• VLF218

    Although I love K-Pop I am glad to say that I am definitely NOT a Koreaboo lol.  I do make a lot of references but that’s mostly about songs (How can I not answer “U-Know Time!” when someone asks me what time it is!?) but I am very aware that K-Pop is only one part of Korea.

  • sleptopia

    “The main reason why people become koreaboos is because of ignorance; but as one comes to know more of the culture, they can grow out of what will in the future be referred to as their “koreaboo phase” and become a more conscientious consumer of Korean media.”

    Could not agree more, though my journey had a huge crash after the honeymoon period in which I could barely watch Korean music/variety without finding it bland trite and hypocritical at best, and the absolute bane of the earth at worst. This reaction is as obviously ridiculous as my first one where I was absolutely in love with every aspect but I am still more than slightly dubious about various parts of K-culture. For example I only find one in maybe 2 or 3 episodes of Running Man watchable, partly due to the similarity from episode to episode but more to do with the obvious scripting apparent in every episode. The show has practically lost all its tension for me since I’ve started looking for false reactions. Dramas have a similar problem, with very few managing to stand out from the ‘full house’ mould of romcoms, I have a list of 5 key dramas which i consider to be the best of its type and very few break out of that mould.

    It’s the whole ‘fakeness’ of K-Pop that has really been a barrier to my re-joining the community. Everything from the calculated personality, reactions and the absolutely abhorrent use of the honorifics and romanized Korean language in general. It’s the element of following AKB48 that I much prefer, there is a very open relationship between the fans and the girls which goes along the lines of ‘you know this is fake as well as I do, but I’m perfect so give me your money and I’ll pretend to like you’. The fact that there’s so much less bullshit in the relationship is quite appealing to me. The wide variety of girls also helps because you’re bound to find that special relationship with one of them, and it is a truly one of a kind feeling. The group looks like it has started its slow decline into irrelevance with key members leaving but I’ve followed it for 3 years to K-pop’s 1 so it must have done something right. 

    I still love K-Pop, Seo Taiji, Psy and 015B were the key to making me fall in love with it again, I guess they proved that someone could be original, talented and successful and they all have some of my most played songs on iTunes

    • animasaurus

      YES! I feel the same way! The Korean entertainment industry is just SOOO transparent…

      Honestly, it first hit me when I realized just how important what “company” a group belongs to is (this will always be bizarre to me, it’s like saying Rihanna’s music is really shit but I’ll support her and try to like it anyways because she’s from “so and so’s” label!!!)… and attending “family concerts” etc. That’s when I realized the importance of name and “image” rather than genuity and quality.

      I also saw it with variety shows and how they need words at the bottom to explain situations and make them more “interesting.”

    • takasar1

      “there is a very open relationship between the fans and the girls which
      goes along the lines of ‘you know this is fake as well as I do, but I’m
      perfect so give me your money and I’ll pretend to like you’”. sorry, i dont understand. are you saying that jpop is more transparent than kpop? or just akb48 is? i have followed akb48 for quite a while now and IMO i can safely say that the only thing differentiating them from snsd, kara and so on, is numbers. (i respect your opinion). they sell the same saccharine sweetness and ‘schoolgirl’ sexuality that kpop groups attempt to cash in on and they are even more stern when it comes to breaking ‘rules’ (such as the ‘no dating or you are out’ thing)

      “stand out from the ‘full house’ mould of romcoms”, “very few break out of that mould”. yes but isn’t that part of the problem? the fact that we create stringent and strict criteria usually leads us to reji agree with a lot of what you are saying but i have to ask; how long
      did it take you to come to this epiphany? kpop’s ‘fakeness’ (IMO) should
      be fairly obvious on the day that you see your first music video.
      running man and many other variety shows may be scripted but they have
      the effect of forcing you to come back again and again, in that respect,
      they complete the task that they set out to do. no one cares about
      reactions, in korea over-exaggeration is apparently one of the ‘norms’
      and unfortunately the producers of these shows dont care about me, you
      or foreign viewers, they cater towards their own population. the reason i
      watch the show is because of the celebrity guests and the chase game at
      the endect what may be a perfectly good piece of work because it reminds us of something else we have watched. 9 times out of 10 this is usually a psychological impediment and not the case in reality. an excellent example is the question: “‘how many critics of ‘mr simple’ would have liked the song and the album had they not heard ‘sorry sorry’”.

      it depends how you classify ‘talented’, because psy can, in many ways, be called un-talented yet you could very call him a genius. talent, unfortunately, is subjective and there are many more talented idols in kpop than i care to name.

      “reactions and the absolutely abhorrent use of the honorifics”. sorry, but again i really do not get the point you are trying to make. i am not korean but i am sure that honourifics are a key aspect of korean culture and are used primarily to delegate seniority. concerning the word ‘abhorrent’, what is the disgusting way in which honorifics are used, if i may ask?

      thank you

      • sleptopia

        Sorry if I was a bit unclear. For your first
        question, I’d put the main difference between AKB48 and K-Pop groups at the
        openness of the relationship. A lot of people who follow their favourite group
        don’t even acknowledge the fiscal element involved. K-pop has a habit of
        pretending that it doesn’t exist because that would tarnish the veil of
        perfection that it wears around. The fact that everyone (besides the few crazy
        fans from every fandom) knows exactly how the relationship works between fans
        and members of AKB48, it becomes far more fruitful because you don’t get
        as disappointed when you realise its all an act. Its quite similar to
        a comment I made about the sexual content of K-Pop vs J-Pop a while ago. K-Pop is never willing to admit that the looks of their artists are one of the key attractive features of it. The conservatism of the dress (never bikinis etc) is
        frankly hypocritical because sex is what they’re trying to sell. AKB48 is far
        more willing to admit that looks are a key element of their popularity so they
        embrace it. At the end of the day, K-Pop is a heavily government subsidised
        vanity project for the Korean people to feel better about themselves on a
        global scale, so they are bound to present everything perfectly. I just wish
        they were more open about it.

        For your second point about fakeness, it’s less a
        point of not noticing it, and more about my personal ability to ignore it. The
        fact that K-Pop is so overwhelmingly dominated by nothing that remotely bears
        any relation to actual Korean culture is frustrating. The real thing that bugs
        me though is that whether it is obvious or not, there is once again no openness
        in the relationship. Because of how wildly varying the amount of scripting per
        episode (of RM) is, some of it can actually come across as quite realistic.
        This is great, until you see something that is just too
        perfectly choreographed and the suspension of disbelief is shattered
        because you feel they might have been lying to you the whole time.

        So far as talent is concerned, I’m not going to
        deny that there are some talented idols, IU is my favourite example of a
        supremely talented idol, but by no means all of them are. Practically all of
        the most popular groups have at least one or
        two members that have no place there from a singing, dancing or variety
        perspective (sorry I don’t see standing around and looking pretty as a talent).

        The last point about honorifics. If I am
        writing in korean then “형” may be an entirely reasonable thing to write in a particular
        circumstance. But if I am writing in English there is (usually) no call for me
        to refer to someone as “hyung”. Forgetting the fact that it would be
        the wrong thing for me to call someone I’m not familiar with anyway, it is not
        an English word. It is a grammatically incorrect sentence so why would
        I use it. “대박” is even worse because there are several English alternatives that work just as well.

  • http://twitter.com/deanheat Heather

    Thoughts about the v-sign?  Super tacky?  Rather normal?

    I always have the instinct to do a v-sign while taking pictures now which ends up looking really silly but it’s just this knee-jerk reaction :P

    • aoko

      the v-sign isn’t exactly an korean/asian thing..

  • kpopfan6

    Haha, this “koreaboo” thing sounds like a disease! Well, I guess it kinda is? :P

    I don’t understand how or why people go so nuts over Kpop that they want to be Korean or something. You only have to be a Kpop fan for a little while to realize that it’s not very different from American/Western pop and it’s not nearly as perfect as it seems. But for whatever reason people still go overboard and take things too far.

    I only like Kpop because I like the music/mvs and some of the groups. I don’t mind learning more about Korean culture but I don’t want to be Korean or live in Korea. I’m just hear to enjoy Kpop and then I’ll move on once I get tired or fed up with it.

  • kpopfan6

    Haha, this “koreaboo” thing sounds like a disease! Well, I guess it kinda is? :P

    I don’t understand how or why people go so nuts over Kpop that they want to be Korean or something. You only have to be a Kpop fan for a little while to realize that it’s not very different from American/Western pop and it’s not nearly as perfect as it seems. There’s nothing truly spectacular about it, but for whatever reason people still go overboard and take things too far.

    I only like Kpop because I like the music/mvs and some of the groups. I don’t mind learning a bit more about Korean culture but I don’t want to be Korean or live in Korea. I’m just here to enjoy Kpop and then I’ll move on once I get tired or fed up with it.

  • animasaurus

    Hmm… although I quite like kpop and Korean fashion, I’d hardly call myself a koreaboo.

    Personally, I think there’s nothing wrong with an interest in other cultures (being American I feel that behavior should actually be more encouraged in my country lol). It’s just when people tend to glorify Korea and overlook it’s flaws while putting down their own race or culture is when there’s an issue imo.

    Interesting read, I like it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003805670577 Mellie Dee

    Wow. Seoulbeats, you never cease to amaze me! This is the only blog where I’ve seen people talk critically on Kpop and topics related to it. I really appreciate pieces like these. 

    I find this article really interesting because I feel like everyone will read this and try to convince themselves (and others) that there is no way they could be a koreaboo. But like this article said, and I agree with this statement, most people have gone through a “koreaboo phase.” I wonder how many people will admit that they have gone through this phase? 

  • toshimon

    I’m not gonna lie,I got a few friends who are madly in love with everything Koreans. While it sometimes worries me to the point of disgust,I am sure it’s just a phase. A lot of them will eventually come to a point of realization,while some does not. It’s an endless cycle. 

    And kudos to Seoulbeats,again.

  • Ditu3ka

    The only thing I´m madly in love with is food (but there´s no way I want to become a cow) :-))

    • http://seoulbeats.com Johnelle

      Awww, but you could be like a MooBoo!

      • Ditu3ka

        Hmmm, for a steak … MooBoo sounds ok :-))

    • RC_RC

      What kind of food? Korean or other? Do you have Korean cuisine restaurants nearby? 

  • littleboyd

    Nice article. But I don’t believe it’s wrong to get (sometimes too much) interest in a culture. It’s kinda natural process of recognizing the world, whatever it’s Korean or Japanese.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jessica-Cottle/1297801414 Jessica Cottle

    I definitely went through a koreaboo phase myself. It wasn’t very long, maybe a couple of months, but I did. Currently, I only follow a few groups ( mostly JYJ and the Wonder Girls) and a few actors (Joong Ki, Ji Sung, Song Ji Hyo, Hyun Bin) and I’ve come to realize the flaws of South Korea. It’s something I do to escape the stresses of college and just…be silly. It scares me when I see people make Kpop their whole life.

  • Sentimental Muffin

    One of my favourite comments is “All the guys in my country aren’t as hot as the guys in Korea so I’m going to move to Korea after high school/varsity.” Facedesk! I always hope that people who say this are trolling.

    It’s really sad when an extreme Koreaboo isolates themselves from their everyday world and then strongly denies apart of themselves (nationality etc.). That is just an issue that runs skin deep; not a person just being overzealous.
    I can only imagine what type of fan I would have been if I was introduced to kpop 4 years ago. The saving grace for a lot of people is that just like the article states this is a phase and it too shall pass. It is great to look back at yourself and have a laugh at these “phases”.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/CAYNLEDRUPCHMKPJDMS4REJHZY gummibär

    I was interested in the country but i wouldn’t say I was a koreaboo. I think K-entertainment is just “spacing out” of the normal stressfull life I have. 
    What I experienced:  my friend who is Korean, who I met because my Interest in K-Entertainment. She didn’t stop bragging about Koreans and their Culture. I was at the point where i didn’t want to talk with her anymore because everything led to the fact that Korea is better than the country me and her are living in. Is there a word for that too? Except for patriotism?

    • Gaya_SB

      Jingoism, I guess? I always understood it to describe extreme nationalism.

  • http://twitter.com/EveryoneLovesJustKidding Just Kidding?11

    Honestly, I can’t stand learning honorifics because they make my head hurt. Meh, got nothing against Weeaboos or Koreaboos, I just treat them as entertainment. But you know, who does not like living out their fantasies? I understand it well.

  • whereex

    I think the big danger of being a “Koreaboo” is that a lot of these fans lock themselves into a niche that completely disregards most of what makes Korea great.  Korea has tons of culture and history, and K-Pop is just one very limited aspect.  It’d be like listening to top 40 music and thinking that was representative of all western culture.

    I remember first going to Korea having never heard of Kpop… which I think was a blessing.  We went to temples and jimjilbangs and saw Pansori (which my friend started tearing up in the middle of talking about how traditional Korean culture was being destroyed and how no one even knows about any type of music anymore except for boybands and rappers on TV… and I was like “uh wut?”) and ate EVERYTHING and it was great.  Only at the end when we went clubbing and saw 30 people doing some bizarre synchronized dance (which I later discovered was “Sorry Sorry,” hurhur) do I even remember “experiencing” Kpop.

    Also I think limiting yourself to the Kpop sphere severely ostracizes the normal (and over 16 years old) Korean population.  Of all the Koreans friends I have, most don’t care that much about Kpop aside for listening to one or two bands.  It seems to be more of a teen thing that people grow out of once they hit college or the workforce.  And if you think that everyone in Korea looks like a 2PM or SNSD member you’re seriously mistaken… there be homely looking people everywhere in the world y’all.

    Anyway it’s nice that Kpop has made people more aware of the Korea and gotten people more interested in the country.  It’s a little troublesome how people fetish-cize the country and culture, but it’s probably just like the Jpop/Visual Kei explosion in the early 2000′s.  I don’t think Kpop is going to be definitive of Korea for much longer… at least I hope.

    • canistillhaveadream2

      Nice comment!

      But as a human being, you’re just a funny hypocrite. Just a few days ago, here on THIS website, you said Koreans are arguing Confucius was Korean. Remember? An absolutely ridiculous and MALICIOUS RUMOR against Korea, which was actually created by your own people. And now you’re pretending to care about my country, Korea, and its culture? What kind of ridiculous hypocrite are you?

      Oh, and I remember you once even said Taiwanese people call Koreans “KOREAN DOGS”. Well, I’m pretty sure that you, too, call Koreans “Korean dogs” when talking with your fellow Taiwanese citizens, duh.

      • whereex

         If you want to troll comments for people who “hate Korea” head to Koreabang.  They have much better stuff; I’m sure you’ll spend hours there.

        • canistillhaveadream2

          You think I’m trolling? No. You DO know I’m being serious.

          I honestly seriously hate people like you as much as you hate Korea. And why can’t I express my hatred when you can freely express your own hatred towards my country? 

          Yes, you hate Korea. But for some pathetic reason you just can’t simply get away from Korean culture. That’s why you’re here. Please just realize how pathetically self-contradictory you are being.

          And please just realize you were talking about “Korean dogs” here on this website weeks ago and now you try to sound like a civilized person. What a funny hypocrite and poser!

          • whereex

             So this is actually somewhat relevant to the discussion now:  “Korean Dog” (韩狗) is a phrase used to describe people who are obsessed with Korean pop culture even though they’re not Korean.  It’s the Chinese version of Koreaboo.  Fun fact:  people all over the world have derogatory terms for people who idolize other cultures.

            Anyway, you can keep trolling me (and everyone else who disagrees with you, it seems) on this website, but this will be the last time I respond to you.  And seriously, if you’re hobby is trolling “Korea haters” you’ll find a lot more fodder on other sites than you will here.

          • canistillhaveadream2

            It still doesn’t change the fact that you mentioned the word even though nobody asked. I mean, why? Wasn’t it because you actually subconsciously wanted to let others here know how much Taiwanese people hate Korea? Am I wrong?

            There’s a Korean word, “혐한”, meaning “hating Korea” or “Korea hater(s)”. And since Taiwan is called “대만”, when you’re bored or something, I strongly recommend you to search “대만 혐한” on Naver.Com. You will see many interesting things there, including what Koreans think of Taiwanese ridiculous anti-Korea sentiment. Because it IS now very much well-known in Korea. I bet even Kpop idols are now well aware of it. Thank God! And if you don’t understand Korean language, it’s still okay. It’s still worth watching. Because you will see how many discussions/articles have been made/written on it in my country anyways.

            And again, you DO know I’m being serious. Almost frighteningly serious. And I don’t care whether or not you’ll respond to my comments. I’ll keep talking to you no matter what, whenever you disgustingly act like a civilized person. You have no idea what kind of person I am.

            I’m here for my own reason. You have no right to tell me to go anywhere else. And you do know I’m not leaving.

  • http://www.facebook.com/brian.lord.771 Brian Lord

    Just curious… What does that make me? I am literally obsessed with SNSD and their music. I love Korean culture but in no way do I desire to become Korean as I am proud to be who I am now. Sometime I think labels such as “weeaboo” can be really harmful to a person’s self esteem. If they have a fondness for Asian culture, let them. I could care less. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/brian.lord.771 Brian Lord

    Call me what you want, but I absolutely love Korean culture. From their languge, music, values, customs, traditions and history. It is not about trying to actually be Korean but it is a way to discover and connect to people who are different than I, who have a different history than I and embracing that we are just that, different. I do NOT want to be Korean, I already love and accept myself for who I am and I wouldn’t change that. If I had actually been Korean, my perception of the culture would not be the same. Does that make me a “koreaboo”? No, because I know the difference between embracing another’s culture and just having a full blown obsession, which is unhealthy.

  • http://www.facebook.com/brian.lord.771 Brian Lord

    Call me what you want, but I absolutely love Korean culture. From their languge, music, values, customs, traditions and history. It is not about trying to actually be Korean but it is a way to discover and connect to people who are different than I, who have a different history than I and embracing that we are just that, different. I do NOT want to be Korean, I already love and accept myself for who I am and I wouldn’t change that. If I had actually been Korean, my perception of the culture would not be the same. Does that make me a “koreaboo”? No, because I know the difference between embracing another’s culture and just having a full blown obsession, which is unhealthy.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/R5BKARJWK7NNOXYOIUSP76YJW4 Aj

    I admit I’m fascinated by Korean culture but I dont wish to be Korean. While I love Kpop,Kdramas and Kvarities I know very well that’s not what South Korea is all about. In fact there are many things that I dont like, take for instance how they view homosexuality and foreigners.
    Well before I was pretty much Otaku, super hooked to animes and Sakura and kimonos.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/R5BKARJWK7NNOXYOIUSP76YJW4 Aj

    I admit I’m fascinated by Korean culture but I dont wish to be Korean. While I love Kpop,Kdramas and Kvarities I know very well that’s not what South Korea is all about. In fact there are many things that I dont like, take for instance how they view homosexuality and foreigners.
    Well before I was pretty much Otaku, super hooked to animes and Sakura and kimonos.

  • sakurahae

    The thing that bothers me the most about people who are obsessed with anything is their need to justify WHY they are liking something, and how its flaws aren’t really flaws, and how it is sooooo much better than everything else out there.

    The thing is, is cant you be really interested in something without glorifying it? I mean, Kpop and the K-entertainment culture has as many flaws as the next market, you know? Just because you like it doesn’t mean that its better because you like it, which i feel is the main reasoning behind extreme fans of ANY thing. You like Kpop, so kpop has to be better than every other market to justify your liking it. And because some people might get on your case because they dont understand why you like kpop, you cling to kpop and degrade other cultures markets. I like kpop because i like kpop. There doesn’t have to be a reason. it is okay if it isn’t considered ‘authentic’ or its considered ‘fake’ by people around me. I dont have to defend it and say that it is the most genuine thing ever.

    I feel like that attitude is part of why the ‘koreaboo’ is so verbal about their love of kpop. people around them may not understand why they like what they like, or may tease or belittle them for it, so OF COURSE it becomes this Me vs them attitude, which leads into trying to defend everything which leads into glorifying everything because you want to set what you like and yourself apart from THEM. 

    ugh it makes my head hurt and im not entirely sure i got my point across here and was totaly coherent at all T_T 

    • GreyLeaves

       Good points.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Anngelica-Aguilar/100000185514336 Anngelica Aguilar

      I understand you, when I first got into kpop I loved it but I was also a bit embarrassed about it. So when other asked me why I liked it or made fun of me for it I would get defensive and say some stupid shit that wasn’t true(Like “It’s better than American pop”…-__-) just so I wouldn’t look pathetic for liking something that had nothing to do with me or my culture. But eventually I gave up on defending it. I have no idea why I like it. It’s just become apart of my ipod playlist along with all the other random music I listen to.

  • littleboyd

    It‘s well written, thanks.

  • GreyLeaves

    I, too, sadly went through a japanese faze, where I wanted to be a sailor senshi/konoha ninja/makino from hana yori dango, but I grew out of it quickly and became a well-rounded person when I became more aware to my own amazing culture. It’s not bad to highly respect or love other cultures, but it’s not good to ignore the problematic features of that culture or to trash other cultures, because they don’t seem to measure up to whatever “standards.”

    Edit: Good article.
    I think the main problem is when people are not aware of their own culture and thus transfer their attachment issues to something new that seems appealing, so they can belong to something. You start to see those particular people become over-protective/aggressive over that culture when people point out any form of criticism.

  • RC_RC

    I’m definitely not addicted to Korea or kpop but I’m a bit addicted to travelling and this starts to annoy some of my friends a bit because I keep talking about it. 

    Japan, Skorea and Taiwan are great travel destinations imho, interesting old and new culture, friendly people, great food and it is easy and comfortable for travellers to move around. 

  • Stop

    Understanding parts of Korean history and some cultural aspects will often shed light on it’s pop culture anyway- so if you’re going to listen to the music, why not understand where it’s originating from a cultural stand point? Miss A’s ‘I don’t need a man’ would be a good example here. Sure, it’s a super sassy song, but would the average Koreaboo know it’s also making a point about the importance of materialism and dating in Korea? 

    Anyway, voicing your interest in Japan/ Korea will often get you termed, no matter what you do, but it’s much better to be informed. Japan is not all ‘kawaii’ and Korea is not just ‘oppars’. They’re not flaw free either, and if you can’t accept that, then you should probably try and live there for a while.     

  • Stop

    Understanding parts of Korean history and some cultural aspects will often shed light on it’s pop culture anyway- so if you’re going to listen to the music, why not understand where it’s originating from a cultural stand point? Miss A’s ‘I don’t need a man’ would be a good example here. Sure, it’s a super sassy song, but would the average Koreaboo know it’s also making a point about the importance of materialism and dating in Korea? 

    Anyway, voicing your interest in Japan/ Korea will often get you termed, no matter what you do, but it’s much better to be informed. Japan is not all ‘kawaii’ and Korea is not just ‘oppars’. They’re not flaw free either, and if you can’t accept that, then you should probably try and live there for a while.     

  • Black_Plague

    Honestly, as a Korean, I actually find those types of koreaboos to be a bit of an embarrassment, if not even insulting at times especially when their image of South Korea is based on Kpop, K-variety, K-drama and practically anything from the entertainment industry there.

    I’ll bet my money that they probably have zero idea what life really is like in Korean schools because the way it’s portrayed in dramas mostly tend to be very sugarcoated and stereotyped. You do NOT see many, if any teachers being good friends with students on a nearly daily basis nor do you see  and this is coming from personal experience of attending middle school and a bit of high school there. They probably don’t even had any idea that corporal punishment in reality is a lot more severe than what’s seen in dramas.

    My advice to koreaboos that are a bit off in the deep end – if you’re so fascinated with Korea, learn its history, culture and etc. dating back before Kpop’s years, because like any other country, Korea’s seen its ups and downs for centuries. And if you’re into modern Korea, go read a book, site or the news. K-entertainment is NOT a valid source for learning about Korea as a country or Korean society.

    By the way author, in regards to South Korea’s population, Christians only account up to roughly 29% whereas nearly half of the whole country is non-religious while another 22% or so are Buddist. It is large, but not exactly a majority either, if that’s what you’re trying to say. Plus, a great number of Christians there probably can’t be considered as actual followers either.

    • Gaya_SB

      I meant to say that it had one of the larger Christian populations in East Asia (definitely not a majority), but I see that I’ve phrased it rather vaguely. Thank you for pointing that out, I’ll fix it.

  • http://www.m-rated.tumblr.com/ Michelle Chin

    I’ve encountered Koreaboos. Many of them in fact. Most of them, as described above, are fascinated with the Korean culture and wish to emulate some part of it — be it looking like a Korean, learning Korean, listening to K-pop and acting what they perceive to be Korean. For me, I have Korean friends, and in my opinion, they are no different from my Chinese, Indian or Caucasian friends. Still human — not necessarily superior from us. And the claim that Kpop is better than American pop? I think it’s an overused phrase. Please, it’s like comparing Royal Gala with Pink Lady apples.

    But the issue is Koreaboos don’t think this way.

    Koreaboos, for me, is like one of those guys who are struck with Yellow Fever — fascinated with Chinese culture, want to have Chinese girlfriends and have their own notions and perceptions about China, or that girl who thinks that everything from the West is better. These are usually the result of sheer ignorance. To be honest, if one frequents KoreaBang and The Grand Narrative, I think many koreaboos would be frightened. Korea is a highly patriarchal society and lookism is rampant as shit. But of course, koreaboos would be in denial, especially those who haven’t lived in Korea before. 

    But don’t you think it’s kind of interesting that K-pop alone can generate this much of admiration towards the country, to the point of idolization towards the country that they barely know a single thing about?

    I guess all those good looking people that grace our laptops and now, TV screens, do work their way into constructing a highly positive, almost mythical image of South Korea while the reality is, the gender gap is high, the rich-poor divide is growing, and large Korean companies are killing off small and medium industries. 

    While some koreaboos do manage to get out from this phase, unfortunately, most of them cannot be too bothered about reading any news apart from rumours of who their oppas are dating. 

    Pardon my cynicism…

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Anngelica-Aguilar/100000185514336 Anngelica Aguilar

      I love The Grand Narrative <3

  • http://twitter.com/rfrasur Ruth Frasur

    Thanks for this article.  As someone who has shown interest in the Koreas (shared and divergent histories, culture, etc.), I’ve had people around me assert that I want to be Korean.  When this happens, I have made it a point to remind them that being drawn to something does not necessarily mean being drawn away from something else.

    Although I do follow kpop to a certain extent (or I wouldn’t be on this website), to say that I get my information about Korea from it would be the same saying that I get my information about America from Hollywood.  Even more so, it would be the same as saying that I could understand all of America by merely taking a look at New York or anything other microcosm.  The picture would be woefully incomplete.

    Honestly, I do believe that the Koreaboo fad is just that – a fad.  Unlike Japan, I don’t think Korean culture has the long-term patience to put up with such a shallow hanging-on.  I also believe, however, that Korea knows how to take advantage of short-term opportunities, and will ride this wave as long as it is bringing in money and global prestige (as well, it should).

  • Nahla D.

    There’s nothing wrong with being fascinated with other cultures. It makes the world smaller and closer. But I’ve always believed that every culture or society has its own flaws. Just don’t forget to appreciate your own culture, and always look at the other side of stuff!

  • takasar1

    “there is a very open relationship between the fans and the girls which
    goes along the lines of ‘you know this is fake as well as I do, but I’m
    perfect so give me your money and I’ll pretend to like you’”. sorry, i dont understand. are you saying that jpop is more transparent than kpop? or just akb48 is? i have followed akb48 for quite a while now and IMO i can safely say that the only thing differentiating them from snsd, kara and so on, is numbers. (i respect your opinion). they sell the same saccharine sweetness and ‘schoolgirl’ sexuality that kpop groups attempt to cash in on and they are even more stern when it comes to breaking ‘rules’ (such as the ‘no dating or you are out’ thing)

    “stand out from the ‘full house’ mould of romcoms”, “very few break out of that mould”. yes but isn’t that part of the problem? the fact that we create stringent and strict criteria usually leads us to reji agree with a lot of what you are saying but i have to ask; how long
    did it take you to come to this epiphany? kpop’s ‘fakeness’ (IMO) should
    be fairly obvious on the day that you see your first music video.
    running man and many other variety shows may be scripted but they have
    the effect of forcing you to come back again and again, in that respect,
    they complete the task that they set out to do. no one cares about
    reactions, in korea over-exaggeration is apparently one of the ‘norms’
    and unfortunately the producers of these shows dont care about me, you
    or foreign viewers, they cater towards their own population. the reason i
    watch the show is because of the celebrity guests and the chase game at
    the endect what may be a perfectly good piece of work because it reminds us of something else we have watched. 9 times out of 10 this is usually a psychological impediment and not the case in reality. an excellent example is the question: “‘how many critics of ‘mr simple’ would have liked the song and the album had they not heard ‘sorry sorry’”.

    it depends how you classify ‘talented’, because psy can, in many ways, be called un-talented yet you could very call him a genius. talent, unfortunately, is subjective and there are many more talented idols in kpop than i care to name.

    “reactions and the absolutely abhorrent use of the honorifics”. sorry, but again i really do not get the point you are trying to make. i am not korean but i am sure that honourifics are a key aspect of korean culture and are used primarily to delegate seniority. concerning the word ‘abhorrent’, what is the disgusting way in which honorifics are used, if i may ask?

    thank you

  • random_10

    I think kpop will be a phase for me. I don’t think I could go as far as wanting to be Korean but I do obsess over the dramas and songs!  But because of kpop its made me fascinated about South Korea and its growth over the last few years and also its culture and language (attempting to learn Korean). I’m also interested in kpop because of the marketing and advertising (going to study at university) techniques used.
    I love this article by the way!

  • ierrno

    I definitely went through a koreaboo phase at 14 when I was first introduced to Korean dramas/music. Now four years later I’d say I’m well out of it. I do have around 20+ kpop posters that I’ve purchased through out the years and when people enter my room I fear they may take me as a koreaboo. I indulge in music videos and dramas every now and again to escape the stresses of university living but they don’t govern my life. I will admit though that because of my growing interest in the pop culture I developed an interest in the language (and am now learning it) as well as a slight interest in the history and plan to study abroad. I, in no way, want to “become” Korean or move to Korea for good or have plans to find a “hot Korean husband.”
    But I have had experience with a koreaboo, one my age who plans to audition for sm or yg entertainment (but her talents, as of now, are subpar.). She’s in that phase where she believes her favorite idols are godsends and where she would like to adopt a Korean baby because “they’re cute.” Whenever she brings these two topics up I don’t know what to say to her since I’ve only known her a few months. 

  • Judith Mopalia

    I was initially offended by this article, but then I thought about it – while watching a K-drama with lots of American expressions in it, and American pop music as most  of the background score.  With Koreans sleeping on Western beds, sitting on western chairs, and eating Western food to show they’re high class.  With idols made over with plastic surgery to look as western as possible.  So where’s the derogatory term for that?  Not to mention the obsession for studying abroad – one actor actually has a degree in German studues. 
    I watch the dramas (better than American, some of them, but certainly not all), eat the food(I like it), listen to K-pop.  The best thing about K-pop is listening without having to understand tons of lyrics about broken teenaged romances.  I like the sound of the language, though, and am gradually learning it.  The most Korean thing I’ve done, I think, is buy a used kimchi refrigerator, because I make my own.  I read a lot of Joseon and pre-Joseon era poetry, but that was almost all written in Chinese. 
    It’s absurd and insulting to label people because they have an interest in and affinity for a certain culture.  That interest should be welcomed.  Either that, or Koreans should go back to wearing hanboks.  Either you’re part of the global community or a closed minded bunch of jingoists.  Which would you rather be?

  • shannie4888

    I just love Korean culture and music. It’s beautiful. That is just the kind of person I am though. I love understanding different places, societies, and customs. It makes the world seem magical, charming, and awe-inspiring. 

    I don’t think liking Korea for what I can see makes me a Koreaboo. It’s opened up my eyes to a country that has overcome a terrible past to shine brightly in the present. It’s a wonderful accomplishment and I’m happy that I can see the hard work of millions of people that worked so diligently for Korea’s transformation. 

    If that makes me a Koreaboo, then so be it. I don’t care what people think. I can only say that I’m a more cultured person for exploring a culture and people that were almost unknown to me.Even after my fervor for Kpop has long diminished, my appreciation for a people and a land so different from my own will be apart of me forever.  

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Anngelica-Aguilar/100000185514336 Anngelica Aguilar

      What do you work as?

  • leolover

    I went through a Koreaboo phase myself and looking back I feel very embarrassed. I had this concept of Korea in my mind that was very incomplete and idealised.

    Living in Korea for a while, though, definitely made me realise how silly I was being. I still like Korea, but I learned to have less expectations and be more open to learning and humble about it.
    People who are over-excited about Korea and K-pop should definitely visit different places in Korea and talk to all sorts of people in Korea.

  • http://lovingkorean.wordpress.com/ Oegukeen – Boyfriend in Korea

    Young people daydream, fantasize and idealize.

    Some may fantasize about Star Trek and sci-fi, others lose themselves in Victorian novels, and some do so in Korea. After all, Hallyu and Kpop ARE an industry of selling fantasy.

    I don’t see a problem with it, unless it gets taken too far.

    Personally, I have a bigger problem with people who are overly critical of “Koreaboos”. First of all, they spread unnecessary negativity, second of all, they mark everyone who likes Korea as shallow fan and in that way make it seem like Korea has nothing deep and substantial to offer.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Anngelica-Aguilar/100000185514336 Anngelica Aguilar

    I have to admit I went through a slight Koreaboo phase myself when I first got into K-pop. Luckily I quickly grew out of it. During the first few weeks of my K-pop fever I truly believed that K-pop was a lot cleaner compared to American pop (so ridiculous of me -__-) but of course after informing myself I quickly learned it was all the same and I eventually read up on the good and bad aspects of the culture. So know, when I see comments where American K-pop fans criticize America to praise Korea, I just can’t stay quiet -___- It just really bothers me when they put a culture they know absolutely nothing about on a pedestal and criticize their own culture or nationality. I love America, I love being Mexican-American, I love my Mexican food(the authentic stuff you can only get from mom), and I love(d) parts of Korean culture but I am not in any way going to glorify it above everything else. This reminds me of the summer Olympics. People who had no other connection to Korea, other than it’s music, were hardcore rooting for anyone representing South Korea. When I read comments coming from people with different cultural backgrounds cheering on South Korea for their “oppas” every time allkpop posted an article about an idol or actor/actress mentioning the Olympics I’d sit there thinking “Sorry “oppas” *sarcasm* but I’m rooting for either USA or Mexico cause I’m not here for this”

    However, recently I’m not as interested in K-pop like I was before, honestly I haven’t kept up with any bands/dramas/variety shows as of late and I don’t think I’ll be keeping up with the genre much longer (It’s been forever since I’ve actually read or commented on an article here).

    I went from K-pop to k-indie only to eventually turn back to English with an occasional K-pop song. Two of my cousin’s became big fans of K-pop a while after I became one and they’re still going strong trying to sing along to the songs, saying random Korean phrases, stating how everything Korean is so much better that anything else, wanting to travel all the way to Korea to see their “oppas”, only watching dramas/varieties/interviews and I can only face palm at how ridiculous they’re being and hope I didn’t look as ignorant when I was first introduced to the genre. All I can say is, K-pop, thanks for the memories. For making me and my friends mimic your dances, to having inside jokes about variety shows, to just being the perfect target to poke fun at. I had fun while it lasted.

    Great article, Gaya. Hopefully I’ll somehow stay interested in this genre for a little longer, I like being ridiculous and poking fun at some of the comical things in K-pop, and I also enjoy reading/commenting on these articles as well.

  • http://twitter.com/apethat sarah.

    eerrr for a year i was totally one XD without even knowing the term for this. . o_o glad i came out *shivers* lolol

  • http://www.facebook.com/lucaswoodstock Lucas Oliveira Dantas

    omg this article is soo preposterous!

    i mean, i think it is highly interesting subject but all the author does is to revolve around how koreaboos are beyond lame, but hey there’s salvation if…. i’m sorry but this is preachy bullshit.

    of course koreaboos are lame because somehow it is an adolescent behaviour and the same way young people watch k-dramas and listen to k-pop and want to become korean, there are those who watch jersey shore and start to behave like those trashy guidos, just like those who consume rap music and hip hip MVs and start dressing up like gangstas…

    the article fails to explain why such phenomenom is so normal at most of k-pop fandom’s age, due to fiting in and social identity issues, and how the entertainment industry [not only korean but pretty much any capitalist industry] capitalizes on it, repeating formulas and themes till exhaustion, creating and reinforcing stereotypes and mostly, maintain dumb youth well bumb. i’m not saying that pop industry is evil but well any industry is evil…

    the routes the author chose here to talk about koreaboos are as superficial as koreaboos themselves; and – like them – very judgemental.

  • Heather Chuong

    I would absolutely looove to buy a documentary of a koreaboo that goes to live in Korea and is shunned because they’re a koreaboo foreigner that calls every boy Oppa! Like seriously. I would also love to see them adapt to the traditionalism and levels of respect. LIKE SERIOUSLY! Watch a Koreaboo who always fights with their parents MOVE to Korea. Being an Asian, I have learned. YOU DO NOT BACKTALK ANY ELDER! I would love to watch them roll their eyes and get totally yelled at. Ahh…one can only dream