Posted by : KPopRanter August 08, 2013

It's a fact--every international fan has the same questions on their minds when they think about Korean Pop--how's K-Pop to national fans? Although the answer to some questions are already answered through a quick google search, the majority of the time, it's not even an actual native Korean speaking or answering and instead, a secondhand source who simply reiterates what they've seen. Nevertheless, today on K-Pop Ranter, we sought out to answer the unknown--through one of my best, native Korean friends whom I've known for years (since no one finds non-natives reliable anymore) that finally agreed to answer a few of the 'FAQ' of K-Pop. So without further ado, we're getting to the bottom of your curiosity.

Disclaimer: These are simply just answers from a native-Korean person so don't take offense if the opinions go against what you believe. The answerer of the questions wanted to keep her identity private, therefore, she'll go by 'K' (for Korean). The questions and answers were translated and don't reflect what EVERY SINGLE PERSON in South Korea believes. I simply asked questions gathered by the staff of K-Pop Ranter, if you have more questions, e-mail me and it'll probably be answered with a week or two (time zones are a bitch ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)).

안녕하세요 여러분
울산에서 살고있는 18살 여신입니다. (농담.) 지금 주셨던 답은 바로 사회가 알고있는 상식입니다, 나의 생각을 무러볼땐 말고.
내 말씀을 믿어주세요.
k-pop을 좋아합니다.
외국인학교를 다녀습니다. 감사합니다! ^^
Hello everyone I live in Ulsan and I'm an 18 year old goddess. (I'm joking.) Most of these answers are what the public [South Korean] believes unless I was specifically asked my own opinion. Please believe what I say. And I like K-Pop. I attended international school before. Thanks! ^^

1. First and foremost, what do typical Koreans think of K-Pop and Idols?
K - Typical Koreans are heavily influenced by K-Pop and idols. Kids basically worship them and even adults take interest in the industry. Why? Because looks appeal greatly to Koreans. K-pop plays everywhere... you should hear the ringtones.
People also make decisions on plastic surgery based on a certain idol's looks... for example, I met this one saleslady that really looked like a member of Girls' Generation... she even told me where she got her surgery done.

Tiffany - To add on (sorry for taking away, I'm not a native but I just want to add experiences with some native-Koreans), I was at one of my South Korean friend's house a few months ago (she moved to America around a year ago give-or-take, I'd say we're pretty good friends since I'm the only person who can communicate with her around here, anyway), and while we were all eating (fucktastic Korean food), her mother and I actually got into in-depth conversation about Korean culture then she asked me if I knew K-Pop. I answered, yes, but questioned why she asked me in the first place and she said something along the lines of 'K-Pop is very popular in foreign countries'.

She named idol groups and acts so easily... Big Bang, Girls' Generation, Lee Hyori...  It seems like most international fans have this idea that since netizens somewhat imply that they don't like idols, most Koreans hate them or even don't know them them, too, but really, that's not right. Look at it this way: If you live in America, you and your parents know Lady Gaga, Beyonce, Katy Perry... and probably know a few songs by them, too... am I right? Maybe you don't like them for example, lots of people get on Taylor Swift for her bad singing but... there's really no big difference in the knowledge of famous figures between Korea and America, in my opinion.

2. What do Koreans think of international fans?
Koreans generally find [them] fascinating, to be honest... but they're pretty much judgmental. 

I asked her a better explanation for 'fascinating but judgmental' and she gave an correlating example: "It's like you go to a zoo and you see a giraffe. 'Oh, it's pooping! Let me take pictures!' 

(I take this as international fans are too into K-Pop?).

K - In Korea, in the public, international fans will get stared at a lot and possibly made fun of by Korean youth.

Tiffany - Again, adding in: Some Koreans seem a bit 'PO'ed' (in a sense) that most international fans only care about Korea because of their fascination for K-Pop and K-Dramas and think Korea is the same. I was talking to a male friend who lived here for around 3 years but now is back in Korea
 for his mandatory military service on Kakao and his exact words were:

It is so rare that foreigners speak Korean/ There are many people who like KPop or dramas/ but sometimes that's all

Most foreigners defend it by thinking 'Oh, they should be happy that we're giving interest about Korea!' but honestly, if millions people had the belief that your country is a soap opera, West Side Story or a Miley Cyrus music video simply because of your music or what they watch on television, wouldn't you want to set it straight?

3. Do Koreans feel the same way that the Japanese feel about "Otakus" (considered perverts and rude people) as self-proclaimed "Koreaboos"?, though I'm not as familiar with 'otakus'.

4. How about rookie groups? A lot of them are unpopular from what I see from netizens...?
Rookie groups are unpopular during their debut. They will remain unpopular until a hit song comes up. It doesn't matter how talented the rookie group is-- there are too many groups out in the scene now, leaving no attention for the newbies. eg; Bangtan Boys is perfect. I love them but compared to the reactions groups like B2ST get, they don't get much attention. Their 'No More Dream' music video has a small number of views. ~

5. Okay, who's most popular group in K-Pop right now?
SISTAR probably.

Because of misunderstanding through the initial question before I reworded it, she said that Taeyeon and Hyorin were the most popular vocalists in K-Pop.

6. What are the general opinions on top Kpop artists like 2ne1 and SNSD?
As for SNSD, everyone loves them. They have more fans than antis generally because their faces are appealing and their songs are dumb yet catchy. They love 2NE1, too, but are more intimidated [by them] because of their stages. They seem very 'bad-ass' and violent but when they come out in variety shows, which they haven't done much, they show a more friendly side. The Running Man had lots of good hits, honestly!

7. How often do you see K-Pop in Korea... I mean on billboards, commercials, etc.?
Everywhere (they are actors, singers, on commercials, shows, billboards and endorsements..etc.).

8. Name 5 idols most 'got on for' for plastic surgery?
K - Girls' Generation (mostly Hyoyeon and Jessica).
Tiffany - Park Bom?
K - Park Bom, yes! SHINeeHyunA, too. Sunhwa, definitely. Boram... I heard things about Park Minyoung. Anyone in SM Entertainment but maybe not f(x), though... they're very natural, I believe.

9. What do Koreans generally think of Kpop scandals? Are they really such a big deal or is it something that only bothers netizens? Also, what did T-ara's scandal do for T-ara? Nickhun for 2PM? Daesung for Big Bang? GD for Big Bang? Seungri for Big Bang?

ㅎㅎㅎ T-ara is ruined. Nickhun's scandal brought 2PM's popularity down. But groups like Big Bang have a different image and keep their popularity despite the scandals. 
(she never really answered the first question but you can guess that women are damaged worse than men and greatly popular groups hurt less than smaller groups).

10. Who's Korea's 'it-girl' nowadays?
K - Krystal maybe.
Tiffany - What about Suzy?
K - Wow, I forgot about her ㅠㅠ! How? She is so popular these days!

11. A question for I-fans... would you say that a non-Asian can debut AND be successful in Korea in the near future?
Honestly, no... unless they have real talent. But there will always be racism towards them or they will just be invisible like Shannon (half-Korean, half-British girl). I wouldn't care unless they stood out to me but I honestly wouldn't see them [getting popular and successful].

Why is the group Busker Busker (not K-Pop but K-Indie) an exception (i.e. one member is 100% Caucasian)?
Perhaps it's the way they came to popularity? They have attention because they almost won Superstar K. They had a lot fame [prior to debut]!

Do you have any other specific questions for 'K'? Place them either in the comment section if you want to display them publicly or instead, for more private questions, e-mail with the subject 'Confessions of a Native-Korean' and we'll get them answered ASAP!

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{ 3 comments... read them below or Comment }

  1. whyaminotmarriedtoraviAugust 8, 2013 at 9:31 PM

    This was really interesting, being able to see things from an actual citizens perspective besides the negative of a netizen. I hope articles like these happen more often, it's brain food that I seem to not get enough of.

  2. What do Korean fans think of shipping, OTPs, and fanfiction? I know the Internet is filled with this stuff, and these international fans can get to be quite perverted. Are there Korean fans like these international superfans who are downright obsessed (not referring to sasaengs)? Or is that all a foreign concept?


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