The Fangirl Verdict

Completely biased reviews and fangirling

Dear kfangurl: Is Korean Fan Culture Really Like What Is Shown In Dramas?

39 Comments

It’s been a long minute (literal years!) since my last Dear kfangurl post, but when the comment below popped up on my recently posted Her Private Life review, blog reader Yoona found the topic and my initial response interesting enough, that she suggested a proper post on it. I thought it wouldn’t hurt to explore the topic a little further, and so here we are.

Dolores writes:

“So I started watching [Her Private Life] on your recommendation, Fangurl, but there is something I wish you could verify for me. Are Korean celebrities really not allowed to date? How is it a scandal if two unmarried people have a consensual relationship? I’ve encountered this before in other kdramas, of course, but I can’t quite get a handle on how much of this is exaggerated. I mean, it can’t be real, right?

And the crazy fans…the crazy ADULT fans? Is this really a thing to this extent? Okay, we’ve all experienced crushes on celebrities, but what is acceptable at 13 is just not normal at 30… it’s the reason I had a hard time relating to the heroine in “Answer me 1997. ” I have a friend who has seen Bruce Springsteen perform over a hundred times, but she doesn’t stalk him or obsess about this personal life; she just really loves his music. So I can sort of understand this kind of excessive adoration, but the way fans are portrayed in Kdramas is so over-the-top it just doesn’t seem like that can be real.”

Disclaimer:

I guess this is as good a time as any, to state for the record, that I am no expert on the topic. In fact, I’m not even into kpop myself, which is where most of the intense fandoms sit. But, I’ve been watching kdramas in a big way, and been exposed to a pretty wide range of k-ent news for a full 12 years now, so I think I have at least accumulated a bit of, shall we say, bystander knowledge.

The following is just what I can contribute to the discussion; feel free to add on your own insights and knowledge in the comments below!

I’ve broken down Dolores’s question into two main sections, below.

Q1. Is it really a scandal if celebrities date? Are celebrities really not allowed to date?

Short answer: yes, but not as much now as before, generally speaking.

While it is common for celebrities in Western entertainment to date openly, and even change partners multiple times, without it actually affecting their popularity, the dynamic in Korean entertainment is very different. (Note, I single out Korean entertainment because that’s our chosen topic of discussion. There are probably similarities and differences compared to other Asian entertainment circles.)

Dating bans

In Korea, it is apparently common for management agencies to ban their trainees and idols from dating. While this is very likely partly to enable them to focus fully on their training and their craft, it is also closely linked to how idols are marketed and perceived in Korean entertainment.

In k-ent, idols tend to be marketed as single and available, an Oppa that the fans can look to as their ideal boyfriend. This perception tends to be played up, with certain celebrities even earning the unofficial title of “The Nation’s Boyfriend.” In 2018, media outlets and fans declared that Park Bo Gum was deserving of the title, because he was “the perfect man to date” (article here).

This is indicative of the kind of perception and attitudes that surround the celebs in k-ent. Basically, many fans end up having a (completely wrong) perspective that the idol “belongs” to them; that somehow, they do stand a chance of a happy-ever-after with their idol, no matter how small the chances.

Therefore, when an idol is outed as dating someone else, those fantasies are shattered, which then results in a lot of angst and broken hearts. For example, in 2014, upset fans petitioned for Baekhyun to be removed from EXO when news broke that he was in a relationship with Girls’ Generation’s Taeyeon (article here). This shattering of fan fantasy is not ideal from the perspective of the management agencies because they could end up losing many fans from the fandom, and the support and revenue that those fans bring.

Safety concerns

On top of that, there are legitimate safety concerns because some fans are so intense that there is a real danger of them hurting themselves or even attempting suicide as a result of the heartbreak. In 2016, there was rumor going around that BTS Jungkook had a girlfriend, and there was an actual, er, “trend” among very intense fans, who would cut themselves in protest. There was even a hashtag for it: #CutForKookie (more information here, but trigger warning, there are several photos lower down on the page that some readers would find disturbing).

Because of these reasons, management agencies work hard to (a) prevent their idols from dating in the first place, and (b) keep things from blowing up, if they discover that their idols are indeed dating.

As an example of how the singleness of an idol is considered an asset, consider the case of HyunA and E’Dawn who went public with their relationship in 2018. They were soon let go by their company, Cube Entertainment, who cited that the reasons these artists were let go, was because “the trust [between them and the company] is broken beyond repair” (article here). For even the most casual k-ent observer, this was clearly a case of Cube Entertainment deciding that the audience appeal of both artists was significantly hurt by their public relationship.

General culture within the industry

Another thing to consider is that within k-ent, idols are looked up to a great deal.

While celebrities in Western entertainment might get into trouble for serious infractions like violence, abuse or other criminal activity, celebs in k-ent also get into trouble for offenses which are a lot smaller in comparison.

For example, celebs in k-ent have been heavily criticized for behavior that is deemed disrespectful. In 2016, Kim Yoo Jung came under fire for her “disrespectful posture” during a promotion event for movie Because I Love You (article here). In 2018, Jung Hae In was heavily criticized for standing front-and-center during a group photo-taking at the Baeksang Awards, instead of ceding the position to the veteran actors at the event (article here).

Within this context, where k-celebs are held up to a high degree of scrutiny, it also becomes more understandable why something as “trivial” as dating could come under fire as well.

Things are evolving

I do think that things are evolving and fans are becoming more open-minded and accepting of the idea of their idols dating.

For one thing, more and more celebs have been outed / have come out as dating in the last couple of years (sample list here), and with the prevalence of these public relationships, it’s slowly becoming relatively more “normal” for an idol to be dating publicly.

More and more fans are professing to be supportive of their idols dating, but at the same time, the transition isn’t complete and there are still large numbers of fans who would be crushed to find out that their idol is dating.

It does appear that it will be quite some time yet, before k-celebs will be able to date as openly as their Western counterparts. But for now, at least we can say that it’s less of a scandal than it was, say, 5 years ago.

Additionally, with the other big scandals coming out of Korea in recent months (like the Burning Sun scandal for example), the dating scandals appear small in comparison as well.

Q2. Are fans, especially adult ones, really as crazy as shown in dramas?

Fans span a very wide age range, from kids, to tweens, to teens, to young adults, to adults, to older adults. There really doesn’t seem to be an age limit when it comes to fangirling or fanboying.

In the same way, there is also a wide range when it comes fan intensity. Some fans are on the much more casual end of the scale. Their support would typically take the form of listening to the music, watching the shows, buying the music, and maybe attending a fan meeting – if the location and timing is convenient for them.

Generally speaking, the more dedicated a fan is, the more s/he would be willing to rearrange schedules / finances in order to attend their idols’ concerts &/or fan meetings. It is not uncommon for international fans with the financial means to fly to Korea to attend an event that involves their idol. Conversely, fans based in Korea have been known to purchase multiple concert tickets in order to follow their idols on tour in the US.

Moving up a notch on the Dedicated Fan Scale (I totally made that up), I’ve heard of a number of international adult fans who have relocated to Korea in order to be nearer their idol (I recently heard of a friend of a friend who did exactly this). This would translate into having more access to events that their idol is involved in, but I think, it also simply translates into being physically nearer to their idol.

All of these activities are considered relatively harmless, in that these decisions mainly impact only the fans themselves. Although, it wouldn’t surprise me if a dedicated fan without sufficient self-control actually went into debt, in the name of supporting their idol. That’s.. not so good.

But yes, being a dedicated fan can be expensive business. Buying boxes of albums in order to qualify for some kind of hi-touch event, buying merchandise endorsed by their idol, concert tickets.. It all adds up, and fairly quickly. Especially if you’re an international fan wanting to attend multiple events in Korea.

And then there are cases of fans who are so set on looking like their idols that they invest heavily in plastic surgery, like in this case. That’s not only extremely expensive, but also carries with it surgery and health risks.

However, all of this pales in comparison to the behavior of sasaeng fans, who are much scarier.

Sasaeng fans

In Korea, a sasaeng fan is one that engages in obsessive behavior that results in an invasion of the idols’ privacy. The hanja for sasaeng (사생) is 私生, which means private life.

On a tangent, the Korean title of Her Private Life is 그녀의 사생활, which, based on the Hangul title, I would translate into Chinese as 她的私生活. Interestingly, the Chinese title, besides translating into “Her Private Life,” can also be translated as “her sasaeng activities.” I found that quite ironic, and just wanted to share. 😉

Sasaeng fans are the ones who might stalk their idols and obsess about their personal lives. According to this Wiki article, celebrity managers estimate that popular Korean celebs generally have about 500 to 1000 sasaeng fans, and can be stalked by up to 100 sasaeng fans in a single day. The ages of sasaeng fans are estimated to generally fall in the range of 17 to 22 years old, though I wouldn’t be surprised if there are sasaeng fans who are older than 22.

According to the sasaeng fans themselves, the whole motivation behind their sasaeng activities, is to stand out from the rest of the fans, and gain recognition from their idols.

Unfortunately, sasaeng fan behavior can be very disturbing, with sasaeng fans breaking the law in order to feel closer to their idols.

There are wild stories of sasaeng fans who stalk their idols, send threatening / weird / disgusting stuff in the mail, or even break into and enter their idols’ living quarters. There’ve even been stories of sasaeng fans preparing an identical van to the one their idols were supposed to board, in an attempt to kidnap their idols. Sasaeng fans have also been known to chase their idols, not only on foot, but in vehicles, resulting in accidents and injuries. There are also stories of sasaeng fans cross-dressing in order to enter the men’s bathroom that their idols were using, and of sasaeng fans sending messages to their idols written in blood (one incident even reportedly involved menstrual blood).  You can read more stories about sasaeng fan incidents here, and here.

And if you think that sasaeng fans are only limited to local Korean fans, this article states that two Chinese sasaeng fans were reported for attempting to break into an office-tel belonging to EXO’s Chanyeol. Which indicates that sasaeng behavior can extend into the international fan community too.

It all sounds quite insane to be sure, but sasaeng fans do exist. Which means that the superfandom portrayed in Her Private Life and other shows might be exaggerated in places, but isn’t actually far from the truth.

Not all fans are obsessive, but there are definitely obsessive fans out there. And yes, some of them are adults.

IN CLOSING

Ultimately, while obsessive fan behavior is a fascinating topic that sheds light on some very disturbing events in k-ent, I hope that it doesn’t dampen your enjoyment of k-ent in general. And, if you’re a fan, you do you. Enjoy being a fan, enjoy supporting your idols, and enjoy making friends within the fandom. Just remember to keep it classy, so that Oppa would be proud to call you his fan.

I hope that helps!

Love! ❤

~kfangurl

POST-SCRIPT:

1. If you feel that I missed anything, or if you have your own experiences that you’d like to share with the rest of us, do tell us about it in the comments!

2. Do you have a question of your own? Drop me a comment here or on the Dear kfangurl page, or send me an email!

Author: kfangurl

Proud to be a k-fangirl since 2007. Main diet of kdramas with movies and kpop on the side.

39 thoughts on “Dear kfangurl: Is Korean Fan Culture Really Like What Is Shown In Dramas?

  1. Not exactly related, only tangentially so, but the intensity of online bullying and just how mean and brainless fans, or even the general Chinese public can be on weibo is very very scary and honestly makes me worry for that kind of toxic culture. I want to say the environment has affected them maybe, or just following with the crowd to “be popular”, but honestly I personally just feel like it’s just…mean. That’s it, a lot of Chinese fans on weibo and apparently a lot not on youtube too, are just pure mean in their actions and words.

    Liked by 2 people

    • That’s very true.. netizens can be very cruel and toxic. I’ve seen some really uncalled for behavior, and I’m not even in the thick of any fandom myself. I think this kind of keyboard warrior mentality isn’t limited to fandoms.. I notice that some YouTube channels also have a very toxic comment culture, where people jump on one another quite viciously.

      I do think this has a lot to do with the persons themselves and their environment and other factors, but this kind of behavior almost always breeds a reaction, and mean comments can just trigger other mean comments, and off into a terrible downward spiral we go. :/ I’ve heard that some fandoms are better than others, but yeah, it would be great if fans would conduct themselves in a more considerate and courteous manner. I think a fandom that is known for being kind would make them a source of pride to their idols, and much more effective at furthering their fandom than the mean comments. If more fans would see it this way, that would help so much.

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  2. I think a community that calls normal things like dating or even dating rumors Scandal has a serious problem. Since when this is already something so big, how will true missteps be called? Also no wonder real Scandals then will be overlooked or put under because “It is just a scandal”. Obsessive Fans exist everywhere but I have the feeling that in South Korea it is more accepted than in most other countries since Idols and agencys are prefer to walking on eggshells than to makethem upset. That isn’t healthy.

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    • It’s true that some fans are dedicated to the point of obsession, and that indeed isn’t healthy. At the same time, I see that more and more fans are keeping a more open-minded attitude about their idols dating. In this respect, I do think that things are changing for the better. Granted, when Oppa gets into trouble, including for bigger and more serious scandals, there is always a divide.

      Some fans are so invested that they can’t believe Oppa did anything wrong, so the refrain “Oppa didn’t mean it” has become a big of a running joke. On the other side of the fence, are fans who are a lot more level-headed, and who recognize right from wrong. Not long ago, Park Yoo Chun’s fans even wrote one last letter to him before officially turning away from the fandom (article here).

      So to address your concern, I don’t think that bigger, more serious scandals are being overlooked in favor of dating scandals.

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    • @USI, while I agree from my own point of view and my culture’s POV, I think we can’t say things like “a community that calls normal things like dating or even dating rumors Scandal has a serious problem” because S. Korean dating norms are not like many other cultures. Even if in private they are similar, publically they are very, very different.

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  3. Awww, thank you for taking my suggestion. You’re so sweet and I really appreciate it.

    Information like this is so useful to provide context in understanding the dynamic of the society, and by extension my own dynamic in connecting to this drama world.

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    • Aw, thanks for your suggestion, Yoona! 🙂 I wouldn’t have thought to make a proper post on it, if not for your comment! ❤ Yes, all of the various dynamics can feel strange and alien to newer fans.. It didn't even occur to me to explain more about Korean fan culture until Dolores left her comment; I guess I've just been around k-ent for so long that everything became "normal" to me. This was a really good reminder for me that everything can look very different and confusing to the newer fans in our midst. Thank you. ❤

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  4. Hello Fangurl,
    Thank you for your enlightening article on Kpop fangirling/fanboying in Korea. I have been a K-drama follower and recently started “stanning” a kpop group of my favorite drama actor. Unfortunately, by the time I became a fan, 3 of their eldest members had to enlist so as they say in the fandom we are now “jobless”. Anyways this doesn’t stop us from following the activities of members who are still active. I live outside of Korea but we get updates from those in Korea and I am really amazed by how closely they follow even the members who enlisted. The local fandom do fund-raising campaigns to keep the songs of our idol on Melon chart and to support individual members with new song. The merchandise and albums are really pricey with the shipping fee but this doesn’t stop local members from collecting. Btw I am an older adult, this is my first experience joining a fandom and I’m still fangirling within my means. I’d say one can’t understand the dynamics of kpop fandom unless one becomes a fan. Fighting!

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    • Hi anamarie, thanks for sharing your personal experiences as an adult fan! 😀 Indeed, there’s no age limit to fangirling, and I feel that as long as folks are operating within their means and not hurting themselves or their families with their fangirling / fanboying, or with their fandom-related expenses, then it’s all good. We are all entitled to enjoy our passions, and it just so happens that supporting a kpop group is one of your passions. 🙂

      Indeed, I’ve heard how expensive it is to have the merchandise and albums shipped. International shipping is so high! Maybe that’s one of the reasons some fans move to Korea – so that they no longer have to pay international shipping on everything! 😅

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  5. Hey kfangurl, a very enjoyable and enlightening read. Celebrity over here is very interesting because it’s very tangible. We like our celebrities, but we tend to keep it real.

    I used to work with a well known fashion model many years ago. Of course all the blokes thought it was marvellous. It was interesting because she was pursuing a non modelling career at the same time.

    Once upon a time as a local government CEO we lived in the same place as Australia’s leading romance novelist. She’s a lovely lady, great mum, a farmer’s wife, helps run the farm, races stock cars, supports her community in a big way and so on. Just quietly, even blokey blokes read her books because of their depiction of Australian life, landscape etc. Somehow, I ended up being the speaker at the launch of one of her books.

    After my arrival home this morning, my daughter told this story. She said “you know dad I was filming last weekend? “I said “yes”. “Well, there was this guy who seemed quite familiar and I was telling him what to do: roll in the mud here and there, lift your game, it’s a tight shoot, no being on a smartphone etc. I didn’t think anything more of it until driving back from the shoot when he started saying: you know, you guys are really inclusive, you let me know what’s going on and it was fun. I usually have all these people doing things for me, they tell me what I should say and do and so on”. Turns out he was a major rap artist who was donating his time and was happy being away from his management. Anyway, we had a bit of a laugh. I couldn’t see this happening with a major artist in too many other places (especially in a Kdrama!).

    Finally, it’s a handful of years ago now, but we saw Ringo in a concert. As we rolled up, there he was sitting on a low wall outside the main entrance, kicking back. So, we said hello etc. Then later on in the show, sitting in the middle of the front row, he comes up to edge of the stage with the lights following him. He then gestures to my wife and sings to her “What would you do if I sang out of tune (because she was 😂)” It was a great Beatles fandom moment.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You always have the most fun and amazing stories to tell, Sean! You seem to just fall into the vicinity of famous folks, and end up rubbing shoulders with all kinds of celebrities! 😱😆 A fashion model, a romance novelist, a famous rap artist, and even Ringo?!? Your wife was serenaded by Ringo?! I just wonder how many people in the world could say that! 😄

      I actually really like how human these celeb interactions are, that you share. It’s so refreshing, after digging into the other end of the spectrum, where celebs can be literally treated like gods. 🙂

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      • I have been very lucky in this regard and it’s only because of the nature of the very public (and political) roles I have undertaken over a long time, as well as who I know too 😎

        Liked by 1 person

        • You have such a colorful array of stories to tell, truly. 😀 Thanks for sharing them with us – I feel like I experience vicarious adventures just by listening – well, reading – your stories! 🤩

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  6. Wow. Thanks, Fangurl, for answering my questions so thoroughly. I feel quite honored!

    Obviously, we have crazed, creepy, and dangerous fans in the U.S. (There’s also the added element of access to firearms.) But it seems like a crucial distinction would be the management’s tacit acceptance of these crazed fans’ demands; also the management’s control over the lives of their clients. I mean, are they clients or property? It feels a bit like the old Hollywood star system or white management/black artists of the 50s & 60s.

    Whatever. It’s just wrong. I get that thousands of boys and girls are scrambling to reach that pinnacle of fame and fortune and success, but I do feel sorry for them. They are performers. They aren’t supposed to be our slaves. Ugh,

    Perhaps it’s because I’ve never been a fangirl myself. Yes, there are actors and musicians I admire. I can be an ardent fan of their work. But I don’t really give a hoot about their personal life. And if I have a crush, it’s on the ROLE, not on the actor. Love Colin Firth, but I completely fangirl over Mr. Darcy…but I would NEVER want to separate him from Elizabeth. 🙂

    In any case, lately I’ve been watching “My absolute boyfriend” (not sure I would recommend it, btw, so please don’t get distracted and stop watching “The Story of Minglan”!) So now I have another question for you…can employers really slap their employees and suffer no consequences? Is slapping your employees really a thing in South Korea? I’ve seen it in several instances…and I’m talking white-collar office situations, not some sort of heinous sweatshop were undocumented workers are unprotected and helpless.

    Actually, now that I think of it, do customers really raise their hands to strike waitstaff or clerks?

    Oh my gosh, Fangurl, I have so many questions for you! You are truly the font of all wisdom and knowledge for all things Kdrama! Thanks again for educating me1

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m glad you enjoyed this post, Blenny! Thanks for asking the question! ❤ You're very right, the tacit acceptance of the management companies, of the fans' unreasonable demands, makes a huge difference. And I do concur, that that's not a good thing, and that it makes the idols products more than people. Unfortunately, that is a fact of how the whole k-ent machinery works. 😦

      As for your other question, I don't think physical violence against staff is a complete myth, though perhaps it isn't quite as common as dramas would have us believe. Your question brought to mind this incident, where a Korean airline heiress assaulted cabin crew over how the nuts were served to her. She did suffer consequences which included a jail sentence, but it does make you wonder what kind of behavior she is used to displaying, eh? 🤔

      As for Absolute Boyfriend, I ventured several episodes in, but am unsure whether to continue. Am in the mid-20s in terms of Ming Lan, so I’m not even halfway through it yet. It’s quite enjoyable though! 🙂

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      • Korean version of Absolute Boyfiend is mak…ing….me….craaaaaazy! It’s going on for far too long. It’s a cute show but it just doesn’t need the number of episodes it has (and I don’t even know how many in total, I just know I’m tired of it now).

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  7. Hey KFG! This is a very interesting topic. Would you believe just yesterday I contemplated the differences/similarities between fans of various countries after I finished watching ‘Her Private Life’?
    Having born and brought up in India, I have always felt that we have taken fangirling(or boying) to another whole new level. And we have so many different kinds of stars. From Bollywood(and the various other woods) to TV stars, from Cricketers(for the cricket ignorants, cricket is considered a religion in India and cricketers are treated like Gods!) to politicians.
    I’ve seen fans ink their favorite stars names and faces on various parts of their bodies just as I’ve read about sending fans letters written in blood. In fact, I’ve even read of a fan giving up his life when his favorite star got married. How terrible for the star! Not to mention the pain his family must have gone through. In fact, back in the days, I think, stars never revealed that they were married, especially the women, since their markets automatically dried up. I do recall a few scandals growing up. Thankfully, I think this particular trend is easing up in India now.
    I googled ‘crazy things done by fans in India’ and pulled up a bunch of links. Posting one here.
    Crazy Fan moments

    And because I am originally from a state in South India where Mr. Rajnikanth(he is a film actor) is next to God, I am posting this link.
    Rajini Mania

    Anyways, so, somewhere, I get why management companies put restrictions on the stars dating. As to the other things shown in the show, which I quite enjoyed BTW, I think it was cute and fun.
    Even though she was on the older side for a fangirl, I didn’t find it odd. It was cute.

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    • Wow, Sandya! Those articles that you shared really blew my mind! 🤯🤯🤯 And here I thought the fan reports coming out of Korea were already pretty intense. Literally worshipping a celeb as a god? WOW. 😳 And attempting suicide because the fan wanted to donate his organs, thinking his idol was sick? Woah. 😳 I hate to say this, but it makes me wonder what will become of these fans if/when their idols pass away? I feel like they would take it very, very hard, and I worry for their safety. 😔 It’s no wonder the stars kept things as low profile as possible. 😛

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  8. This was such a great write up about fan culture! I’m a kpop fan and have come across all kinds of craziness online. There was definitely a lot of truth to how things really are presented in Her Private Life. Luckily, I do think there are more level-headed fans out there, it’s just the more obsessive ones that tend to get noticed. I think some of the changes needed will come very slowly, but it’s good to start seeing some improvements in the industry even if they are small.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks for enjoying this post, Kay! ❤ Yes, it can be pretty crazy out there in the fandoms, but like you, I'm glad to see fan culture evolving, even though it's on the slow side. May more and more level-headed fans be heard, I say! 😉

      Liked by 2 people

      • I did find PMY’s fanship relatively harmless in Her Private Life. I think of that as cute fandom but a bit bizarre when it’s to the point you can’t have a potential boyfriend see inside your apartment. That’s what your phone and computer (and passwords) are for! lol

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  9. I was just watching a fairly recent episode of the Korean celebrity cooking show Chef & My Fridge (as least that’s what Nflix calls it) and a visiting Kpop star said that when news leaked that he was dating his concert ticket sales in Japan dropped by 50%! Also, I couldn’t help but think of So Ji Sub (41 yrs old) who basically wrote an apology letter to his fans telling them that he was dating. I think that is so sad. He is a great example of someone who put his career – and his relationship with his fans- ahead of his personal life.

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    • That is sad…are they actors or slaves, I wonder?

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    • Oh wow, a drop of 50% in concert ticket sales, just because of dating news?!? 😱 Makes one wonder whether the fans were sincere fans of the music to begin with, no? 🤔

      And I find it sad, that So Ji Sub would feel the need to actually apologize to his fans for dating. I personally was so happy to hear the news that he was dating. He’s always struck me as a very sweet person who deserved to be loved. I hope his fans are supportive and understanding of this. 🙂

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  10. Anyeonghaseyo chinggu! Oraenmanieyo!

    Recently delved into kpop. The fans! Totally on a different level. I was invited to be part of a voting group. Idol fans organize themselves into smaller groups for support when their idols are nominated for some awards such MNET’s Best Comeback, Best Performance, Soompi’s, Idol Champ, Billboard’s, etc. Most of these are solely based on online votes. The number of times to vote ranges from one to even a hundred per account per day. I’ve seen fans share their social accounts and passwords to the voters who have time and resources to vote. Some voters log in to as much as 100 accounts to vote per day until deadline. Kudos to such dedication and hardwork. But not so much that one was sent to hospital for losing sleep and exhaustion. 😦 By the way, these voting game is often a cause of fan wars!

    On dating, I’ve read JYP Ent. does not allow artists to date within 3 years upon debut. Quite understandable though. Speaking of JYP, one proof to how fans want to control their idol’s life is JYP’s Party People with Exo as guest. Baekhyun was saying something about what he wants to tell his future children when the fans cut him off disliking the idea of him dating, marrying and having children. It was so saddening.

    Still with Exo but moving on to sasaeng fans, one broke into their dorm, stole D.O.’s boxer shorts and sold it online. Crazy!

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    • Truly, long time, my dear! ❤ So glad to see you here! 😀

      Thanks for the inside peek at how the fandoms support their idols! I didn't know – but am not surprised at – how they organize themselves to vote multiple times. How concerning, though, that that fan was hospitalized as a result! 😱 I always advocate fangirling within reason, ie, don't hurt yourself and don't hurt others, just enjoy the experience. And this.. is not it. :/

      It's quite sad that some fans don't even want their Oppas to talk about their future marriage. Wow. 😳 And those sasaengs breaking in and stealing boxers to sell is just insane! I mean, if I were D.O. I'd feel so violated, with supposed fans breaking into my personal space, going through my stuff and stealing underwear. 🤯 That is really crazy!

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  11. This subject has fascinated me for some time. Not so much about Kpop idols (because I don’t follow Kpop) so much as actors.

    I think that S. Koreans still very much value and respect marriage (and serious relationships) so much so that when the fantasy is ruined, unfortunately so is the actor’s career. Unlike where I am (USA) where people don’t care if a person is married, they still “want to hit that”.

    I know for me personally, I’m a huge Rain fan and frequent his U.S. fan page (because they send me emails of new posts. I never search it out) but I used to totally enjoy making drooling, cute innuendos (nothing outright vulgar) for fun of enjoying the crush. I had no delusions that I’d ever even meet the man who is close to my son’s age, and if I did, I would wave or attempt a badly pronounced “annyeongsayo” and that’s it. But once he married, I felt uncomfortable making my lustful jokes at his expense. (Before, I felt my enthusiasm would’ve been appreciated as that’s what boosts his career so I felt no qualms.) Now, I comment from a proud mom-fan position as do many other die-hard Rain fans. And the number of fans commenting on his fan page has drastically diminished. I think we also feel those types of comments would be disrespectful to his wife.

    The thing that has always confused me is how some stars like Lee Min ho date openly and it hasn’t affected his career at all. Jang Hyuk is married but that doesn’t stop his fans from drooling. While others careers get totally tanked: Kwon Sang-Woo, Song Seung heon (just caught dating) and others. Although in Kwon Sang-Woo’s case, as in Rain’s, it could be because fans also “know” their wives?

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    • That’s a really interesting facet that you’ve brought up, Beez! That’s very true, that drooling wouldn’t feel quite as fun or as delicious if you also felt at the same time, that said drooling was disrespecting his wife. That’s also really interesting, that the comments on Rain’s fan page have reduced by so much. It does make one wonder how much of the fandom is actually interested in his music and acting talents, versus just his hotness.. 🤔 I guess not everyone is able to transition from drooling fan to proud mom-fan, as evidenced by your experience..

      That’s also interesting, what you point out about some celebs dating openly and not having that affect their career. Perhaps with Lee Min Ho having dated several co-stars (and then breaking up with them), fans don’t feel the same sense of finality as with Rain’s marriage? I’m also thinking that it probably also has to do with how much of the celeb’s appeal centered around his singleness and availability. Song Seung Heon’s main appeal is his chiseled good looks (not so much his acting, unfortunately), and quite possibly, his availability as well. So if he’s been outed as dating, that would take away a chunk of his appeal? Whereas Jang Hyuk, though married, is still widely respected for his dedication to his acting craft and his love for martial arts? 🤔

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      • That’s probably totally it, kfangurl! Whether they’re a “true” actor or not. Although, I would guess Kwon Sang-Woo took acting pretty seriously (I’m guessing because I watched most of his works after his peak was over), but he made as many movies as tv series and all of various genres.

        But Lee Min ho seems to have come out the gate dating and consequences be damned and that didn’t seem to harm his popularity in any way. It’s just so curious.

        While I love the fidelity and slower morals, I do feel bad for the repressed system that doesn’t allow them room to have a relationship in peace.

        I even think that very repression is probably the cause of all the sex scandals THAT WE’RE AWARE OF. I have no doubts that it’s far worse than what has come to light. If something is unrealistically forbidden then it’s going to be done in secret and be far more compelling and over indulged in. It sets people up for addictive behaviors if they have to feel secretive and guilty while doing it. Hence porn and prostitution.

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    • I was a very diehard kpop fan before. Though I am not Korean and I did not do the things Park Min Young did in HPL, I could definitely say that the scenes in this drama are pretty accurate. I can see that just by interacting with people from different fandoms online.

      I think idols dating have more backlash than actors. Maybe because idols are marketed as ideal boyfriends while actors rely on their craft more. I think that as actor in Korea, it doesnt matter if you’re dating as long as you do justice to your roles.

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      • That’s an interesting observation, about idols versus actors, aren.. I’m curious though.. wouldn’t idols have their craft too? Theirs wouldn’t be acting, but it would be the music, whether they are singing, dancing, playing an instrument or writing music? Wouldn’t that be something that makes them shine to their fans, regardless of whether they are single? Does the marketing really overshadow all of their talent? If so, that’s quite a pity, that fans would prize their singleness over their talent.. 😛

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        • It’s not that the talent isn’t appreciated but as I mentioned with myself and Rain, it removes the fantasy.

          Although my fantasies must be pretty lame which is probably why I can shift over so easy to a different type of admiration. But I have friends who do crazy stuff like buy tickets to a singer’s concerts (that they can’t really afford) and follow from city to city. I’ve had to talk more than one friend from going off to a city or an airport in hopes of meeting their artist in person. And when one was determined she would meet this one actor and “hook up” with him. SMH (Like what makes her think he would want her out of all the women he can choose from? But there you have it. I promise, she’s otherwise sane.)

          So many do appreciate the work but with a certain type of actor and with most idols, the fantasy is as much a part of the “package”.

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      • @aren_117 I agree that this is to idols totally! But actors see their careers tank as well. That’s why I was so surprised when Song Joong ki announced his engagement. It seems most actors wait until the approaching 40 mark before they decide it’s time to get married and start a family. Now is that because their career is already waning by that time or because the actress they’ve been secretly dating biological clock is ticking because she’s 35 herself… lol at my speculating.

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      • @kfangurl Oh, by the way – this is Beez. WordPress forced me to open an account or I couldn’t subscribe to any more posts.

        Like

    • I was a very diehard kpop fan before. Though I am not Korean and I did not do the things Park Min Young did in HPL, I could definitely say that the scenes in this drama are pretty accurate. I can see that just by interacting with people from different fandoms online.

      I think idols dating have more backlash than actors. Maybe because idols are marketed as ideal boyfriends while actors rely on their craft more. I think that as an actor in Korea, it doesn’t matter if you’re dating as long as you do justice to your roles.

      Like

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