(Honestly, I’m not sure how to list this. LOL)
This is post is more so how I feel about “idols” I follow and have respect for in Korea more so than the concept of how others feel towards them. To people who are… more serious about being up on everything about your bias ever and maybe even borderline or might be 사생 팬, this is not to offend you. But considering the mentality of those fans, well, even if I say don’t take offense, you might do so anyway.
Please don’t threaten to blow up any venues I attend, thank you.
I started my journey into the kpop world back in 2002. Ironically, BoA’s being within the Japanese music world caught my attention (since I was a big anime watcher back then) while being introduced to Korean music by a 후배 in my high school. But when I listened to more of BoA’s music… I realized that the words from song to song… didn’t quite sound the same. With some research, I realized she was Korean, but singing in Japanese AND Korean. Back then, it was like “whoa MIND BLOWN” to me and I was amazed by that. I found my way to kpopmusiconline and joined the forums and the door from that point on jwas opened.
I was introduced to Fly to the Sky, Shinhwa, g.o.d., H.O.T, Se7en, 1TYM, Wheesung, SES, Lee Jung Hyun, Koyote, ClickB, M.I.L.K. and so many more other artists. Don’t mind if most of those names sound very unfamiliar to you. Just know that a lot of these artist paved the way to what kpop is today.
The big difference I feel between the artists of back then and now (I’ll use EXO and BTS as a good example) is that the artists of the early 2000s, well… there was definitely this line of FAN | IDOL. You didn’t seem to get know much about them outside of their performances and if they were on shows. Now? You see artists on shows like Running Man or having their own show of their dorm life… So it went from being very professional, your fans not knowing much about you outside of your stage life, to feeling a close connection with them because you see how they are behind the scenes. And in that scope, the world of kpop has changed.
One of my friends I met through the forums I mentioned earlier was able to live out one of our long lived dreams of seeing g.o.d. in concert. When their eighth album dropped, in listening to it, I found myself in a wave of emotions and without realizing it, I was crying. Yes their songs for me (especially Lone Duckling) pull at my emotions, but that wasn’t the source of my tears… but I feel like my childhood friend returned from being far away. (Remember since 2002, kpop has been a part of my life and g.o.d. went through a lot during their temporary disbandment… and then they reunited.) So when I spoke to my friend about this, I explained it as, “I don’t feel… like they’re idols. They’re more like the childhood friend that never left. But in the sense that yeah, they physically left my side, but they were always there when I needed them [through music].” And without saying much more, she knew EXACTLY what I meant. [She and I actually got to meet Kim Tae Woo, which I will talk about in another post.]
Because of this… impersonal interaction being shown… especially with things like BANGTAN TV and EXO’s SHOW TIME… they feel like people I could just hang out with. I wouldn’t feel that intimidating or nervousness I would for someone I would only view just as an idol/artist. [For the record, when I met KTW, I was so nervous in front of him cause he’s someone I’ve respected for a long time, so while I felt the childhood friend aspect I just talked about, I got to know him more in the ‘professional idol’ phase.] I feel like meeting the members of BTS, EXO, and even BIGBANG, I would feel that initial nervousness of meeting someone I respect musically, but I would ease into being more relaxed and probably be more friendly in speaking and being around them. Why? Because I got to see their personality and how they are with each other…. and indirectly, I feel that friend connection because I was able to see that. (Although I need to enhance my Korean before I’m able to do any of that.)
In perspective, I’d probably be a nervous wreck if I were to meet Tony An from H.O.T. and Hwanhee and Brian from Fly to the Sky, but initially be nervous but then relaxed in meeting Jungkook from BTS or Lee Seung Gi… T.O.P. from BIGBANG is debatable (lol). I honestly don’t know how I would act around him.
Do you happen to feel the same way I do? Or do you believe that there is always a fan|idol wall and it should never be crossed? Let me know. I’m interesting in hearing how you relate to kpop artists.