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The face of K-pop

Tired of hearing about PSY and “Gangnam Style?”  Yeah, me too.  Interesting article in today’s WSJ Scene Asia.  Many of the most recent K-pop hit songs were written by some old Swedish guy and his employees at Universal Music Publishing.

Meet Pelle Lidell, 50 year old executive at Universal Music Publishing and the man responsible for many of K-pop song’s beat and lyrics.

Interesting what Pelle says about Japanese music:

“While Korean pop has been criticized as a ripoff of Japanese pop music, Mr. Lidell said K-pop is easier for Western songwriters to get the hang of.

K-pop ‘follows the classic songwriting style: intro, verse, pre-hooks, b-hooks in the chorus,’ he said. ‘I could never get my head around J-pop and what the Japanese wanted.’”

Now you guys know who to blame for “K-poop.”  Not exactly who you thought, huh?

  • dogbertt

    Pelle the Conqueror!

  • http://www.xanga.com/wangkon936 WangKon936

    Yeah dogbertt, I agree. He does look a little bit like a skin head in that pic.

  • Q

    Aside from songwriting, choreography of K-pop is not “a ripoff of Japanese pop music”. Are there any Japanese singers who K-pop singers might have imitated dance performances? Korea, Corea, Choreographic Korea.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9NE2GWQQ5_k

  • Yu Bum Suk

    “Not exactly who you thought, huh?”

    That came as a surprise to me. No wonder so many Koreans like ABBA.

  • JW

    Now I get to tell motherland Koreans that present day K-Pop is not really Korean, and unfortunately or fortunately depending on my mood, piss off alot of them in the process. Brilliant.

  • Bendrix

    I don’t see many similarities to J-pop. Who throws that accusation around? I always thought K-pop was more imitative of American pop. The fashions and sensibility are not as cutesy as J-pop. And musically, the hooks and emotions are totally different. I think the Korean language lends itself better to Western style pop hooks. Constant clusters are a good thing, as far as this goes, and Japanese doesn’t have many of those. J-pop is a completely different animal.

  • Mryouknowwho

    I watched an interview on Korean tv with a fat, 30-something Korean man who supposedly wrote a bunch of K-pop hits over the last few years. I have forgotten his name though.

  • hype67

    Where in the article does it say that he writes “most of today’s K-pop songs”. It just says that he’s written songs for SM. That seems like kind of a jump. Calling him the FACE of K-pop makes no sense either, but hopefully I don’t need to explain what the phrase means.

  • dogbertt

    @WangKon: I guess I’m one of the old guys:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pelle_the_conqueror

  • CactusMcHarris

    #2,

    A skinhead in that shirt and wearing those glasses – WK, please!

  • cm

    Somehow you must have missed this part:

    “Murlyn Studios, he sold hit songs to Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera and Western stars. “Koreans study world markets thoroughly,” he said. “At one point, something like six singles in the Billboard Top 10 were produced by Swedes.”

    He hasn’t just wrote songs for some Korean pop singers, he has done it for American ones as well.

  • Baek-du boy

    So there is a real artist behind all this dancing, smiling and winking afterall.

  • Ssamzi

    Wangkon: “Most of today’s K-pop songs are written by some old Swedish guy and his employees at Universal Music Publishing.”

    Can’t say ‘most’. Apart from SME, most companies rely on domestic composers. It’s just that SME is the big boy in the industry. Korean composers like Shinsadong Tiger and Brave Brothers are behind many K-pop hit songs. I don’t know why J-pop was mentioned in the article. IMO, K-pop sounds very different from J-pop in general.

  • Jed
  • cm

    #13

    One Japanese dance choreographer working for SM entertainment doesn’t make it a “Kpop ripped off Jpop”.

  • http://www.xanga.com/wangkon936 WangKon936

    CactusMcHarris,

    A reformed, hipster skinhead.

  • http://www.xanga.com/wangkon936 WangKon936

    @ # 14 and # 13,

    Just like a few Japanese engineers at Samsung doesn’t make it a Japanese television.

  • R. Elgin

    SM is one of the music chaebol that has tried to codify and put into a corporate manual which chord progressions can be used in different music markets, if my memory is correct. Yeah, “Koreans study world markets thoroughly”. I would not be surprised if part of this code came from this guy too. Judging from the acts Lidell has sold songs to, I am not impressed either.

    One example of music better produced and written nowadays, IMHO, is this, performed by Khaya Mthethwa:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UmcfVySK1f0

  • Maximus2008

    “One Japanese dance choreographer working for SM entertainment doesn’t make it a “Kpop ripped off Jpop”.”

    Correct. But it shows that K-pop depends on a Japanese…

    :-0

    Q, where are you when k-pop needs you!!!

  • Jacl

    To say this guy writes “most” of today’s kpop songs is grossly inaccurate. He cites ten million records sold, but most of those songs were by TVXQ who were promoting themselves as a jpop group and they were seen as such around the world. Hardly, the “face of kpop.” I’m also skeptical about that “ten million kpop records sold” in just four years at a time when illegal downloading is rampant. The top Kpop acts sell about 500k max per album nowadays, and only very few do this. And he thinks it might even be 20 million??? I would like to see the actual numbers to that.

    Additionally, this guy sells mostly to SME, but some of SME’s biggest hits were written by Korean composers – Super Junior’s “Sorry Sorry” which was written by Yoo Young-jin and “Gee” which was written by E-Tribe who are two hugely successful Korean composers who wrote, among others, “U-Go-Girl” by Lee Hyori.

    And the other two major companies mostly use Korean composers/producers. YGE for example, have artists who write for themselves or use in-house producers like Teddy Park. JYP still writes most of the title tracks for his acts himself. And as Ssamzi pointed out, Brave Brothers and Shinsadong Tiger have a long list of number 1 kpop songs that Lidell can’t come close to matching in terms of numbers of songs.

    To give this Pele Liddell guy credit for the success of Kpop or Kpop’s sound is ridiculous and demeans the work of many others. I smell the stink of self-promotion.

    On a related note, somebody should do a study about the impact of Kpop on Asian youth around the world if they haven’t already. I firmly believe that kpop, despite its negatives, has had an immensely positive influence on Asian kids, especially on their self-esteem, and for this reason alone, I support it in every way possible. People think that racial self-hatred is an issue among Asians now, I shudder to think what it will be like without Kpop and Kdramas which are two of the rare sources Asian kids can go to in order to see positive portrayals of other Asians. Growing up here in SoCal with many other Asians, I’ve experienced firsthand the positive effects of Kpop and Kdramas. This should be highlighted much more rather than the tired articles about kpop’s economics, potential, faults, etc.

    And if it is shown that Kpop has a strong and positive impact on the self esteem of Asian kids, I wonder, will people stop trying to tear it down, or will they continue to spout their bullshit pop culture elitism for whatever self-serving reason? Hmmmm.

  • Q

    Yeah, it is like the Korean soccer team at 2012 London Olympics hired a Japanese physical trainer, whom Japanese right-wingers bashed and threatened his safety in their bitterness after Korea team won over Japan.

  • Q

    #14,

    Ms. Nakasone’s choreography is more of American not J pop.

  • slim

    Here’s my favorite singing Swede http://www.nicolaidunger.com/

  • slim

    That doesn’t seem to load properly. http://www.myspace.com/nicolaidunger

  • untold

    Did he write the lyrics too? My guess is that they wrote themselves.

  • untold

    Themself?

  • http://www.xanga.com/wangkon936 WangKon936

    dogbertt,

    My apologies.

  • Bendrix

    13 “I don’t know why J-pop was mentioned in the article.”

    My guess is that people think whenever a non-Japanese Asian aspires to succeed in a traditionally Western area, they are emulating the Japanese somehow, or trying to pass themselves off as Japanese. I’ve had people tell me the clothes I wear and my interests are “Japanese.” I wear mostly American brands of clothing and listen to American music, so what they’re saying doesn’t make sense. Not all Asians are frumpy nerds with buzzcuts wearing Gap and into playing video games.

  • Ssamzi

    @Jacl

    It’s refreshing to read an informed post about K-pop on this expat site. Some folks enjoy BSing about K-pop with that elitist urge although it’s obvious they don’t really know much about the industry.

  • dogbertt

    No need to apologize … I take some solace in the fact I’m not as old as Gerry.

  • dogbertt

    Interesting article. When I first started listening to Korean pop music, I did wonder who wrote the hits, as in most cases it was not the singer him- or herself. A number of popular songs were uncredited versions of pop hits from other countries: one I remember fondly as being far superior to the original was a Korean song (can’t remember the duo who sang it), set to the melody of the Pia Zadora classic, “When the Rain Begins to Fall”.

  • broona

    Bendrix, that is interesting. May I ask where you were, when you were told your interests and clothing were “Japanese?”

  • cm

    #20

    Good post, Jacl. Thanks for the informed facts on who really writes the songs. There’s a whole industry of song writers in Kpop, it’s unfair to discredit them, and say one guy from Sweden is responsible for writing all the Kpop songs out there. That’s kinda laughable if you think about it. And yes, I agree with you 100% about the Asian American kids looking up to pop stars who look like them, to boost their self esteem, when there are precious little things going for them to look up to, at a time when many are suffering from self ethnic hatred.

  • Maximus2008

    “I firmly believe that kpop, despite its negatives, has had an immensely positive influence on Asian kids, especially on their self-esteem”

    Self-esteem??? If there is one aspect that k-trash doesn’t help with is self-esteem. Or by that you mean those kids that are fans are finding comfort on being ridiculously skinny and having multiple plastic surgeries. Yes, I can see that fat girl having her self-esteem pumped up when she sees those skeletons dancing on stage…

  • SalarymaninSeoul

    #34, I agree. Self-esteem isnt gotten from TV or from silly music videos. And look at those videos: how many girls can ever hope to look like SNSD or 2NE1? Real self-esteem is gotten by turning off the idiot box, tuning out the trash (pop culture) and doing something worthwhile, be that studies or sports, volunteering, getting involved in some activity or club. Thats where real self esteem comes from.

  • broona

    Hey, Psy is the face of Kpop now. How does this change the self-esteem issue now?

  • Ssamzi

    ‘Self-esteem’ is too big of a word but I think Jacl has a point on that. From an adult’s point of view, it’s all trivial for sure but for Asian teens who do not live in Asian-majority land, I believe it does have some positive effect when they grow up to know Asians can be main, cool, hip, sexy, witty, romantic, etc. More so if they ever got picked on for being Asian at school.

    @SalarymaninSeoul

    K-pop looks are more diverse than you seem to think if you pay close attention. Even in 2NE1 you mentioned, do you realize how different CL and Dara look fore example?

  • marcel joseph

    The Korean music industry has been almost completely Chaebolized. The big producers in Korea care very little about the music they make and so much more about the money they want to make. Of course this happens in other countries, but it is particularly heavy here where capitalism has pretty much run amok. Luckily for some other capitalist countries and its citizenry many of their musicians have eschewed the status quo and even managed with their music to find a voice and criticize it. There is some of that righteous anger and rebelion here in Korea too, but like in many other aspects of Korean society, the Chaebolization has crushed much of the dissent. It happens in a lot of countries, American Gangsta Rap comes to mind, but it seems to me, and perhaps this sounds imperialist, that music here is particularly symptomatic of this nation’s greater problems.

    Richard Stansfield has a great 3 part essay on the the Chaebolization of the Korean Music industry. Unfortunately, it seems his blog is down.

  • feld_dog

    re: self-esteem.
    A Korean teenage girl I know recently transfered to an American boarding school. She is quiet and shy, and didn’t have many friends at first. Then “Gangnam Style” hit big, and suddenly kids wanted to know if she was from “the land of Gangnam Style.” Now she is quite popular and has many friends. Go figure.

  • Jacl

    Those who think, like #34 and #35 apparently do, that there isn’t a correlation between a child’s self esteem and the popular media they consume is ridiculously naive.

    Here’s a recent article on cnn article about the correlation:

    http://www.cnn.com/2012/06/01/showbiz/tv/tv-kids-self-esteem/index.html

    Quote:
    “For white boys, “regardless of what show you’re watching … things in life are pretty good for you,” Martins, an assistant professor of telecommunications at Indiana University Bloomington, said in a statement. “(White males) tend to be in positions of power; you have prestigious occupations, high education, glamorous houses, a beautiful wife, with very little portrayals of how hard you worked to get there.”

    This study focused on younger children, but do people really think it doesn’t apply to teens as well? If anything, my guess is that the correlation between media image and self-esteem is even stronger among teens. It’s been demonstrated many times in different ways – the more positive portrayals you see of your gender and/or race in popular media, the higher the person’s (especially a young person’s) self-image (also, of course, the opposite is true). Is this really that much of a surprise to some people? Wow. I guess it is.

    No matter how much you complain about “k-trash”, the reality is, it portrays Asians as powerful, sexy, beautiful, humorous, loving, caring, heroic, etc., almost all universally positive qualities. And countless Asian young people have benefitted and are benefitting from this.

    Here’s a thought experiment: Imagine if there was no Kpop or Kdramas or similarly popular Asian centric entertainment. What would replace it? Instead of Big Bang, 2ne1, Super Junior, Girls’ Generation, these Asians kids will instead listen to Justin Bieber, One Direction, Taylor Swift, Jonas Brothers, etc. Instead of obsessing over the pretty Asian boys and Asian girls of Kdramas, they will obsess over the pretty white boys and white girls of Hollywood. On top of that, you add on all of the negative portrayals of Asians in Western societies with very little to counteract them, and someone, please explain to me how this can possibly be a preferable situation???

    To think that this won’t happen, and that Asian kids will actually turn off the “idiot box” without kpop and kdramas, is again, extremely naive and completely out of touch with youth culture.

    Like I said, I grew up with many other Asians in SoCal and almost all of us listened to kpop, watched kdramas, read anime, and to a lesser extent, watched Chinese movies. My friends and I have had discussions about the impact that Asian pop culture has had on our lives, but the discussions are usually pretty short because there’s really not that much to talk about. It was obvious to us – Asian pop culture, especially kpop and kdramas, have had a profound impact on our lives, how we view ourselves, our race, our cultures, in ways that we may not even fully realize ourselves.

    So Ssamzi, with all due respect, I disagree with you that “self-esteem” is too big a word. I don’t think it is at all.

  • marcel joseph

    In response to Jacl.
    I totally agree with you when you state that there is a strong correlation between a people and the media they consume and in turn produce. There is definitely a circular relation/correlation there. When kids and teens and even adults are exposed to the wonders of their own and other cultures they gain insight into the …sounds a bit melodramatic but…. beauty of the world. If you grow up listening to Mozart and or 황병기 odds are that you will be positively affected by that. Perhaps you will go one to make your new cultural gems. If you grow up listening to Insane Clown Posse or the vast majority of K-pop then so will you suffer. K-pop is certainly sexy and confident but it is also shallow and that shallowness will in turn affect its listeners.

  • http://xanga.com/caliboy888 caliboy888

    +1 to #40. At least in the U.S., this effect crosses Asian ethnic lines (e.g. lots of Asian American fans of k-pop of non-Korean ethnicity).

  • Q

    Jacl (#40),

    I think it is a lot healthier development of self identity than making oneself believe is an ‘honorary White,’ which Japanese have assumed for themselves in the process of modernization and upon which they have looked down upon other Asians.

  • cm

    There goes Q again.

    Spot on again Jacl. Particularly this part.

    “No matter how much you complain about “k-trash”, the reality is, it portrays Asians as powerful, sexy, beautiful, humorous, loving, caring, heroic, etc., ”

    “What would replace it? Instead of Big Bang, 2ne1, Super Junior, Girls’ Generation, these Asians kids will instead listen to Justin Bieber, One Direction, Taylor Swift, Jonas Brothers, etc. ”

    hmmm… not much of a supposed jump in quality of the music, is it?

  • Q

    since the time of modernization… I mean they believe even now they are Whites. Here is an interesting sociological image study:

    http://thesocietypages.org/socimages/2010/08/30/guest-post-why-do-the-japanese-draw-themselves-as-white/

    On the other hand, K pop and K drama seem sending a message that could parallel “Black is Beautiful.”

  • berto

    interesting to read a discussion on local pop culture’s influence on self esteem in a country world famous for plastic surgeries and celebrity suicides.

  • Q
  • berto

    yes “q” plastic surgery. i would think that someone so infinitely obsessed with how south korea is viewed by outsiders would know that one of the things the country is most famous for is plastic surgery.

  • Q

    I think it is better to have plastic surgery than to deceptively believe oneself is a totally different colored person. That might need psychiatric consult, seriously.

  • JW

    No matter how much you complain about “k-trash”, the reality is, it portrays Asians as powerful, sexy, beautiful, humorous, loving, caring, heroic, etc., almost all universally positive qualities. And countless Asian young people have benefitted and are benefitting from this.

    I’m not following this. Do you mean this benefit will accrue to Asians/Koreans traveling or living abroad? Yes, maybe, or even probably. But the vast majority of Koreans who watch K Pop live in Korea, where I would think the ideas represented by K Pop only leads to feelings of envy and insufficiency. Which if true would be a terrible thing because there are far more important things in life than being powerfuly, sexy, or what have you.

  • Q

    Wouldn’t identifying oneself powerful, sexy, beautiful, humorous, loving, caring, heroic, etc. be important part of natural human formation, even though that might not be the most important thing in the eyes of retired person at death bed?

  • Q

    I think affirmation of one’s identity could lead to healthy appreciation of diverse cultures. When one’s identity is distorted and somehow suppressed, it would be hard to recognize ‘others’ either.

  • Ssamzi

    Everyone does have a point. (Well, Q tends to sound juvenile.)
    JW is spot on to point out that it can have different effects on different Asian demographics. What’s primary for Asian Americans can be secondary to Asians in Asia. Male and female audiences may take it differently too. You don’t really see fanboys being jealous of celebrities but there are heaps of jealous fangirls from what I have seen. We see some of them are hellbent on producing plastic surgery accusations on celebrities collecting unflattering pictures to ease their insecurity. The beauty standard is also much more strict on female stars. Having said this, top Korean stars reknowned for their beauty are usually free of plastic surgery suspicions. In K-pop where they can use thick makeup freely unlike the actresses, it’s more about styling.

  • Bendrix

    32

    When I’ve worn shirts with Peanuts characters, I’ve been asked if that’s from Japanese influence. Yes, the Japanese love Peanuts, but last I checked, Charles Schulz was a Midwesterner and Peanuts is an American institution.

    And as far as music, Japanese also love older American pop genres like surf, rockabilly, punk, garage, rock ‘n’ roll etc. and have thoroughly populated these scenes to such a degree that if you’re of another Asian ethnicity, it’s presumed you have some Japanese influence.

  • http://pawikoreapics.blogspot.com/ pawikirogii 石鵝

    ‘Like I said, I grew up with many other Asians in SoCal and almost all of us listened to kpop, watched kdramas, read anime, and to a lesser extent, watched Chinese movies. My friends and I have had discussions about the impact that Asian pop culture has had on our lives, but the discussions are usually pretty short because there’s really not that much to talk about. It was obvious to us – Asian pop culture, especially kpop and kdramas, have had a profound impact on our lives, how we view ourselves, our race, our cultures, in ways that we may not even fully realize ourselves. ‘

    this reminds me of brazil handwringing over whether it was a good idea for brazilian tv to always have blond haired people as their primary stars in a country where the vast majority are not blond haired, blue eyed, or fair skinned. i think the answer would be obvious to most. it’s like i said, the korean entertainment industry shows aisans that you can be glamorous and elegant without westerners. the k wave represents the future of world entertainment.

  • Jacl

    #41 Marcel Joseph: “K-pop is certainly sexy and confident but it is also shallow and that shallowness will in turn affect its listeners.”

    It seems you are working under the premise that that there is an objective hierarchy to music based on quality. I couldn’t disagree with you more. It’s fine to have personal preferences, but why do you believe that your personal preferences are right and those of others are wrong? Art is subjective, is it not? I’m reminded of the four art critics who were asked to judge a new painting by a young artist who worked in the style of Jackson Pollock. Two of the critics didn’t see anything special to the piece. The other two definitely saw potential in the young artist. The problem was, the young artist happened to be a chimpanzee.

    Let’s say you are listening to Mozart and you are so moved by it, you are brought to tears, convinced that this is the highest form of musical art. Then, let’s say there is a Japanese housewife who is listening to a ballad by TVXQ and is so deeply touched that she is moved to tears as well. I guess what I don’t understand is, why you and other art elitists seem to think your emotions, your reactions are more valid than this Japanese housewife’s? To me, it seems silly to say that one person’s reaction to an art form is more valid, more substantive, less shallow than another’s. It’s fine to have personal preferences. The trouble begins when these personal preferences are forced onto others.

    The other issue I have with what you said is this: “f you grow up listening to Insane Clown Posse or the vast majority of K-pop then so will you suffer.”

    There’s a whole generation of Asian Americans in our twenties now who grew up with Kpop. But listening to kpop didn’t preclude us from enjoying and finding meaning in other art forms such as literature and film. Many of us also have a wide range of interests including politics, history, travel, various hobbies, etc. So how exactly has listening to kpop made us suffer? Do you then believe that you have lived a more meaningful life than we? Again, you are treating your opinions and preferences as absolutes and judging others based on these preferences – something which I believe has no merit.

  • Jacl

    #46 “interesting to read a discussion on local pop culture’s influence on self esteem in a country world famous for plastic surgeries and celebrity suicides.”

    Not too sure what you’re implying. Are you saying that Kpop and Kdramas have had no positive impact on the self-esteem of Koreans based on the number of suicides and plastic surgeries? If so, these are only tangentially related to the topic at hand. If you wish to further this topic, you’ll need to clarify yourself, and I’ll be happy to respond.

    #50 “But the vast majority of Koreans who watch K Pop live in Korea, where I would think the ideas represented by K Pop only leads to feelings of envy and insufficiency. ”

    Yes, but you’re forgetting about the pervasive presence of Western pop culture throughout all of Asia to this day. Most young Koreans watch American movies, American TV shows, still listen to Western pop music, do they not? Aren’t shows like Friends, Sex in the City, and Prison Break extremely popular? Aren’t there pictures of white models plastered all over Korea? So within this framework, then yes, imo, Kpop and Kdramas have a strong positive influence on not only young Koreans, but young people all across Asia. I might even say that perhaps Kpop and Kdramas are even more important in Asia because most Asians tend to get only idealized glimpses of White people and White culture as opposed to those of us Asians living in the West.

  • Jacl

    #46 Cont’d

    Sorry, I was reminded of this after I hit submit:

    http://kpopfever.com/2012/04/karas-beauty-is-second-to-none-seated-next-to-two-world-stars/

    Those pictures were posted by a Korean netizen comparing the beauty of Kara members next to Taylor Swift and Rihanna. This was done by Koreans because they, like many Asians, still need confirmation that Asians can be as beautiful as anybody, especially White people. This is what Kpop and Kdramas provide to Asians. I’ve many similar posts and comments over the years as well. Mainly due to Kpop and Kdramas, many Asians, including myself, have absolutely no doubts that Asian men and women can be as beautiful as anybody else. Whatever you want to call it, I think it’s clear that Kpop and Kdramas are crucial (and I’m not using this word lightly) to the self-esteem of not only Koreans but Asians in general. But if there is a time that the Asian standard of beauty is on par with that of the White standard, then the points you raised, JW, might become relevant.

    What I’m really hoping for is that other Asian countries start revving their soft power engines. I’ve been following China’s for a while. The government has finally loosened up its tight regulations on its movie industry, allowing for more “fan friendly” movies, including romantic comedies. And Chinese music companies have been following the kpop industry as well for a while now. Hopefully, Asia can develop a pop culture landscape as vital as that of the West. The more races that are represented on the international stage, the better. I would love to see multi-racial, multi-national films, musical groups, etc. someday. And Kpop and Kdramas and to a growing extent Kmovies are definitely taking us in that direction.

  • JW

    Jacl,

    You need to do better than that. Koreans in Korea 99% of the time do not interact with whites or non-koreans for that matter. Which means that whatever boost of self esteem vis a vis non koreans they get by watching beautiful people on TV doesn’t really factor into their daily interactions. If anything it makes them want to get plastic surgery and you can only get that by having large sums of disposable cash, which most people don’t have, especially nowadays where the economic situation is so bad that some part time bakery employees get paid 3000 Won an hour (according to a recent documentary). That only increases the feelings of insufficiency for no good reason.

  • Jacl

    JW,

    I guess you missed by point. 99% of Koreans may not interact with whites or non Koreans, but they sure do see a lot of beautiful white people on American TV shows, American movies, and in advertisements that display beautiful white men and women, quite a bit, don’t they?

    Yes, most Koreans’ don’t interact with average white people. I’ve already acknowledged that. Most only see idealized views of white beauty and white culture in their popular media which makes the need for Kpop and Kdramas even greater. I’m not too sure you’re getting my point but I don’t know how to be clearer than this.

  • JW

    No it looks like you missed my point rather. My point is that it doesn’t matter how often they seen beautiful white people on TV, because they don’t hardly ever INTERACT with white people. Why would it matter how they themselves feel in comparison to white people when they only interact with other koreans on a daily basis?

  • JW

    What possible *lasting* psychological benefit could there be other than some fleeting notions of nationalistic superiority? That’s the question I think needs to be answered, but then again, this proposition seems ridiculous to begin with.

  • JW

    Here, let me try to be clearer. If there were NO kpop or kdrama but only beautiful white people on TV, do you think that would affect their self-esteem in relation to other Koreans that they daily interact with, at all? I think it’s obviously NO. That’s the only self-esteem that really matters.

  • Q

    Western music has been dominant cultural default that the people in the world communicate their emotion and mind. Now, Korean music began to be part of the culture that people in the world could have delight in regardless of their colors. That is significant improvement considering the first Asian song on billboard #1 in 1950s was promoted with a switched title ‘Sukiyaki’ (that could have been ‘sushi’, ‘sashimi’, ‘dakuang’, ‘bento’, ‘tsumekiri’, ‘dempura’, ‘umeboshi’ etc. as you wish to name) which I assume imply prejudice vs. Asians. I’m happy that Gangnam style was not promoted with a changed title ‘kimchi’ or ‘bulgogi’ or something.

  • Jacl

    JW, I have to keep this short because I’m on my phone, but I am actually somewhat in disbelief that someone can hold your views about this topic, especially someone who seems familiar with Korean culture. I thought this wad common knowledge. All I can say is that you should do a search for “western cultural imperialism Asians self hate” and you will find literally thousands of links that contradict your statement. You’ll find that it absolutely matters what kind of images people see and for what duration as well as the various ways this affects a person’s view of self, culture and race regardless of whether or not they interact with say white people. I’ll try to write more later.

  • dogbertt

    Just look at Koreans who grow up in Korea. They’re bombarded with images of Koreans in the media and they are much happier in general than Koreans who grew up overseas.

  • JW

    Jacl,

    Could you do me a favor and link to a reference that best argues in favor of your thesis? I’d be glad to read it. It should endeavor to argue in favor of the point that a ethnic majority person gets a measurable and lasting boost in their self esteem as a result of seeing people of their ethnicity in various forms of their media.

  • JW

    Oh and a study like that should be conducted in a country where minorities make up a negligible proportion.

  • feld_dog

    I think the negative impact K-pop is having on the self-esteem of other Asians, especially Southeast Asians, is significant. Anybody whose travelled to Thailand or Indonesia or Malaysia recently and struck up a conversation with local women there will hear the following litany : “You’re from Korea? Oh! Korean women so beautiful! So tall! So thin! So light skinned! I’m so short, so fat, so dark, so ugly!” It’s really awful.

  • SalarymaninSeoul

    I don’t dispute that there can be some positive impact from things like k-pop in terms of raising self-esteem, but I hold that these are short lived and shallow. True self-esteem does not come from a TV screen. Real self-esteem is developed by developing oneself: by study, by sports, by volunteering, by participating in clubs and activities and living life and achieving things in life. People who think they can develop self-esteem by association with pop-stars they watch on TV are fooling themselves and parents would be wise to keep that garbage, and it is garbage, away from their kids. This isn’t a shot at k-pop or k-dramas, but all pop culture (Bieber and the rest of them). Parents need to get their kids into actively developing self-esteem through personal accomplishments NOT passively absorbing it from the idiot-box and mimicking it. This is a formula for disaster and in the long term it does very little good. The girl who got popular over night because of “Kangnam Style” will find those friends drifting away from her pretty damn fast once Kangnam style fades from the charts, and some Bieber “song” rockets to the top, UNLESS she has something to offer that makes HER interesting to others PERSONALLY. This you cannot get by osmosis or via association. Tune out this crap, it does more damage than good.

  • Q

    그러나 오늘도 홍대 클럽은 외국인들로 붐빕니다.

  • Jacl

    JW, my opinion is that seeing positive portrayals of your race and gender can lead to higher self esteem, especially in young children or young adults. I linked a cnn article above, but here it is again:

    http://www.cnn.com/2012/06/01/showbiz/tv/tv-kids-self-esteem/index.html

    If it works for white boys, it can apply to Asian boys and girls as well. In the same article, it also mentions the negative consequences:

    “It affects them when they don’t see themselves represented on TV, and it affects them when the young people who look like them are seen doing something wrong, he added.”

    Without Kpop and Kdrama, Asian kids will be affected negatively, seeing only positive portrayals of white people and at times, very negative portrayals of other Asians which still happens regularly in American pop culture, e.g., the new Red Dawn movie about to be released.

  • SalarymaninSeoul

    Ok, it works, but so what? How long will this effect last when thats all there is to support self-esteem? On the other hand, how much longer will self-esteem last among high achievers? There is probably a trade off, in that the more people achieve the less tuned in they are to the trash that passes off as popular culture of the day: highly achieving youths don’t usually, though there are probably excepetions, swoon over pop idols. They just don’t have the time, nor the inclination. In the long run the effect from something like k-pop will not last, and if used as a crutch to the detriment of developing self-esteem through PERSONAL accomplishments, it will be a negative influence. And newsflash, most whites do not have strong self-esteem. Most whites are just as plagued by low self esteem, complexes, etc., as non-whites.

  • Q

    “I can hardly stand to look at you it makes me want to cry.
    Get your tongue out of my mouth because I’m kissing you goodbye!” – John Denver

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U6VmAQlysYE

  • Q

    It’s Hard To Kiss The Lips At Night That Chew Your Ass Out All Day Long – Rodney Crowell / Vince Gill:

    http://youtu.be/pjkLf_X88WM

    I Never Went To Bed With An Ugly Woman – Bobby Bare:

    http://youtu.be/2M3JmRkXOdM

  • http://pawikoreapics.blogspot.com/ pawikirogii 石鵝

    people aren’t just shaped by who they are on the inside, they’re also shaped by who people say they are on the outside. this notion that the entertainment industry doesn’t participate in shaping people’s image of themselves is contradicted by even casual observation. for example, why is there away movement from stick thin models in advertising? see? let me leave you with a very sad story about a half indian, half white kid born and raised here in the states. his mom found him sitting in the dark one day. when she asked him why, he asked her when his skin was going to turn white. where’s the kid getting the idea that white skin is right and brown skin is wrong?

  • http://pawikoreapics.blogspot.com/ pawikirogii 石鵝

    why is there a movement away from stick thin models in advertising?

    sorry.

  • Q

    I began to like American country music. Lyrics are so much down to earth fun.

    You’re the Reason Our Kids are Ugly – Lorretta Lynn & Conway Twitty

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1q0eZ9eOCdk

  • http://pawikoreapics.blogspot.com/ pawikirogii 石鵝

    btw, the ‘racial’ features we think are exclusive to caucasians is bogus. if blond hair happened in caucasians, it could still happen to non caucasians without the injection of their genes. well, actually it already has happened. and they know why too.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/08/science/another-genetic-quirk-of-the-solomon-islands-blond-hair.html?_r=0

  • http://pawikoreapics.blogspot.com/ pawikirogii 石鵝

    ‘Lorretta Lynn & Conway Twitty’

    legends.

  • Creo69

    ” let me leave you with a very sad story about a half indian, half white kid born and raised here in the states. his mom found him sitting in the dark one day. when she asked him why, he asked her when his skin was going to turn white. where’s the kid getting the idea that white skin is right and brown skin is wrong?”

    Asians certainly are doing their part through their obsession with plastic surgery procedures that make them look more like caucasions.

  • Q

    Girls’ Generation ain’t look like Caucasians, nor did they have plastic surgery:

    http://blog.daum.net/1010121212/80

  • Avaast

    All are equal in Death’s eyes.

  • Q

    Gollum would be glad to hear the philosophical aphorism.

  • Creo69

    “Girls’ Generation ain’t look like Caucasians, nor did they have plastic surgery:

    Q,
    Thousands and thousands of Asians have had eyelid surgery to change the appearance that they were born with. Your example is well noted but doesn’t really make much of an argument. While I am sure there are a very, very, very small percentage of Asians who undergo this procedure for medical reason…99% of them do it to alter their appearance and acquire new physical features…features that are strikingly similar to those of caucasions.

  • Q

    Your argument is more so for Michael Jackson. ‘Gyarusan’ might represent Asian women who desire to look like Caucasian women. Gyarusan is a popular fad in Japan, whilst in Korea it could only win popularity at Gag Concert. When Asian women in general (Japanese gyarusans might be an exception) get plastic surgery, they have other Asian, often Korean, singers or actress in mind, not Caucasian celebrities.

  • Ssamzi

    @Creo69

    It is commonly estimated that 30 percent of Koreans are naturally born with double eyelids. There are millions and millions of Asians with natural double eyelids. I guess they are uhhh Western-looking? I learn a new thing everyday.

  • Creo69

    “When Asian women in general (Japanese gyarusans might be an exception) get plastic surgery, they have other Asian, often Korean, singers or actress in mind, not Caucasian celebrities.”

    Your right!

  • Creo69

    “It is commonly estimated that 30 percent of Koreans are naturally born with double eyelids. There are millions and millions of Asians with natural double eyelids. I guess they are uhhh Western-looking? I learn a new thing everyday.”

    You’re right!

  • Creo69

    “let me leave you with a very sad story about a half indian, half white kid born and raised here in the states. his mom found him sitting in the dark one day. when she asked him why, he asked her when his skin was going to turn white. where’s the kid getting the idea that white skin is right and brown skin is wrong?”

    You’re right! Once again I have been proven wrong. All the problems of the poor little brown people really are caused by the big, bad white people :)

  • http://pawikoreapics.blogspot.com/ pawikirogii 石鵝

    ‘features that are strikingly similar to those of caucasions.’ creepo on round eyes.

    yes, ans strikingly similar to black features too. and latino. and indian.
    and arab.

    ‘they wanna look white’

    uh, no, they don’t. if they do, they’re getting ripped off, wouldn’t you say? please name 5 korean actresses that look even remotely ‘white’.

    ‘it’s all white people’s fault’

    i never wrote that.

  • Q

    #14,

    Ms. Nakasone was one of the many choreographers hired by SME. DBSK’s “Catch me” was choreographed by Tony Testa, who also took care of many other songs produced by SME. BeatBurger (Shim Jae Won & Hwang Sang Hoon) are choreographers for SME too.

  • http://kuiwon.wordpress.com/ kuiwon

    This article doesn’t surprise me and confirms my suspicions concerning K-Pop.