• k_db

    COMMUNITYCHANNEL IS MY SHIT. LOVE NATALIE TRAN.

    excuse my fanboying.

    • Gaya_SB

      lol fanboying excused, nat tran is the best

    • 271828

      Was just about to post this lol. But she hasn’t uploaded in ages and I miss her ;_;

  • http://twitter.com/tiarared15 tiarared15

    I am an also an Australian born Indian and I think kpop wouldn’t be able to become mainstream in countries like India etc ALTHOUGH Indians can become kpop fans… But I’ve never actually lived there so I might not be right

  • http://samsoondowntherabbithole.com/ dewaanifordrama

    Hmmm…I hesitate to comment because I am not South Asian…but Bollywood was actually how I started watching K-drama, and from there to K-pop. (I even speak some Hindi – I got my Hindi teacher hooked on K-drama – and can read and write in Devanagari – which is more than I can do in Hangul). My online name is even part Hindi. I am South African though…so I grew up in an incredibly multi-lingual and multi-racial society, and maybe that is why I feel at home in the Bollywood and Korean communities. I have met several Tweeters/K-drama bloggers who are South Indian (because of my screenname) and we have chatted a bit about the appeal.

    I think a lot of comes from the emotive style of both dramas and the Indian film and music industry. And I think that sense of commonality is appealing. I think it’s also about availability – the online K-oriented world is so vast that it becomes really easy to share content and commentary. I have yet to find another community as proliferate (maybe it’s because I’m not a part of it), and as welcoming. There is something about the Hallyu wave that invites people in, and makes them want to talk (see this blog post: http://thefangirlverdict.wordpress.com/2013/01/27/the-unifying-power-of-the-kdrama-verse/). And I think blogs such as Seoulbeats, Eat Your Kimchi, and Dramabeans prove that. (And my K-blog gets regular hits from South Asian countries as well). For some reason there is enough that people see as being in common in both K-pop and K-drama that blogging communities such as this are born.

    Also, from what I have seen, the scale of something like this sort of blogging community about entertainment does not exist in other South Asian countries (but I am not sure – it is entirely possible that there is). Another thing that influences it I think, is that in many smaller South Asian countries there isn’t a strongly established entertainment industry that produces the quantity of polished music performances and TV shows and movies that the Hallyu industry does (I hope that changes though). I also think that Korea has worked really hard to promote the Hallyu wave, and it’s paying off (and very much helped by the “Gangnam Style” phenomenon). While the Hallyu Wave phenomenon has all the issues you mentioned in your post, I think those are problems in all the industries, including the Indian film industry and in Hollywood, and not unique to it. I think the Hallyu Wave has a lot to offer everyone.

  • perplexedplum

    Funny that you mentioned the Malaysian Tamil kpop fan because I’m exactly that. As we didn’t have cable growing up, I spent most of my childhood watching Chinese/Filipino dramas and Japanese game shows on tv. Some of my friends at primary school were into F4 and I still remember them trying to get me to pick between Jerry and Vanness. Looking back, I think I’ve been interested East Asian culture my whole life and I see k-pop as an extension of that interest. Being from such a background, I’m actually surprised that there aren’t many fans alike tbh.

    • http://twitter.com/nadga13 Gil

      I’m a Malaysian Tamil kpop fan as well! I agree that our exposure to East Asian entertainment definitely influenced our interest in kpop

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

      Do they really show a lot of Filipino dramas? How popular are they? I’m Filipino and I’ve always heard that so-and-so drama has been sold in certain countries. I’ve always wondered how they fare in other countries ’cause our dramas are more of in the vein of Mexican telanovelas and unlike K-dramas.

  • S_bliss

    I think the main reason that kpop hasn’t taken off in India(i live here) is that India is a very rockcentric culture. We love our rock bands. I mean check out agnee, galij guru etc etc popularity as well as the popularity of international rock bands. Plus, the indian music industry has diversified to have its own sound. Bhangra, fusion, carnatic, carnatic fusion, bengali rap(ok bad example) are all genres which borrow from western music but have their own distinct feel of Indianess beyond just the lyrics. Kpop just doesnt have the unique sound that Indian are looking for. Heck, the only reason I am interested in kpop is eye candy. So we dont really care much for kpop except in the manipur-tripura region for reasons which the article states. Plus there are so many cultures that no matter how popular you are(unless you happen to be some baller like SRK or some such) you will only occupy a niche. I am pretty open minded and listen to basically every genre the planet has to offer.

    • Streby

      More than that, I think its simply that everybody either listens to English stuff (like almost everybody I know), or they go for the Bollywood type stuff; I do know a few people who are taken by the rock stuff, think Floyd, Avial, and everything in between but I don’t really think it will hit it off in India.

      Of course, stuff like Gangnam style might appear thats funny but personally, I feel Gangnam style got so popular in India just because the west was raving about it.

      • S_bliss

        Yeah the three main genres popular in India is bollywood, mainstream English music and rock. And it has already hit it off in India. I live in Bangalore and it has one of the biggest rock following in all of India, second only to Shimla imo. After bollywood music, rock is the most preferred genre and has a huge following among urban youth.

        • Streby

          I live in Bangalore too, didn’t know so many peeps listen to rock. I know a good deal of people but I see most people my age listening to club stuff and general top 40 type stuff.

          And I personally listen to a ton of Classic Rock and stuff but there are very few people I know my age who are seriously into it, most people are casual listeners who know a song or two (at least in my circles)

          • S_bliss

            Huh, in my locality if you throw a rock you will hit a rocker 2 out of 3 times(thats was clever pun, cue ze lulz). And there are a buttload of rockfests held in Bangalore every year.

    • saroj khan

      i watched a lot of indian shows and movies.but srsly never thought india was/is a rockcentric ??i remember someone saying –its prbly shah rukh when they doing shows in us –with rani arjun preity –that indian does not have rock music or bands/groups so they just perform movie songs instead-but thay was way back,maybe its changed.can u link me some videos so i can check out?

      • S_bliss

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hnL3vh0-0wo(not a good example)

        There are many other but im too lazy to post them all. Check out Indian Ocean, Swarathma, Bhayanak Maut, Decibel, Avial, Thermal and a quarter, tripwire and so on and so forth.

        • saroj khan

          thanks for the links .i checked the video –but they sound like the normal music that we see in movies.not very rockish tho –

      • S_bliss

        And bollywood music is the main genre which all Indians listen to, but mostly this is due to the fact that the population of India is still not as concentrated in cities but in mainly in small towns, where you usually dont have exposure to other genres of music.

    • S_bliss

      Guys, if you are really interested in Indian music watch this show called “the dewarists”.

  • http://twitter.com/dootsiegw Maha

    I know at least two other people who’re into k-pop and watch k-dramas like me here in Pakistan, but that’s about it. We’re largely a novelty, and those of us who’re into Korean pop culture have to contend with a lot of scrunched noses and questions like “But why? It’s KOREAN for crying out loud!” With only about three hundred and fifty Koreans visiting Pakistan anually (those too for official purposes), there’s hardly any exposure to the culture and it’s largely seen as alien. I’m luckier than most and have had a chance to actually travel to Korea and see the larger culture myself and I can confidently say that as far as conservative values go, we have a whole lot more in common with the Korean people than most people believe.

    • Aleena Haroon

      I agree. Most people I tell about watching korean dramas, they react like, “Ahaaaan. o.O” But I’m pretty lucky to actually have a lot of people at my school, around ten, who are into Korean stuff as well as anime. But, yes, Pakistani’s really do have a lot in common with Koreans.

  • RC_RC

    I think that all or almost Europeans consider the people from India to be Asian. The idea that Asian is a race is I think an American idea, not a Western idea. The old Greeks defined Asia as everything to the east of Greece 2500 years ago. They certainly didn’t know how Chinese people looked like. So people from Western countries like Germany consider Indians to be Asian.

    Of course it is not easy to say where Europe ends and Asia starts. Lots of different opinions about this question but India is certainly part of Asia.

    • Gaya_SB

      That’s true, but I’ve heard that East Asians in the UK are often referred to as “Oriental,” which I still see as differentiating between South Asian and East Asian. That said, at least both groups are recognised to be Asian.

      • RC_RC

        Saying that two people are Asians absolutely doesn’t mean saying that those two people have a lot in common, at least not in the mindset of people like me. For me ‘Asia’ is almost only a geographical meaning, it doesn’t say much about religion, race, language, history or culture. And I believe that religion, history and culture hugely matter. And I don’t think that for example China and India have that much in common. At the same time it is not for me to decide, it is their decision to decide how much they have in common and I’m not an expert so maybe I’m wrong. I’ve been to East Asia (China, Taiwan, Japan, and South Korea) for holidays but not yet India. Maybe I will visit India this autumn and I will see for myself how much India and China have in common.

        I see nothing wrong with differentiating between India and China. However I prefer to distinguish based on culture and religion instead of race. People from for example Ghana and Somalia are both black but they have a very different culture.

        So I recognise that South Asians and East Asians are both Asian (that is almost trivial) but how much they have in common? I don’t know but I’m open for books or links that tell how much they have in common.

        • http://twitter.com/PlumAusten Plum Austen

          I had posted regarding this while commenting on a previous SB article. India as such is a nation of vast cultural and racial differences and these differences could be startling to people who come from more homogeneous societies. In terms of racial profile, there is a common thread between East Asian people and some groups of Indian people. In terms of religion, there is a definite common thread: Buddhism, Hinduism, Christianity, Islam – between India and East Asian nations. In terms of politics, whether it is Communism or Conservative thoughts, Indian political spectrum covers all and thus can establish common links with many East Asian nations. I think India has an interesting relationship with China.Indeed, unlike many Western nations including America that only warmed up to Communist China after its economic boom, historically, Communism has never been a factor detrimental to India’s relationship with China. India’s relationship with Tibet has played more of a role (and the war with China included) in any souring of relationship between them. But there are close commercial ties between the two nations as well – more so now than before. Until the war with China, I believe that there used to be a common saying “Indians, Chinese brothers”. So growing up in India, I felt that geographical identity mattered more than religion or physical appearance or race, and I always thought of myself as Asian – not East Asian or South Asian – just Asian.

          • RC_RC

            Okay, but do all Indians think like you? And do Chinese think the same?

          • http://twitter.com/PlumAusten Plum Austen

            I deliberately confined my response to facts. Only the last statement is my personal perspective. I cannot claim to know what Indians think :-) We don’t all think the same. But I believe my opinion reflects the average mindset. Again, like in the normal distribution curve, people’s opinions can cover the spectrum. And I certainly would not know what the Chinese think..

          • Haibara Christie

            I think that Indians think this way, but Chinese don’t. At least that what I got based on what I have gleaned from my many Chinese friends. China thinks of India as “Asian” on technicalities, but they don’t really notice the cultural similarities. Possibly it’s because Indian values are extremely religion based (even if they are not perceived from that angle anymore) as opposed to how East Asia’s religious background is not as ubiquitous.

          • Haibara Christie

            I totally agree. Another problem between China and India is Kashmir (which we normally associate with just Pakistan and India)

          • Whisperingnotes

            You must be talking about Hindi-Chini Bhai Bhai! Though ‘Hindi’ doesn’t cover all Indians nor did Nehru supposedly believe in it. -.-”

        • Haibara Christie

          I’m probably not going to have as much authority on the subject as say, Plum Austen, who actually lives in India, but I would like to comment on the fact that India and the rest of Asia have a lot more in common than meets the eye.

          When thinking about “History and Culture,” India and China have been in contact since ancient times, but there is obviously the Himalayas in the way when it comes to having vast interactions. India and the rest of East Asia have had different beginnings, with India’s origins being the Indus Valley Civilization–that said, however, I strongly believe that a lot of the values between the two sets of cultures is VERY similar. When looking at Confucianism in East Asia and comparing that to much of Hindu Culture (I know that this does not apply to everyone) in India, several commonalities are immediately apparent.

          1. Respect for Elders; especially Parents. In Hinduism, there is saying “Mata, Pita, Guru, Devam” which is “Mother, Father, Teacher, Lord.” It’s basically saying that your utmost respect/duty is directed towards your mother first, father second, teacher third, and by doing so, you are serving God. In a sense, your mother is your “first God.”

          2. Value for Education
          This is a big, but very true stereotype that I see plastered to every Asian’s head in the U.S. Most Asian parents expect scholastic achievement–at least to the point where kids are the “average student,” if not more. If I tie this to Indian culture in the past, I would actually talk about how Hinduism as a culture believes strongly in Knowledge as the source of Spiritual Freedom, and that being a “student’ is considered to be a very important part of a person’s life, and is considered one of the 4 stages of life.

          3. Calendars that are not exactly Solar. (this is a bit random)
          I mention this because it’s a more cultural aspect of similarity. It’s also worth noting that along with many things that divide the states of India, the traditional calendars among other things like language, are different between states! (some solar/lunar, some just lunar) We all have New Year on different dates, but one thing everyone shares is that this date changes each year. (Except the Tamil Calendar doesn’t because it’s mostly solar based, and it occurs on the April 14th until they changed (?) it.)

          4. Rice Eating (I put that for kicks)

          5. BUDDHISM.

          I also want to note the Thailand is the epitome of the merger between India and the rest of East Asia. At one point, Thailand (and the Cambodia Region) was ruled by the Khmer Empire at which time the cultures of the two somewhat blended. You can see the influences of both “sides’ in the clothing, the holidays, and the culture of the two countries. Even the writing seems to show some blend of cultures (don’t quote me here.)

          So the TL;DR is that India and East Asia have similarities that you can’t overlook.

          • http://twitter.com/PlumAusten Plum Austen

            Just one small clarification: I haven’t lived in India for over 20 years :-)
            So anything I say about India is based on personal experience only and is very likely not current.

          • Haibara Christie

            That only means that you have an untarnished view of India with minimal influence from the West :)
            Honestly, I recently went back to India (I had not been there in over five years) and I could not recognize India culturally. My cousins lifestyles were so different from before! Especially since many of them live in Bangalore.

          • Gaya_SB

            Actually, just religion in general: Muslims populations can be found throughout Asia rather than confined to one part, and Hinduism is present parts of SE Asia too.

  • Streby

    Honestly, the whole language, the ‘gay’ (excuse my lack of political-correctness) clothes, and the ridiculous concepts really make people sort of write Korean stuff off. Even if people are intrigued by it, almost everyone laughs it off and almost with good reason I suppose; I mean Taemin’s long hair or Ren’s skirt aren’t really helping, are they?

    But I think in India we have too many influences on our nation for anything to hit off bit and be a complete success. We are unified by diversity and that prevents anything (for the most part) from affecting every strain of our society; though it is changing, it still remains that as of today, most of our country doesn’t even have a regular access to the internet or anything like that and that is where most K-pop obsessions start off from so I don’t really see it becoming a big deal any time soon.

    • Haibara Christie

      I’m actually Indian-American (Tamilian actually, which I bet a lot of people on Seoulbeats already know) and I totally agree with the fact that India is unified by diversity. India seems like a mosaic of people bound by physical appearance and general values/religion/general culture. Every state in India is different, especially when comparing North and South. It’s why I normally introduce myself as Tamilian as opposed to just Indian, because either (1) people think you speak Hindi, or (2) you eat Chicken Tikka and Naan everyday (which is hilarious because, I’m for one, vegetarian, and two, even though Tikka is a North Indian Dish, I doubt people in North India eat that everyday.) With all of these factors, I don’t think that ANY form of cultural “invasion” can have a huge impact in India. The closest that India has come to that is Bollywood, and even Bollywood is not popular all over India. It is most known, but in places like Tamil Nadu (basically Hindi “hating” government,) it’s not going to make much of an impact.

      That said, when I was in India this Christmas Season, Gangnam Style was way more popular/known that I could have ever imagined. I saw Korean being butchered by a Tamil Playback singer on TV when he was trying to sing it. (What Streby mentioned about Gangnam Style and India is highly likely to be true. West Interested = India Interested)

      And Gaya, you just made my day. Honestly, I’m tired of people thinking that <1/3 of Asia constitutes of the entirety of Asia, including the people who live in East Asia.

      • Gaya_SB

        And you made mine with your comment <3

        Ha I actually introduce myself as Indian Tamil, because if I say just Indian I get the same comments as you, but if I say only Tamil then everyone assumes I'm Sri Lankan, which isn't a bad thing but still inaccurate.

        I actually saw a couple of GS parodies, one with Rajnikanth and the other with Sivaji Ganesan. My dad loved the latter.

        • Haibara Christie

          Really? I haven’t seen that happen before. That’s kind of a weird reaction because Sri Lankan Tamilians are people whose ancestors emigrated from India.

          Sivaji and GS??? Dude, I’ve got to see that.

          • Gaya_SB

            I’ll admit, it was fun picking out all the films that appear in this. But Thiruvilayaadal will never be the same for me. Or my dad.

          • Haibara Christie

            Hahahhahahahahahhahaha!!!!!!!! That like made my morning.

          • http://twitter.com/miss_subi Subashiny

            It’s actually the other way around. Dravidian migration patterns have established as much.

          • Guest

            Wait, I thought that the original Dravidians were the indus valley people…but I could totally be wrong.

            Nevertheless, you learn something everyday. Thanks Subi!

            (On a side note, can I use the “Contact Seoulbeats”email thing to contact you all about something not quite related to Seoulbeats?

            —*Start Convoluted Rant* I was wondering whether your site ran through WordPress, and I like the basic theme of the site, and I was having problems with one that I was editing that’s completely unrelated…and…yeah. IDK if I can even ask you guys that but I did anyway. *End Convoluted Rant*)

      • Streby

        The Hindi-hating is really rampant in Bangalore too, I swear I always hear bus conductors/auto drivers cussing about how nobody bothers to learn Kannada and stuff.

  • http://twitter.com/PlumAusten Plum Austen

    Well, I have listened to music from around the world for many years now and language has never really been the issue. However, as I have grown in older, the theme of the music has become more important – rather than just love and lost love, I want to hear themes like discrimination, injustice, loss, humor, courage, joy. Lady Gaga’s ‘Born this way’, Johnny Cash’s ‘Hurt’, (indeed most of Cash’s songs), Michael Jackson’s ‘Man in the Mirror’, any piece by Ella Fitzgerald, Nat King Cole, Jimi Hendrix. As the classic song goes, these are just a few of my favorite things….

    I am intrigued by the off-beat.A Busker Busker song (an ode to a loved one’s ears) is memorable to me. I have also grown to admire qualities like tenacity, persistence, hard work, along with technical and artistic mastery of music, dance, and poetry. I make an effort to listen to indie-music in all genres – even if I have to hear the song and see the lyrics translated. Videos are usually not my thing. Recently, I liked one video by Illinit – it just comprised of word art. I liked Drunken Tiger’s new video through MFBTY – Sweet Dreams.

    I’m not a fan of a person or a group – as much as that of song. I like to see genuine expressions (or even passable facsimiles of the genuine expressions) in live performances more than super complex dance moves and lip-syncing. I like Infinite H’s live performance of ‘Without You’ because the two singers are enjoying on stage. Its almost like they are performing for themselves – not the crowd. I like appropriately used fusion. When B.A.P added Korean drums to one song, I thought it just brought the song to life. To me, the Spanish guitar sounds and the African and Latin beats convey more passion than booty thrusts. Words spoken with quite menace are more powerful than a gun scene.

    Re K-POP in India, I do not see the reason why it cannot get a foothold..They offer eye candy, catchy hooks, bubble-pop flavors same as most Indian movie music. Through MTV Asia, Channel V, etc they have the medium to reach the audience. Indian market has the disposable income. So why not? India is so linguistically diverse that I don’t see language as a hindrance. There are other factors including inappropriate cultural representation and cultural ignorance. But this is something that is seen with Indian popular culture as well. As someone else has already posted here, Indian music market is a collection of niche markets. I do think K-POP can target and create a niche successfully. All it needs is some awareness and sustained marketing to make itself known. A good start would be to get Kyhyun and Changmin to serenade Indian girls, get 2NE1 and Big Bang kick some serious ass in Bombay, let Shinee and Sistar sing and dance, Hyuna do her thing – the resulting hormonal explosion will encompass the whole of Asia :-)

  • http://twitter.com/silverukiss Silver

    I liked how you distinguished between different types of Asians. Whenever I tell people I’m part Asian they look at me like “What the crap are you talking about, you don’t look at all Asian.” Of course, I still get confused all the time. Is the Philippines part of Asia? Are they considered Pacific Islanders instead? I never know what to fill out on forms.

    “Do you get asked why you watch Korean stuff when there’s already a wealth of entertainment in a language you understand?” — All the time. People can’t seem to wrap their heads around the fact that I can enjoy something that is in a language I don’t understand. It seems to boggle their minds.

    Actually my sister asked me this exact question. And then I laughed in her face when she started going around singing Gangnam Style.

  • Tanya Joshi

    I agree with basically everything you said! I’m Indian (my dad’s from a place near Delhi and my mom is from Mangalore – near-ish to Bangalore) so I’m a mix of North and South… And because everyone here is saying that they’re American-Indian/Sri Lankan, etc, I’m just gonna throw it out there that I’m Canadian-Indian (this is just me being me so don’t think about it too much <- you probably have no idea why I said that… But again, that's just me being me… :D).
    I don't really know much about India's history, sadly, because my parents didn't really tell me much about it when I was young – even when we had moved to Canada when I was 5 – and I've grown up not really having an interest in it (yeah… I sound bad… (I really wish I did, though, I feel like an idiot when reading all these people who are knowledgeable about it)).
    But everything that the article said as well as everyone's comments I agree with COMPLETELY. To me it was so weird to see SRK standing with someone from Kpop, it for some reason seems so foreign, haha.
    Anyways, my pet peeve is when people say I'm not Asian… Like, India is IN the continent of ASIA, HENCE I AM ASIAN, not much to argue about with that…
    In general, I feel like people would see me as extremely strange as an Indian KPop fan, so I keep it on the DL, other than to my Korean friend and my two other friends know… You would think that a culture that's more similar to East Asian culture would be more into it, but India's VERY diverse in itself so I would think that there wouldn't be much of an interest AS MUCH to a new culture. And my Korean friend would always ask how it feels to watch something in another language, but I never really thought much about it.
    My dad always says, "Why are you listening to something you can't even understand, I don't get it…. -.-" but as long as you like the music or the feeling it gives you (no matter WHAT genre of song it is) I don't see why language should be a big deal… Besides, I just see the Korean language as another instrument that I can play (however amateurly – sorry, I bet I spelled that wrong…) whenever I'm in the mood.

    Anyways, I totally forgot the point I was gonna make, so I'm just gonna leave it at here as just some random post… :D

    • Ambika_SB

      Off topic, but Mangalore! My mother is from a city ~50 km from there. Admittedly we spend more time in Bangalore and places near Chikmagalur (where my father’s from) when we go back to visit, but still yay!

      • Tanya Joshi

        Woot! Mangalore buddies! :P

  • Lavlavs

    I (personally) think K-Pop appeals to Indian-Americans because it’s similar to us. Growing up, I had both Indian and western values instilled and I see K-Pop as a fusion of “Asia” and the “West.” The trend towards catchy dance music is reminiscent of western music yet the language and certain underlying Korean themes are there. So it’s a mix of the familiar to me, just in a slightly different package. However, I think dramas are much more popular among the South Asian crowd. I started out watching dramas and then forayed into K-Pop and it was the same for my Pakistani friends. In fact, they rarely keep up with K-Pop and focus more on dramas. The only reason I keep up with K-Pop is because my best friend is Korean-American and she’s always sending me music. If not for her, I’d only be an occasional K-Pop fan.

    So in general, I think it’s dramas that really capture the South Asian audience more than K-Pop does. One, we’re already used to different languages so a foreign one isn’t a deterrent whereas many of my white/black friends can’t even fathom watching/listening to something you can’t understand. Also, themes like respect towards elders are something that resonate with us. Plus, watching dramas is much easier when you’re new to K-culture. Plenty of sites offers subbed dramas legally whereas it’s much harder to know where to start when it comes to music. Unless you know someone who likes K-Pop or you read websites like Seoulbeats (which is little known in comparison to a site like Hulu that offers select K-dramas) its difficult to find what’s hot, what’s just released, and so on.

    As for the whole Indian v Asian thing, it’s frustrating when people claim you’re not really Asian because you’re Indian but I just stopped caring. Because truly, I think of myself as American first and Indian second. And that’s not even dealing with all the different Indian ethnicities. So I do think it’s stupid when people separate Indian (and other South Asian identities) from Asian but in the grand scheme of things there’s better things I can spend my time worrying about.

  • trekool_rad

    Sorry I wrote (rambled?) so much but this article really made me think …
    :)

    Yes, I am a South Asian (Indian) American kpop fan. Specifically Malayali or from the Indian state of Kerala. Or I was a kpop fangirl. I became a kpop fan way back in high school because my friends (who were mostly East Asians and Southeast Asians) introduced me to DBSK. I loved the songs, the music videos, the variety show appearances, the interviews, and the boys were absolutely lovely. After DBSK split up … my interest waned a bit. Or a lot. There are a few songs that I enjoy here and there in kpop but I no longer consider myself a kpop fangirl. My interests have changed and I am too busy with grad school and life. :) Now, I find the cultural/sociological aspects of kpop and hallyu more interesting. I have to mention that even though I am Indian … I do not listen to Indian music or watch India serials or Bollywood or regional movies on a regular basis. The only Indian form of media that I “consume” is Indian arthouse (parallel cinema) films. So it’s not like me listening to kpop was replacing my “Indian” music either. Also, my family did not think it strange that I was listening to kpop/jpop. My parents are huge fans of Arabic music despite not understanding a word.

    My experience as a kpop fan was positive. It was a common point of interest in high school since I went to a school that was mostly Asian (mostly Chinese/Korean/Taiwanese/Filipino, about 70%). During school assemblies, we had kpop music and dance performances. It seemed like everyone listened to kpop. It was the main topic at the lunch table and on the bus. Some of my classmates wrote fanfics and made fanart. Kpop definitely brought us closer together and maybe made it “cool” to be Asian or redefine what “Asian” was. In terms of my Indian friends, very few of them are into kpop, and in high school they were more into Bollywood music and bhangra.
    Interesting points you brought up about South Asians not being considered Asian. I went to a predominantly Asian high school in NYC and all the Asian kids referred to me as “Indian” or “brown” (which I am!) – so I never really thought of myself as Asian at all either. Now, I say that I am South Asian American.

    To me, India and South Korea are two really different countries with different values despite being on the same continent. Korea is a smaller (in terms of area and population) and more homogenous society (one language vs. many languages). The amount of development and progression is quite different as well. India and China might be more comparable. Hallyu, to me as an Indian, is interesting. It is well packaged and polished and it is marketed quite well and is much more accessible as … compared to Jpop. But I agree, Korean pop stars do not look (or dress) like me and Korean society and values do not necessarily mirror that of my culture or upbringing.

    One of the things that appealed to me as a fan of Hallyu was the amazing cinematography and camera quality. Nothing makes me happier. Even in the early 2000s, Japanese dramas had muted colors and grainy quality while Korean dramas had way better quality cameras and lighting.

    Also, I was in India this summer. In Delhi and in several cities and more rural towns in Kerala, India. Most of the young people that I interacted with are into the Bollywood songs, bhangra, regional language film songs, rock music – (my cousins are really into a bunch of British bands), Arabic music, and of course American pop. Didn’t hear anything about kpop, much less Cpop or Jpop either. However, kmovies seemed to have a really big following among my cousins and their friends/classmates in both Delhi and Kerala.

  • Chathu

    I’m a Sri Lankan growing up in America that’s into K-Pop – this species of fangirling is pretty much nonexistent, at least from what I’ve seen. My dad doesn’t understand why I enjoy watching K-Dramas so much when I can get my dose of cheesy from Bollywood – I don’t necessarily understand the language (Sinhala here), but it’s at least easier to relate to. Same goes with the music – my mom doesn’t understand why I can’t listen to mainstream US/English-speaking pop or more traditional Sinhala music if I can listen to K-pop.

    And then there’s the whole issue of colorism. It’s one thing to be Sri Lankan and dark – yeah, you’re considered beautiful if you have light skin, but it’s all right if you don’t, since we don’t have any lighter-skinned people from a “northern” region the way that India does. But in K-Pop, it looks like it’s a deadly sin to be any darker than a slight tan for the sake of sexiness. Many hopes and dreams were crushed when I found out that basically all of Super Junior wanted a pale-skinned girlfriend. Not to mention that it can get a little annoying, hearing all of these K-Pop idols harp on about a girl’s beautiful pale skin in their songs and oin variety shows – what’s wrong with a little brown??

    Honestly, I think I love K-Pop because it gives me a chance to be fangirly over multiple boy bands and girl groups, instead of having to limit myself to a few ultra-mainstream groups like One Direction, and it lets me take a look into a new culture. I’ve never been as into manga and anime and Japanese culture as my obsessed friends are, so this was my chance to at least have something somewhat similar, but also more down-to-earth and relatable, because let’s be honest: one can only take so many over-exaggerated faces and screaming in Japanese, I’m sorry.

    All right, this got way long. XD TL;DR – we Sri Lankan fangirls are a rare species, and that HAS caused K-pop to be a bit of a dirty little secret for me, but I haven’t been stopped from enjoying it, and I have no plans on stopping willingly. And also, thank you so so so much for writing this, Gaya – I can’t tell you how wonderful it is to have us brownies represented and spoken for in this fandom. ;u;

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=18404469 Sabina Mohan

    I just want to say I am very happy to see this article because for the longest time I thought I was the only Indian-American (Malayalee to be exact) that loved kpop. I would say the appeal to me was 1. eye-candy and 2. the music. I only have watched one drama so still have to warm up to kdramas, but I’m totally into the music and variety programs probably because the stars seem very down to earth. They’re fun and don’t get away with a lot of behaviors like Hollywood stars do. Plus, I like the thought of these groups having both solo and sub-unit stars like Infinite-H, It gives members a chance to showcase their talents separate from a bigger unit. Here in the west, there would never be an NSYNC subunit called SYNC or Back Alleyway Men etc. And as a former dancer I appreciate the dances in the videos and how crisp the moves are. So much so that my friends and I have created our website that we talk about it http://www.mysmorgasboard.com

    As a fan I haven’t been asked why I’m into kpop, but I do see in a lot of other Indians faces and they’re thinking “why?” and they balk at the thought of even giving kpop or kindie a try. With that in mind, here’s my reasons why kpop wouldn’t be popular in India

    1. Lack of cultural exposure: As many people have stated in previous comments, Indians and Koreans are not exposed to each other unless they live outside their respective countries. I myself did not know where Korea was until high school and when we started getting H-Mart. Indians aren’t aware of Korea because Indians haven’t had a reason to travel and live in Korea. They mainly travel to either the Middle East, China, Japan, Singapore or Malayasia and vice versa. Which is a crucial if you want the exchange of cultural ideas to occur and stick. There have been very few Koreans and Korean celebrities who have traveled to India and stayed for an extensive period of time to create an impact.

    2. Language barrier: Indians know English very well. So if there hear stuff like “because I’m naughty naughty” and “YupidyYupidyBoomBooomCrack”. Indians are gonna be like wtf and would rather listen to American or European music. With the exception of Gangnam Style (which is a category of it’s own because it’s a song with a universal beat that anyone can put lyrics to and sing along).

    3. Culture clash: Although real Korean culture is very similar to Indian culture, India is much more diverse and conservative with micro cultures within the country. Punjab has a different religion, culture and food versus Sri Lanka. If you hop around India you’ll feel like you’re in a different country altogether. Whereas Korea is a more homogenous society with the same core values and language. But with that when Indians can’t understand the music, they’ll focus on the costumes and probably will get distracted by the hair styles.

    Although it did surprise me that Sri Lankan President and his children are fans of Super Junior, it would be more of a cult following rather than something mainstream. Kdramas though may have more popularity because the actors at least look natural and more realistic to what Indians would like to see on-screen. But I could be wrong and kpop would be popular if they show the variety shows as well. I know I wrote a whole article in here, but just wanted to get my opinion on here.

  • http://twitter.com/krisus_itsKris Jinee Scarlet

    I’mfrom Bhutan and the teens here really like Kpop, even the guys cause the dance is cool but the adults cannot stand it….

  • http://twitter.com/naro_lkr naro lkr

    I’m from north-east India and at the initial stage i didn’t quite like k pop because of all the cutesy thing around at that time… i was more into Korean movies… until one fine day i came around the song ‘lies’ by Big Bang I liked them instantly especially TOP. Anyhow k pop is interesting but as i keep exploring more into the Korean music scene i think i like Korean indie music more. There are some nice bands out there…

  • yuki kokoro

    I just want to note that “why you watch Korean stuff when there’s already a wealth of entertainment in a language you understand?” is relevant to a really high percentage of international fans… Note that you can’t ask the question, just that I think it would be a really interesting topic for another article. I’m really curious about it.

  • Whisperingnotes

    I guess I’m a North Indian (parents from Bihar) but born and bred in Chennai! XD

    Anyway, the reason why I got into K-pop is not because India is multi-cultural and diverse or w/e – personally, I don’t think it has anything to do with kpop – but because it at that time, K-pop was some alien life-form to me. XP

    Also, I grew up listening to boy groups like backstreet boys, boys zone (I forget the exact name), westlife, you name it. Even that Indian girl band Viva (remember them? XD), so I’m pretty sure that’s one of the main reasons why I got into k-pop (plus, they included rap segments! :P). Another reason would be that I had already been exposed to manga and Japanese cultures. Sure, reading manga about bishounen (sp?) boys and actually coming across them in real life are two different things.

    Bottom-line is that K-pop was and is just soooo weird that it was impossible for me to not get into it. It took a while, but I got into it. Also, I have an open-mind.

    [EDIT] I forgot to mention the language difference…. It didn’t pop into my head…. I guess this is where multi-lingualism (is that a word? XD) comes in. It never ‘registered’ to me that this is a whole different language…I mean, we’re already surrounded by different languages so it’s pretty stupid of any Indian to ask me why I’m listening to songs of a language I do not understand. :-/ *shrugs*

  • JoyBells

    I am north-eastern from India,and i’ve been following kpop and kdrama since 2007.Initially my interest lay in kdramas ,but slowly somehow i got addicted to kpop as well.Kpop culture is rampant in north-east india mostly among pre-teens,teenagers and tweens and you can see it quite clearly;from hairstyles,to dressing sense to using minimal korean words( oppa,sarangae,omo,aigoo).Even middle-aged women seem love kdrama,but can’t seem to get into kpop (for obvious reasons).
    I dont know for sure,if hallyu wave came into India through north-east like the newspaper claims,but i can vouch that nowhere in India is hallyu wave as rampant as in the North-east.

    Its no secret that people of N-E have always felt a little isolated from rest of the country because of the difference in culture,traditions,language but mostly due to(i dont know how to put it another way) the difference in physical apperance(NE people are of mongolian origin).So initially in a way,the hallyu wave caught on in northeast because people could sense the similiarity between them and the hallyu actors on-screen,as seeing north-eastern face on Bollywood screen is an almost rare sight,so the people felt more connection to kactors.This is one of the basic reasons i feel is the reason why kpop and kdrama is so popular in Northeast regions.

    When someone mentions kpop and bollywood in the same sentence,the first thing that comes to mind is http://youtu.be/5e89hdgFvrY

    Trying to take everything sportingly and with a good dose of humour,but this episode of shinhwa broadcast made me cringe a little.They took the worst possible idea of what bollywood and india is -land of snake charmers and magic flying carpets and men with turbans twirling moustaches.(And the belly dancing is not even indian,more like arabic form of dancing). It included basically every common stereotype that foreigners have about Bollywood/India. Again,like i mentioned it “is” shinhwa broadcast,they were trying to go for maximum laughs and were more into making fools of themselves,so i was less on the offended side.In recent times,kvariety shows have become more culturally sensitive or atleast i havent read or seen any such incident.And that alone makes me really glad.
    P.S-My parents feel like kpop is a phase im going through,and is waiting for me to grow out of it.but its been about 6 years now and i don’t think im going to tire of it any time soon. :)

  • saroj khan

    so suprised to srk.lol
    when i went for a visit to nepal–a lot of people were actually watching a lot of kdrams and they are familiar with actors.i am not really sure about kpop tho .

  • http://twitter.com/4MYLalways Cyndi

    I’m American & I a HUGE fan.of Kdramas<3 Kpop <3 & also HIndi films and SRK <3 ! From all cultures, I love the stories, the music, & the romance. Watching is entertaining as well as a good way to learn about people,.of course the gorgeous men are a bonus also!! = ) A good movie or drama & catchy or beautiful song that sticks in your head will touch your heart not matter what language. If you watch for the human story, there are no boundaries! In the interview Yash Chopra gave before he passed he said his movies were about relationships.

    It is no different than people in other countries watching Hollywood movies or listening to the music from here. We are all people. There have only been a few who ask why. I have many friends who also watch them and more & more are watching by the day. I am watching a couple different Kdramas right now and I laugh, I cry, & I get frustrated just as any other would. My phone is full of Bollywood soundtrack music as well as Kim Hyun Joong … {sigh} DREAMY!

    I have talked to more people from OTHER countries who seem more surprised that we are fans. Subtitles are no big deal and in time you learn first a few words then before you know it, you know many. It is a wonderful thing to be a person who feels they are part of the WORLD, not just a certain country.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001921651104 Sanjana Kalyanpur

    Hey I’m a K pop fan as well :D
    Glad that u wrote this!
    But hey, u need not worry!
    Many of us have now started liking K pop
    I don’t care about the racist people
    Let them die! ^_^

  • kaninikaa3@gmail.com

    Bonamana sounds like it could be a Bollywood song (well to me at least).

  • shashuhaimi

    Living in Malaysia, I could conclude that Tamil Kpop fans are very rare to our sight. When it comes to concerts or fansigning events, those in line are always Chinese and Malays, but it doesnt necessarily mean Tamil Kpop fans dont exist. In my opinion, theyre more attracted to Western Bands. Why? That I wouldnt have the answer.

  • linhee

    I thought reading the part how the West distinguishes the East Asians and South Asians was interesting. Maybe this depends on each person, but my friends that are South Asians hate to be identified as Asians, despite the fact that they technically are. They say they don’t want to be associated with the attributes of East Asians that they dislike – for example, the cute stuff. Also, they don’t really bother with East Asia’s entertainment mainly because they have everything they want from what South Asia offers.

  • Maggie

    Sigh. I definitely don’t see KPOP catching up in Delhi. While almost every north east Indian is in sync with South Korea, North Indians are a no go. I’m frowned upon almost every-time I reveal my love for kpop and every thing S. Korea (and Japan) No one understands the love hate affair with dramas either. Even though a lot of people people love Oldboy, it ends there.

    It doesn’t help that the only korean song that got popular here was Psy’s. Now that’s what people think all of it is like; hilarious videos and some catchy english words.

  • Maggie

    The korean Cultural center really makes an effort though. The language classes are pretty good, they have a lot of cultural events and kpop contests. *hopeful*
    I spend hours there just watching KPOP audition! (being unable to get Arirang at home)

  • quint

    I know I’m a year late in responding to this but I am an Indian kpop fan, homegrown to the boot i.e born, raised and currently living in India. Tbh, most of my family and friends don’t actually question me about my musical preferences and those who do are just curious about whether I can understand the language. But then I am quite open about the fact that I have been interested in Japanese, Korean and Chinese culture for quite a while and most of the people around me have accepted it as a part of my personality. Another factor might also be because, as you mentioned, the melting pot of different cultures which Indian culture itself is. I guess the shock value becomes lesser then. I have seen North Indians listening to South Indian songs or even songs in other Indian languages and vice versa. This might sound strange in homogeneous societies like Korea and Japan,but really, the exposure to different cultures that I have had since childhood has made it easier for me to approach and befriend people from other cultures.