The Marmot's Hole

Korea... in Blog Format

Tag: kpop.

Working For The Man: Brad Moore of “Busker, Busker”

BuskerBusker-575x286Asian Junkie has an excellent review of the current controversy regaining Brad Moore’s interview (with Noisey) (link here) and Busker, Busker’s difficult experience with the music industry in South Korea and its abusive working conditions that are closer to slave labor than not. One notable quote about not being paid for work performed:

. . . We were popular because we were on TV, but we couldn’t legally make money,” Moore says, underscoring a strange norm in Korean entertainment law. “We were at ‘amateur status’ in the broadcasting contract. So, like, Coca-Cola comes in and we spend all day doing a Coca-Cola commercial, but they pay the [show’s] company—not the artist. We were on the show for eight weeks straight, and we did commercials for eight weeks straight.  We took home no money from that.

Here is a link to an earlier post on Busker, Busker!

The beauty of international marketing

The Ilbo that is Chosun writes that K-Pop girl bands are sexing it up for Japanese audiences by baring more skin (though I am not sure how that’s possible) and performing more provocatively than they do back home.

With good reason say those in the know:

“Girl bands need to capture the attention of fans in a foreign market so it is essential to bare more skin,” said Kim Won, an expert in Korean entertainment and culture. “But a sexy concept has its limitations and singers must show a unique talent to stay competitive.”

The article cites several instances, such as the Girls’ Generation, “who appeal to fans in Korea with their innocent image,” performing a pole dance in Japan wearing outfits that look like lingerie.

Here is GG at the Busan film fest, sans pole –you can decide the lesser of two ‘innocents’ for yourself.

The article also mentions T-ara (below) making the lingerie play to for the Japanese market. And you thought that ‘Easter in the Saloon’ look died out with the old west didn’t ya?

T-ara Bunny Style

I don’t know enough about K-Pop to comment on differences in the domestic market and abroad, but apparently pole dancing is an accepted form of exercise, from what I can gather.

In fact, according to my limited research on the Interweb, much of the article seems spurious in its contrasts. So those of you considering booking flights to Japan out of worry you can’t catch the provocative version of K-pop here on the peninsula, worry not.

The article also mentions some stink over a video showing Japanese women laughing at T-ara during a performance. Haven’t seen it, so can’t speak to that other than to say…that’s show biz. If you have it, post in the comments.

SISTAR, Women of the Year?

According to MNet, Korean girl group SISTAR “is capping off a stellar year with its designation as GQ Korea’s Women of the Year” in their upcoming December issue.

The story added that GQ Korea chose them “after careful deliberation.”

Not so, says the Joongang Ilbo:

According to the magazine yesterday, the girl group was picked “because there were not many other options.”


Whatever the reason, congrats ladies.

As for the Men of the Year:

Kim Ki Duk, the director of the award-winning and critically-acclaimed Pieta, Psy, whose Gangnam Style took the world by storm this year, and Yu Jun Sang, who established himself as ‘the nation’s husband’ through his highly popular role on KBS’ Unexpected You.

K-Pop’s Return to Factory Settings

I thought I would open my first post on the Hole with something near and dear to my heartburn: K-Pop. Much like Pepsi, I love the flavor, it tastes good going down, even tingles on my lips, but it does little to nourish me. It is a fine, factory-produced product –an analogy I’ve been fond of  since the Backstreet Boys.

Now there’s confirmation. Today’s Chosun Ilbo, writing about the seven member girl group, A Pink and their bright prospects, said:

“They went through years of rigorous training at their entertainment factory.”
I knew it!

And to all you pop star aspirants, the bar has been raised. According to Hong Soon-young of KBS Radio, those striking good looks ain’t gonna cut it no more –you might actually be required to sing well.

“Because they have (a) strong foundation in singing and dancing, expectations for their regular album are even bigger.”

That doesn’t say much for the rest of the industry, but junior member, 16-year old, Oh Hah-yeong, offers her take on what makes A Pink special.

“Other girl groups these days tend to highlight their dancing skills and sexy looks, but our concept was an innocent and pure image. I think that’s why the audience felt comfortable with us.”

If you are confused on the definition of “innocent and pure,” go here or here (where they are least all wearing white).

To their credit, they are using their real names when laying claim to a place in the hallowed archives of pop.

“I never thought of using a name other than the one my parents gave me. We will do our best not to tarnish our names,” said eldest member, 21-year-old, Park Cho-rong.

Now that is artistic integrity.

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