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:

Wonder Girls: Nobody for Anybody

Wonder Girls
Wonder Girls

Crystal S. Anderson, PhD

Associate Professor of English, Longwood University

Wonder Girls debuted in 2007, the same year as Girls’ Generation, 8eight, Kara, T-Max, FT Island and Supernova. The group often makes the list of major female K-pop groups, along with 2NE1, S.E.S and Girls’ Generation.  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).  The Wonder Girls announced their disbandment on January 26, 2017.


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


  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



Jubilantj. “Wonder Girls Take On Retro Style Fashion for ‘InStyle.” allkpop. 15 Jul 2016., (13 Dec 2016).


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 “[HQ]Big Bang & Wonder Girls – Tell Me.” YouTube. 25 Sept 2009., (12 Dec 2016).

yannaisVIP. “[123108]MBC Gayo DaeJun Big Bang & Wonder Girls.” YouTube. 5 Jul 2009., (12 Dec 2016).

Mneet K-POP. “Wondergirls & Dynamic Duo – Nobody/Anybody.” YouTube. 14 Jul 2009., (12 Dec 2016).

Anti SNSD 4ever. “[Vietsub] Nobody Tango – Wonder Girls ft 2PM.” YouTube., (12 Dec 2016).

 JYPGTeam02. “[Vietsub Kara] Irony + Tell me + She was pretty – Wonder Girls feat. JYP.” YouTube. 17 Feb 2013., (12 Dec 2016).

Viet Le. “HD Wonder Girls (원더걸스), KARA, Black Pearl, and Girls Generation-Battle of the Princess.” YouTube. 16 May 2009., (12 Dec 2016).     

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

DonghaeELFSuJu. 151227 JONGHYUN 종현 (SHINee 샤이니) (feat. Wonder Girls Yubin (원더걸스 유빈))- 데자-부 (Déjà-Boo) @ 가요대전 Live.” YouTube., (12 Dec 2016).  

 jennifer cb. “2pm ft wondergirls miss a heartbeat 111 1 nhk bshi jyp nation in japan 2 11.” YouTube. 14 Dec 2011., (12 Dec 2016).  

Ethnicity, Glamour and Image in Korean Popular Music

Lee Hyori, Promo image, Monochrome
Lee Hyori, Promo image, Monochrome

Crystal S. Anderson, PhD

Elon University

The 1960s girl group concept makes regular appearances in K-pop.  While some think that this kind of image represents a lack of ethnic identity in a quest for mainstream acceptance, I suggest that the 1960s girl group image promoted by women of color represents an ethnic glamour aesthetic.

Contemporary K-pop is driven by image as well as music.  Part of this has to do with its emergence along with rising technologies like the music video and the Internet, which “generate[d] a condition of possibility of reaching a mass audience outside of national borders,” and resulted in photogenic performers as part of appealing images (Lie, 353, 356). This is similar to rhythm and blues-inflected pop music of the 1960s. Gerald Early notes that technology contributed to this music becoming an “artifact,” in part because television distributed the music as well as an image (60, 62).

K-pop agencies, like SM Entertainment, carefully craft the images of K-pop artists for concepts. This is part of the training process, which also includes language instruction, choreography and hosting practice.  This also contributes to criticisms that such preening in the quest for audience acceptance diminishes the presence of ethnic culture.   John Lie argues that contemporary K-pop lacks Korean culture:  “As a matter of traditional culture, there is almost nothing ‘Korean’ about K-pop” (360). Motown acts under Berry Gordy also received similar kinds of training and, were subject to similar criticisms.   Nelson George defines Gordy’s project as assimilationist in nature, where “white values were held up as primary role models” and as a result, “blacks lost contact with the uniqueness of their people, and with their own heritage” (xii). For George and Lie, mainstream appeal translates into a loss of ethnic culture.

When K-pop adopts the 1960s retro look for female artists through chic hairstyles and dresses with eye-catching prints or dazzling sequins and fur reminiscent of The Supremes, I suggest that it partakes of a model of ethnic glamour established by black girl groups.  Brian Ward characterizes Gordy’s quest for mainstream success as one  predicated on challenging prevailing notions about American blacks:   “Gordy felt [the training] might make them more acceptable to white America and an expanding black middle class for whom mainstream notions of respectability remained important” (266).  The aspiration was felt by blacks, even those not in the middle class:  “The spangled pursuit of success carried no stigma among black fans who had routinely been denied equal opportunity to compete for the financial rewards of the mainstream” (Ward, 267).   This is key, because it shows the importance of how viewers read such images. Cynthia Cyrus argues that even though the images of girl groups of the 1960s were  well-managed and carefully crafted, they nevertheless resonated positively with fans:   “The girl group images offer affirmative messages about what it means to be female, messages about belonging, about possibilities for participation, about the possibility of success. . . . The role of the viewer is central to creating meaning, and the girl group fan engaged actively in dialogue with the images placed before here” (190-1).

The Kim Sisters
The Kim Sisters

Just as black fans interpreted those images of black women as positive, Korean women like the Kim Sisters, styled in the same way, represent a glamourous  ethnic, in this case, Korean, experience to aspire to.  Ian Kim writes:   “For a Korean American like me, who grew up in parts of the US where I was the only Asian kid in school, it’s pretty astonishing to discover Korean performers who were successful in the US such an early time. Even more impressive is that they sang in English.”  The Kim Sisters’ images and participation in the entertainment world in the United States functioned as an alternative to the realities of the aftereffects of the Korean War and American military presence. San Byun-Ho remembers:  “After the Korean War, the Korean situation was the worst in the world; we were one of the poorest countries, like the Congo or somewhere like that. The country was devastated. A lot of people died” (Forsyth). Just like images of 1960s black girl groups, such images of the Kim Sisters represent an image of ethnic aspiration.

Contemporary fans may see retro images in K-pop, like those by Lee Hyori and the Wonder Girls, as drawing from a visual discourse of ethnic glamour.  The measure of the impact of the image should also be measured by those who make meaning out of it.  These images matter precisely because they show Koreans in a glamorous context that also acknowledges their ethnicity.   As the Vintage Black Glamour  Tumblr and forthcoming book suggest, images of ethnic glamour still resonate today.  Nichelle Gainer says that any image she chooses has to have “a certain style to it, a certain beauty” and that she includes information about the photo because “I want people to know you’re not looking at some anonymous random person” (Brown).  Given the frequency that the 1960s concept recurs in K-pop, ethnic glamour still matters.

Wonder Girls, Nobody Concept, 2008
Wonder Girls, Nobody Concept, 2008

Images: 1, 2, 3


Brown, Tanya Ballard.  “‘Vintage Black Glamour’ Exposes Little-Known Cultural History.” The Picture Show – Photo Stories from NPR. NPR . 12 Oct 2012. Web. 27 Jan 2014.

Cyrus, Cynthia J.  “Selling an Image: Girl Groups of the 1960s.” Popular Music 22.2 (2003): 173-193.

Early, Gerald. One Nation Under a Grove: Motown and American Culture. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2012.

Forsyth, Luc.  “Korea’s Stressed Masses.” Groove Korea20 Aug 2012. Web. 27 Jan 2014.

Kim, Ian. “The Kim Sisters.” Ian Kim. 23 Jan 2014. Web. 28 Jan 2014.

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.

Creative Commons License
Ethnicity, Glamour and Image in Korean Popular Music by Crystal S. Anderson is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

JYP (Jin Young Park)

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JYP (Jin Young Park). (Source:


Park Jin-Young (Jin Young Park, JYP)






  •  As Is (?) 1994- 1997(?)
  • Tae-Hong Planning Corporation (1997-2001)
  • JYP Entertainment (2001-)

 Fan Name


 Origin of Fan Name


 Official Website

 Related Websites

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Official Fan Color: 



  • Model Line Selected  ’97 Best Dresser
  • KBS Popular Song Grand Prize Singer in His Teens
  • SBS Popular Song Grand Prize Composer of the Year
  • Daily Sports Popular Song Grand Prize Teen Singer of the Year
  • Best Music Video (R&B category)
  • Mnet Music Video
  • Model Line’s Best Dressed of the Year
  •  Baek Sang Arts, New Actor of the Year

Television Appearances

  • Hot Blood Men, 2008
  • Dream High, 2011

Concert Tours

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No Love No More


Your House

Swing Baby

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   Dream High Original Soundtrack, Part 5. (January 31, 2011) 

  1. If
   JYP Nation – This Christmas (December 1, 2010) (JYP Entertainment)

  1. This Christmas
   Sad Freedom (December 1, 2009) (Loen Entertainment)

  1. Sad Freedom
  2. No Love No More
  3. Rewind
  4. Come Over
  5. No Love No More (remix)
  Wonder Girls – Nobody (September 22, 2008) (JYP Entertainment)

2. Nobody

  Dynamic Duo – Last Days (August 25, 2008) (Mnet Media)

6. 해변의 Girl (feat. 박진영)

   Back to Stage (November 19, 2007) (Loen Entertainment)

  1. Kiss
  2. 니가 사는 그집
  3. 니여자
  4. Delicious (니 입술이)
  5. Single (Feat. Bobby Kim)
  6. 딴따라 블루스
  7. 사실은
  8. 나 돌아가
  9. 이런 여자가 좋아 (featuring Dynamic Duo, 전제덕)
  10. 위험한 장난
  11. 엇갈렸어(Featuring t 윤미래)
  12. 대낮에 한 이별 (Featuring 선예(Wonder Girls))
  Legend Jeon Young Rok – 30th Anniversary Tribute Album (December 13, 2002) (Doremi)Disc One

5. 나를 잊지 말아요

   Rain (Bi) – Bad Guy (April 28, 2002) (JYP Entertainment)

11. What’s Love (featuring Danny, Lexy, Byul and JYP)

   Game (2001) (Dae Young AV Music)Disc 1

  1. Swing Baby
  2. 방문에서 침대까지
  3. 난 여자가 있는데
  4. 음음음
  5. 너의 손끝
  6. 창살없는 감옥
  7. 마지막 밤
  8. 처음 만난 남자와
  9. 놀이
  10. 해 달 별
  11. 밀애
  12. 데자부
Disc 2
  1. 날 떠나지마
  2. 너의 뒤에서
  3. 사랑 일년
  4. 청혼가
  5. 엘리베이터
  6. 영원히 둘이서
  7. 썸머 징글벨
  8. 그녀는 예뻤다
  9. Honey
  10. 십년이 지나도
  11. 사랑하기 때문에
  12. 왜 왜
  13. Kiss Me
  14. 회상
  15. 떠나서
  16.  헤어지면서
   Kiss Me (1998)

  1. Kiss Me
  2. 말을해
  3. 헤어지면서
  4. 안돼란 말은 안돼
  5. 회상
  6. 떠나서
  7. 내게 날아와
  8. 눈이 올때마다
  9. 재회
   Even After 10 Years (1998)

  1. Honey
  2. 천년의 사랑
  3. 졸업
  4. 뭔가 이상해(featuring 김진표,진주)
  5. 그녈 잡아요
  6. 십년이 지나도
  7. 날 데려가요(Featuring DANNY)
  8. 사랑하기 때문에(98 Vibe Version)
  9. 그날이 오면-서로 떨어져 있는 연인들을 위해
  10. Everynight
   Summer Jingle Bell (1997)

  1. 썸머징글벨
  2. 그녀는 예뻤다
  3. 사랑인지 뭔지
  4. 그대로 그렇게
  5. 또 하루가 가고
  6. 그댄 예뻐요
  7. 이별 탈출
  8. 내 사랑아
  9. 사랑할까요
 IMAGE NOT AVAILABLE  Kim Hyung Suk – 1st Project Album AC+E (1997)

5. 엄마 아빠 제발

   Kim Won Jun – Dear (1995)

6. Jungle Boogie

   Tantara (1995)

  1. 나는…
  2. 너를 보내기 전에
  3. 청혼가
  4. 엘리베이터
  5. 돌아서며
  6. 이별(Featuring 인순이)
  7. 영원히 둘이서
  8. 잊을 수 있어
  9. 이별을 먼저 배웠기에
  10. 기다렸던 고백
  11. 사랑일년(Remix)
   Blue City (1994)

  1. 날 떠나지마
  2. 너에게 묻고 싶어
  3. 마이걸(My Girl)
  4. 아픔속에서
  5. 너의 뒤에서
  6. 사랑일년
  7. 아직 기다리는지
  8. 사랑 때문에
  9. 너에게 묻고싶어(Ending Version)

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