• http://profile.yahoo.com/YQ53WK5K4DPXQ5DIBKDELB6WPE Camille

    I think the first and most popular of these idol prep schools is SM Academy, which recently celebrated its 10th anniversary. It’s super expensive to go, and SM hardly ever takes trainees from the academy students. If they think one is good enough, they offer an audition. So far, only Taeyeon, Onew, and Kai have been able to go from SM Academy to SM group debut. Many other idols from various other groups in different companies used to go to SM Academy as well, but that number is practically 1/10 out of everyone who even enrolled in the academy.

    On the other hand, I wonder if these idol prep schools are really that much more expensive compared to the thousand other regular hagwons that all the other Korean kids go to after school..

  • kpopfan6

    Wow, this sounds like a big waste of money. These parents are making huge sacrifices when there’s VERY little chance that their child(ren) will become idols. Even if they do become idols, they probably won’t be in a group that reaches much major success so it still might not pay off that much.

    As for children being more filial/well-mannered, that’s good. But I hope the kids are actually learning the value of being that way and aren’t just being brainwashed/broken to behave. Either way, all this “behavior training” will probably make them seem boring, fake, and/or robotic which are pretty much traits all trainees and idols should avoid.

    I also think the success results one parent mentioned in the article is probably exaggerated or just a lie. Your child now has a voice as powerful as Whitney FREAKIN’ Houston’s? I highly doubt that unless your child already had a great singing voice and it just needed some polishing/training. 

    And what “American idol training” is this article talking about? America doesn’t have an idol training system in the first place. Sure, we have performance arts schools and programs, but they are not as rigid or intense as these Korean idol schools seem to be. Most of our idols are people who realized their talents when they were young and then sang in church or school functions or something. Many are also just audition or are discovered for their talent and they get picked up by a record label. Korea’s idol training can be quite effective, but it doesn’t seem that necessary considering plenty of countries don’t do this and have clearly produced more talented and successful idols.

    Finally, this doesn’t seem like a good idea because the idol trend seems to be declining. Many of the most successful acts this year were actually NON-idols (e.g. PSY, Busker Busker, Ailee, etc.) so I don’t think parents should be focusing on the idol career when idols don’t seem to be in demand right now. Sure some idols groups are still popular and successful, but who knows for how long? By the time the kids in these idol schools finally have any chance of becoming real idols the hallyu wave might be over.

    Idk, this all seems like too much risk and not enough reward to me :/

  • kpopfan6

    Wow, this sounds like a big waste of money. These parents are making huge sacrifices when there’s VERY little chance that their child(ren) will become idols. Even if they do become idols, they probably won’t be in a group that reaches major success so it still might not pay off that much.

    As for children being more filial/well-mannered, that’s good. But I hope the kids are actually learning the value of being that way and aren’t just being brainwashed/broken to behave. Either way, all this “behavior training” could make them seem boring, fake, and/or robotic which are pretty much traits all trainees and idols should avoid.

    I also think the success results one parent mentioned in the article are probably too exaggerated to be legit. After going to this prep school your child now has a voice as powerful as Whitney FREAKIN’ Houston’s? I highly doubt that’s true, unless your child already had a wonderful voice and she just needed vocal training to polish it up. 

    And what “American idol training” is this article talking about? America doesn’t have an idol training system in the first place. Sure, we have performing arts schools and programs, but few are as rigid or intense as these Korean idol schools seem to be. Most of our idols are people who realized their talents when they were young and then pursued it as a hobby at home, sang in church, performed in school functions, or something like that. Then they eventually auditioned or were just randomly discovered for their talent in order to get a record deal. Korea’s idol prep methods can be quite effective, but it doesn’t seem that necessary considering plenty of countries don’t do this and have successfully produced many (inter)national superstars.

    Finally, this doesn’t seem like a good idea because the idol trend seems to be declining. Many of the most successful acts this year were actually NON-idols (e.g. PSY, Busker Busker, Ailee, etc.) so I don’t think parents should be focusing on the idol career path when idols don’t seem to be in demand anymore. Sure some idols groups are still popular and successful (plus a few are actually gaining success and popularity right now), but who knows for how long? By the time many of the students in these idol schools finally have any chance of becoming real idols the hallyu wave might be over with or have taken a completely different turn.

    Idk, best of luck to these kids but this all seems like too much risk and not enough reward to me :/

  • Black_Plague

    Waste of time, waste of effort and waste of money.

    Even through years of training, there’s clearly quite a number of idols who are dreadful at dancing, singing and even both. I won’t even go down to rapping and acting. The list is extensive.

    The problem with Kpop idol groups is that agencies are not looking at things in the long-term perspective, nor do they even seem to be wide-eyed enough to see that the K-public as a whole has been getting bored with the idol craze minus the really popular groups like SNSD and Big Bang. With dozens of rookie groups popping up every year and terrible events like the T-ara scandal, Open World Entertainment and more darker bits of the K-entertainment shown out in the Internet, it’s only going to make the public take things far more negatively than ever and look at something else for a change unless some serious reforms are made – first of all by stop treating the idols like lifeless products.

    As far as education goes, South Korea needs to stop thinking that academic scores in high school are the main road to success.

    Let the kids find what they want to succeed in rather than pressuring them 24/7. From my experience in schools at Korea, lot of fellow students had few if any ambitions and were constantly told that getting good grades in high school and getting to a good college guarantees them success up to the point they took it as a better choice than doing what they enjoy and want to succeed in.

    This system is not going to work - even if it does, very few are ever going to succeed.

    • takasar1

      with regards to the terrible dancing & singing, i don’t think these faults can be attributed to the new academies since they have only recently become a staple in this whole kpop ‘machine’. they are a result of groups debuting too soon.

      i disagree about your comment regarding the agencies disregarding the long-term perspective, i think these people have realised very quickly that idols are not supposed to provide music for all generations (only 3 or 4 idol groups have reached out to all the masses), they are only designed to appeal to a young and fickle generation. besides, as almost everyone knows at this point, japan is what really matters and soon exporting to china will be the new ‘thing’. the hallyu wave may not be anywhere near as big as some think it is but it is still a rapidly growing phenomenon. the aim of entertainment agencies is now, more than ever before, to make money, and in order to sustain the hallyu wave, the government and many influential figures will not allow idol groups to simply ‘fizzle’ out. you are correct though, reforms probably will be made soon in the near future. but, regardless if idols are treated as ‘lifeless products’ or not, no one will care, the agencies desire to make as much money as possible, the kids will continue signing up in their droves to become idol stars (regardless of scandals) and parents will fully support there children in gaining enough money to give them a comfortable life in their old age. in terms of reforms, i think the government has got to step in and force companies to realize that this sudden outburst of new groups is unsustainable and put in place reforms calling for a fixed period of training time.

      “As far as education goes, South Korea needs to stop thinking that academic scores in high school are the main road to success”

      i disagree. all nations have issues regarding education and i hate to remind you but, academic scores are decisive in securing college places, jobs and so on. it happens everywhere, here in the u.k, in the u.s, in france and other western countries as well. the south koreans have the issue of regarding test scores, based on exams focusing on personal memory, too highly. that is a problem completely contradictory to the issue we have here in Britain. there is no ‘perfect’ education system, they all come with flaws and benefits.

      “doing what they enjoy and want to succeed in”. again i would like to respectfully disagree and offer my own opinion: sometimes doing what you want, will not always pay the bills, it will not always give you many different opportunities, it may not allow you to properly take care of your parents (an important aspect of south Korean society) in there old age. i too would love to study what i enjoy but in this world money talks, as they say. at points like this, we experience a cultural and ideological rift where both sides maintain that they are correct but i guess mutual respect is the only way forward, right?

      “This system is not going to work”. it depends, for the kids and their parents, you are completely correct, it will most likely not work and is a hugely risky investment. but for the hallyu wave a whole, for the government and many entertainment agencies, it will provide them with what they need, ‘more talented and diverse idols’. consequently, the hallyu wave may be able to make greater headway into certain countries like china, countries in which idol groups are looked down upon as untalented children attempting to sing.

      in korea, there has always been a supply and demand issue: more graduates than there are jobs, more good students than there are good universities, more people than there are good accommodations and now, more idol hopefuls than places at illustrious agencies, more idol hopefuls than actual idols.

      Takasar

      • Black_Plague

        1. There are plenty of idols with rather low talent that debuted long before the mad idol craze broke out in 2010. Examples include Sooyoung, Hara, Sulli, Leeteuk, Heechul, Shindong, Sohee, Taecyeon, Chansung and so on. They all went through training for years and it’d be expected that these academies’ training systems is based off from the system earlier idols had been in. At least to me, these academies are a result of agencies themselves being unable to accomodate the large number of kids these days aspiring to be idols – the number of trainees alone is believed to be in the thousands.

        2. When I said not looking at the long-term perspectice, I meant they’re not taking the long-term consequences seriously enough and look rather blind to the changing trend of solo artists becoming more successful these days. 2012 saw even more idol groups debuting than 2011 and 2010.

        3. As far as education goes, let me rephrase myself. In Korea, the belief of academic schools in high school being the main road to success is taken far more seriously than any Western country to my knowledge. Having gone through both NZ and Korean schools, I can safely say that such a belief is much more extreme in the latter. There’s little to no emphasis on individual creativity, students are made to study subjects in school rather than being allowed to choose what they want to take and are highly pressured to do exams that don’t even guarantee them to get enrolled in a decent college despite constantly being told it will and are marked as ‘losers’ in society if they fail for whatever reason. 

        As far as I’m concerned, the social attitude in Korea that academic grades in high school guarantees your whole future needs to be loosened up as the value of college degrees sinks. There’s a reason why technical schools in Korea have seen a rise in availability – to prepare students for the skills they need in what they want to do in the future to so they won’t have to worry about unemployment and hope so much from just one call after handing in dozens of applocations -  something a good portion of college graduates with little to no work experience or skills have to cope with for God knows how long, especially considering many college students in Korea live home with their parents and won’t have to worry about paying their own living costs as a result.

        4. If the Hallyu Wave is to continue on, it’s going to have to adapt to how Korea itself takes entertainment as a whole first. Not rely more and more on idols or try ‘upgrading’ them. You can’t just rely on the same tactic over and over again. People will get bored and the attention span in the Kpop community in general is short.

        • takasar1

          1) agreed. yet what i should have stated was that the proportion of untalented vs talented was much more favorable before 2010. the low quality of idols is not due to the state of academies but the fact that sex sells and Korea has a highly established visual standard that academies aim to cater towards. along with the hallyu wave and companies debuting idols far too soon with inadequate training. from what the article states these academies seem to have at least some advantages over their more conventional counterparts and regardless of the reason for their founding, by sheer numbers and scale (and the fact that some may be foundationally stronger and more stable than others), the number of talented idols may increase hugely.

          2) the respective amount of success achieved by solo artists and groups is not and has never been in a state of equilibrium. any long-term kpop fan could tell you that it has swung both ways on many occasions. besides, many figures, like papa YG and JYP have outright stated that solo artists are become more desirable and influential. this aspect of the industry (the balance of power) is quite well understood and established. the comeback of the soloists only really got under way in the second half of this year, prior to that IU was possibly one of the very few influential solo idols.

          3) i have been fortunate (or unfortunate if you will) to study in France, China and the U.K, hence i can say quite clearly that there are issues with both the western and eastern systems. China is very similar to Korea with regards to intensity of memory based learning and the necessity of gaining a place at a top university (or so i have been told). if you want me to list negative aspects of a typical western educational system i can happily do so. like i mentioned before, no system is perfect. considering that east Asia was a pile of rubble 60 years ago, anyone would be vaguely impressed by their relative dominance of the World Wide Mathematics and Science tables but as you mentioned, they are not superb when it comes to thinking ‘outside the box’ and expressing opinions in a clear and precise way. with regards to your comments about Korean societies views on education, i don’t think it always wise to view other societies/cultures through a scrutinizing western lens. asian countries are heavily influenced by Confucianism and its teachings (education is listed as bieng extremely important), who are we to say that they are wrong? IMO, us labelling their system as being incorrect sounds a bit too like imperialism. besides, the value of a college Degree often fluctuates but is very rarely on a perpetual decline. reform is however underway (i can provide links if absolutely necessary). is the system good for the children, most likely not (far too much work). will it be good for the future prosperity of the nation, recent studies, alongside the coming dominance of Asia, show us that it most likely will be. should it be modified, international opinion and the opinion of the Korean government says Yes.

          4) what is being experienced of late in korean entertainment is a key aspect of cooperate governance: the agency problem. both the korean government and the entertainemnt agencies, despite aligning their purposes (expanding the hallyu wave) have completely different motives. the government aims, or should aim, to increase the stake of the artists and promote and validate their rights and needs and consequently witness an increase in the artist’s efforts, yet the agencies’ attention is focused primarily on obtainig cash and doing so quickly (hence the idol group boom). “You can’t just rely on the same tactic over and over again”, please elaborate on this. In my view Kpop is very adaptable and good at changing small details that can influence the overall picture. besides, i don’t think people across Asia are losing interest, from my recent visits, i have found that interest is growing. these days, power in Korea means little, look at Suju, they are probably ranked 4th (?) in Korea, yet their power, prestige and awards come mainly from Asia.

          • yuki kokoro

            “who are we to say that they are wrong? IMO, us labelling their system as being incorrect sounds a bit too like imperialism”

            1. It’s not only the “westerners” who say that. I read plenty of times about Koreans who agree that the education system is problematic. I even know someone that the main reason their family moved to US is because of the Korean educational system.

            2. Suicide rates among student.

            3. I’m not saying the western systems are flawless (you can’t compare US with Sweden!) Are you saying I can’t correct your grammar just because mine is not perfect?

          • takasar1

            “Are you saying I can’t correct your grammar just because mine is not perfect?” exactly! personally, i would never attempt to correct or improve someone else grammar unless mine is perfect. otherwise it screams of hypocrisy. i have gone through much pain to use words such as ‘my’, ‘mine’ or ‘personally’ to show that these are my personal opinions and i am not trying to subject anyone else to them.

            1) i have stated in almost all of my above posts that the system is flawed, my only argument was to remind black_plague that there exist faults everywhere. besides, it is not up to us to solve anything, we are irrelevant to the people who have the influence and power to make changes, us complaining about such things is (IMO) a waste of time since the chances of us being able to do something is very very very small.

          • Black_Plague

            1. I’d have to disagree. The ratio of talented vs untalented in the idol field was hardly any different even compared to today – the only difference is the scale, due to the massive influx of rookie groups. As I have said, these academies’ very likely based their way of training idol-hopefuls from agencies themselves otherwise they would be nothing more than just frauds only interested in earning a large sum of money as fast as possible.

            2. And yet, YG is also debuting another idol group in the process, which is complete hypocrisy on his part. Also, the comeback of solo singers dates back much earlier than the 2nd half of this year – it is a well-known fact that the songs sung by solo singers in the shows Immortal Singer in KBS and I Am A Singer in MBC had become widely popular within the K-public up to the point producers of idol groups’ music actually threw a fit about it, claiming it wasn’t fair. They may not have debuted in front of the stage at first but it still regardless counts as something worth.

            3. I never implied or indicated that South Korea’s education is completely backwards and full of more cons than pros but from pure experience, it’s not very adaptable to reformation for a variety of reasons compared to New Zealand’s one. As one (and including my parents) who’s been to school in Korea, the general view on education and traditions surrounding such is hardly any different to what it was in the 60s, 70s, 80s and even the 90s and early years of the 21st century. Times change, which is why I see the education system in Korea having serious flaws regardless of how much the country itself prospers – and a good number of Koreans are already beginning to see that their education system has more cons than pros, as yuki_kokoro has pointed out below.

            The real obstacles to reforms are  the teacher unions and a significant number of parents that would typically cause a huge fuss against government reforms in regards to education (corporal punishment being among the most notable) – and are still stuck in the late 20th century.

            4. Suju is a poor example. The vast majority of Kpop acts are only catered towards the young audience, not the general population. From a Filipino I once talked to, he said that the only people that ever give a damn about Kpop were the teens and young adults. Not even the Koreans living there really cared so much. I certainly don’t recall Suju being considered a top Asian boy group, unless it was from their fangirls or from SM itself.

            And to say power in Korea means little is a huge understatement. For the vast majority of Kpop groups, Korea is their main source of income and where the largest number of fans are present – without either of those, they can’t really go far beyond.

            In regards to my phrase of the same tactic used over and over again – promoting and debuting idol groups that hardly look so different to each other but are still given the green light by their agencies and still think it’s going to succeed. There’s a good reason why the Kpop market has been called oversaturated by many and because the number of groups debuting is so high, the public’s merely going to lose interest over time.

            As far as I see it, the government’s aims in the Hallyu Wave are clearly not having enough effort put into or simply not high up in the priority list, considering it has more other pressing matters to worry about, such as North Korea, the economy as a whole and among others, not to mention the presidential elections at current. I sure as hell don’t see them trying to wrestle agencies from forcing their idols into terribly long schedules and awfully restricted lives or even put up a decent fight how things should go - even if they are, the efforts are quite laughable at best and seem more like procrastination.

          • takasar1

            1) i think the ratio was more favorable before 2009/2010. agree to disagree? regardless of what the academies teach and how they do it, they are serving a purpose. even if it is due to sheer numbers, there will be more talented idols in the future, why? because it is a necessity. competition will demand that only the best survive in a world where looks are much less of a guarantor of success than they used to be. these academies are in a perfect position to attempt something different.

            2) YG may debut another idol group. nothing has happened as of yet except hype. additionally my point was just that many figures have themselves realized that momentum is swinging back towards solo artists. whether these figures act upon their words or not is of no concern to me.i should have phrased my argument better, but what i meant was that
            mainstream commercial success swings back and forth like a pendulum. of
            course soloists have not just been hiding under a rug for the last 4
            years. kpop is not Korea’s only genre of music yet it is its most marketable and successful.

            3) i dont want to discuss education with you, i believe i am correct and you disagree. there is no point discussing such a topic in this section. the system has both pros and cons (agreed?), what the government wishes to do about these cons is not my concern

            4) i hate to remind you but there are a hell of a lot of teens and young adults, especially in East and South east Asia. they are the people who pop music caters towards. how many housewives, toddlers or old pensioners do you think listen to Britney? besides i have spoken to many poeple in similar countries and heard comments agreeing with what you state and many disagreeing. in fact, you may remember the 25’000 fans who attended a conference at which only 2 super junior members were present (in the Philippines). the problem is, it is very difficult to recieve an unbiased answer for “who is the number 1 boy band in Asia”. in this century alone i can only recall 5 groups meeting relevant criteria for such an honor: DBSK, Arashi, Exile, Fahrenheit and Suju (maybe a couple more as well). one could make a case for any of these groups and not necessarily be completely wrong beyond a shadow of a doubt. Suju have the greatest spread of populaity amongst these groups (i dont wish to argue my opinion, take it or leave it). Suju was just my example of a group that achieves a significantly large portion of their fame elsewhere.

            the Korean music industry is only a fraction of Japans. of course it would be wise to establish oneself at home before seeking warmer waters but when did logic ever enter the minds of money seeking businessmen. reality and assumption are completely different things. the latter can force you to make decisions regardless of the former. anyone looking at SNSD’s earnings for last year and those in 2010 (even though they were more active in 2010) will immediately understand where the money lies. power in korea has definitely shrinked. hence the constant barrage on Japanese shores of groups who have only slight relevance back home. with regards to fans, groups such as EXO, Suju, A-Jax, Ukiss have clear majorities outside of their homeland (possibly even dbsk, Rain, BoA and so on). relevance in korea is one thing, but it is steadily getting harder and harder to achieve (Bap is a prime example), hence exporting your music is looking to be a very attractive option. additionally the korean market is both small and saturated. yet on Korea’s doorstep is what some consider to be tommorow’s no 1 music market and the current no 2 music market. the potential for quick cash is present, alluring and potentially poisonous.

            debuting similar idol groups over and over again is a one-way ticket to failure. however, these money-seeking businessmen are not stupid money-seeking businessmen (atleast most are not), they must surely see the need to diversify. it has only been 2 to 3 years since this phenomenon has occurred, time is needed to straighten the mess out and time is something that i think they have. the hallyu ripple may have been started due to mere luck (BoA’s success in japan) but its continuation and maintanence has been orchestrated by many skilled hands who (most likely) know far more about the topic than both me and you. give them time and we will see what happens.

            i dont think i am stupid enough to ever imply or think that hallyu will ever be on the top of the south Korean president’s agenda. my observation is merely that both the ministry of entertainment and various agencies have asymmetrical knowledge and motives. the government does have a stake in the future of hallyu, since it is a prevalent form of soft power. will they fight agencies and attempt to support the artists? most likely not but these companies may soon have to. nothing is more debilitating than internal combustion and the sooner idols realize the power they have, the quicker this may occur (e.g Kara)

            takasar

            p.s: i have had fun but i think it is time to end this. thank you for your time and very interesting points

        • http://twitter.com/M_Wys Michaela Wylie

          Why did you include Sooyoung and not Yoona? D:

          You have good points. :)

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/3O73S4PB7NZRSRVPOOCIH3ZG34 Susan

    Seems like desperation on the part of the parents. And like others have said, a waste of money and time. The idol scene in Korea has been losing steam for some time now and I don’t see how these parents can delude themselves into thinking that this is a worthy investment, unless their child is truly talented and wants nothing else but to be a musician.
    Personally, I’m glad that the whole idol craze is dying down. Perhaps we can now let real artists have their time in the spotlight.

    • black_rose45000

      “Personally, I’m glad that the whole idol craze is dying down. Perhaps we
      can now let real artists have their time in the spotlight”
      I honestly never thought of that before, but now I want the idol craze to go away more than ever.

    • takasar1

      if i were to speak completely honestly, then i would have to say that i dont think this idol craze will die down in the near future. i do agree that many talented artists are overlooked but i am sure that there are many talented idols in existence.

      at this point i think we reach a very difficult point, where (as opposed as i am to all the hype surrounding the hallyu wave) i have to acknowledge the hallyu wave. the fact is that it is through this that companies now make money and obtain huge returns and profits. additionally, the government of Korea has only recently began paying attention and realizing the impact its form entertainment has upon its neighbors. idols are Korea’s unique selling point, artists such as busker busker, Nell, IU may begin to wrestle control of Korea’s airwaves back from idol groups but that is just part of the cycle (throughout the last 20 years, this cycle has repeated itself endlessly, with soloists and groups constantly battling for power), yet these artists can be mimicked by other countries and do not offer anything special and original (not saying that they themselves are not special or original). idol groups however are almost completely original with relation to korea (Chinese and Japanese Korean groups are on average far less talented with regards to dancing, obtain a far smaller market share and are far fewer in number). few people care about whether or not idol groups are legitimately talented, their appeal comes from synchronized dance moves, large number of attractive members and ridiculously catchy hooks, meaning that knowledge of the language is not required to enjoy the song (sorry sorry is a great example). by artists i take it that you are referring to individuals taking their music much more seriously (if you simply mean soloists then i would like to add that korea witnesses a repeating pattern of “groups then soloists then groups”). in that case i would like to add that i feel that they would face a lot more challenges in order to maintain this wave that almost everyone in korea hopes to continue and consequently would, in the future, be seen as much less of a safe bet by entertainment agencies. 

       i would argue that relevancy outside of Korea is becoming far more important than relevancy inside Korea, meaning that it is far more profitable and prestiguous to be loved in japan, china, Malaysia, Singapore than it is to be number one in Korea alone. as much as i adore IU and Nell, i dont think they would get the same response than super junior for example, despite the latter being seen as ‘less talented’. let us not delude ourselves, money is far more important to CEOs and directors of idol companies, there is more of this to  be made outside of Korea’s shores. Idol groups are tested and tried and many have been met with significant success (although many more have failed). in the up-coming future, provided the hallyu wave does not die down rapidly, i think that idol groups will continue to be far more prominent in neighboring lands. if legitimate artists are to soon stake their claim to both Korea and hallyu’s dominions, then i would think that a radical overhaul of the Korean entertainment industry is first required.

  • yuki kokoro

    “looks and confidence to “marry someone rich and famous.” Enthused by her daughter’s success, Hye-jin’s mother has taken to managing her career more closely, noting her plastic surgery options and monitoring her daily diet.”

    Am I the only one that statements like that are making sick? 

    I understand the cultural emphasis of taking care of your elderly parents and I even commend that but statements like that are totally different in my opinion. It’s like she takes her daughter as a milking cow or a golden egg goose. I don’t really know how to say it but it’s sickening.

    I know that it’s not this particular mother fault and that it’s society who is like that and that it doesn’t only apply only to idol-to-be but everyone, particularly girls, but it’s only worse! I seriously don’t understand how you can live your life with your own mother always telling you that you can’t eat that or it will make you fat, that you can’t go in the sun because it will make you dark… it’s heartbreaking.

    Sorry for being off-topic.

    • Ditu3ka

      It also made me pause for a moment. I also want my kids to marry someone successful and live a secure and happy life but that´s it. I just wish for their happy future, giving them my support and the best education I can afford for them. Maybe one day it will turn out their version of happy life is being a social worker in slums or a fisherman. It doesn´t necessary be some glamurous life with fat paychecks. As long as it is what they want I´m ok with that.

    • http://twitter.com/M_Wys Michaela Wylie

      I think it’s the fact that she’s so controlling rather than just wishing for a happy future, like I think most people would. I don’t even think it’s a societal thing; she just sounds like a controlling mother.

      • yuki kokoro

        Maybe, but I was saying it like that because I read about Korean mothers being like that with their “normal” girls, and even if it’s not all of them that are like that, I still feel like it’s way more than where I live.

        The nasty part was that it was not so much in the intention that their daughters be happy, it was more in the intention that they will be able to marry well… I hope it’s more isolated cases that my impression let me think.

        • aravisalice

          Oh, you weren’t alone in your queasiness from that statement – I felt my own face scrunch up and I may have even recoiled from my laptop a bit. I totally agree with you, it was the intention behind what that mother said that just hit me the wrong way. So she wants the end result of her daughter’s efforts to be that the daughter marry someone rich and famous? Not to knock financial stability but wouldn’t most parents hope their daughter marries someone who is kind, treats them well and genuinely cares about them & makes them happy? Blerg. What happened to a parents unconditional love for the general well being and happiness of their child? Overall the article took me aback because it felt almost mercenary- it was as if the parents interviewed were seeing their kids more as their own future retirement plans. Or as a way to get bragging rights so they could one up their friends and family. Just…ugh. And I agree with Michaela also about the controlling mother aspect- we have plenty of that stage mother thing here in the US . Alot of these celebs parents cause me to have the same scrunched face/recoil reaction.  It’s as if they have children and put them into show business as a means to their own end.

  • asianromance

    I’m glad that these parents are considering alternative routes to success rather than the usual study until you become a rich doctor route, but this is just so messed up.   Are there no art or dance or music academies in Korea? If your child sings like Whitney Houston, then she should be able to get into one of those right?  Or go on reality singing show?  With parents funding these academies, I’m sure the kids get treated really well there and get inflated grades.  And somehow I don’t get the feeling that those schools teach practical information like “how to resist the sexual advances of a horny exec”, “how to sue your agency for not paying you”, “how to date in secret”, “why bullying is bad”, and “How to manage social media”.

    I feel really bad for these kids.  Can you imagine the burden they must feel after all those years of training that their parents have misguidedly sacrificed to pay for.  This would make them very vulnerable to unethical and illegal company practices.  That girl whose mother is monitoring her plastic surgery options and diet – 10 years from now, wouldn’t she feel pressured to go take a spin on that casting couch when it’s the only thing that lies between success and her parents’ disappointment and a 40 million won debt for idol academy tuition?  

  • asianromance

    I’m glad that these parents are considering alternative routes to success rather than the usual study until you become a rich doctor route, but this is just so messed up.   Are there no art or dance or music academies in Korea? If your child sings like Whitney Houston, then she should be able to get into one of those right?  Or go on reality singing show?  With parents funding these academies, I’m sure the kids get treated really well there and get inflated grades.  And somehow I don’t get the feeling that those schools teach practical information like “how to resist the sexual advances of a horny exec”, “how to sue your agency for not paying you”, “how to date in secret”, “why bullying is bad”, and “How to manage social media”.

    I feel really bad for these kids.  Can you imagine the burden they must feel after all those years of training that their parents have misguidedly sacrificed to pay for.  This would make them very vulnerable to unethical and illegal company practices.  That girl whose mother is monitoring her plastic surgery options and diet – 10 years from now, wouldn’t she feel pressured to go take a spin on that casting couch when it’s the only thing that lies between success and her parents’ disappointment and a 40 million won debt for idol academy tuition?  

  • http://twitter.com/M_Wys Michaela Wylie

    While I think it’s great that parents are supportive of children that want to go into more artistic and musical careers, I’m concerned about their motives. Especially the statement “I want to be a K-pop star”. That implies a lot more than “I want to be a singer” or “I want to be a musical artist”. It implies that somebody wants to be rich and pretty and the public’s angel rather than necessarily having a passion for music, which I think all professional singers should.

    I wonder how many parents would support their kids if they said they wanted to attend Julliard. Or just art, music, and dance academies in general. Why are there hagwons for becoming a Kpop star in particular? I feel like there’s just an influx of people who want to become famous and not necessarily more people wanting to study music. :/

    At the same time, there are definitely some benefits. While I do question the legitimacy of those who say they want to be Kpop stars, rather than saying they want to be singers, they could just be practical. I’d hazard to guess that Kpop stars have larger incomes than singers who do go on variety shows and film dramas and go to international Kpop concerts. For the children who want to be singers and think that being in a Kpop agency will ensure a more secure future, I can only say good job for being logical. And I guess Kpop hagwons are the first step to entering Kpop companies.

    But I’m concerned about the fact that kids are going to hagwons just to be prepared for idol training (pre-idol training? xP). I’ve heard that hagwons are not as good as public schools, or are usually used for supplementary learning. Are these students sacrificing a proper education for these Kpop star hagwons? That’s worrying.

    Either way, I’m interested to hear the results of these special schools. 

    • Black_Plague

      Quality of the hagwons in general usually varies, at least in my knowledge.

      Some are downright terrible and are more interested in getting as much money as possible from parents, others are decent or actually lot better than public schools in terms of academic improvement.

      There’s quite a few students around in Korea that even take their education from hagwons/private academies more seriously than what they get from schools for a variety of reasons – one of them being that school teachers usually being pretty bad at their jobs (back when I was at Korea, the majority of teachers I had were pretty lackluster and few seemed more keen in intimidating the class than teaching them).

      Other reasons also include that students don’t learn adequately in what they want to do in high school, hence resort to hagwons to improve themselves – this is especially particular amongst those that want to succeed in art, music and the like since those are seen as ‘unnecessary’ in public schools, unless it’s a technical school but those are quite costly in comparison.
       

      • http://twitter.com/M_Wys Michaela Wylie

        Ah, thank you. 

    • Ditu3ka

      You got a very interesting point there. I also feel the main motiv is not art but money. Nothing against money … everyone´s own choice

  • Ditu3ka

    You know, sometimes I watch idols and than I read about their training period, and I´m like “that´s it? that´s what took you 6 years? for real?”. Sometimes I just see a good looking kid who is able to pull some dance moves and poses and nothing else beside cute smiles. Don´t get me wrong, I´m not saying there´re no talented idols or there´s nothing to learn for that kind of profession, it´s just that some of them debut after 4 or 5 years of training and they show you something you can wrap up in one year afternoon seminars.

    • kpopfan6

      IKR? Many of these idols went through years of training and have like nothing to show for it. What were they doing the whole time?

      My impression of all this training stuff is that each person gets an intense education in singing, dancing and language skills so that they’ll be the best of the best once they debut. But the quality of all those skills vary greatly depending on which idol member or group you’re talking about. It seems like nearly all idols can dance well, but many can’t sing very well (besides lead/main vocalists) and most rappers can barely rap. Plus their grasp on any language or culture besides Korean is usually not impressive.

      I’m not sure what went wrong but in many cases all that training didn’t seem to sink in even if you got to debut.

    • http://twitter.com/M_Wys Michaela Wylie

      Perfect example: EXO.

      Kris and Suho trained for like 5 years and are next to useless (besides being leaders). Whereas Baekhyun trained for under a year or something. Mad world.

      And don’t even get me started on some of SNSD’s training periods…But the fact that Sooyoung trained for 7 years blows my mind.

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/YQ53WK5K4DPXQ5DIBKDELB6WPE Camille

        Well, one thing that probably explains SNSD’s training periods is because they all entered the company very early, way before they were even old enough to debut in a girl group. Jessica, Hyoyeon, and Sooyoung were only 11 and 10 when they started training. Yuri, Yoona, and Seohyun started training within a year or two of the other 3. By the time SM debuted CSJH in 2004, the future SNSD members were only 13-15 years old, way too young debut.

        SM only debuted them in 2007 when Seohyun was 16. Besides, SNSD’s training weren’t even as hardcore that whole 7 years. Hyoyeon once said that in the first few years of training, they’d only go to train in the company only during weekends. SNSD’s training only got really intense around 2 years before their debut.

        And as useless as Suho and Kris are, I think they (Kris most especially) are doing a great job being leaders. I feel like Suho only debuted because he was in SM for so long, and Kris only debuted because SM needed someone like him, the foreigner leader who can speak many languages. I feel like SM’s banking on Kris being their poster boy in the next few years, especially when current poster boy Yunho enlists.

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/YQ53WK5K4DPXQ5DIBKDELB6WPE Camille

        Well, one thing that probably explains SNSD’s training periods is because they all entered the company very early, way before they were even old enough to debut in a girl group. Jessica, Hyoyeon, and Sooyoung were only 11 and 10 when they started training. Yuri, Yoona, and Seohyun started training within a year or two of the other 3. By the time SM debuted CSJH in 2004, the future SNSD members were only 13-15 years old, way too young debut.

        SM only debuted them in 2007 when Seohyun was 16. Besides, SNSD’s training weren’t even as hardcore that whole 7 years. Hyoyeon once said that in the first few years of training, they’d only go to train in the company only during weekends. SNSD’s training only got really intense around 2 years before their debut.

        And as useless as Suho and Kris are, I think they (Kris most especially) are doing a great job being leaders. I feel like Suho only debuted because he was in SM for so long, and Kris only debuted because SM needed someone like him, the foreigner leader who can speak many languages. I feel like SM’s banking on Kris being their poster boy in the next few years, especially when current poster boy Yunho enlists.

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/YQ53WK5K4DPXQ5DIBKDELB6WPE Camille

        Well, one thing that probably explains SNSD’s training periods is because they all entered the company very early, way before they were even old enough to debut in a girl group. Jessica, Hyoyeon, and Sooyoung were only 11 and 10 when they started training. Yuri, Yoona, and Seohyun started training within a year or two of the other 3. By the time SM debuted CSJH in 2004, the future SNSD members were only 13-15 years old, way too young debut.

        SM only debuted them in 2007 when Seohyun was 16. Besides, SNSD’s training weren’t even as hardcore that whole 7 years. Hyoyeon once said that in the first few years of training, they’d only go to train in the company only during weekends. SNSD’s training only got really intense around 2 years before their debut.

        And as useless as Suho and Kris are, I think they (Kris most especially) are doing a great job being leaders. I feel like Suho only debuted because he was in SM for so long, and Kris only debuted because SM needed someone like him, the foreigner leader who can speak many languages. I feel like SM’s banking on Kris being their poster boy in the next few years, especially when current poster boy Yunho enlists.

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/YQ53WK5K4DPXQ5DIBKDELB6WPE Camille

        Well, one thing that probably explains SNSD’s training periods is because they all entered the company very early, way before they were even old enough to debut in a girl group. Jessica, Hyoyeon, and Sooyoung were only 11 and 10 when they started training. Yuri, Yoona, and Seohyun started training within a year or two of the other 3. By the time SM debuted CSJH in 2004, the future SNSD members were only 13-15 years old, way too young debut.

        SM only debuted them in 2007 when Seohyun was 16. Besides, SNSD’s training weren’t even as hardcore that whole 7 years. Hyoyeon once said that in the first few years of training, they’d only go to train in the company only during weekends. SNSD’s training only got really intense around 2 years before their debut.

        And as useless as Suho and Kris are, I think they (Kris most especially) are doing a great job being leaders. I feel like Suho only debuted because he was in SM for so long, and Kris only debuted because SM needed someone like him, the foreigner leader who can speak many languages. I feel like SM’s banking on Kris being their poster boy in the next few years, especially when current poster boy Yunho enlists.

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/YQ53WK5K4DPXQ5DIBKDELB6WPE Camille

        Well, one thing that probably explains SNSD’s training periods is because they all entered the company very early, way before they were even old enough to debut in a girl group. Jessica, Hyoyeon, and Sooyoung were only 11 and 10 when they started training. Yuri, Yoona, and Seohyun started training within a year or two of the other 3. By the time SM debuted CSJH in 2004, the future SNSD members were only 13-15 years old, way too young debut.

        SM only debuted them in 2007 when Seohyun was 16. Besides, SNSD’s training weren’t even as hardcore that whole 7 years. Hyoyeon once said that in the first few years of training, they’d only go to train in the company only during weekends. SNSD’s training only got really intense around 2 years before their debut.

        And as useless as Suho and Kris are, I think they (Kris most especially) are doing a great job being leaders. I feel like Suho only debuted because he was in SM for so long, and Kris only debuted because SM needed someone like him, the foreigner leader who can speak many languages. I feel like SM’s banking on Kris being their poster boy in the next few years, especially when current poster boy Yunho enlists.

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/YQ53WK5K4DPXQ5DIBKDELB6WPE Camille

        Well, one thing that probably explains SNSD’s training periods is because they all entered the company very early, way before they were even old enough to debut in a girl group. Jessica, Hyoyeon, and Sooyoung were only 11 and 10 when they started training. Yuri, Yoona, and Seohyun started training within a year or two of the other 3. By the time SM debuted CSJH in 2004, the future SNSD members were only 13-15 years old, way too young debut.

        SM only debuted them in 2007 when Seohyun was 16. Besides, SNSD’s training weren’t even as hardcore that whole 7 years. Hyoyeon once said that in the first few years of training, they’d only go to train in the company only during weekends. SNSD’s training only got really intense around 2 years before their debut.

        And as useless as Suho and Kris are, I think they (Kris most especially) are doing a great job being leaders. I feel like Suho only debuted because he was in SM for so long, and Kris only debuted because SM needed someone like him, the foreigner leader who can speak many languages. I feel like SM’s banking on Kris being their poster boy in the next few years, especially when current poster boy Yunho enlists.

        • http://twitter.com/M_Wys Michaela Wylie

          I understand that the training periods aren’t intense, but the fact is that they are still being trained. What did SM do with them for 5 years? It boggles my mind to think that a company would take in a 10-11 year old that doesn’t even seem that talented.

          I agree that Kris and Suho are good leaders (not that SM wants Kris to be their next poster boy – one word: Kai), but I don’t feel like that justifies including them in a group. Kris can’t rap and Suho’s a decent singer at best. Maybe I’m just butthurt because Jino from SM the Ballad isn’t in EXO and they are. :P

          My point was that I think it’s a waste to train idols for so long, because it doesn’t seem to have any effect on idols when they debut. If they aren’t talented, it shows. 

          • http://twitter.com/lillian23910 Sharon

            It’s because they don’t pick kids based on talent. Someone who can already sing does not need to be trained as long. 

            Yes, fpr the most part, they train them to be mediocre and then have talent competitions to find lead and main vocalists that don’t need to be trained as long. 

          • idontknoe

            There’s a lot more to being an idol than being vocally talented. They trained well because all their idols can pick up lyrics, scripts, and choreography extremely fast and efficiently. You also have to put into consideration that these kids prob trained at max 4-5 hours after school in a multitude of things and not just singing or dancing. Some people also hit plateaus in skill. If you’ve ever trained in anything you would know that training builds efficiency, but natural talent is what flourishes. 

          • idontknoe

            There’s a lot more to being an idol than being vocally talented. They trained well because all their idols can pick up lyrics, scripts, and choreography extremely fast and efficiently. You also have to put into consideration that these kids prob trained at max 4-5 hours after school in a multitude of things and not just singing or dancing. Some people also hit plateaus in skill. If you’ve ever trained in anything you would know that training builds efficiency, but natural talent is what flourishes. 

      • ExoKpop

        I agree. EXO is a perfect example. 

        Kris got into EXO solely based on his height and looks, and that he is Chinese since SM is targeting Chinese market. it also boggles me as to wth he was trained in for all those years. let’s start with the fact that he’s an awful performer. you can also so tell that he has no passion in rapping, singing, or dancing. He has never talked about wanting to perform or wanting to be a singer. In interviews, when asked to show his rapping, (rapping is his main role in the group) his says his famous line, “Next Time”. I would be less critical and more forgiving if he showed even slightest bit of interest or energy when he’s performing. He has zero interest in them nor talent. Maybe he will be more of an actor in the future? but he’s rather awkward too. But really, all i see for him in the future is being an actor. 

        Suho.. He has a nice voice that I give. But for a guy that was trained for 7 years? my gosh… He lacks behind Chen (who’s trained for 11 months), Bakhyun (1 year), and D.O. (2 yrs). This just shows that training isn’t all that. Suho is not a bad singer. he’s rather good, stable, and pleasant to listen to. But saying that he was trained for 7 years really backfired on him, because people r expecting someone who’s AMAZING, and sadly he’s not. So if these Korean parents r thinking that spending a fortune on their kids thinking that they will be the next “hallyu” stars… chances r slim.

  • http://twitter.com/sebsobandsky Sabah

    For me, this isn’t really about idol traineeships or prep schools but the parent’s mentality. For long before even Kpop, (yes such a time existed, even in your own lives) there were parents pushing their children, prodigies/gifted or otherwise, towards some field that they deemed prosperous. 

    If we leave aside those children who genuinely have a love of singing/dancing and want to pursue it, I find myself very much concerned for these children’s childhoods and lasting psychological trauma.  Of course, things are all relative, and if you were to ask a starving homeless child in some parts of the world if they would want to switch places with these children, I am sure some would.  However when there is a choice or no financial need, then I wonder why a parent would ‘encourage’ their child into such a gruelling life at such young age. 

    As Alissa Quart, a gifted child states, “My father was hell-bent on bettering my lot – and by extension our family’s lot.”  Though she acknowledges that some parents only wish to give their children the best start, especially in a troubled world but “cultivating that giftedness may not only be a waste of money but positively harmful.” http://www.time.com/time/arts/article/0,8599,1532087,00.html  For every Picasso, Kim Ung Yong or Mozart, (http://www.cracked.com/article_16266_8-child-prodigies-so-amazing-theyll-ruin-your-day.html)  you will find Andrew Halliburton, http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2010/may/15/child-geniuses-prodigies or Esmie Tseung (http://dailymaverick.co.za/article/2012-02-16-whod-want-to-be-a-child-prodigy) or Sufiah Yusof (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sufiah_Yusof)

    They burned out or ran away because ultimately they weren’t happy. Instead of engendering confidence, many only find feelings of failure of wasted potential AND indebtedness/hatred towards their parents.  I find it cruel to reward a child based on results rather than effort.  Especially in an industry where the chances of success fall by the day as it become saturated with ‘hopeful’ trainees.   Furthermore, no matter how gifted a child is, they are already wonderful, a star because every act, emotion, development is wondrous, if only we might perceive that.  As Quart states, “Each thing they do is discrete, it’s not part of a larger identity of being spectacular.” How much is that smile on your child’s face worth to you? When I hear about the time, sweat and tears idols give of themselves to such a thankless industry, I wonder just how much ‘gratefulness’ would be left towards their parents that were the catalyst in putting them there?  http://youtu.be/PtXbLyFtpqA

    I understand that parents want their children to have the best in life so that means giving them the best start BUT life doesn’t begin after success.  A life is lived each and every day and that includes childhood.  I am not saying that my opinion is correct above all others, but I support a way of life where one might live poorer but be happier.

    • igbygrl

      ^ I agreed with you until you stated parents should reward their kids for their efforts more…I don’t know but their are too many children these days who have self-entitlement issues because parents tell them everyday that they are a special snowflake.

      If anything I would like parents to raise their kids with a middle ground with effort and results. Leaning towards one method is as detrimental as leaning too much on the other side. I say let’s equal out the scale to raise a well balanced child who is raised in a grounded environment on both sides of the spectrum :)

      • http://twitter.com/sebsobandsky Sabah

        Excellent point. I agree.  Though my point was more about rewarding effort not only results rather than constant praise.  However your point is good.  I do think that without balance failure can make children bitter or self entitled as you state.

      • aravisalice

        Totally off topic but I can’t tell you how happy it made me to see someone comment about a need for balance in parenting! Not too harsh, not too coddling.. just finding the right mix to make for a (hopefully) pleasant, well rounded human being that’s neither been beaten down emotionally nor been made to think they should be handed everything on a silver platter just because they happen to exist. Substance!

    • http://www.facebook.com/karheng279 Aaron Ho

      What is this time before Kpop that you speak of?!? Haha

      It would be ideal to raise a child with a middle ground with effort and results. But I guess for people with much more life experience like our parents tends to see things differently from us “younger generation”.  You always hear your parents nag that how we have it easy and how they have to blah blah blah… but tbh, they just want us to have a better life, which is commonly translated into a more financially capable person.Especially, with the world getting tougher and more competitive, the world won’t reward you because of your efforts but for your results. In this fast pace world, it’s either you keep up the pace or risk getting left behind.  so in a way, parents are preparing us for the harsh real world. But that’s just my two cents, there are of course many ways to live life to the fullest. =D

  • http://www.facebook.com/karheng279 Aaron Ho

    I guess too much of K-pop is not a good thing? 

    While it’s great that K-pop idol are being accepted into mainstream society as a prospective career, students have more options in choosing their future careers, but does anyone thinks that this is getting excessive? As if K-pop industry is not saturated already, now further influx of new trainees and idol groups, and now with these hagwon, I am not quite sure the direction K-pop is leading Korean society to is the right way?  

    It would be interesting though if someone can make a documentary about trainees who did not make it to the idol scene despite all of the their efforts and investment. Give another perspective on the K-pop industry.
       

    • http://twitter.com/M_Wys Michaela Wylie

      Love the documentary idea. Tbh, I’d rather watch that than SM’s “I Am” movie about idols succeeding. 

      It would be more sad, but it would also be more tangible and realistic.

    • http://twitter.com/sebsobandsky Sabah

       Someone has.  http://youtu.be/PtXbLyFtpqA

      Interview about the documentary.   http://9muses.tumblr.com/post/36080583101

  • http://twitter.com/veria10 Veria

    Already the idol market is over-saturated and these prep schools aren’t helping. Even if your child spends months at these prep schools the chances of becoming a trainee are small. Even if you become a trainee your chances of debuting are small. And if you ever ever debut it’ll be hard to get noticed in the sea of debuting idol groups with things such as company, image and song affecting your debut even before you have a chance to make an impression on anybody.
    Point being, I find these prep schools to be a waste of time and money involved. Not only the with the low chance of success, but as other people have pointed out, talent doesn’t always mean success, and sometimes success can come even if you aren’t talented – I’m not even going to both listing any names because idols who are less-than-talented are too easy to find now.
    Going into a prep school do you really expect your child to be in the next Suju, SNSD or DBSK or Big Bang? The success of these idol groups is rare and their success didn’t just come overnight. One only has to look at the huge list of rookies who faded from the spotlight after their debut in recent years.
    And finally, some of the most well-known idols didn’t come from rich families. For instance, Eunhyuk’s family was poor, yet he’s in one of the most internationally popular idol groups right now. If someone really wants something they’ll succeed as long as the circumstances allow them to.

  • idontknoe

    What happened of kids having the dream of becoming a singer?