Not the Only One: Multi-Fandoms and K-pop

 

Crystal S. Anderson, PhD

Associate Professor of English, Longwood University

Can’t decide which K-pop group or artist is your favorite? You are not alone! Global fans of K-pop tend to support several groups and artists at the same time, while their Korean counterparts tend to support only one group or artist. But why? And which groups tend to be in a global fan’s multi-fandom? This study seeks to answer these questions in survey that uses open-ended and multiple-choice questions. Take the survey and tell your friends!

Link: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/kpopmultifandom

REVISED Last Fans Standing: Veteran Fans of K-pop

Crystal S. Anderson, PhD

Associate Professor of English, Longwood University

One of the things that happens when conducting qualitative surveys is that they can raise more questions than they answer. This is what happened with the preliminary data from Last Fans Standing: Longtime and Adult Fans of Korean Popular Music (K-pop). Response rates were unusually low, which was unusual given the rising number of fans who have been fans for more than five years. I speculated that respondents may think that only adult fans who had also been fans for five years or more could take the survey. So, I revised the survey to focus solely on veteran fans of K-pop, individuals who had been fans for five years or more. This means all you fans of ZE:A, CN Blue, SISTAR, Infinite, Miss A, Teen Top, Nine Muses, T-ara, f(x), BEAST/Highlight, SHINee, UKISS, 2PM, IU, Wonder Girls, KARA, FT. Island, Girls’ Generation, SS501, Super Junior, BoA, Dynamic Duo, Epik High, Lee Hyori, Kangta, Se7en, TVXQ, K. Will, Big Bang, 2NE1, 4Minute, Fly to the Sky, g.o.d, H.O.T, Jinusean, S.E.S, Sechs Kies, Shinhwa, and any other group that debuted more than 5 years ago need to get on it!

The revised survey can be found here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/vetfans

Data Drop: Preliminary Results for Study on Longtime and Adult K-pop Fans

Image: Pixabay

Image: Pixabay

Crystal S. Anderson, PhD
Associate Professor of English, Longwood University

Preliminary results from an academic study on individuals who have been fans of K-pop five years or longer reveals the appeal of both new and veteran groups and a focus on vocals and choreography. 192 responses collected between September 9, 2016 and November 7, 2016 are in response to the  query, “Please list your bias (i.e. favorite) K-pop groups and solo artists and briefly explain why you like them.” The entire dataset can be accessed here.

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Eru: Love Me Even If We Separate

Eru

Eru

Crystal S. Anderson, PhD

Associate Professor of English, Longwood University

Eru (Jo Sung Hyun) is a Korean-American male singer, the son of popular Korean trot singer, Tae Jin Ah. Debuted on September 5, 2005, Eru is the face of Hallyu in Indonesia, and “the first Korean singer to stage performance on eight different music programs in Indonesia and top the local music chart” (Global Indonesian Voices). He has also made inroads into China as a result of participating in K-drama series like Temptation, which “has become quite popular in China, which has lead to the soundtrack receiving just as much attention and love from Chinese fans. YouTube videos are being made with the Korean lyrics of the tracks being translated into Chinese” (Kpopstarz). His fandom is called Eru Fund.

LABEL MATES

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COLLABORATIONS

  1. Eru X Yong Jun Hyung (BEAST): I Hate You | 2. Eru X Sule: Saranghaeyo | 3. Eru X Bae Seul Ki X Kim Hyun Joong: Black Glasses | 4. Eru X J Yo: Garosugil(가로수길)

RELEVANT SOURCES

Image: 1

Videos

Eru X Yong Jun Hyung (BEAST): I Hate You. 1theK. “Eru(이루) _ I Hate You(미워요) (feat. Junhyung of BEAST) MV.” YouTube. 7 Aug 2012. https://youtu.be/TtTJbd2mM0I, (9 Dec 2016).

Eru X Sule: Saranghaeyo. FalconMusicIndonesia. “Eru 이루 Ft Sule – Saranghaeyo.” YouTube. 16 Mar 2013. https://youtu.be/kQllwjfRqPE, (9 Dec 2016).

Eru X Bae Seul Ki X Kim Hyun Joong: Black Glasses. MBCkpop. “Eru – Black Glasses(feat.Bae Seul-ki, Kim Hyun-joong), 이루 – 까만 안경(feat.배슬기, 김.” YouTube. 17 Feb 2012. https://youtu.be/Sy2dFdyl2l0, (9 Dec 2016).

Eru X J Yo: Garosugil(가로수길). 1theK. “[MV] Eru(이루), J-Yo (Lucky J(럭키제이)) _ Garosu-gil(가로수길).” YouTube. 25 Feb 2015. https://youtu.be/7VHjqvCxIDU, (9 Dec 2016).  

Articles

Arvelia Yardhika Ong. “Korean Singer Eru Cast as Male Lead in Indonesian FTV.” Global Indonesian Voices. 14 Oct 2014. Evernote.

Diana Shin. “Eru’s Popularity Spreads from Indonesia to China with New Drama OST.” Kpopstarz. 18 Aug 2014. Evernote.

Wonder Girls: Nobody for Anybody

Wonder Girls

Wonder Girls

Crystal S. Anderson, PhD

Associate Professor of English, Longwood University

Wonder Girls often makes the list of major female K-pop groups, along with 2NE1, S.E.S and Girls Generation. Debuted on February 13, 2007 with JYP Entertainment, the group’s name derives from “MTV Wonder Girls,” the television show that introduced them. The original members included Sunmi (Lee Sun Mi), Yeeun (Park Ye Eun), Yoobin (Kim Yoo Bin), and maknae Hyelim (Woo Hye Lim). Former members include leader Sunye (Min Sun Ye), Sohee (Ahn So Hee), and Hyuna (Kim Hyun Ah), who goes on to become a member of 4Minute as well as have a solo career.  Wonder Girls is credited with spearheading K-pop in the United States years before Psy (Billboard). The group also features a “signature retro sound and concept, which borrows from the 60s, 70s and 80s” (POPCRUSH). Their fandom is called Wonderful, a combination of wonder and full, which describes the fans.  

The Wonder Girls announced their disbandment on January 26, 2017.

Website:  http://wondergirls.jype.com

LABEL MATES

Park Jin Young | 2AM | 2PM | Miss A | Day6 | Twice | G.Soul | Got 7

COLLABORATIONS

  1. Wonder Girls X Big Bang: Tell Me | 2. Wonder Girls X BigBang: 2008 MBC Gayo DaeJun | 3. Wonder Girls X Dynamic Duo: Nobody/Anybody | 4. Wonder Girls X 2PM: Nobody Tango  | 5. Wonder Girls X JYP: Irony/Tell Me/She Was Pretty | 6. Wonder Girls X KARA X Black Pearl X Girls’ Generation: Battle of the Princess | 7. Yubin (Wonder Girls) X IVY: I Dance/Sonata of Temptation | 8. Yubin (Wonder Girls) X Jonghyun (SHINee): Deja-Boo | 9. Wonder Girls X 2PM X Miss A: Heartbeat

RELEVANT SOURCES

Image: 1

Articles

Jeff Benjamin. “Top 10 K-pop Girl Groups You Need To Know.” Billboard. 30 Apr 2014. Evernote.

Jeff Benjamin. “Wonder Girls Are Back!” Billboard. 24 June 2015. Evernote.

Alexis Hodoyan-Gastelum. “Wonder Girls at Nine: The Ups and Downs of K-pop’s Enduring Girl Group.” POPCRUSH. 8 Feb 2016. Evernote.

Video

Wonder Girls X BigBang: Tell Me.  myspace.com/ippandaish. “[HQ]Big Bang & Wonder Girls – Tell Me.” YouTube. 25 Sept 2009. https://youtu.be/Y3d2AinyB9E, (12 Dec 2016).

Wonder Girls X BigBang: 2008 MBC Gayo DaeJun. yannaisVIP. “[123108]MBC Gayo DaeJun Big Bang & Wonder Girls.” YouTube. 5 Jul 2009. https://youtu.be/NjqAzEnuZo8, (12 Dec 2016).

Wonder Girls X Dynamic Duo: Nobody/Anybody. Mneet K-POP. “Wondergirls & Dynamic Duo – Nobody/Anybody.” YouTube. 14 Jul 2009. https://youtu.be/dKrU_BsEmD8, (12 Dec 2016).

Wonder Girls X 2PM: Nobody Tango. Anti SNSD 4ever. “[Vietsub] Nobody Tango – Wonder Girls ft 2PM.” YouTube. https://youtu.be/FBVrBirb4AQ, (12 Dec 2016).

Wonder Girls X JYP: Irony/Tell Me/She Was Pretty. JYPGTeam02. “[Vietsub Kara] Irony + Tell me + She was pretty – Wonder Girls feat. JYP.” YouTube. 17 Feb 2013. https://youtu.be/3QyiZt3pzaY, (12 Dec 2016).

Wonder Girls X KARA X Black Pearl X Girls’ Generation: Battle of the Princess. Viet Le. “HD Wonder Girls (원더걸스), KARA, Black Pearl, and Girls Generation-Battle of the Princess.” YouTube. 16 May 2009. https://youtu.be/1KmxJIDsXpg, (12 Dec 2016).     

Yubin (Wonder Girls) X IVY: I Dance/Sonata of Temptation. Lokyan69. “【1080P】IVY ft.Yubin(Wonder Girls)- I Dance & Sonata of Temptation (14 July,2013).’ YouTube. https://youtu.be/sQeQNFXK6Zw, (12 Dec 2016).   

Yubin (Wonder Girls) X Jonghyun (SHINee): Deja-Boo. DonghaeELFSuJu. 151227 JONGHYUN 종현 (SHINee 샤이니) (feat. Wonder Girls Yubin (원더걸스 유빈))- 데자-부 (Déjà-Boo) @ 가요대전 Live.” YouTube. https://youtu.be/JLMZgMswtRM, (12 Dec 2016).  

Wonder Girls X 2PM X Miss A: Heartbeat. jennifer cb. “2pm ft wondergirls miss a heartbeat 111 1 nhk bshi jyp nation in japan 2 11.” YouTube. 14 Dec 2011. https://youtu.be/uUx83wVZo4U, (12 Dec 2016).  

Mini Data Note: Why Fans Like B.A.P!

B.A.P

B.A.P

Crystal S. Anderson, PhD
Associate Professor of English, Longwood University

Survey results suggest that BABYs, fans of the male K-pop group B. A.P, like the group because of its uniqueness, music and the extramusical activities of the members. These results come from the FAVORITE ARTIST: KARTIST3YR DATASET, part of the 3Year Korean Popular Music Survey. This data note is based on a small sample of 11 respondents.

Uniqueness

Respondents point to the way that B.A.P differs from other K-pop “idol” groups.  One noted that “they have a different feeling to the Kpop industry” and another stated that “they don’t just have a pretty-boy sound.” This can be seen from their debut song, “Warrior.”

 

Music

Respondents also referred to the group’s musical ability. One stated, “They have a wide variety of types of songs (‘Coffee Shop’ is mellow, ‘Hurricane’ is dance and ‘Badman’ is just hard).” Another stated, “They clearly have a passion for music and the music they make, even sometimes getting involved with its creation.”

Extramusical Activities

Several respondents noted the activities of the members beyond music making. One respondent noted, “They’re having a concert because of their charity works. They have the heart of helping others despite . . . their busy schedules.” Another stated, “The leader participates in helping children and the fans also participate in actions [by] UNICEF.”

Image: 1

Sources

“FAVORITE ARTIST: KARTIST3YR DATASET,” KPOPCULTURE, accessed December 1, 2016, http://kpop.omeka.net/items/show/695.

TSENT 2008. “B.A.P – WARRIOR (워리어) M/V.” YouTube. 25 Jan 2012. https://youtu.be/5tLooPlf2Sw, *(9 Dec 2016).

Mini Data Note: Why Fans Like Infinite!

Infinite

Infinite

Crystal S. Anderson, PhD

Associate Professor of English, Longwood University

Survey results suggests that Inspirits, fans of the male K-pop group Infinite, like the group because of its strong choreography, vocals and group dynamic.  These results come from the FAVORITE ARTIST: KARTIST3YR DATASET, part of the Hallyu Korean Popular Music Survey. This data note is based on a small sample of 13 respondents.

Choreography

Respondents repeatedly point to Infinite’s dance skills as a primary reason for the group’s appeal, noting their ability to dance in sync. One respondent stated that s/he liked the group because “they have one of the most dopest choreography ever; they are /nearly/synchronized.” Such dance skills can be seen in music videos like “Come Back Again.”

 

Vocals

Other respondents point to the group’s vocal talent. One respondent noted that “all of the members can sing, even the rappers.” Another noted the ability of the members to harmonize. This can be seen in their performance of “Diamond.”

Group Dynamic

Some respondents noted the dynamic between group members. One respondent described the members as “handsome and funny,” while another noted that “they’re serious on stage but down-to-earth off and funny/goofy.”

Sources

“FAVORITE ARTIST: KARTIST3YR DATASET,” KPOPCULTURE, accessed December 1, 2016, http://kpop.omeka.net/items/show/695.

Jeff Benjamin. “INFINITE’s ‘Destiny’ Music Video: Watch the EDM-Influenced Single’s Blockbuster Visual.” Billboard. 16 Jul 2013. http://www.billboard.com/articles/columns/k-town/1764404/infinites-destiny-music-video-watch-the-edm-influenced-singles. (1 Dec 2016).

KBS World TV. “INFINITE – Back / Diamond [Music Bank COMEBACK / 2014.07.18].” YouTube. 12 Aug 2014. https://youtu.be/scg2UqfC15U, (1 Dec 2016).

wolliment. “인피니트 ‘다시돌아와’ 안무ver. 뮤직비디오.” YouTube. 27 Jun 2010. https://youtu.be/6NzVJYEcruw, (1 Dec 2016).

 

 

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!

 

2PM_kpopluv

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!

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

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.