• Kelly

    Yes… some of it is ridic. But what can you do? Mind you, I don’t care how much I love JYJ or whatever, I’m not spending more than $20 on any one of their merchandise (when i saw that their 3voices was $100 my eyes almost popped out… but apparently they do have rich enough fans to buy that crap) at the end of the day, I look to them for music and that’s all.

    I admit, I do have some emotional attachment to them, but not enough to neglect other important things in my life. In a way, I do feel like they have changed my life (but not its entirety), because I’ve never really had anyone to look up to as an idol and someone I want to be. But as I follow their activities, obv I can tell they work really hard and are so sincere in everything they do, and that fact makes me want to work harder and take risks to do wht i want to do. :)

  • Ari

    Patricia, I don’t normally comment but just had to on this one. What a wonderfully thought-out and insightful post.

    On the matter of emotional outpourings, of course the artists are marketed in a way that propagates this. The loyalty that they breed is what drives a listener into a fan – to buy their merchandise, attend their shows, and vote etc. Yeah reactions can get a bit disproportionate, but when you think of the primary audience (I have in mind teenagers), isn’t it to be expected? It’s pretty safe to say that most (if not, all) of us had obsessions with different artists, especially during adolescence. I wonder how harmful this can be – up to a certain point of course.

    Perhaps for the crazies, idols are just a medium through which their true colours show. I doubt a grounded and sensible person could turn into an anti just because of the kpop industry.

    Really interesting discussion, again good job.

  • hmmm

    its true about JYJ. i feel that they are just using their fans emotions to buy the albums and that is why i refrain from buy the whole album and only selected songs

    if i don’t like a song, i won’t buy it and thank goodness for itunes

    personally, i like shinee and they’re good kids into the industry at a young age and they had talent and good voices, that much is a given coming from SM.

    but i wonder if they can avoid what is going on in SM and their artists. none of their artists ever really settle down nicely i.e breakups, scandals with SM, etc….

    as for the celebrations, i don’t mind them at all, but i don’t participate because really???? yeah shinee won’t ever read your tumblr or facebook page bwahaha

    but whatever, kids will grow out of it and look back and say “i was soo ridiculous.”

  • jyyjc

    Didn’t read all of this cuz it’s too long. But anyway, I think anniversaries are fine, cuz it’s a yearly thing. But I question those 100th day, 300th day, 1000th day anniversaries….monthaversari..ok w.e

  • Jin

    While I agree with your discomfort/disapproval (more so the discomfort than the disapproval) of the intense emotional attachements fans seem to develop, I can’t help but balk at your portrayal of idols as purely business minded individuals whose appreciation towards their fans is motivated by monetary gains. Clearly there are unhealthy obssessive behaviours prevalent within the k-pop world (anti-fans are a prime example at the opposite end of the spectrum) and I don’t deny that those in control of the business may use that to their own advantage. To say that the relationship between fans and idols is one-sided is a tad bit extreme, in my opinion. Is it anywhere near as deeply emotional as some fans may construe it? No, but as a musician who is happiest onstage feeling mutual happiness from listeners, the relationship is not one-sided. Obviously this is simply my opinion. Overall, I agree, the level of emotional investment so many k-pop fans seem to indulge in is worrisome. Moderation is a wonderful thing… and really? Anniversary celebrations? I can understand artists/idols/etc. taking a moment to (briefly) acknowledge the time gone by and give a nod to the fans who’ve kept then afloat but much more is a bit much.

    • tai

      great post. sums up everything I was thinking.

      “As a hater of birthdays, cruises, puppies, and happiness in general” you scare me.

    • Alice

      I completely agree with you there. When she said that idols are only thinking of fans in a “thanks for the money” way, I thought it was off. When someone is a singer, and they really pour some emotion into the song, and the audience responds…there is a spark in the air. Yeah, I’m sure that idols aren’t really thinking “I LIVE for theses fans”, but I do think that idols feel something for the onstage dynamic between themselves and their audience.

  • Aya

    it’s just a phase….but who am i to talk, i cried for 4 days straight when michael jackson died haha

  • my whole life i refused to be someone’s fan i thought that it was stupid and childish to cry when your bias cries to hate the people who date that person…i still think that all of this is stupid but kpop somehow forced me to become a fan…i will never become an excessive fan, i will never spend my whole money on their merchandise and i will never hate the people who are dating them (jonghyun, you can marry shin se kyung if you want to :D)…if hangeng would decide to write a book about his life and how sm treated him and how he feels about his fellow suju members…i’m 100% sure that i wouldn’t buy it and that i wouldn’t read it because i think that there are more important things in life than crying over the problems of people you will probably never meet in your whole life…

  • LaLaLa

    Emotional attachment is only normal and OK up to a certain point. I’m passionate about music, and thus passionate about certain bands and people that have created the music that I love. With certain bands/singers, I’ll follow what they’re up to. Hell, I’ve been to concerts twice to see the music that I love being performed live and support the artist.

    I have biases and I there are singers that I like because they come of as nice and funny. But at the end of the day, my ’emotional attachment’ is mostly to their music, not them. How could anybody be able to develop an emotional bond with somebody that they don’t know personally? I know I can’t.

    And that’s where some people cross that line. Saying that your idol has changed your life, how much you love them and wouldn’t be able to live without them is creepy; especially when people start messing with the private lives of their idols because of it (the attachment). That has certainly passed the point of genuine support and love, and is absolutely not cool.

  • chippy

    I am a patron of the arts and the part of me that is slightly human has well wishes for fellow people. For those that bring some form of happiness to my life through entertainment I’m going to feel some association to them more than a stranger, but far far less than persons I know in real life.

    I think the financial factor is more on the managers/companies minds: seeing how the kpop idols barely get paid. I feel that the majority of idols do have an emotional investment as shown threw they way they work and live. And their confidence is greatly impacted by the validation of their followers (maybe a pitfall in starting so young). Plus there is a certian exchange between an artist and an audience that takes place during performances that is hard to describe and is a driving force behind why many (not just kpop or singers) make life long careers of it.

    I think we tend to under value the emotional ties singers have with their supporters because of the delusions of fanatics. The “stans” misread a lot of things as something equivalent to a “personal relationship” and the companies take advantage of it. I don’t know how to explain it, that kpop stars probably feel more than just appreciation for votes. But yeah they don’t KNOW you and you don’t know – so keep yourself in check.

    that is all

  • Nhu

    So, it’s… bad for fans to get emotionally attached to the music their idols create and the talented idols who create them?

    And the relationship you are talking about exists with fan relationship to other singers. But idols are different. Idols are packaged deals. They’re an image, a personality, a persona that companies purposely make in order to forge this personal connection to the fans. It’s definitely deliberate on the parts of all parties involved, and I doubt fans are stupid enough to not realize that. But it’s what they want. It’s also nice, as a fan, to (think you) know that the singer whom you idolize is also a nice person, etc.

    Does it go overboard sometimes? Completely. But it’s the nature of the idol-making machine, and complaining about shows a fundamental misunderstanding about idols and why they’re marketed as such, and not as simply singers. Here in the US, where singers are dropped after a bad album or a scandal, I like the loyalty fans have to their chosen idol.

    • Alice

      Why does critiquing a system mean that you are ignorant of the system? It doesn’t.

  • Eko

    Dear Soulbeats,
    I never once write anything regarding KPop before, although I love Kpop. Your writings most of the time are interesting and not so much biased.
    I had this crush on SS501, and spent some money to buy some of their albums/merchandises. They really captivated me in some ways, that made me refused to hear/watch others than theirs.
    But then the reality hit hard, when they went separate ways. First came the anger, sadness and at last realization/acceptance. Now, I enjoy KPop more for to the fun side. If it is fun and makes me smiling when I sing along or watch their antics’ side, fine with me. Nothing more than that.
    It also makes me sad, if people focusing their lives to idol(s).
    But, maybe because fans mostly are young people, while I already live my life for a long time :)
    Best, EA

  • lora

    I love K-pop, love korea although I’m not korean. I’m a fan of several groups, actors/actress and even solo singers. But admit laughing or smiling alone and even admitting giggles and crying when I watched variety shows/dramas. But my whole world don’t belong to them. I’m a big fan of DBSK/JYJ and SS501 – whatever happened to them I still support them — separated or not, in group or individual activity. I’ve read other articles and fan comments can be sometimes scary and alarming. Other fans write letters/comments as if their whole life depends on their idols….and they say trashy words towards those idols they don’t like, how can they be so judgemental… – nobody’s perfect – a common word – and that includes all the artist in the whole wide world – PEACE :)

  • http://zeyzeymithaco.blogspot.com zey

    i do agree with the idea of adoring & admiring a public figure such as boyband, singer, actor, or even a president. i was once a fans of boybands, backstreet boys for example (hehe). i still remember how i run for their new albums or pin ups, ‘no matter what i’ll get them in my room’ that’s what in my head at that time, and that’s a bit insane. but, from their songs i learned English and i learned to sing. this is what i see as a fan.
    i do agree with you that fans in Korea is ‘scary’. looks like they’re too attached to their idols. they’ll love the idols till end or they’ll eat them alive when they hate it, and i dont agree with.
    but when it comes to the producer or the music company, the idols are their product and the fans are their money field,they only use them. so i think both the idols and fans are the victim.
    but if -if- all of those parties don’t take everything too much, this kinda relationship could be a good one, mutualisme symbiosis kinda a like. :)

  • Sanu


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  • ngy

    level of emotional attachment = range of hormonal rage. nice..

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  • http://twitter.com/HelloMerks Hillary Merks

    I’m interested in too many groups to get extremely emotionally attached to any …. kpop for me is music, interesting shows to combat boredom, and gossip sites cause I like kpop gossip. :P

    Maybe I have never gone through the crazy fangirl phase because I got into kpop later then most fangirls do, so i was more mature. I got into kpop when I was in my first year of university while most kpop fans seem to have become fans in elementary and middle school. 

    The only idol I’m attached to is Kim Heechul from Super Junior. He’s freaking awesome!! :D

    • Black_Plague

      Hmm you may be surprised that Heechul is currently inactive, considering that he’s now serving in the ROK military, as compulsory for all adult males aged between 19 to 35.

      • http://twitter.com/HelloMerks Hillary Merks

        LOL yeah I already know that Heechul is currently inactive and serving in the army …. I’ve been a fan of his for a few years. :P 

        He’ll be back in September 2013 though!! :) 

  • Opal DeMencha

    Applause. Your article really opened my eyes.

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  • Cerovill_e

    I agree with this post. This also applies to other fangirls of other fandoms, and pretty much the same. Idols can only be taken as idols (people we look up to), not as ‘life-ruiners’ or as people who changed lives. For those in the unhealthy stage of fangirling, it will be hard to make a line between fantasy and IRL.

    Just saying.

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  • http://twitter.com/underthesea_sc Serene

    Really agree with this … hmmm off to review some of my long fangirl letters.. 

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