at KPopCulture!

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Colors and Consequences: Branding and Fandom in K-pop

Colors and Consequences: Branding and Fandom in K-pop
Image: Pixabay
Image: Pixabay

Crystal S. Anderson, PhD

Associate Professor of English, Longwood University

While recent reports about arguments over K-pop fanclub colors may seem superficial, they reveal the value of branding for group promotion as well as the emotional relationship between K-pop groups and their fans.

The ire of fans of Shinhwa (one of the oldest K-pop groups and the longest-running K-pop group with original members) was raised when K-pop media outlets reported that iKON, a male K-pop group who just debuted in 2015, chose orange as its fanclub color. Shinhwa has been associated with orange since the group’s debut in 1998. K-pop idol groups frequently choose a color for the fanclub, which links the fans to the group and functions as part of the identity of the group. For example, during concerts, fans will fill stadiums in the fanclub color using lightsticks, creating “oceans” of color.

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Blue Ocean, Super Junior Concert

Fan color sparks strong passions from artists and fans alike because both play a role in the creation of a group’s culture.  In “Hallyu versus Hallyuhwa: Cultural Phenomenon versus Institutional Campaign,” JungBong Choi argues that while “the Korean creative industry irrefutably remains the linchpin in the protean architecture of Hallyu,” the spread and maintenance of Hallyu, of which K-pop is a major part, “is profoundly dependent on the cultural masonry carried out by a legion of underrecognized ‘craftsmen,’ namely, overseas fans” (41). In other words, K-pop functions through cooperation between fans and artists, some argue, more so than in other forms of popular culture. For example, the controversy originated in Korean media, but was quickly mirrored by global fans of K-pop.  Koreaboo based its story, “Shinhwa’s Leader Eric Speaks Against iKON Using the Same Fandom Color,” on a story from the Korean site, 10asia. Soompi‘s “Shinhwa’s Eric Asks Junior Groups to Avoid Orange as Fandom Color” was based on a story on Daum, another Korean site. The social media comments for both stories reflected a similar range of opinions as in the original stories in Korean media. In both cases, fans from different regions share similar opinions.

Why? In “Towards a Theory of Transcultural Fandom,” Bertha Chin and Lori Hitchcock Morimoto suggests that the concept of transcultural homology helps to explain why fans from different countries can be united in their perspective:  “This concept frees fandom from the constraints of national belonging, reinforcing our contention that fans become fans of border-crossing texts or objects not necessarily because of where they are produced, but because they may recognise a subjective moment of affinity regardless of origin” (99).   This concept is based on affinity that transcends national origins and explains fan dynamics, but can also shed light on the relationship between fans and artists.

In the case of Shinhwa and iKON, Korean and global fans were not the only ones to take to social media to express their opinions.  The responses from Shinhwa members Eric and Dongwan show that K-pop artists use social media to communicate with their fandoms, which reveals a level of affinity between artists and fans.   Eric’s initial response to iKON’s fandom color was expressed through a tweet and Dongwan’s subsequent comments appeared on his Facebook page.  Both acknowledge the meaning of the color orange for their fandom.  Eric’s tweet reassured fans that Shinhwa values the color, presumably because of how it symbolizes the relationship between fan and artist throughout their long career. Dongwan’s more lengthy Facebook post identified two reasons that motivated the group’s concern about iKON’s use of the color. One one hand, it is an economic issue. Orange is part of Shinhwa’s branding:  “It is that next year, Shinhwa will be promoting. . . .Shinhwa’s promotion period won’t be long compared to that of the shining and energetic junior groups” (ilmare42).  Unlike many of the younger groups, Shinhwa only engages in promotional activities once a year. Orange is the key identifier, and used in much of the promotional merchandise for the group. Orange is key to the group’s promotional strategies. As a result, the issue is not merely one of respect between older and younger groups; Shinhwa has a compelling economic reason to ask other groups to refrain from using the color.

However, Dongwan also draws on the emotional value of the color for the fandom:  “Shinhwa and Shinhwa Changjo have to spend this short time together passionately and warmly. I sincerely hope that there won’t be any obstacles in the way of us spending this time together. . . . We are just hoping that a few of the things we have protected during our long time together will be respected. Those things are Shinhwa and Shinhwa Changjo, and the sea of orange lights that we see when we’re on stage” (ilmare42).  Fans often use emotionally-based discourse to describe their relationship with their K-pop artists, but Dongwan has adopted that rhetoric in speaking about the group’s fans. Orange, therefore, represents an emotional investment for group members as well as fans.

Incidents like those that involve Shinhwa and iKON show that K-pop culture involves economic and emotional elements, both of which are key to its global appeal.

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Sources

Chin, Bertha and Lori Hitchock Morimoto. “Towards a Theory of Transcultural Fandom.” Participations: Journal of Audience & Reception Studies. 10.1 (2013): 92-108.

Choi, JungBong. “Hallyu versus Hallyu-hwa Cultural Phenomenon versus Institutional Campaign.” Hallyu 2.0: The Korean Wave in the Age of Social Media. Ed. Sangjoon Lee and Abe Mark Nornes. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2015. 31-52.

ilmare42. “Shinhwa’s Kim Dong Wan Asks Other Fandoms to Respect Shinhwa and Fans by Not Using Orange.” Soompi. 19 Dec 2015. Evernote. https://www.evernote.com/shard/s213/sh/bc7376ab-a6da-420a-a910-45f4f21d8882/3cfd851c630d58cf9cd9331374453eab.

kiddy_days. “Shinhwa’s Eric Asks Junior Groups to Avoid Orange as Fandom Color.” Soompi. 18 Dec 2015. Evernote. https://www.evernote.com/shard/s213/sh/9e64605a-8f63-494b-aaeb-44005c962b06/9c52a061c082fe6b93eba5b865c54416.

“Shinhwa’s Leader Eric Speaks Against iKON Using the Same Fandom Color.” 18 Dec 2015. Koreaboo. Evernotehttps://www.evernote.com/shard/s213/sh/5f8c128b-e447-4790-ac9a-6c51cb3ceba0/1d8d79730bbee43c8f1cfb58d1342a93
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Colors and Consequences: Branding and Fandom in K-pop by Crystal S. Anderson is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

Black Popular Music and K-pop

Black Popular Music and K-pop

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Crystal S. Anderson, PhD

Associate Professor of English, Longwood University

One of the major forces driving the appeal of K-pop around the globe is the music, but it seems to receive the least attention.  When commentators do turn their attention to K-pop, they recognize that it draws from a variety of musical genres and styles. But in making such generalizations, they often overlook the crucial influence of black popular music on K-pop.

Journalists and scholars tend to generalize the musical influences on K-pop. John Seabrook points to musical elements of K-pop without referring to any particular genre:  “The music features lush soundscapes made with the latest synths and urban beats. The hooks are often sung in English, and sometimes suggest a dance move.”  Others describe K-pop as a repository for the world’s musical talent. Jungbong Choi and Roald Maliangkay note the many hands were involved in the Girls’ Generation’s song, “I Got A Boy,” a track “‘crafted’ by composers from England, Norway, Sweden, and Korea” (4). This shows the global impact of transnational music production, but doesn’t tell us much about the type of music produced. Other scholars describe K-pop as generic “dance music.”  In their analysis of music chart data, Solee I. Shin and Lanu Kim coded top K-pop songs “dichotomously into .  .  . ‘hip-hop and dance’ (most representative of K-pop) and ‘others.'”  In doing so, they do not explain the criteria for characterizing a song as hip-hop or dance. As a result, K-pop is generally perceived to be a mixture of a variety of Western musical styles, with a heavy nod to dance music.

However, black popular music stands out as a significant influence on K-pop.   In a journal article, John Lie quotes Lee Soo Man, founder of SM Entertainment, one of the Big Three Korean entertainment agencies:  “South Korea has best consumed black music in Asia. Just as J-pop was built on rock, we made K-pop based on black music” (357). What does he mean by “black music”? It is often used to refer to a range of music genres developed mostly, but not exclusively, by black people, initially, but not solely, for black audiences. Academics and critics alike have tackled the topic of black music through several publications, including Amiri Baraka‘s influential work Black Music, Mark Anthony Neal‘s What the Music Said: Black Popular Music and Black Public Culture, James HaskinsBlack Music in America: a History Through Its People and Mellonee V. Burnim and Portia K. Maultsby‘s African American Music: An Introduction. Black music is a thing.

While some people may mean all music produced only by black people, many mean genres of black popular music defined by certain elements; one could say they refer to genres that bear a black musical aesthetic.  For example, the hallmarks of R&B music include a unique use of vocals and/or distinct uses of rhythm. Richard Rischar describes the difference between white and black pop singers in their use (or failure to use) certain vocal elements:

Compared to white pop singing of the same period (such as Bryan Adams, Wilson Phillips [a vocal trio], Madonna, Celine Dion, George Michael, Meat Loaf, Taylor Dayne, and Michael Bolton), vocal ornamentation (as somewhat distinct from timbre, intensity (belting to breathy), and other performance aspects) seemed to be more primary to the expression of feeling in African-American pop. (408)

Similarly, the rhythm structure that still undergirds much of pop music can be traced back to musical innovations at Motown. Jon Fitzgerald argues that Motown songwriters introduced “a new style of mainstream popular song–thoroughly based in gospel and conceiving of song structure in an innovative way, where the hidden architecture supporting the melodic/lyric hook is now primarily rhythmic” (8).

When fans listen to K-pop, they hear elements of a range of black popular music genres, including R&B, funk, black pop, soul, disco, house and techno (yes, house and techno originated in black musical communities).  When writers elide the musical influences of K-pop to general dance music, they erase K-pop’s rich genealogical relationship with black popular music and repeat what has happened with black popular music and other music genres. Essentially Eclectic makes the point that the influence of black music was erased by music journalists in the 1960s and 1970s:  “As music writing developed into a platform for academic critique in the ’60s, with magazines such as Rolling Stone, Cream and Crawdaddy all discussing music as a serious art form, black music was pushed aside in favor of the supposed complexities of rock. . . . That white music was rock/metal and black music was soul/funk was a common generalisation in the music press of the ’60s and ’70s. Many musicians of both races abhorred this.”

The same seems to be happening with the characterization of K-pop as general dance music  If we look at Osman Khan‘s interactive infographic that visualizes the evolution of Western dance music, you see just how many black musical genres inform the dance music that many use to describe K-pop.  It’s only until the 1960s that dance music emerges from the United States and Caribbean, beyond black musical genres like disco, funk, old R&B, jazz, blues and soul. In the mid-1980s, we see the emergence of house from Chicago and techno from Detroit, before it goes on to influence Germany’s trance and breakbeat from the UK.

To argue that K-pop is greatly influenced by black popular music is not to say that K-pop is merely imitative of black popular music.  While European producers like Pelle Lidell may be heavily involved in the process of producing K-pop, ultimately, K-pop is produced by Koreans who leave their mark musically.  Many fans of K-pop say they like it because the songs are catchy, and Gil-Sung Park notes that Korean producers are responsible for that: “SM acquires samples of universal musical content from Europe and the United States and then modifies them into a unique SM composition that is not yet globally universal, but has the potential to become the next global norm” (24).

At the same time, K-pop producers have demonstrated that they are clearly students of black popular music. Producers like Yoo Young Jin and Jin Young Park reflect their familiarity with black popular music in their own music.

This is significant, because being able to authentically participate in the legacy of black popular music is not something that everyone can do or has done.   Roberta Freund Schwartz recalls that critics of British R&B complained about the inability of British vocalists to capture the unique sound of black vocalists (140). Richard Ripani notes that because of the difficulty involved in emulating the uniqueness of R&B vocals, “it has remained difficult . . . for any person outside the African-American community to produce an acceptable black vocal style” (190). However, we see K-pop groups often feature singers who can sing R&B vocals, as well as Korean R&B solo vocalists.

More discussion of the actual music of K-pop will allow us to understand the complex interplay between Korean and African American musical cultures.

Sources

Choi, JungBong and Roald Maliangkay. “Introduction: Why Fandom Matters to the International Rise of K-pop.” K-pop: the International Rise of the Korean Music Industry. Ed. Jungbong Choi and Roald Maliangkay. New York: Routledge, 2015. 1-18.

Fitzgerald, Jon. “Motown Crossover Hits 1963-1966 and the Creative Process.” Popular Music 14.1 (1995): 1-11.

Lie, John. “What is the K in K-pop?: South Korean Popular Music, the Culture Industry, and National Identity.” Korea Observer 43.3 (2012): 339-363.

Park, Gil-Sung. “Manufacturing Creativity: Production, Performance and Dissemination of K-pop.” Korea Journal 53.4 (2013): 14-33.

Ripani, Richard J. The New Blue Music: Changes in Rhythm & Blues, 1950-1999. Jackson: University of Mississippi Press, 2006).

Rischar, Richard. “A Vision of Love: An Etiquette of Vocal Ornamentation in African-American Popular Ballads of the Early 1990s.” American Music 22.3 (2004): 407-443.

Seabrook, John. “Factory Girls: Cultural Technology and the Making of K-pop.” The New YOrker. Web. 8 Oct 2012. Evernote. 10 Jun 2013.

Shin, Solee I. and Lanu Kim. “Organizing K-pop: Emergence and Market Making of Large Korean Entertainment Houses, 1980-2010.” East Asia. DOI 10.1007/s12140-013-9200-0.

“What is ‘black music’? How are race and identity conveyed in the music media?” Essentially Eclectic. N.d. Web. 24 Jul 2015.

Video

Yoo Young Jin – Unconditional Kismet” YouTube. 19 Jun 2012. Web. 25 Jul 2015. 

“You’re The One – JYP [ LYRICS HD ].” YouTube. 20 Jun 2012. Web. 25 Jul 2015.

Creative Commons License
Black Popular Music and K-pop by Crystal S. Anderson is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

Fan Commentary: Nostalgia and Fly to the Sky

Fan Commentary: Nostalgia and Fly to the Sky
Fly to the Sky
Fly to the Sky

Crystal S. Anderson, PhD

Associate Professor of English, Longwood University

As their 2014 comeback shows, Fly to the Sky (FTTS) remains a potent force in K-pop, even after a five-year hiatus. However, even before the rumors of a comeback, the group was ever-present in the minds of fans, who recalled Fly to the Sky’s emotional impact and place in K-pop history.

A review of 361 YouTube comments posted between 2006 and 2011 on videos uploaded to YouTube show a lingering sense of nostalgia for the group.  These comments appeared on uploaded videos for “Day By Day” (music video), “Sea of Love” (performance and music video), “Condition of the Heart” (music video, performance and audio), “Missing You” (music video, performance and audio) and “Habit” (performance).

Some still associate even veteran K-pop groups with American boy bands from the 1990s.  Most frequently, viewers compare Fly to the Sky to the Backstreet Boys (BSB). bgurl1210 explains:

vujonny89 stated that FTTS are the Korean version of BSB. And ForeverJunjin wondered y she or he chose BSB rather than NSYNC. I was explaining that being compared to BSB is a compliment. NSYNC was never really praised for the outstanding vocal abilities. They were more known for their dance songs than their vocal abilities. IMO, JC was the strongest singer of the group. BSB is considered by many as a true vocal/a capella group and have been praised for them. That’s what I mean.

However, other commentators reflect a more emotional attachment to the group that they associate with the past. Sometimes, such nostalgia relates to how long one has been a fan and the length of FTTS’s career.  hyegyo1 writes: “THE song [Missing You] that made me a FTTS fan and brought me into K-pop way back then… Am forever in love with this song and this duo.” Similarly, Amy L writes: “Miss them. I’m just looking forward to Hwany finishing his military service and FTTS releasing their new album. I’ve been a huge fan of them for more than 7 years, and I will always be their big supporter. Love you guys.” These are sentiments of long-time fans of the group, who follow their activities even during periods of inactivity. Other comments relate the group’s emotional impact in terms of personal memories related to FTTS’s music. Jenny Leem relates: “Wah. I finally found it [MIssing You]. My parents used to play this song when we went on road trips and I didn’t know its name or who it was by I just really loved the song… But I found it! I’m so happy ^^”

In addition to nostalgia, fans also recognize FTTS as a pioneer in K-pop and an influence on newer K-pop groups. Beating the odds that befall many K-pop idol groups, such as the so-called “five-year curse,” where male groups would disband or be dissolved by agencies in the light of mandatory military service, FTTS’s decade-long career is also reflected in its impact on other K-pop groups.

Their songs have been covered by a variety of K-pop groups and singers. These covers not only show the group’s lasting impact, but also the way they bring new fans to FTTS. Perhaps owing to the time FTTS spend on the label, SM Entertainment artists tend to cover their songs frequently. Yesung of Super Junior and Jonghyun of SHINee covered Fly to the Sky songs at the SM Town concert in Los Angeles in 2010. MissAshleyCakes notes how the cover of FTTS’s “Sea of Love” changed her perception of the group: “If Yesung and Jonghyun wouldn’t have sang this song at the SM TOWN concert in LA I would have NEVER found this song! I was never a big fan of Fly To the Sky. I only knew 1 song by them.. But now that I’ve heard this song by them, I love them! They are an amazing band! BRIAN<3.”  D.O of EXO and Ryeowook of Super Junior, covered Fly to the Sky’s “Missing You” during the SM Town show in Seoul in 2014, as well as on the Sukira radio show in 2013. haz reen writes: “I was looking for the original version of this song . And here I am. Big thanks to D.O and Ryeong who brought me here. I love both version ok.” Other artists cover Fly to the Sky songs as well. K-pop male group ZE:A, with the Star Empire Entertainment agency, performed Fly to the Sky’s “Missing You” live on MBC in 2014.  “Missing You” was chosen for performance as part of The Voice of Korea television show.

With frequent criticisms that K-pop is a fad or a passing trend, such comments during Fly to the Sky’s inactive period shows how fans feel a sense of nostalgia for K-pop groups. FTTS emerges as a foundation Korean R&B group, one that fans refer to with nostalgia and as elders to more contemporary idol groups.

Image: “Fly to the Sky (Soompi),” Hallyu Harmony, accessed April 20, 2015, http://kpop.omeka.net/items/show/452.

Sources

bgurl1210, comment on theaptidah, “Fly to the Sky – Sea of Love,” YouTube, June 20, 2006, http://youtu.be/CtkQ1F_Xe5c.

hyegyo1, comment on uws, “Fly to the Sky – Missing You (Live),” YouTube, May 26, 2006, http://youtu.be/JrNLbMAK-kk.

Amy L, comment on doolielove, “Fly To The Sky- Day by Day,” YouTube, January 6, 2009, http://youtu.be/uFhubvJhCKE.

Jenny Leem, comment on uws, “Fly to the Sky – Missing You (Live),” YouTube, May 26, 2006, http://youtu.be/JrNLbMAK-kk.

MissAshleyCakes, comment on theaptidah, “Fly to the Sky – Sea of Love,” YouTube, June 20, 2006, http://youtu.be/CtkQ1F_Xe5c.

haz reen, comment on Kuiskaava, “[DL] Fly To The Sky – Missing You,” YouTube, January 13, 2011, http://youtu.be/tWTq_PMXfBE.

 

#digitalhallyu: Mindomo X Hallyu

Crystal S. Anderson, PhD

Associate Professor of English, Longwood University

At KPK, we receive frequent requests for information from people want to get up to speed on Hallyu quickly, but do not have much familiarity with Hallyu as a cultural movement. So, Kaetrena Davis Kendrick and I used Mindomo, a web-based mind-mapping tool, to create a visual of the basics of Hallyu, or the Korean Wave.

http://www.mindomo.com/mindmap/333bdeca3a5141aeb0a34e2f01bbb556

I chose Mindomo because it was fairly easy to use, with a low learning curve. We created our mind map using the free version of the service. It allowed us to organize well-known elements of Hallyu, like K-pop, K-drama and Korean film, and show the complexity through the use of sub-categories with text boxes and links.  For example, the general public may be aware of K-pop (thanks, Psy), but the mind map allows them to see other aspects of K-pop, including creative personnel, K-pop media, and fandoms. The mind map also allowed us to represent other significant aspects of Hallyu, such as the impact of technology as well as political, economic and academic implications.

We like Mindomo because it allowed us to show the relationship between concepts in Hallyu in a visual way. It also provided a way to convey basic yet comprehensive information about Hallyu, which can be daunting for newbies. Best of all, Mindomo generates a shareable link, so that it can also function as a resource. We hope that people will use our Hallyu schematic, and, as always, cite us when they do.

Fan Commentary: Yoon Mi Rae and Sony Pictures

Fan Commentary: Yoon Mi Rae and Sony Pictures
YOONMIRAE_Promo_kpopfans
Yoon Mi Rae (Tasha)

The recent legal entanglement between Yoon Mi Rae (also known as Tasha) and Sony Pictures prompted K-pop fans to express their opinions about copyright, permission and global corporations.

In “Yoon Mi Rae to Take Legal Action Against Sony Pictures for Using Her Song in ‘The Interview’ Without Permission,” Soompi writer kiddy_days writes that Yoon, legendary singer and rapper in Korean popular music who is also married to veteran rapper Tiger JK, intends to sue Sony Pictures. The story reveals that Yoon’s agency, Feel Ghood Music, began talks to include Yoon’s track, “Pay Day” in the film, but Yoon contends that those talks ended with no resolution.

Comments following the story reveal that fans are concerned with issues of copyright. They also critique globalization which makes the use of copyright material easier. As of January 11, 2015, 182 comments were posted to the story.

Commenters raise the lawsuit to the level of South Korean-US dynamics. Some, like Tricia Powrie, believe that Sony’s behavior mirrors the behavior of South Korean entertainment agencies in the unauthorized use of copyrighted material:

Gross this is upsetting to hear. How much does asia and Korea included steal Americas stuff without a care in the world for copyright? This is rediculous [sp]. I hope she loses. She defenitly [sp] will lose fans or could be fans from America.

Others, like Ann Marie Hake Hughes, question the assumption that Korean agencies do not pay to use American material:

What makes you think the k dramas don’t have the rights to the songs? If they didn’t, Netflix, drama fever and Hulu would be in trouble for airing them. That’s actually something that keeps movies and old TV shows from airing on those services — lack of rights for the music. Whatever your assumptions are about Korea, broadcasting in the USA is a whole different ballgame and the big players wouldn’t stream anything without it being legal.

Other commenters focus on Yoon’s status and motives as an artist. In another comment, Powrie suggests that Yoon is an unknown artist looking to benefit from her lawsuit:

Barely anyone even knows her name and Now shes going to sue. Hah. Its just rediculous [sp] Shes just doing it to get her name out and its sickening.

However, commenters like Ryan Seo, seek to provide some context for Yoon’s motives:

For somebody who hasnt heard about her, she was selected the 12th best new female emcees dominating mics worldwide by MTV Iggy in 2011. She is worldwide female hip hop singer. For somebody who is bitching about her suing Sony, talking about free publicity or whatever, educate your dumb self. She doesnt need any publicity.

Other commenters question the legality of Yoon’s own song. Xslol suggests that Yoon used someone else’s material for “Pay Day”:

Uh so what if her song was actually taken from someone else who took the song from somewhere else? How can she sue if she’s not even the original and also did not ask permission ?

In response, commenters like Lawyerfor13Years parse the difference between sampling, plagiarism and copyright infringement:

Using someone elses copyrighted song without a legal contract is against the law and sony knows it.  “Sampling” in music is not considered copyright infringment [sp] if the sample is under 20 seconds. Most rap artists use samples in songs. Many will pay the original artist a small fee to be able to use the sample. So it doesnt matter if her song had a sample of someone elses song in it. If its under 20 seconds or she paid the original artist, it can become a part of her song legally. Sony using her song for 2+ minutes in the movie does not constitute use of a sample, and I am positive she will win a large settlement in court.

These commenters represent a variety of opinions over the matter. The issue of how Korean agencies use copyrighted material quickly enters the discourse, and questions are raised as to how the average foreign consumer of Korean popular culture would know if such copyright is not being recognized. For example, permissions are usually acknowledged in the credits that run after a program, but such credits are often edited out for foreign consumers.  Yoon’s place in Korean music also affects how her lawsuit is perceived. For those who do not know here, she may be perceived as someone mere seeking attention using a nuisance suit. However, those who are aware of her long career see her legal response as more legitimate.

Image: “Yoon Mi Rae (Tasha), Promo (Korea Fans),” Hallyu Harmony, accessed January 11, 2015, http://kpop.omeka.net/items/show/429.

Source: “Yoon Mi Rae to Take Legal Action against Sony Pictures for Using Her Song in “The Interview” without Permission.” Soompi. 26 Dec 2014. Web. 11 Jan 2015.

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Fan Commentary: Yoon Mi Rae and Sony Pictures by Crystal S. Anderson is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.