10 Problems International K-pop Fans Will Understand

A moment of silence for fandoms who will never see their bias…except on a computer screen.

Reporter: Chelsea Jobe | Sub-Editor: Chrys Salter

Credit: Twitter @MrsKpop1

Credit: Twitter @MrsKpop1

Korean Pop, also known as K-Pop, is now a ‘thing’. Fandoms in the UK, America, Australia and Asia have exploded and whilst westerners were introduced to PSY’s Gangnam Style in 2012, this was only the beginning of the Hallyu wave.

In the last month, Korean superstars such as CL and EXO’s Chanyeol have established their name in western entertainment. From collaborating with mainstream artists to breaking America, international fans are a step closer to their bias.

Or so they thought. Voice of London spoke to the University of Westminster’s Korean Culture Society about their problems being an international fan.

When you think you know the lyrics but you are singing random words and sounds:

Credit: Giphy

Credit: Giphy

It is more than likely you do not know a word of Korean besides “annyeonghaseyo”. But this does not stop you from singing your favourite song. For a second you believe you have perfected the Korean language before you realise you are singing random words that sound are similar.

When you slay the English part of a song:

Credit: Giphy

Credit: Giphy

Most K-pop tracks include one English lyric, and this lyric will be your breakthrough into the music industry. Shouting ‘Cheer up baby’ at every chance in TWICE’s track will cause JYP to call you to be his next international starlet.

When you’re waiting for your albums to arrive:

Credit: Giphy

Credit: Giphy

K-pop albums are not stocked and sold in HMV. There is not a secret aisle in between Drake and Justin Bieber. Physical albums are sold on websites such as KPOPMART and KPOPTOWN – which are usually located in South Korea or America. Thomas Li, a Contemporary Media Practice student at Westminster, said the biggest problem is “the long wait for my K-pop albums to arrive through the post.”

Shipping two – three weeks? How about waiting a couple of months.

You will be skint (only if you want the four limited edition album covers): 

Credit: Giphy

Credit: Giphy

When you find a group you really like, for example BTS, you will do anything in your power to be on top form with their shenanigans.  Like paying up to £10 to watch them hopelessly explore Norway in a series on an online app.

V LIVE, you used to be free and now, you are taking our money. But this won’t stop us spending more in the future.

When you try to explain to your friends and family what K-Pop is: 

Credit: Giphy

Credit: Giphy

If your mother or best friend has been giving you the side-eye for months after they caught you watching Call Me Baby by EXO on repeat, this one is for you. Explaining the concept of K-pop to your friends and family is the most difficult thing you will do. Prepare for questions such as “but why?” and “how did this happen?”

When people think you speak Korean because you listen to K-Pop:

Credit: Giphy

Credit: Giphy

“What does this mean?” “What did they say?” “You should know this because you listen to K-pop.” How does listening to Korean music correlate with being able to understand and speak Korean, Chinese and Japanese? It doesn’t.

When you’re watching a video and realise there are no English subtitles:

Credit: Giphy

Credit: Giphy

There is a high level of respect for subbers in K-pop, but waiting for a subbed version of a TV variety show is torture for international fans. After a few weeks scrolling on Tumblr, looking at GIF sets from the episode, there is a screw this moment and you finally watch it…without subtitles.

The trick is to laugh when they laugh. It feels like you are in on the joke.

Time difference sucks: 

Credit: Giphy

Credit: Giphy

The time difference between South Korea and the UK is nine hours, and you will become unintentionally annoyed with your favourite group for the flood of notifications on Twitter, YouTube and V LIVE at three in the morning.

When your favourite group announce an international tour but they only mean Japan:

Credit: Giphy

Credit: Giphy

Lareb Naseem, music editor for Smoke Mag, said announcements for international tours leave her disappointed because they are only travelling to Japan. The hopes of international fans are crushed before tour locations are announced because you are reminded Europe seems to not exist to South Korea and their entertainment agencies.

Now we understand the meaning behind “Come to Barcelona” in the comment section of YouTube.

When you realise there is no chance you will see your bias group live: 

Credit: Giphy

Credit: Giphy

Unless you live in South Korea or if by some chance you are gifted with plane tickets to Seoul, there is little to no chance you will see any K-pop group live. The closest you will be to your bias is a computer screen placed 0.2mm away from your face.

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