So, this is something we’ve been saying for quite a while now. I’m not sure if we explicitly said it out loud in a video before, but now we’re going to be totally out in the open with it right here, right now. We would never, ever want to be Kpop idols. If we had kids, we wouldn’t want them to be Kpop idols, either. Kpop idols as people are fine. We met lots of them, and they’re cool people, but the industry that they’re in is so unhealthy and almost poisonous that I have no idea how anyone would wilfully pursue a career in it. What may initially seem like the pursuit of a dream, to perform and to sing, comes with loads of unwanted caveats. The artistic spirit is secondary to the industrial one, in which maximizing profit is a company’s greater concern than caring for their artists.

Is that too scathing? Do I sound like an old man with a scraggly beard and furrowed eyebrows wagging his finger at you? Well then tell me this: tell me all the dating bans, dietary regulations, insane schedules, and negligence for an artist’s health are good for the artist. I don’t see it. All I can see is a company trying to work the artists to the bone.

I will admit though, that a lot of our discussion on this subject is far from objective. We’re looking at this through our own perspective as people who kinda sorta live in the entertainment industry with their own tiny entertainment company. We’re not in the Kpop industry itself, or the TV industry, or anything like that, but our careers are here on our blog. We are creative for a living, and have a studio and staff that help us in being creative. And we know really, really well that if we push ourselves too hard we start to struggle to get through it all. We have a rule now to actually force ourselves to take weekends off, because we know that downtime is essential to recharge. You can’t be GOGOGOGOGO all the time. Finding a balance between work and life is tough, as we’re always on Twitter or Facebook or Final Cut or YouTube or WordPress or this site. On the other side, it’s hard for us to even call this “work,” because it’s really just a hobby that we’re pursuing, but we pursue it for many hours a day and many days a week.

With that small background spiel laid down in front of you, we can easily say that if we were told that we had to do this all in a van, that we couldn’t sleep in comfortable beds, that we couldn’t sleep in, couldn’t date each other, couldn’t eat this or that, couldn’t see our friends because we had to go somewhere else, couldn’t make a video we wanted to make, we’d quit. Quit! FREAKING QUIT SO FAST. Kpop artists don’t even own their own songs, their own image rights. If they have projects they want to pursue they have to go through their bosses for approval. A lot of the time the songs are written for them. Their dances are choreographed for them. Their outfits are chosen for them. Their schedules are set for them. Their lines on shows are written for them. There are so many hands involved in moving them around, this way and that, and they lose a lot of their own autonomy.

That’s too much responsibility for us. Too many demands. Too overwhelming a life.

At the same time, I can easily re-read these paragraphs in the Airhead voice we sometimes do on our show, like “OMG LIFE IS SOOOO TOUGH.” I don’t want this blog post to be dismissed that easily. Kpop idol problems are first world problems, we know, so we don’t extend the same amount of sympathy to them as we do to people in worse situations. And, yes, we’re advocating autonomy, individuality, creativity, freedom, self-expression, healthiness, and all that hippy stuff, but that’s not a BAD thing to argue for, is it?

I don’t want this to be also read as a “BOYCOTT KPOP!” article as well, because that’s not fair, either. As people in the creative industry we just want to see artists treated better. To be paid fairly. To be fed properly. To be offered standard liberties. I’m sure you’d like to see that as well.

One thought we didn’t pursue in our video, though, is that this unhealthy work environment isn’t isolated to Kpop alone. The entertainment industry, drama sets in particular, can also be pretty crappy to the actors. We did a couple of commercials and TV shoots for Korean TV. Never again. Whoa. Unless decent work conditions are met and we are promised to be FED – yes, fed food – then never again. And at the same time, if you’re Korean and not in the entertainment industry, working as a salaryman is also soul-sucking work. The hours are insane there, too. I had a co-teacher whose husband worked for one of the big name companies here (who I won’t name) and she saw him once every three weeks. ONCE EVERY THREE WEEKS. See your husband, who you love and want to spend the rest of your life with, once every freaking three weeks. And high-school teachers, if they’re single, get stuck teaching the sucky classes, from 7AM to midnight.

The situation that arises then, is that potential Kpop artists pick their poison. They can work insane hours as idols or insane hours elsewhere. Either way, there’s a culture of excessive work here in South Korea. But that’s an entirely different TL;DR. But, at least, if you’re not an idol, you can eat and drink as you please, date who you want, live where you want, and not have bat-shit crazy fans ruin one of your friend’s weddings just to see you.

Side note: back to working at the Eatyourkimchi Nasty Studio: Soo Zee works for us full-time. She’s on salary. And she’s free to come and go as she pleases. If she’s tired, we tell her to go home. She can work from home if she wants. She can come to work in pyjamas if she feels like it. She was feeling a bit sick today, we told her to GTFO and not come back until she feels better. There are no sick days that we count here. She can date whoever she pleases. She can bring friends to work, or leave in the middle of the day to meet her friends for dinner and a drink. She’s got creative output: she’s designed almost everything you see in our store (and she’s good at designing, too!). We don’t put any crazy restrictions on her. And, from what she tells us, she’s really happy here. That’s what we want to do as a company. Not work people to exhaustion till they go crazy or quit. Not have a tight grip on everything they say or do. We want people to be able to pursue what they’re passionate about, and to pursue it in ways that they see fit. We might not be a multi-million dollar company as a result, but we’re a lot more ethical, in my opinion.

What would make you happier in your career? Is Kpop fame worth it? I clearly say no. I’m not going to dislike you if you say otherwise, but I’d like to hear your reasons.

Lastly, Dongho: come work for us. The Eatyourkimchi Studio could definitely use more men around here :D

  1. live_love_laugh

    For the whole dating ban and such, there is one company that does allow their artists to date. It’s not a well known company, but they are Aeria Creations and I really like their way of auditioning and their idea of “Global Kpop.”

  2. Knowing about all these cons I think that I would still go for it. I sound crazy but most of these idols work so hard for a shot at fame. Although there are hard times it’s good to know (if you’re in a group) you have a bunch of people going through the same struggles, sacrificing the same things as you just to be able to reach their dreams to sing or dance for others despite their differences or disagreements. Sure there are Saesangs, but there are just as many good hearted people who are there to support you. As for the food I agree that some idols do not receive the meals they should be eating and honestly it really sucks. As a person who has been trying to enter the industry for 3 years it’s incredibly hard to live up to so many expectations but I feel that when one does make it, you can’t help but feel a sense of accomplishment. Even though a lot of stuff is scripted I don’t think that the idols fake their emotions when they first receive an award especially when they worked so hard for it. There are things I wish didn’t happen to Kpop stars but it makes me admire them a little more for being able to put up with all the dumb things that happen in the entertainment industry. Wooo, that was a long answer… and really late.

  3. VelvetGeisha

    the stalker/saesang thing isn’t just limited to kpop though…i was beat up by crazy fans waaay back because i had a friendly argument with a member of a boy band (5ive if anyone remembers them) that i knew personally and I ended up having to call the police…i have had stalker fans show up in a friends funeral because their favourite boy band of the moment were there… i actually quit the entertainment industry for a while because of this… but even though i know that western boy bands (having worked with them and their management’s) have a hectic schedule it is nothing compared to what asian boy bands/ girl bands go through…

    • To be honest I always knew there were crazy stalkers and overly obsessed fans but to go to such an extent as to actually appear at a funeral and attack their partners seems as though…well that they went too far. Given that the reason many fans of kpop started liking these groups was, well lets face it people, there looks. It seems a little shallow but its true, but we also like their music. I mean as fans we suppose to appreciate these groups not attack them and express ourselves as though we own them. All in all this is really upsetting to see that fans are going coo coo for coco-puffs.

  4. (separate from my earlier comment)Sasaengs need to gtfo. Really? REALLY? It pisses me off how some people can just really let themselves go like that. They just go about doing their stalking without thinking about how it will affect the lives of the people the supposedly “love”. I don’t understand why the feel the need to claim ownership over someone else’s life EVEN THOUGH THEY HAVE NO BUSINESS THERE. Sure you can love a group passionately or be a hardcore knowledgeable fan, but it goes TO DAMN FAR when you start to harass a person or there loved ones (family, friends, lovers etc.), especially to the point where the idol FEELS THE NEED TO APOLOGIZE FOR LIVING THEIR LIFE. No one should have to do that. EVER.

  5. To be honest if it were me as I am now, no I would not want to be a Kpop idol. But if I were like them, talented musically and given a platform to show my talent, not to mention the possibility of being filthy stinking rich, I just might take it. It would help most if I had a group who was just crazy enough to become idols with me. Then I would want to become an idol for sure. I have never been all that interested in dating, and I can work for a very long time before giving out, but if I didn’t have a group to support me there would be no way in hell I could do that. So there is my long answer ^_^

  6. Hi, I’m from Belgium and I like watching korean shows, but was actually shocked when I realized something. On the show ” Cheongdamdong 11″ a member from AOA got scolded for one bite of fried chicken. Well, if you check the member their profile, their BMI are too low, which means they are unhealthy underweight. Idols talk about their ( UNHEALTHY) diet like skipping meals as if it is the most normal thing to do! Most of those idols and actors are rolmodels for kids and teenagers. Now my question is: Are Korean people aware of eating disorders? Aren’t the actors, singers and idols (unwillingly) leading people ( especially kids and teenagers) to anorexia and such? What does Korea do to prevent people from having it? In Belgium, such things would have made the front news with A LOT of criticism from the media AND sometimes plaintifss from NGO’s. We also have sort of clinics where they help people with eating disorder. Not only them, but also their family and friends. So they can all understand the disorder better and how to deal with it.

  7. My favorite kpop group is Cnblue, and from what I saw on interviews and tv, they always looked so cheerful and happy and FUN. I never realized they could be going through this; :( this is practically prison! Like slavery! You can’t do this, you can’t do that, you belong to me for the amount of years the contract says, and you do what I say. Heck, they even control your opinions?!?!?!!! What the hell! I would totally never do it! Screw them! I won’t put my life and happiness on the line to be your puppet for who knows how long.

    If cnblue is going through this, all i can say is… TT_TT

  8. Jenalyn Thompson

    i would never want to be a K-pop idol because its just to much stress, you have NO privacy , and you don’t get to see your friends and family. I’m not up for the crazy schedules and the screaming STALKER fans its just not worth it to me.

  9. Jenalyn Thompson

    I was blinded by the hotness and amazing voices of my fave guy groups but you guys have opened my eyes to the world of k-pop. And now i have the chance to show my classmates how idols are treated by writing my research paper about them.

  10. I know this is a older video, but I have to say I was honestly blown away reading that interview/documentary on Busker Busker. I’ve known about them though I haven’t made a point to really listen to their music, so I can’t even say that I’m a “fan”, but I was left seething mad after reading it.

  11. Joanne Taylor Chappell O'Conno

    I so love you guys. Thanks for the update on my bias Dongho. I am so glad that he is pursuing health and happiness. Even tho I miss him, I wish him ALL the best and

  12. …. So, I can come work for you, right?

    Just stand at the door… and pet people as they go by? Yeah? :)

  13. The thing is though its that its not alwayse even about the fame. I live in America and am planning to send out a bunch of auditions for a bunch of different companies. Even though I know I dont have a very high chance of getting in, and if I do get in work conditions will be sucky but I’d be doing what I love, and making people happy doing it. Like, Im soo happy when I listen to my favorite bands every day, if I could make people happy too by doing what I love, then Sure I will stand the crappy conditions.

  14. I never wanted to become a K-pop star and I know I’m never going to. Sometimes, I’m also confused on why the companies would feed the idols junk food if they have to lose weight all over again later. I didn’t understand why people wished to become idols until I came across an article. It’s been a while so I don’t remember who said it, but she is a m ember from T-ara who was supposed to debut with SNSD.
    “If I were to say only one thing, it’s that I want people who ‘really’ and ‘truly’ want to become singers to pursue this path. You can’t just do it, and you can’t just work hard. You have to want it. By relying on talent alone, you won’t be able to overcome the long, long years it takes. As a trainee, you might think that all you need are your dreams and passions, but once you debut, that dream and passion becomes your career and your society. You can’t eat, you can’t sleep, and you’re left with no friends. You can’t do anything except stand on stage. Really, only those who are crazy for the career should pursue it.”

    This is what she said and it honestly really moved me. I love singing and dancing, but I never want to change myself into someone I’m not.

    (sorry for the long comment)

  15. Being a kpop star would be awesome if you love making people say “Wow!” and making them happy through performance. I personally love performing for others – it’s truly exciting. But it’s also especially to make a living as a musician/performer, and these entertainment companies are widely advertised, so I understand how a lot of people want to become idols – badly enough that they try to forget the fact that these companies treat their “stars” poorly.

    Even if you lie on shows a lot just for entertainment’s sake, it’s not all bad. Wouldn’t you think that it’s kind of fun to think of possibilities that would entertain the crowd? Acting is part of the job – which kind of makes it more fun. It’s funny how this entertainment business is all a big game.

  16. why dongho :(

  17. why dongho, why D: U-KISS was my favorite

  18. This is a B.A.P fan reppin’. I’ve always known about the dark realities of the Kpop world, but I shoved it into my subconcious over time as I became sucked in the pretty facade of kpop. Considering how often B.A.P makes come backs, and how many concerts they’ve held in 2013 back to back to back, I’ve constantly called TS Entertainment INSANE for putting them through that. B.A.P doesn’t complain, none of the idols do. It’s really sad. But I’m glad I clicked on this video and read this article. It was a much needed wake up call. It has re-ignited my cynical fire towards the industry, and it continues to tear my heart apart. I’m considering auditioning just for the heck of it, but to actually make it as an idol is another story. Entertainments seriously need to take better care of their idols.

  19. Promoting the EYK Studio for all people who are seeking employment :)) Makes me want to work there nows :P

  20. Hmm… my people labeled as “un-educated prostitutes”? (*~*) ???

  21. I am REALLY into B.A.P and have noticed how incredibly thin they are and how in the shows making of mv and other cool stuff about them I like to watch how they always look so tired I’ve actually been really worried and scared for them & praying they get some serious down time soon so they can rest! Especially poor Young Jae poor thing always looks more tired then the others even though I adore Yong Rum I like them all & do genuanly worry about them all as a whole. Side note I LOVE u guys & ur vids I’ve learned so much about Korea from y’all & am so dying to go there as soon as I can afford to I am soooo there. Ty for the hard work u guys put in for us fans of yours we love u and appreciate the hard work u all put into each video.

  22. I wanna work with you guise! I’ll do whatever you need! Cooking? Cleaning? Check your health? (I’m studying medicine xD) all I ask, is a place to sleep, and a little time to go to college LOL

  23. I hope Dongho gets your message and considers the job offer.

  24. Maybe Im just a sensitive person but all of this mess just makes me want to cry…i love Korea but seriously though. This makes sense as to why they have the highest suicide rate in the world. THIS IS JUST TERRIBLE! Kpop companies wouldnt even have a freakiing business if it was not for idols and other people interested in the music and wanting to join the companies and fullfill their dreams. They freaking OWE THEIR IDOL WORKERS a ton more than they are receiving. A smart businessman/women knows that if you want to have a successful company you do three things 1)have longterm and short term goals 2)have to have people who are interested in what you are doing and 3)hire those people who are essentially better than you at what you do. This has been the trick of the trade for years. you hire people to your company who can do things that you cant. many of whom that are smarter and more creative than you becuase they will truly make what your company is. without idols doing what they do best they would not.have.a.freaking.business! because theyre would be nobody interested in joining the company which then leads to know one listening to music…BECUZ THERE WOULD BE NO MUSIC. or dramas and whatever. its just stupid. treat your people better korea! and maybe we can solve some problems.

    these are first world problems though and im glad that S&M brought that up. But i think these things just really make me angry because a lot of these people are so talented in what they do. and give their precious time in their lives to this industry to make something of themselves and promote their companies. but yet theyre mistreated. THATS BULL! for a long time i did not know all the CHIZZZ that kpop idol groups went through. and i will never fully understand because …well i dont wanna be a kpop idol if people are gonna try and treat me like that. plus im african american, my family is a whole bunch of black panthers….THEYLL GET CRAZY ON THEIR BUTTS IF THEY TRY TO MESS WITH ME….and my family would probably pull a race card on the korean companies. im not saying thats right. but its the truths HAHAHA! smh….but anyways for a long time i didnt know about the difficulties of work that they went thru and i just blindly supported the groups and the companies becuz they made such great music and dances and everything and i was so passionate about asian culture (like i still am today).
    but that was my fault for not knowing for so long and this wasnt good. and it really hurts, a lot…to know the truth now, these past couple years. It was so much easier to just be happy and enjoy all the great things korea produced from so many aspects but its better to know now the behind the scenes mess that you dont see becuz when you dont know, its almost like living a lie. its like watching “Memoirs of a Geisha” thinking “wow that was a great movie” and finding out later that everyone in the movie was Chinese….no japanese people at all……still smh at that.
    we should write something in the comments of kpop videos to bring people’s attention to things like this that are happening so companies know, that we know and we dont like how they are treating our idols. i feel like we should make a petition where even if it doesnt change much, we can know that at least apart from only being aware of the problem, that we are also trying to be a part of the change.

  25. What are the benefits of being a kpop idol other than being a puppet for a company’s profit? At the end of the day, it is a money making business. A lot of other places received far greater benefits from the hard work of these kpop idols. Example, gossip sites like allkpop and even Simon and Martina’s site has grown popularity and benefited greatly as a result of the recent hallyu revolution. Kpop generates a lot of traffic on websites and the idols should be given credit.

  26. I thought anti fans were the problem and now there are sasaeng fans… how unfortunate for these kpop idols. The entertainment industry will always be corrupt.

  27. This just makes me want to cry… it’s so horrible =’(

  28. no wonder so many bands don’t make it past five years.

  29. Well as an EXO fan I’ve seen food projects for the guys and their staff and I’m also pretty sure other idols get those too. I don’t know if the fans do it all the time they go somewhere but I’ve seen there is always a fansite or several giving them food for major projects in magazines and appearances. But the guys themselves had said that between schedules, and because they are too tired to make something decent, they often just order delivery to their dorms.

    Here is a picture of a food project: http://cfile1.uf.tistory.com/image/254D6C50523ECE060F7289


  30. Hi Simon and Martina! My sister and I are new fans and we love your shows, they’re great and extremely funny! As for the question you asked Martina, about why would I still become a kpop idol, here’s my reason. I am going through a tough time and for a while, I wasn’t doing so well. I then started to really get into kpop and learn the dances and laugh until tears came out of my eyes when I watched kpop idols acting like dorks (even if they were faking it). It really brighten up my day and I felt happier. I’ve actually tried out for SM but didn’t make it since I didn’t have a lot of confidence but I’m trying out again next year and that’s because now I want to work hard and make someone happy or at least smile. That’s the main reason beside making it a career and helping out my family. I want to be an idol for someone and not gain the fame and fortune. Thank you for reading and keep on making awesome videos! :)

  31. My opinion is that if you have a dream, you need to work for it as much as it requires. I think K-pop stars’ dream is to be where they are right now, or to do something whose condition is being in South Korea’s music industry. If you don’t share this dream, you cannot get through the difficult schedule and lifestyle, but if you do share it, I believe it is worth and you will still feel satisfied with all those sacrifices.

  32. I remember seeing a interview with Crayon Pop, maybe it was yours. I forget at this point. Them being so excited they got an upgrade to their apartment. They now had a two bedroom or something crazy, and one of the girls mentioned that her legs are toned from jumping so much. Yes the video was cute but do they need to perform the same thing 24/7 no.

    They make these companies ga-gallions of dollars, how is a bed not a given? Time to re-coup not a given? Those crazy green-smoothy drinks written into their riders for performances are meant as a safety measure. I still remember seeing an interview with Metallica when there was a VH-1 and them explaining if they didn’t see the right color M&Ms that the show was off. They knew their technical requirements weren’t met and it was dangerous to perform. K-pop idols nah its just a little lightning go on stage in your cast. Good luck.

  33. I just wanted to tell you that my boyfriend (who is already signed to a huge music company) would appreciate it if this company would work like the asian ones. I already told you that they are doing nothing for him and his band and I think this would get him closer to his goal in getting his music more popular, I think.

    They went to Belgium last weekend for only 250€… and they had to drive nearly 2000km from Germany to Belgium and back on their own. I think he’s fed up with this arduous way.

  34. omg totally agree with the intense diet girl groups go through. it’s already impacting korean girls. im a korean middle school student, and one of my classmates said today that she wasn’t eating anything for THREE WHOLE DAYS to lose weight. she’s always saying that she wants to look like someone in a k-pop girl group. it’s not just her. all of my friends talk about how ‘thick’ their leg are and how they’re eating too much n they should stop eating blah blah blah…. IU said in an interview that she drank only water for several days so that she can look thin on her debut day. WTH?! she’s already skinny if u ask me.

  35. lol that would be epic to see dongho in eyk as a regular.

  36. this is basically like the justin beiber fans x 10

  37. I’m with y’all. I want to do what makes me happy. I’m becoming a missionary. My brother doesn’t agree with it because I won’t make enough money. I’ve never had a desire to have money. I mean, having money is nice, but really would it make me more happier in life? I’m more concerned with pursuing what makes me happy and what makes me happy is following Jesus and helping people. As a missionary I get to do both. BAM! Life made. I’m very concerned with the lifestyles the Kpop stars are stuck in. I would never be able to be a Kpopper. The outfits those companies make those girls wear I’d be like, you trippin’. And some of the sexual marketing the companies use the girls for. Uh-uh. I’d be kicked out because I wouldn’t stand for it. Nobody would sign me because I’d be labeled as someone who was never compliant with the companies wishes. Uh excuse me it’s my body and I’ll dress it according to my beliefs and standards, I’ll work it in my modest way and still knock ‘em out with my on-point vocals.

  38. Hi Simon and Martina,
    I totally agree with you guys on this topic! They are humans, they live and breathe, they need to eat, they can do what they please its work! Work shouldn’t be mixed into their personal life at all! I don’t want to be in a job that will make me see my family once a year and work like a donkey all year long! No SIR NO! Let me evil :3 I want to study a career that will be able to bring something in for EYK! I want to work with you in the future *cough* I need to *cough* begin and finish college *cough cough* I would be so happy to do so! Thank you for this TL;DR Needed a break form college app’s and all Thank you! MWUAH!

  39. Pick me! Pick me! I want to work with SM too!
    Uh…I mean Simon&Martina :P

  40. Zanarika Thomas

    yes i still would enter into the k pop world because i think i would like it but hey, its better than a slave contract

  41. Zanarika Thomas

    if u kiss member twisted their ankle they dont perform……..

  42. It’s interesting when people say that they would want to be an ‘idol’ so to have someone look up to them like how they look up to their ‘idols’. But the real kicker is how many of these idols are actually themselves.

    I for one really can no longer stomach watching a lot of variety shows because the insincerity/fakeness becomes so blatantly obvious once you start getting really into them. You start noticing the tricks the MC’s and the camera/editing crew use to make everything seem all kumbayah. Heck even fellow idols. (side note: I especially hate the use of laugh tracks when things simply are not funny) I know that it’s cause a lot is at stake but it’s like watching a magic show and knowing all the tricks, it takes a huge part of the fun away.

    If we’re simply talking about healthy vs. unhealthy work ethics, the kpop industry really does not fit the bill. Even if I can keep up with the pace (high doubts) there is no way that I would want to ALL the time. Even my body sometimes disagrees with my mind and I’ll just have to cave in. Plus it looks like it all comes back to get you when you’re older. I hear stories of some of them with arthritis. Imagine how many do not speak of their ailments.

    When reading about the general work ethics of Korea, I can wrap my head around some Korean citizens wanting to become kpop idols. But it’s a whole other story when someone outside of Korea chooses this path (more specifically where I’m from as I do understand our social conditions better). The question that follows is mostly to the tune of: What? Why? Is something wrong? Of course this is usually when Bon Jovi’s It’s My LIfe starts playing.

  43. I feel bad for all the k pop idols I am just watching the K Pop industry on
    the sidelines from the US but I feel bad for them. The American
    Music Stars wallow in excess and the K pop idols who are so humble and appreciative of their fans and success are starving and sleep deprived! They have to put up with so much I feel bad : ( . It also seems they are underpaid and under appreciated by their companies. I would love to see more of them form their own labels like the Rap artists did here in the US.

  44. OMG!! I just read the link you guys gave to us in the video.. the one about brad moore from buskerbusker.. but it’s sickk gaahhh.. Like they even had to struggle to perform live with their own instrument and what’s the whole point exactly?? band had to showcase their instrument skill, right? or it’s not?? I know some idol band doesn’t really play instrument.. but then the show buskerbusker in mentioned as the most friendly show for musician.. wth?? the one thing standout for me is when brad moore told his experience about taking botox shoot! gosh it freak me out!! bcoz I freakin hate needle!! more so if you being forced to take them involuntarily.. does it tell us that everyone in kpop at least had to do botox before get out of the world?? involuntarily?? before being shown to the public? god it’s like polished doll figurine being made.. I’m just speechless…

  45. This is not the first time I’m reading about criticisms about the kpop industry, but I think your reasons are all very thorough compared to other disparaging articles out there that simply hurl accusations and vulgarities at the companies and such. (: But, although I’m not an idol myself yet, my dream of becoming one has not wavered despite everything I’ve read, heard, and seen. There has been much evidence of the harsh reality of kpop, recounts of trainees being physically and mentally abused, and worked to their limits every single day. Whenever idols are asked for their greatest wish, if not for greater success, they would always ask for a break, or a holiday, as their greatest wish. For a simple day off to be their wish is already evidence enough of how hard and endless their work is. On public holidays while everyone is home with their families, these idols have to stay out till late at night attending 4-hour long events away from their loved ones. It’s hard to empathise, but very easy to sympathise with the pain and suffering they go through.

    Yet, why are some of them still able to hold on for so long? And why, despite all of this, do some of us still aspire to become these people that seem so tortured and exhausted? I don’t really know the answer myself. How SNSD was able to fully prepare for a comeback (music video, recording, cover photoshoot) and accept having everything wholly cancelled mere days before their comeback stage, how B2ST was able to promote for 2 entire weeks with 2 hours of sleep each day, how F(x)’s Sulli, when they were training for their debut, still continued dancing as her tears started running down her face. I guess, maybe, we would find our answers in the enormous gratitude and mass of emotions between the idols and the fans alone. Idols that have been so strong in their entire long journeys, breaking down at the simple act of one person, but an amazing one of hundreds of people, holding up a simple sign “We have missed you”. Perhaps, in those moments, when the idols are able to feel the love and happiness and pride the fans have in them, they feel that all the days of starving and lacking sleep and exhaustion was all not in vain.

    Idols always thank their fans for what they have achieved, for their support, and perhaps to them, the fans that are always cheering them on and wishing the best of them, are what drives them forwards through it all. Although I might not know what it is like, it is so fascinating and enviable (to me) to see idols being so driven by such an intrinsic form of motivation. Not just money, or positional promotion, but the emotions and love of other people to them. And perhaps, the reason why some of us still aspire to become like these great idols is so that we will know the value of hard work, the value of family, the value of freedom and the value of love. Not just relationship kinds of love, but the kind of dedicated love and the feeling of making people laugh and smile. The feeling of being able to make someone’s day just by waving at them, and the feeling of fulfilment and, “Ah, it was all worth it.”

    I’m not saying that these are worth the pain that comes together with being an idol to everyone, but these, to me, are the reasons why I have not faltered in my decision to (at least try to) become an idol. As a fan myself, I know how happy my idols can make me, how much they make me smile and laugh and how much they mean to me, and in turn I, too, want to know what it’s like to make people feel happy and too make others’ lives just a little brighter. :) Even if being a kpop idol isn’t the only way to achieve this, it is one of the ways.

    If I move to Seoul and end up not debuting, though, I’ll come down to the EYK studio and maybe work here for ever. <3 HAHA

  46. This is not the first time I’m reading about criticisms about the kpop industry, the mistreatment of

  47. I personally would still want to enter the kpop industry. Music and performing is a passion of mine and all of the cons that come with it, well…I can just live with it :)
    *1 day of being a kpop star

    But in all honesty, I still would chose kpop as my career :)

    • If you’re interested in music and performing, why not do it yourself, without the aid of a company? Sing and perform on YouTube, on the internet, in bars and clubs. You can still pursue those, without being yoked to terrible work conditions.

      • I wish I could perform in bars and clubs but I’m only 13…
        But I’ve always wanted to put up videos on YouTube but I am very self conscious and don’t have enough confident to put any up, to scared of negative comments. I always make them but never upload them:( And I really want to be in a group, not as a solo artist. Being by myself on stage…I would pass out

  48. It was really nice hearing about your opinions in K-pop. I honestly really want to work in the Music Industry, and it used to be my goal to work in the K-pop industry. Then, I actually //thought// about it, and realized that it wouldn’t be very fun working for something so CORRUPT (ouch). At a first glance, K-pop is incredibly endearing, but then you realize that you won’t really be working with the artists themselves and that you’d be the person dictating them, and I really don’t want to work in an environment like that. A dictatorship. isn’t that what K-pop basically is? haha.

    Also, about the catering stuff, I agree wholeheartedly. For some reason, k-pop people don’t really seem to be open to catering even when it /is/ available! I actually worked backstage for a K-pop show once and when I was there, we got a bunch of food from fans who made ‘care packages’ for the staff and the artists, but… they just left them there. They didn’t touch them. And it really hurt me that they did that because the fans worked so hard to give that to them : Oh well.

    • True. Tho, if you’re the boss, you can choose to make a difference and not dictate them. You can be that one PD that asks them about what they WANT to do for a special stage (for example), instead of entering the room and being all “Okay so this is what you’ll be doing.”

      At least that’s what I’d do. The idols’ companies wouldn’t mind that too much actually, they’re getting paid by you and in exchange they give you the right to order around their idols…but if you choose to actually consult their opinion on things then the management companies still wouldn’t care as long as you pay them money.

      So yeah. Of course working in that industry is dictatorship, but if you really are in a position to be potentially dictating idols, that also means you have the right to choose not to dictate. It may depend on your position, but even if you’re not the most hight ranking boss, you can still try to make them feel more comfortable in small ways (buying them a coffee or whatever).

      About the catering, that is sad indeed. My friend tho has talked to a person in SM’s marketing department via mail (she asked them about handing gifts to the artists prior to a concert), and he said that SM (for one) is generally skeptic about fangifts (birthdays are an exception, they review the gifts carefully then) and they prefer their idols to accept the gifts by themselves if anything (instead of via security or staff) because then that’d be on the idol’s own account. He said there have been antis who pretended to be fans and gave poisoned food and all…aka, SM doesn’t really trust people to be fans just because they say they are. They don’t say anythign if their idols choose to accept a gift by themselves, cause then they can say “It’s your fault for trusting this person”. But they don’t do it because they don’t want to take responsibility.

  49. I would never ever ever want to be a kpop idol….and I have even done crazy hard work in the tech startup world of silicon valley. My tech startup life involved working 6 days a week for 12-15 hour days, a few times working two days straight without sleep (had to do this before going to my uncle’s funeral because of potential lost work), once take red eye flight after a full working day to perform an experiment and return the same day to report results because again my working time was far too valuable to let me sleep in a hotel. After three years of this, I threw in the towel and I haven’t looked back since but I would still pick my tech startup life over a kpop idol’s life…yesirree. As S&M said, the cons FAR outweigh any benefits….I highly value my privacy, sanity, sleep, independence, and personal space…no envy here.

  50. A Brazilian pirate? lol HAHAHAHAHAHAHA that’s why they canceled their show here? Now everything makes sense lol

  51. I have a question for a TL;DR, what is the Korean mind set when it come to things like ghost and the supernatural? I know in some countries it’s super hush hush and now one talks about it and in other people run around and try to find such things. I know Halloween was a week or so ago but I just thought of this now.

  52. Hi Simon and Martina. I really like your videos and have learned a lot from them. I am one of those who would love to be a kpop “Idol”. However my reasons are much different then most people. I understand the risks and I think someone should know what their getting into before they do it. I have been doing my research and all of the stuff you said I already knew. Here is the reason I want to do this. Warning this may get a little lengthy. I was born Dec. 27th 1994. I have 4 other siblings and possibly more that I don’t know about. For the first 3 years of my life I was abused by my father. I don’t know much of the details but here is what I know. I know we were starved and beaten. I know there were many incidents in which we could have been killed. I am not 100 percent positive but there is an 80 percent chance I was raped by him. He was a very bad alcoholic. When he wasn’t drunk he was nice (from what I was told) but when he drank he did all this to us. I was told my mother tried to protect us. When I turned four I was put into foster care and separated from my other siblings. I was quickly adopted and only a month or two after my brother was also adopted into the same family. I thought I would be happy and able to have a family. Sadly that happiness was short lived. The family I was adopted into was just as bad as my birth father. For the next ten years I was beaten and abused. Not only by my father but I was also being molested by my birth brother. I will give some examples of incidents. I was often choked by my father to the point of where I “saw stars”. He would bang my head and my brothers head together. He also picked us up by the neck and sometimes threw us. I remember one time when I was little he tripped me and I hit my head really hard. I was really dizzy for the next couple weeks. I never got it checked out but from what I have researched the symptoms were of that of a concussion. I was also bullied in school. I was very quiet in school and often was scared to say much. I would sit by myself for lunch and often sat alone at recess. But as bad as school was I liked school more than my house. I was scared to go home. I remember one particular time when the beating was especially bad and after for the next week whenever my dad even came in the same room as me I would tense up and start shaking uncontrollably. When he would leave I had to do everything I could to keep the tears back. Along with the physical abuse and sexual abuse from my brother, I had to deal with the verbal abuse as well. I was constantly called terrible things. Was told I was worthless and wouldn’t amount to anything. That I was a mistake. Although this is terrible I remember 1 thing my dad said that hurt more than any other beating. It was after another beating and I was in my room. I could see my dad in the kitchen from my room and he said to my mom “It’s either me or them”. I broke down in my room like there was no tomorrow. Ironically it was only a week or two later that I actually did end up leaving. My brother decided to tell the guidance councilor what was going on. That day we were immediately placed into foster care. I went to 3 different homes. The last home was a hard learning experience because there were special needs children in it.The children were very aggressive and violent. It was hard to live with. Now the reason I told you all of this is the reason I want to be in the Korean music industry. I want to take something as bad as this and use it for the better. I want to inspire others to let them know that they can do whatever they put their minds to. That’s why I don’t mind sharing my story on a site like this. I know life is not all “honky dory”. I can read through the lines. Also I know about the thing where it is impossible for someone like me to be an Idol. The word impossible does not exist in my dictionary. Instead that word has been replaced with the word challenge. A k pop Idol, like you said is someone others look up to. I want to be that person. I know I can be a true role model for others. Hopefully if you guys truly read this I at least can help to inspire you. So before I end this, for everyone who does read this, I want you all to know this one thing. No matter what has happened in your life and no matter who tries to hurt you, always look at everything in a positive light. I know how hard it is to put on a smile and act like everything’s OK but when you look at it negatively it will be negative. FIGHTING!!!(HIGHTING!!) Oh and pertaining to the Dongho thing. I respect his decision. He is his own person and can do what he wants.

  53. I love U-Kiss, they seem really nice. Sad to see Dongho leaving. I wish him the best and hope he finds his true passion. I know entertainment is my passion, K-Pop in particular. If someone said, “We will make sure you have what you need to live, and that you get to all the events but you won’t be paid,” I would say, “Yes,” and be so happy I do not have words to describe it.
    I have wanted to be an entertainer as long as I can remember. I am part Asian/Caucasian and my family have been directors, Opera singers, musicians, actors and just all-around entertainers. Since I was 7, I have studied acting, dancing and singing and have been in numerous plays, ballets and the movie ‘High School Musical 3′.
    I have slept on dressing room counters, under tables, backstage, on public buses and gone with no sleep at all. I have gotten by on only white rice, convenience store food and no food and have travelled 4 hours one way, worked 6 and travelled 4 hours back every day for months on public transportation.
    Living with other people and no privacy or dating, performing while ill or injured is all part of it and I just don’t mind (and I have experienced all of this) because I live for making people feel something with my art.

  54. When I think about it, at least Dongho was somewhere where they actually LET him leave…
    He’s lucky.
    If he were somewhere else he would just be forced to finish off the “slave years” with a smile.
    Good for you Dongho, and good luck.
    (JYJ deja vu????????)

  55. Dear Simon and Martina

    What do you think of the reaction got when Girls Generation won an award at the youtube awards.

    • I am embarrassed for the ignorance of the American artists fandoms. Its happening with the EMAs too I really hate
      the out right bashing that is taking place.

  56. I’m dreaming of becoming an idol and I have have my reasons, like really “not-only-for-myself” reasons. I’ve actually dreamt of working with the Eatyourkimchi crew (and still am) I want to be part of their family, is that weird? :)) one time while I was doing the dishes then I ramdomly thought about how I wanted Simon and Martina to adopt me (one day) when I go to Korea but then again they have Spudgy and Meemers already.. I really want to work with them, seeing how fun “work” will be, but I don’t really know what my contribution will be.
    Simon and Martina! Please consider adopting me (or hiring me will be enough too!) I definitely am serious. :) okay, that’s all. Thank you :))

  57. Never thought of being one. Hate that people always diss bigbang saying they always grab the spot light and what not. They work like crazy, especially gd. He has been working nonstop since their comeback last year. 2012 bigbang comeback, world tour, OOAK solo comeback continue on world tour, then solo world tour and he just ended his 2nd solo album coup promotions. He is now with bigbang rehearsing for Japan dome tour and bigbang new album, tons of people are hardworking! Even other bigbang members have all kinds of activities to do while doing their world tour, TOP injured his hand at the movie set continued rapping and jumping around during concerts. Not only do the idols have lots of work on screen but off screen they have to practice non-stop cause it is so competitive that if you relax just a little, there are tons of other idols want to replace you. Even company like yg claiming a family, their artists may have less on screen schedules as compare to other idols, they work nonstop for the next album or overseas promotions. The thing is the moment you step into an entertainment company wanting to be a trainee just means start of a hectic life. Work like shit to debut, then work even harder to be an A lister, when you are on the top, jobs will just come flying to you and you have to work your ass off to stay on the top.

  58. Renee

    I’m glad someone is voicing this!!
    I am also very concerned about this new group Seventeen. The youngest is 11…

  59. Hey guys, me and my friends are going to Seoul during about Christmas, what’s the weather like then and how should dress to prepare ourselves?

  60. i personally think that if they choose this road, then so be it. I am currently a trainee in an entertainment company in korea and im just starting out. i have to tell you, it’s really rough. but it’s a long time dream of mind to sing and dance and show my talents. though it’s easy to see all the negatives of the kpop industry (and yes, a lot of it is, actually, REALLY unhealthy), the people who truly believe it’s their path will overlook all of that just to say, “yes. i made it”.

  61. THANK YOU FOR PUTTING THIS INTO PERSPECTIVE. I’ve always been really curious about “the behind the scenes” of the kpop industry, but I have never really gotten a true answer. I always figured it’s EXTREMLY DIFFICULT, but I never realized that it was that crazy and thinking about it now, you both are right. Everything you said was legit and real.

  62. Misa Shim

    Is like a seen in the Beyonce documentary, she say “people think that I have all because I’m a celebrity, but no. And all that I have is because I work hard” I think we can say the same for kpop world. And Is funy about the food because everytime a big celebrity came here to venezuela, they ask absurd requests, like the water need came from the himalaya and all the fruit need to have XX size and you say COME ON! jajaja and there is give them the first you see in the convince store jajaja

  63. Does anyone know if there are any unions for artists or industry people in Korea? Unions that provide guidelines for working conditions or ramifications for employers who don’t follow those guidelines?

  64. I’d be the worst Kpop idol in the history of Kpop idols…Mess with my food and I will kill you!! And I watch enough Investigation Discovery to get away with it!! On the other hand I’d make a great comedienne!!

  65. The kpop industry is like the NBA in some ways. It chews up young stars and spits them out again.

    I’ve always had trouble watching Korean variety shows. I wonder what’s real, if anything. I’ll admit they are extremely entertaining, but how much effort does it take for an idol to be entertaining all the time? It has to take its toll. There’s no way I’d ever be a kpop idol. You have to give too much.

  66. I couldn’t agree more with Simon and Martina. A few years ago, I dreamed of becoming an idol too. Not because of the fame and fortune, because I loved music and I thought that if I ever had a superstar status that I can change the world. I wasn’t amazing but I thought I had potential. I did online auditions and almost signed up to a singing school. As I grew up, and went through university, I began thinking of what I wanted to do if the whole KPop thing didn’t work, and realised my two greatest values were creativity and work-life balance. And then finally understood, that the KPop industry couldn’t offer me the life I really wanted. Work-life balance, I don’t think I need to explain, but you might think that being an idol/artist would let you be creative. I beg to differ. Music should be able creativity and self-expression. I know some idols write their own songs, but the majority of the time you are expressing what the management wants, what will bring in the money. You’re basically a puppet that’s been trained to sing, dance and speak. I realised that even in this music industry, you probably wouldn’t have this creative freedom to do what you love, and that didn’t seem right in my head. If you think about it, there are so many YouTube musicians that are more successful than idol groups that are not from the bigger entertainment companies, and they get to create music they want, tour and you know, have a life. If you love music, singing or dancing, I don’t believe KPop is the only avenue, and to be honest, with all the people wanting to be Kpop idols these days, you would probably have more luck on YouTube.

    I’m not saying this to stamp on someone’s dreams or hate on the KPop world. I love KPop (don’t listen to anything else) and I think it’s great to have dreams, but sometimes you have to look at the bigger picture and see that the reality of your dreams may not be the best and that there are other options. As someone who used to have the same thoughts of being an idol but has since changed her mind, I just wanted to offer my thoughts on the situation.

    PS. Simon & Martina, if Dongho doesn’t take up the job offer, I gladly will. I’ll be in Seoul on the 27th. :P

  67. Sounds like South Korean workers need to unionize. Fight and work for worker rights like better pay, decent wages and normal work hours and most likely better working conditions. My brother always giving me a hard time for supporting pop music because as whole it’s a very exploited industry. This segments reminds me of the interview Simon and Martina did for Al- Jazeera. I have a lot of respect for both of you for voicing your concerns. There’s no doubt K-pop Idols and Korean workers both deserve better treatment and a better quality of life. I wish as a fan there was something I could do. I know in my country we struggle for all this too. But this reminds me of how far we have come. And how far we still need to go.

  68. there was a japanese program where TVXQ said they lived together and passed the whole day together now for already 10 years, and the mcs were: really? oO that’s, I can’t even imagine and with faces and I was laughing, but I’m happy they live spltted at least in korea… but wait! they are a whole year in japan! and they JOIN YOU with your members, is not as you can choose, and what if you end don’t liking them? and if your band member is that one trainee that you hated? it probably happened already and that, in my opinion, is part of the reason some groups don’t last, thay don’t fucking like each other!

    edit: 7 years now, before there wasn’t a law and contracts had +10 years… I would NEVER be a kpop idol, now Pledis are taking auditions here in Brazil and some people are going to go because they have ~rainbow~ “the dream” ~rainbow~, wel, each one with their choice u.u

  69. Can I come work for you guys ? You have the best system ever XD.

    Okay seriously, I still hope one day.. that it’ll change. I enjoy kpop videos, variety shows and everything right.
    But sometime I’m like… they’ll get tired of their own jobs and dreams.. because of the compagnies. They have so much pressure on their shoulders… I’ll open a new compagnie where the idols will have food ( healthy but still food ), time and liberty of choice ! * Okay, I can’t… but still let me hope it’ll exist *

    Anyway, that’s like the reason why I’m always hesitating about continuing with kpop or not.

  70. Laura Pinto

    I couldn’t be a Kpop star. Yes, I am a talentless person who cannot dance, but it’s not because of that. When I first got into Kpop I thought it was weird how they all danced in sync and the fact that they all had this big groups where everybody could sing and dance almost to perfection. So, I started researching and found out about all those horrible work days, the training, the stress and the diets and to be honest, I got really shocked. I started asking myself : How do they keep a smile on their face? How can they be happy? And I haven’t found the question yet. I dream of a career in the performing arts but if I had to give up my social life for years I’d give up. Not because I didn’t really want it, but for my mental health. I would not be strong enough. I really look up to all these Kpop idols, because they have such a strong desire to make their dreams come true that they take themselves beyond the limit.

  71. Have you guys read the manhwa Chocolat? It’s about Kpop idols and fairly close to reality IIRC.

  72. “the EYK studio could use more men”
    lol. i finally noticed simon (and spugy?) are the only males in the house.

  73. I wonder if it is just Korean entertainment industry that’s like this?What about Japan? Do Idol groups like Arashi and Akb48 (lol I doubt they live in dorms) have to go through the struggles similar to kpop idols? Does Japan got crazy stalker fans like Korea does? And do they do anything about them? And what about Cpop? Note I’m merely comparing these countries because the way they view idols seem similar.

  74. Isabel Ruby

    i would defs sign seven years of my life away to the Meems. smart life decisions

  75. That was super scary,but I still want to try the idol life! Why you asked, well… interest I guess. Hard work is nothing for me, so I can stand the other things too… maybe not! :D Yet I want still to give it a try!

    • Same here, plus, aside from the sasaengs, i think all of the hard work would be worth it for fans because for me ,as a k-pop fan, k-pop has actually helped me get through some hard times and knowing that i helped create music for people out there that does the same for them would really make everything worth it. ^_^

  76. You guys feel like my family – not kpop idols. I’d never want you guys to become “idols.” I feel like I can relate to you guys on a personal level via these videos (just wish that I could actually have a conversation with you). My 11 month old absolutely adores you guys which says a lot because he rarely smiles or laughs with just ANYBODY. I love ya guys and I hope one day that when we meet that it will be more like a family reunion more than anything. (I’m part Korean, was born in Korea. Korea is a part of me. So you guys feel like my Korean family ^_^)

  77. I never really thought of the possibility of becoming and K-pop idol. . . I guess no, I wouldn’t want that.
    First of all, I like what I do now, even if I’m still studying in University I liked where I am and what I do or can do in the future. I won’t trade it for being a celebrity.The main reason I don’t want to be an idol is because your whole life is becoming a facade. Especially with K-pop. I really really really hate some fans. Like really and than I hate them more because they come and feel offended if someone points them they’re not doing it right. I read a lot of this in the Internet and it’s sickening. The whole system just encourages it because the best selling point in a K-pop is to make your idol be your ideal guy/ girl. And it’s your boyfriend/ girlfriend. Um, in some variety Eunhyuk from Super Junior justified his decision to not publicly date because he feels that the idol should be everybody’s boyfriend. WTF?

    And than there comes a situation like Jonghyun’s. I don’t really like Sekyung to tell the truth, I don’t find her charismatic I guess (I even joke that she looks like the perfect evil witch from a K-pop drama :D) but if he’s happy with her that’s all fans should be concerned with. Not sacrificing their idol for their own ‘sick’ needs.

    Sorry about the rant, I just really despite this kind of people. And what’s even worse is that no one is able to tell them something because they are the people that will buy every single album, cover, poster and I-don’t-know-what-else shit the companies make money of. Way to go. . .

    PS: Sometimes I’m really interested what will happen to an idol if he’s given more freedom. That thought first arise when I say Junsu’s new songs and how good they are. And I can’t help but think how more happy he must be than an average Super junior.

    • I would love to see idols marketed more as artists and for their talents instead of as fantasy boyfriends/girlfriends. I think that would lead to a healthier relationship between performers and their fans.

      It’s fine to have a crush on a performer and to be a little disappointed when they go public with a relationship or announce they’re dating, but to guilt them into breaking up with someone they care about? That’s selfish and cruel.

      I remember reading about how Gackt (a Japanese performer) ended up having to break up with a former girlfriend because she couldn’t handle all of the negativity she was getting from his fans. Moon Hee Jun from H.O.T. is in his mid 30s, and he’s said that even though many of his fans are married and have children, they don’t want *him* to date anyone and he’s respecting their wishes.

      I don’t understand that. How can a fan claim to love a performer, but hate the person that performer loves or be against that performer ever experiencing a loving relationship on a personal, individual level? It makes no sense to me. :(

  78. Charmz

    Speaking about the news of Jonghyun dating Shin Se Kyung, i just hope that he’s not hurt and would not avoid dating :( It breaks my heart to see him cry and apologise to fans when it’s not his fault :(

  79. где можно найти перевод?( времени нет вникать)

  80. I know the conditions seem terrible, and probably are but i feel as if i could try my best for becoming an idol. Like with my whole heart involved too, if that makes sense. I dont know if i can do that with any other career… I dont want to become a star cause i wanna be rich or famous (tho being rich sounds fun :P) i just want to try with everything i have

    If Dongho started working for you it’d be amazing

  81. love it, mighty fine article, i just wana see more articles from you people. can u tell about how kpop idols reach their saturation point

  82. This makes me wonder, in your interviews with groups, I know you have managment there, but since you guys are so different, do Idols ever talk about the workload, or if they hope it would be different?

    I also like the EYK Nastie Recovery System.

  83. I’m a Brazilian Pirate!

  84. As people in the creative industry we just want to see artists treated better

    The thing is: Try to talk about this to fans anywhere (Tumblr, Omona, Forums) and there will be a horde of fans that scream “hater!”, “exaggeration” and so on… You get almost always instantly shut down and reprimanded for your “negativity”.
    A lot of people seem to think that you can not like something and still realize the problematic aspects.

    It is almost impossible. A good chunk of the fandoms just doesn’t WANT to think about this. I mean, most of what you said in this video isn’t stuff that has never before been on the internet. Even certain idols have talked about this before. But a lot of fans seem to try everything to ignore this aspect of Kpop.

    I am glad you did this video and article though because your reach, especially with international fans is quite big. Maybe a few will actually listen.

  85. I’d really like to see Dongho reply to this request, even though it seems quite unlikely.

  86. You couldn’t pay me enough. Being “Minnesota nice” I feel bad to add any imposition onto these artists. When I have been at KMF, if I saw idols great! I would hang out in the lobby with everyone but if they were hustling through going sonewhere, I didn’t try to stop them. I exchanged nods with a couple of artists as they passed. So I don’t have as many photos. But when Jay Park ran past post concert, he was talking with the others about food. Yes, finally at what was it, midnight or later, they were having post concert food. Actual honest to god real food. At a restaurant! I wasn’t going to jump in his path with my pen or follow. These idols don’t get to play diva with their demands like some artists.
    It is an insane life. They get fame, eventually fortune but they work for it. If it’s the life they want great. Not for me.

  87. Sometimes I wonder what life is like for indie bands, ones that are more underground, not really with a company. Is it possible in Korea for people to be famous without being in a company or signing a contract?

    Anyways. My situation is kinda similar, I guess. I’ve been pursuing a career in acting, because it’s something that’s always interested me. I’m actually not sure what the situation is for American actors (I’m American, but I’m living in Korea right now), and I’m not entirely sure (but I’m starting to suspect it), but I think that Korean actors are in similar situations. I honestly don’t know where my life will go, especially since I’m now studying in Korea, but for all I know, I could try and pursue an acting career here in career, or I might go home to America. Either way, it’s going to be tough.

    I think the appeal to most people, if I can be a judge in this kind of situation, is that it’s a dream that they’d had for a very long time, and it’s a chance to grab at it that many other don’t have. Perhaps they’ve heard how much you need to sacrifice to be in this industry, but maybe they believe they can handle it. Perhaps that’s part of the reason most go through an extensive and long training period: to weed out those who can take the workload from those who can’t.

    These are really just theories, but I think it all boils down to how passionate one is. But I have to agree with S&M. I’d never want to be a kpop idol, and if being an actor meant that I’d have to go through similar conditions, I think I would leave. Or just find small-time acting jobs. Because when you’re truly passionate about something, fame really shouldn’t matter. You’re doing what you love; what more could you ask for?

  88. Ooh, here’s a slightly…EEEEVIL idea. Have the execs at the big studios go all “Undercover Boss” and have to live by a Kpop idol’s schedule as the gopher for one of their rookie groups for a week. (insert diabolical revenge laughter here)

  89. Holy smokes this post is getting a lot of comments.

  90. http://littlemissenigma.blogspot.ca/2013/03/korean-sasaeng-fans.html just for this reason NOPE. They need to hurry up and get some laws and uphold this people to their crimes because they are sincerely just criminals.

  91. in all honesty, screw being a kpop idol… I don’t have the determination for that line of work. on another note, I worked out the other day that since FTIsland debuted in 2007, they’ve managed to release about 170 songs, roughly averaging at 28 songs a year… .__.

  92. Starsania

    Maybe some of these labels should realize that they can’t survive without their top groups and start to treat them better. At least feed them properly I mean come on I actually faint if I don’t eat since I burn calories just too fast. I can’t imagine going on diets like that. Sleep is super important too. A persons brain needs to do mental damage control during sleep. There is no doubt these Idols are talented. At least treat them as humans and not as machines.

    I would kind of like to see more and more indie groups pop up and become popular so that the labels would have to negotiate better contracts to get them on their label in the first place. It’s just too bad its difficult (near impossible) for indie to match the PR these huge labels can churn out. *sigh*

  93. i don’t understand how labour union/human rights hasn’t stepped in to do something. then again, these people did pick their own path. sigh…
    but on a different note, id love to have a boss like you guys :)

  94. I have always known that being a Kpop star is never easy. With all the crazy work hours, dieting issues and lack of privacy, it clearly screams “Congrats in wasting 7 years of you life!”. But, if you think about it, there are many people who would give up their life willingly if they could become Kpop stars, even though they do know about all of this problems that come with it.

    I think that the main reason is all down to Passion. Passion is convincing enough to endure everything that you might have to go thorough. To some, these cons might just be minor disturbances in achieving their life long dream. I mean, the music industry has never been an easy career choice to pursue. It’s like a “make it or break it” kind of thing. The stars would have to promote 24/7 as people can easily forget songs after some time. Every song, no matter how amazing and well-loved, would just be another part of history in years to come. What companies are doing now is to make the most of it.

    For me, I has always been a dream if I could be able to pursue the entertainment industry, so certain things like “no dating” or “No handphones” wouldn’t be a problem (especially since this business won’t let me meet anyone but other stars) if it means that I could achieve this dream. What I am truly worried about would be the unhealthy work hours and dieting ideas. The dieting methods are not only ridiculous, but extremely harmful. People could suffer from malnutrition if they do those methods. One loses weight when their output is lower than their input, so eating less and exercising might work. BUT THIS!!!!! THIS IS CRAZY!!! They’ll literally be starving! People would also need a certain amount of sleep to be able to carry out their activities to the fullest of their abilities. Spending more time promoting and giving them less sleep is just going to produce half-hearted work. I can’t do my school work properly if I don’t have at least 6 hours of sleep, and that would only get me through about three quarters of the day. Imagine having to go all around the place, coming home at like 1am in the morning, and then having to wake up at like 4am to perform. I would have gone crazy by the afternoon. I also actually found it quite worrying for korean students and young kpop stars as their crazy study and work schedules are really depriving them of the eight hours of sleep an average adolescent needs.

    Above all, there will still be people (like me) who would still pursue their dreams even in the worst conditions. So to everyone who still wishes to be a kpop star: HWAITING! Don’t overwork yourself. People still have rights too!

    P.S. Simon and Martina, you guys are so Amazing to be able to pursue your dreams. It’s hard to be successful in the music industry in Singapore. T^T And you also treat your worker really well! :) It’ll be nice to work under you.

  95. hi_im_carol_smiley_face

    I was reeeely devastated when Dongho left :’( but now I understand why, which is why I’m kinda happy at the same time taking this decision; now he can live a normal life as an adult, he’s not even 20 yet! spending such life under the worst conditions with the whole world watching you as a TEENAGER is obviously not the way to go :/
    And of course I wouldn’t wanna be a kpop idol, no-one’s gonna tell me what to do, what to eat, where to live, and all that crap! :P
    I have some friends who want to pursue their career as kpop idols, even though they know that they wouldn’t have a healthy body, dating life, privacy, etc. (they know A LOT more kpop than me xD) but I believe its their passion that leads them to what they wanna be, showing the world your talent and looking beautiful and people appreciating you etc. at some point you would dream to be famous for what you’re good at, right?
    This is why i respect kpop idols a lot, they seriously work sooo much its insane – some of these idols have AMAZING talent (yes, some, no names, IM SORRY I HAD TO SAY IT! mianhae), and for them to keep making their brilliant music, they need to have the life they deserve! so frustrated that these people treat them like that >:(
    I always wonder to myself: why is celebrity life in South Korea so different to celebrity life in the USA ?!? or celebrity life in places other than South Korea? I’m only assuming this, but it seems like American artists don’t go around tours a lot, and spend about 2-4 years making a new album, whereas in Korea if a group doesn’t release a new song in a year, fans get angry. Anyone know more about this?
    Anyway, Dongho has probably angried many many fans for leaving, but they’re the sasaengs that don’t let you do anything, just forget about them, go live your life.
    What’s even better, joining EYK! yeeaahhhh XDXD
    I probably have a lot more to talk about, can’t think at the top of my head now, its such a large topic.
    btw, Simon and Martina, loved this TL;DR :)

  96. Of course at first, I wanted to be a kpop star. You’ve got people making you look good all the time and you get to meet your idols, you have adoring fans, etc. Also I secretly wanted to be on We Got Married with Choi Siwon or Choi Minho heeheehee.

    But honestly…unless i am like JYJ or Jay Park who sets their own schedules and keeps most of their money, I would not want that life. Being a girl and constantly having people say stuff about your weight (“you look thinner” is supposed to be a compliment?), your looks, your attitude, etc. And if your carefully crafted image shatters…gg. Look at what happened to Onew. I think being an idol does have it’s perks such as pretty clothes and fun adventures, but then you realize that at the end of the day, most of the stuff you wear is borrowed and dictated by a stylist and you would trade all your adventures for an extra hour of sleep in an actual bed. Like I saw SHINee’s dorm when they first debuted and it was 5 people in one tiny room! Life got better for them now but…I still remember when the JJong daitng controversy broke out and SM literally took away their phones and any form of communication and locked them in their rooms for 2 weeks.

  97. I would argue that you are part of the TV industry, in so much as the line between broadcast content and internet content is sufficiently blurred that they tend to run together. Because of your job, you have something of an insider’s perspective, but it’s something that’s universal to Korean entertainment.
    The horrors of the Korean entertainment industry have been seen and talked about before in K-dramas, such as ‘Worlds Within,’ and ‘The Greatest Love’ explores the lives of both actors and idols. The actor’s life is very much like the pop star’s life in Korea, and in some regards, even worse; 20-hour work days, your own personal manager is responsible for your food, the sets aren’t even heated(WTF?!?!?!) and too often, there isn’t enough time to eat. You want to know why IVs show up so much in K-dramas? Because often times, that’s how the actors are nourishing their bodies. Ha Ji-Won(Secret Garden) has admitted that this is one of her tricks for not collapsing on set. Essentially, if you’re in the Korean entertainment industry at all, your life is slightly worse than that of a dog. The only exception seems to be indie bands, and I might be wrong about that.

  98. It would be really great if Dongho came to work for EYK! But no matter what, I’m really glad he chose to be healthy and live, even if he had to modify his dream to do it. More power to Dongho, I wish him every success and good health!
    The one thing I really like about these Korean companies is that they train talents. I think we’d see better music here in the US, if our companies did that too. That being said, these slave companies really should be ashamed of how they treat people. Regardless of “product”, idols (and likewise regular employees) are people not robots, not performing puppets, not dancing holograms, but real, living, breathing individuals. They should be treated like people, they should be able to live, not just work, but really, actually live. Then we’ll truly see the best music: performed by people at the top of their game. Maybe because I’m currently dealing with horrendous quality of life due to my job too, so it’s close to my heart. But I really believe that quality of life affects everything, we do, especially music.

  99. I know the whole idea of having Dongho come and work for EYK is a joke. . . but it’s an interesting one. I wonder what it would be like to not only have a native Korean Male point of view, but also one with first hand experience of the K-Pop industry from the other side.

  100. just the fact that you just can’t even say anything you want or stand or sit anyway you want, i just couldn’t. it’s a talent you know, to be able to accept and do all these unacceptable things. see, i will work for the kpop witness protection program though…or sasaeng assassination program…O.O

    • Or maybe fan groups should have a Kpop Idol protection program to police sasaengs affecting their bias group. Sasaengs use social media to harass. Fans can use the same avenues to beat them at their own game. Stalkers suck regardless of how “harmless” they think they are. I’ve been stalked before too, and even for a regular person without having to appease thousands of fans or keep my image, it was an absolutely nerve-rending experience.

  101. I seriously cannot imagine being a kpop idol. Not only are all these cons likely to occur (O_O), but there’s also the chance that your “group” might not even become popular, so you won’t even make that much money or get to perform at many places. Seriously, no matter how much i loved singing, dancing and acting, i don’t think i could do it :S

  102. Hannah

    For me, I’m a dancer. And coming from this kind of perspective, its really really hard to get somewhere in that kind of industry in America. What I like about kpop is the diversity it offers. There isn’t just one group that’s the hot phase of the moment. There are tons of old and new groups that can have a name for themselves. Sure you have all these negatives…but at the same time you’re getting a stage and a spotlight to do what you love for others. They have these fan groups that support them no matter what that is completely unlike anything over here. I feel like these outweigh the other things. But it all depends on whats more important to each person. I could never see you guys in kpop because you need your creative freedom to flourish, but someone like me, they could be the catalyst I would need to turn my dreams into reality. For you the choice is to have you’re own channel or work for someone else’s terms. For me the choice is sacrifice to do what you love, or don’t do it at all. Those are a few reasons why I would consider getting into kpop and probably why some people got there in the first place. They wanted to sing/perform and kpop got them there.

  103. It’s really freaky that this TL;DR shows up the day that I read an article on the CBC news site about the pros and cons of kpop. Here’s the link if anyone wants to read it: http://music.cbc.ca/#/genres/World/blogs/2013/10/The-best-and-worst-of-K-pop

    Basically put: kpop idols don’t get paid enough, and are used like products which can be easily replaced. You don’t really get to be yourself. And the trainee process is very scary!

    I really like that we’re talking about it, because most fans I feel don’t want their idols to be hurt this way, or at least I don’t. When I like a group or idol I also care about them being treated fairly. That said, I’ll be frank, until today I didn’t know exactly how much crap they had to go through… It’s like, I’m already aware of privacy issues and of certain pressures, because a lot of celebrities I like worldwide have that problem, but at least they get to eat and visit the hospital etc. I feel like Korea might need to revisit its labour laws. It’s great that Koreans have such dedication, strength, and perseverance, but imagine what they could do if they took a little more time to recharge. Maybe with kpop becoming more international, and if we keep bringing up this subject, maybe we can change this.

  104. i like to cook stuff..sooooooo….i wont be a kpop idol. :3

  105. I was just chatting to my husband about this and he mentioned a mentality that many Koreans (especially older people) have that Kpop stars/actors are still seen as something like a court jester. Some kind of “dance monkey dance!” idea. So they see these stars as just poor entertainers that don’t deserve to be treated well. Whereas I think with Hollywood and music industries in other countries, it’s been something that has been around for a lot longer and we have a more established idea of what celebrity is and why celebrities should be treated well. Anyway, I hope it’s just a matter of time before that idea changes and hard-working K-pop stars/actors etc can be treated better.

  106. After reading the Busker Busker article I have sooooo much more respect for what they are doing (their music already being fantastic!). It’s such a shame though…I feel as though if kpop artists had more freedom, their work would be even awesome-er and more artistic. :) Thank you Simon and Martina for another great and thought-provoking video!

    • Raine

      I think Busker Busker also had the advantage of having a foreigner who wasn’t bound by culture. What do you guys think?

      • Totally, you know how Korea is very big on respecting your seniors and sunbaes and you do what they say. If you’re a foreigner they are more intimidated by you and don’t hold you to the same standards as they would a Korean person. For example I went to Korea to visit my friend and she took me out with a bunch of her oppas a couple of them being higher up then her where she worked and they tried dragging us to a nightclub later and my friend obliviously just wanted to get home but couldn’t just go “No I don’t want to” firmly because it would insult her work sunbaes. They didn’t let it go until I finally clued in what was happening (not being fluent in Korean) and I said “No, we’re going home.” and they backed off immediately and apologized to me (not to my friend but to me even though they were pestering my friend not me) I’ve also been told by this friend’s parents that people seemed to generally assume foreigners aren’t push overs and less likely to immediately pay respect to elders or senior etc. So people don’t expect it the same standards. Although that is just my little blib of experience with it.

  107. yanagiba yusuke22

    from wat u said….seems like j-idol is more free than k-idol….there is no prob to them to hv marriage even they r on the top of industry… is it bcoz korean industry is more crazy than j-industry?

  108. Well, I thought that you guys would change my mind about wanting to be a k-pop idol, but to be completely honest; it just made me want to be a k-pop idol even more. What you said about “doing a concert here….getting in the van…driving for 3 hours…..do a concert somewhere else….repeat..” really made me kinda happy. I mean for me, that sounds like something I’d want to do everyday. I would actually enjoy it, getting to do what I long to do in life all day is great, even if I have to sleep in a van. I know some idols work 20 hours a day, maybe more, but that sounds good to me as well. That’s how many hours I’d want to work, if it’s doing the thing I love. I mean yeah I like sleeping, but I noticed that when I stay up late doing my homework I tend to want to go to sleep early and I get worried that I won’t be sleeping as much as I want and stuff; and yet when I stay up late singing and dancing, I could care less when I slept. When I stay up late singing and dancing, I never really want to go to sleep at all, and when I do get tired, I want to wake up as early as possible to sing and dance again. Dieting isn’t a big issue either. For me, those diets seem to be okay only because I hardly ever eat on school days. Maybe one meal a day, and it’s enough to get me through the week. And I know what you’re thinking “well you make it the whole week because you get way more sleep than k-pop idols do.” and you might be right. But I think that for me as an idividual, it’s something my body would adjust to just fine. Being sick and injured and still having to perform is something that I don’t mind. I mean during school when I sprian an ankle, when I’m sick, when I just don’t feel good at all, I still have to perform in marching band. And I don’t know if you know much about marching band, but it’s pretty hardcore. At least in my school. I would still be expected to march with good posture no matter what the condition. I mean last year we had a girl in my line fall and split her shin, but the band kept going. That is, until we stopped. Then we went and helped the girl with the split shin. I’m just used to it. I guess my mother taught me something when she refused to let me stay home from school no matter how sick or how shitty I felt. I learned to “suck it up” as my sister says. So so far, being a k-pop idol isn’t sounding bad, it sounds really good. The only things I wouldn’t like is the privacy issuse, and maybe living with my group for the rest of my life. Privacy…well although I don’t see myself as someone who would have stalkers, if I did, sure they would bug me at some point, but I believe I have the ability to not go crazy(from past expreiance with a hardcore stalker, like no joke I had to have securtiy called at one point). Not being able to date sounds pretty bad as well, but what if I’m in love with my job(if I were a k-pop idol)? Or just in love with singing? I think dating can wait. And if it can’t, I’d date secretly(is that even possible dawg?). Living with my group could pose a challenge because I do not know if we liked each other or not. Who knows, I might find a really good friend and sister figure. I think it would be good for me because being around people I don’t know/don’t like and having to socialize/work with them for a long time is something I’d love to improve on. Not only that, but when stress would creep in, I’d love to help my members deal with it because I am really good at sympathzizing with others. I don’t quite know what it is, but for some reason I seem to really understand them not only on a mental level, but from the heart and I truly know what they are going through and that allows me to give good support/advice. I still want to be a k-pop idol. NOT because of the fame. NOT because of the money; you could pay me $30 a month, and I would still love being an idol. But because it is what I feel like, I was BORN to do. To perform, is to breath, I don’t ever want to waste a second not performing. To be an idol, so I can persuade people to have good morals, to do good things, to not commit suicide, to speak up for themselves, to chase after their dream. To live to the fullest. “But why k-pop? You can still be a singer outside South Korea.”, you may say; but you know why it’s k-pop? Because you are trained, forged like a weapon, forced to perfect a skill even if you think that skill is as good as it’s gonna get. Because you work for 20+ hours, because of the diets, because the companies make you work. To be completely honest, if I worked in a company, doing what I loved, if they didn’t make me work for 20 hours, diet, work with others, work when I was injured, etc; I would quit. I would quit and go to the company what made me do those things. Call me crazy, but everyone in the world has their own opinion. Everyone thinks differently. Everyone feels differently about certain things. Everyone is their own person; their own individual. Everyone has the right to do what it is that THEIR HEART beats for. For me, it’s being a k-pop idol. That’s what drives me to become an idol. I know this is long, but for anybody that reads/read this, thank you. :) Even if you disagree, at least you read all of this. It means a lot. ^^ Well there are my two answers~ Would I still want to be a k-pop idol? Yes. What drives you? Haha…read all the above. XD

    oh! And sorry for misspellings….. n.n’

  109. You know, it’s only until I met Kpop I found out about all the possessive thing. Kpop idols can’t have a date but strangely their fans can. Then there is more bromance and sismance (?) than romance with opposite gender coz it hurts the fans. Well I dont care if my idol finds their mate or gets married (perhaps I’ll be upset a bit) but that’s all. I’ll still continue to support their work. If my idol is happy, I’ll be happy too. Cause we know Kpop idols have life. Kpop fans have life. All of us have life. It’s weird why only Kpop idols are not allowed to have any relationship while the fans can. Isnt that cheating? lol
    It’s just yesterday I watched a certain group idol that’s been running long in Kpop industry and they said, “If there is something change in their life is that whenever they hold a concert, their fans will bring along their kids or spouse to watch it together while them remain the same.” Aww.
    Anyway I hope all is well for Dongho. You still have a long journey, Dongho~ah. Pursue what you think suits you best. As long as it makes you comfy, I’ll support the path you take. :)

  110. yes dongho go work for eyk..u go boy

  111. You nailed it. Couldn’t have said any of it better myself.
    As a kpop fan and a student studying human rights, it’s really a conflict every time I watch a music video or whatever because I’m contributing to this poisonous industry. And it’s upsetting that there are virtually no laws in place for their protection, privacy, or nourishment.
    If I lived in Korea and had any interest in a career in music, I would steer far far away from entertainment agencies or tv shows that produce and trap idols. I’m all for the Korean indie scene and musicians like Busker Busker, who despite making it big, said hell no to all the crazy schedules and contracts (I read Brad’s interview a few weeks ago, definitely eye-opening). They do their own thing. As much as I like certain idols, I always feel bad for them. I would feel so suffocated in that kind of environment, I don’t know how they put up with it all.
    Good luck to Dongho :)

  112. This is definitely my favorite post/article/subject. :) Thanks for enlightening us about this EYK! :D
    Oh how I wish I could work for you guys but I live all the way in Malaysia. :L

  113. the funny(weird)thing is that i know all this n i still want ot be an idol…ok i will tell u y
    *i dont mind living in a van
    *i dont mind going to places every few hrs
    *i dont mind the food they will give me as long its not spicy(i cant eat spicy)
    *i dont mind not dating as i dont want a boyfriend n i feel theres no need to have one
    *i dont mind people asking me to do anything as im a follower not a leader
    *n kpop is like the only thing i love n i can see myself working something related to kpop
    im only 13 so this thinking of mine may change(highly wont think that will happen)but anything could happen and i dotn read future so this is my thinking i know many people have different thinking so this is only abt me ;p

  114. I thought it was particularly telling when Junsu did an interview about working with Bruce Vandeveer in America. How he found it odd that Bruce talked to him before recording to get a feel for each other and what they wanted from the song, Bruce offered him warm tea to help his throat, and had him take breaks fro his voice. He was touched that Bruce seemed to care for him. The unspoken being they don’t care for yoiu this much in the k-pop world.

    Btw, heck no to being an idol. I like food and sleep.

  115. You guys are exactly the kind of bosses I like to work for. So glad my current director falls into that same category. Happy workers are so much more beneficial to a company that ones run into the ground.

  116. I think one of the things I find most horrible about the kpop industry is that all these idols are young. Most aren’t even considered adults in Korea. It’s one thing to force unreasonable work exceptions on fully grown adults but to do it to growing teenagers? And most of them were in “training” for years before debut too! So who knows how long they’ve been mistreated. I can’t imagine what lies the companies told their parents to approve a contract like that…I’m glad Dongho took the chance while he had it. Stories like these always break my heart and I wish I could just send all the idols pillows and air mattresses to use to make things just a little bit more comfortable. Also, Marina, I wanted to give you a hug during this video…you looked upset. I am too, knowing how difficult the Kpop industry and even European and American industries influence young girls into making bad choices over their bodies. ):

  117. I can say that I am so happy for Dongho. I feel that he will be able to experience the joys of being young, and enjoy the things that are supposed to make life great. I hope that he will be healthy and happy in the future. As a person, I hope that these young people will be treated as people rather than as a product.

  118. I’m on college and I live with 7 other people and really insane ! Sometimes is awesome being together but is not fairy tale, we have to be patient because all of us has different personalities. I think now k-pop is growing up and in some years this will all change (I hope so) and people will understand that idols are people too

  119. I would never want to be famous. Ever! I’m reasonably talent, and I get people telling me all the time “Oh you should audition for American Idol, Xfactor or The Voice, you’d be perfect…” I have to roll my eyes at them. I don’t want to become famous. I have no desire to be famous. The American Pop industry may not be as bad as the K-Pop industry, both have their definite evils. I mean, you get no privacy, you literally have to sell your soul, mind and body and once you become a certain age…I’ll say 40, things go downhill. Madonna’s what? 55 and still producing music, but the quality of her music has changed. She’s sold out to the industry and doesn’t care anymore. She’s flashing her boobs and showing her aging body? For what? Sales? She’s a joke to the younger generations while the rest of us who grew up with her music are like ‘What the hell!’ Her last album…MDMA from what I’m reading, tanked and Hard Candy didn’t do so well either. Same’s going for Britney Spears, Rihanna and Katy Perry. Nobody writes their own stuff anymore, it’s heavily synthesized. It’s becoming like K-pop really. Whatever down time these artists do have, is spent creating controversy, drinking heavily, clubbing, smoking pot or Salvia and what not.

    You think I want to be like that? Heh. Not in a million years. I will take my anonymity over being famous any day. At least I do what I want when I want and have noone to answer to, fans to please or anything. I can be myself, not whatever image a record label creates for me.

  120. Never in a million years! I really wish that things would change. Maybe if one company started, then the others would be shamed into following?
    Simon and Martina, why don’t you start your own EYK record label? You could make sure that your idols got food and sleep! And had fun.

  121. oh wow. I just read the busker busker article. the kpop industry sounds so sketchy~
    I am working with really good conditions now. I expect OT pay if I work OT. Actually my supervisor doesn’t expect us to work OT, because he doesn’t either. I leave work on time. I spend money how I like it. I don’t envy the idols. I know they have an image and they have to stick to it. I don’t want to be scrutinized for every stupid thing I do or say (I do say a lot of stupid things that I regret later).

  122. Hold on a sec. Do restraining orders not exist in Korea? O.o From the way you phrased that part, that’s what it sounded like…

  123. I definitely wouldn’t be able to survive in the K-Pop industry. I love eating and sleeping too much.

  124. This is just a random question nothing to do with this video but my youtube sign in button is not working. When ever I press it the page just re-loads can someone help me. Please

  125. as much as I would love to be an idol (to get closer to my idols as friends and stuff you know, like swag), I can’t the pressure. like, there might (or would) be limits to what I can and can’t do. it’s like, I debut as an adult yet I’m still given boundaries. smacked in the face with rules, and never being able to be fREEE. /s0bs. it’s scaryyy. I’m perfectly fine with watching my idurs on dur sidelines. ish okie. I have chingus w/ mwee. ;u;

  126. daniela campo

    i wanted to… (like that kidish dream of been a super cool singer)… but i dont want it that bad… kkkkk its just thta fustrated super star dream i’v had for years hahahahaha…. but i know the cons so i dont want to be a kpop idol ^^


  128. zzxczxfcsfsdfsdfdsfdfd

    a lot of kpop idols are from poor family background so they choose this path for the money and fame. Children from wealthier families tend to not go through this path because they dont need the money. I know someone whose like 7 and dances really well and could likely become a kpop idol but the kid is from a pretty well off family so they disregarded it.

  129. Although I would never want to be a kpop idol (as much as I love them, it’s not that I dont like their life style or anything, I just would just rather see my future go in a different direction), AND BRACE YOURSELVES THIS MAY COME OFF AS A LITTLE HARSH….not that I’m trying to be mean or anything…but I admire kpop idols’ work ethic. I know they work long hours and a lot of the stuff they go through is SUPER unfair, but I feel like a lot of the stuff they do also keeps them so grounded. I love the fact that when a group is famous, THEY DONT JUST RISE TO FAME IN A YEAR AND EARN ALL THE MONEY AND GO LIVE IN A HUGE MANSION AND FORGET WHERE THEY CAME FROM (cough cough justin bieber, one direction, etc.) I feel like in America, when you rise to fame and you get that spotlight, your popularity and money and everything just shoots up so fast. With Kpop idols though, I love that they work so hard to get where they’re going, and THEY’RE ALWAYS WORKING HARD, every time they promote or do anything, because they’re not super praised and made so almighty like american artists, they seem a lot more grounded and appreciative of what they have. Because, at the end of the day, their kpop idol life is their JOB and it’s nice to see them working for it (and in the long run maybe they’re willing to go through all that bullshit to make their statement in the kpop music industry and whatnot) Granted, I do agree that crazy diets and long contracts and whatever are ridiculous and sometimes inhumane…but I think the dorm life (as annoying as it may get) is helpful especially when they’re just starting out as rookies, they need to get on each other’s nerves and know each other inside out and just be comfortable around each other in the end. I also love love love how dedicated they are to every event and show and how much practice they put into everything :) It really shows in their performances and really makes me proud to be a fan, knowing that “wow they’re working so hard, not only for themselves but for me too” I dunno if I made sense at all..and wow I wrote an essay…but that’s what I’ve always sincerely felt about the kpop idol life ^^

    • i agree with you so much! kpop idols are definitely more down to earth, humble, and respectable idols imo. And that is partly to do with how theyre brought up, but also how they probably dont get praised all the time and fame isnt handed to them instantly on a silver platter; they work hard for everything and earn it, like you said. And i love that. the diets/mistreatment/other terrible things weve been discussing are still wrong and horrid and unfair. I dont think that will be helping anyone..but their work ethic and because of how they’ve been brought up i think really show the difference between korean idols and american idols, who always seem to somehow let the fame get to their heads. whereas i dont see any kpop idols like that, even the huge hotshots are still the most geunine, hardworking and lovely people. i totally agree with everything you said :)

  130. Lmao…this sounds like a life I could be accustomed too unintentionally. I wake once every hour when I sleep. I don’t eat dinner because I just don’t. Floors, aren’t too bad. And car trips from one place to another don’t phase me in the slightest.
    My body lives the K-Idol life when I don’t :P

    Jokes aside. I wouldn’t actually like a life like that. It would ram me down into the ground so hard because I get sick easily (especially with sudden changes in sleeping patterns, temperatures, people around me being sick). Studios could at least provide a table of simple refreshments like bottles of water, bowls of fruits, plain crackers etc…

    I knew something was off when I saw waiting rooms on programs etc…they look bare as heck. Not adorned in healthy foods for their guests

  131. ohh my gosh you guys look !
    they’re going to make a law!!!

  132. the company-employee relationship part reminds me of when i read the money magazine and there was an article on how american companies are shifting towards only hiring those who would enjoy working their jobs. (since enjoying work ties into productivity and a healthy, positive atmosphere.)

    kpop in general is just so.. complicated.

  133. The connotation “idol” says it all. Also, HOW FUNNY AND AWESOME WOULD IT BE IF DONGHO WORKED WITH EYK?

  134. CAN I COME WORK FOR EYK??? I’m very creative ^_^ but true true true and TRUE! The kpop industry is sooo foul and tiring! I really admire the big bands such as SNSD, SHINee, EXO, etc, because they work full time and still manage to at least LOOK relatively “happy.” KUDOS TO EYK!! Very down-to-earth article.

    PS. I’m currently in high school (sophmore) and you mentioned Wordsworth and Byron in another video and I was like EEE I READ STUFF BY THEM YAYY I FEEL SMART. And yeah … :)

  135. I totally agree with the EYK about how hard each group (big and small) works. I feel like a lot of people don’t really realize that the life of an idol isn’t all that glamorous. I’ve read from somewhere that TY and GD of Big Bang once mopped the floors for YG, and had to carry all the bags for their sunbaes while using public transportation (they weren’t allowed to ride with the rest of the crew in the vans). It also sucks that many people don’t realize how hard these idols work for to get where they are now. I’ve heard a lot of people say half these groups are only popular because fans like how ‘hot’ they are, and that they don’t actually appreciate the music.

  136. So I’m one of those people who still wants to be a kpop idol even despite all of the cons. Here are my reasons why:
    Ok, so you have to understand that apart from eating, sleeping and using the bathroom, all I do is sing/dance anyways. Literally, I almost constantly need music, more than a drug, it’s practically a living necessity. This has been true for me even before I became interested in kpop. I seriously love it so much, any moment when I’m not doing something music related, I’m either playing a song in my head or practically having some sort of withdrawal symptoms.

    So firstly, as you know, kpop idols have a training period before they debut and a lot of what they have to learn/practice doesn’t stop even after they debut. And the things that they learn/practice are all my favorite things! They get to dance and practice choreography for up to 12 hours straight! Which to me is amazing. I always get the best kind of rush when I’m dancing and I’ve always wanted to have someone to coach me in dancing. As a trainee, it’s my JOB to practice dancing! To me, that’s a privilege. Furthermore, they also teach you how to speak languages. I loooove learning languages. I’ve learned 5 so far and they would all help me with kpop, plus they tend to pick up at least one English speaker for their group especially since kpop has become successful internationally. I could get as much coaching in Chinese as I wanted AND I’d get to become fluent in Korean. That’s a dream come true for me. You get to practice singing on a daily basis, they write songs for you and all you have to do is sing. That’s heaven on earth for me. So, training is pro #1 for me that outweighs all of what you said. Even if I never got to debut, just to go through the training process would be such a blessing.
    Second, the beauty. When you become a kpop idol, they beautify you. I’m already content with my appearance, but I know I’m not as pretty as I could be. I know this sounds so conceited, but just look at all the other kpop idols. Some of them went from downright butt-ugly to irresistibly gorgeous! I’m the kind of person who’s a little bit appearance obsessed. You mentioned how they have to sleep on floors and they are frequently sleep deprived, but I’ve been dealing with that my whole life anyways. In high school I was physically unable to fall asleep before 2am and I would have to wake up at about 6am every day for school. In my first semester of college, I still had the same problem but I had to wake up at 5:30 am ever single day. I’m very used to sleeping in cars or on buses or trains. To me, it’s normal. It just teaches you to appreciate the little sleep you do get lol. Anyway, I’m able to get very hyped up as long as I love what I’m doing regardless of how much sleep I get I can usually pump myself up full of energy regardless. And because I love singing and dancing so much, I personally feel that it’s worth it. The only thing is, I hate it when I feel sleep-deprived AND I know I look crappy. That ruins my whole mood. But if I know that it doesn’t matter how tired I am because someone else is going to do my hair and pick out my outfit and make me look awesome, then I’m too pumped to care.
    Now for the part where I admit that I can’t get around some of your cons. You’re right, it does sound a bit hard to deal with sasaengs but at least I’d have my fellow members for support. I’m the type of person who can’t stay in conflict for too long and I can’t let problems linger. I squash negativity in the bud and, if I have something to say, I’ll say it. I’m not going to hold back. I’m not confrontational, but for example, if I don’t like that someone keeps taking my water bottles from the fridge, then I look for compromise. I say, “Hey, you guys need to make sure I can get water after practice because I don’t drink soda and otherwise I’ll have nothing to drink. I can buy extra water if more people want some, but people need to let me know if they want water.” I always speak generally, I never single anyone out and I always provide a reason behind why I think something is a problem so that people will know my concerns aren’t unfounded. I’m looking forward to having group mates and, since I’m already nineteen, I’ve grown accustomed to the concept of being the leader of the group. I imagine myself as the peace-keeper of the group. A mediator who makes sure everyone’s concerns are voiced and considered.
    And my last reasoning for wanting to become a kpop idol? I’m opinionated. Respectful, but I don’t let myself get shutdown, I make sure my voice is heard. What does that have to do with being a kpop idol? If conditions for kpop idols are so terrible, somebody has to speak up. Maybe I’d be forfeiting my job, but I wouldn’t want to assume the worst. I’m not thinking of having a career assuming that I’ll have to stand up for myself but if push comes to shove, I’d be willing to sacrifice my career to make a point. If it means that the person who replaces me will have better working conditions than I did, then so be it, even if I couldn’t get those conditions for myself. That’s my thought process. A lot of people I’ve talked to say that if they became a kpop star, they would want to be in YG because they think they would have more expressive freedom, but I like the concept of being cooperative and a chameleon who can fit many molds. I’m willing and wanting to learn and experience. I want to travel the world doing what I love — singing, dancing, learning a new language, living life in the fast lane. To be honest, this type of hectic lifestyle is what all celebrities have to go through. I’ve known about all of it since I was like 6 years old. I’ve studied the music industry my whole life. Simon made the point that kpop idols have 2-3 concerts a day, I thought that was a given because it’s true about American artists too, when they’re on tour. But I love the fast pace, the constant working, the melodrama. I like the concept of doing something that stretches the boundaries of perception of reality. They always say celebrity is larger than life and I wouldn’t want it any other way. I feel I’m made for the music industry, I’m exactly what they’re looking for and I know exactly what they want. I’m obedient, I’m flexible and I don’t mind redundancy. I haven’t glorified it in my head, I know the harsh realities and pressures.
    But that’s just me. I don’t know why I’m justifying how much I want it to you, but you asked why people still wanted to be a kpop idol even in spite of all the cons and this is my honest answer.

    • Thanks for sharing, that’s really detailed and insightful. Maybe all those K-pop idols are as obsessed as you are, to be able to make it to fame. It sounds almost like you were born to sing and dance, lol. I hope you do find happiness in your career path, whatever you choose in the end.

  137. I’m super happy you guys talked about this. I feel as though many Kpop fans out there don’t fully realize just how stressful the industry truly is. We all have a rough idea and understand “Yeah sometimes it can be rough, oh no.” But a lot of us fail to realize just how much so. It’s not an “Oh no exam time and College applications, what will I do?” kind of stress. It’s insane and I have to give major props to all those idols that can put up with it so well. I’m in the same boat as you guys, I would NEVER be able to do or have the desire to it. They couldn’t pay me enough (and wouldn’t if I was an idol) to put up with those kinds of things. Thanks for bringing some light to the situation for those of us that are less knowledgeable on the subject. :)

  138. Some of the fans are crazily possessive. Maybe in the very beginning of the idol era, they should be allowed to date freely already…. T.T
    I agree with the individuality thing. Everyone was born different, different set of thinking and taste. Maybe some of the companies allow the idols to use songs they have written themselves and perform, however, still under massive control…?

  139. i would never want to be a kpop idol yes i adore them but even without you saying anything i already sall and feel the same way ive read post about idols when they get a gf or bf and the comments below can be really lame idols read what we write they may not reply or see everything but the get the jist of it. as a big fan of ukiss and many other kpop idols i would never want them to be unhappy i think that true fans out there should love them for their music their dancing or whatever talent they have and if they want to date then why not let them they or in the end human beings and humans need a life or their own a family or the peace to make them happy i think its enough that they put their lives in the hands a company that can be good or bad and try their best to make us the fans happy so i am sad but glad that dongho is making a stand for his life GO DONGHO i hope he is happy out there^_^

  140. irritablevowel

    I read an article some time ago about some of the big name Korean film directors who were releasing their first English language films in the U.S. One of the directors said the biggest adjustment was getting used to working with unionized crews and unionized actors. I bet it was! I guess they had a lot of Korean crew members as well, and the U.S. crews were like, it’s time to stop and go home guys. Yes we’re serious. No, it’s not an option. Some one in Korean entertainment needs to be the Norma Rae!

  141. i would never be a kpop idol! beacus im to NASTY!! :D but seriously i would never ever be a kpop idol beacus of all
    increasingly stressful thnings you need to go through each day. and if some idol do something bad like “oh this idol like to get drunk every single day” witch is not so good, and it spread around in the media it will have big impact on young people, that might think its ok to get drunk every day. ( sorry for my bad english, its hard for me to write long sentences in english )

  142. I could imagine Simon and Martina calling Dongho, “DDDOOONNNGGGGHHHHOOOO!!!!”

  143. u guise should start an EYK label and sign kpop artists who wants a better life, or simply hire them to make new video segments. that would be cool

  144. Glad you enlightened many kpop-its! While volunteering, I delivered something to GD’s dressing room for an event and still distinctly remember only one thing about it: The stack of flats of gatorade and red bull. (no joke, there was easily over 100 redbulls in the room). My one thought: so that’s how he gets his cray on! LOL

    I long ago determined I could never be a kpop idol – after a certain amount of sleep deprivation, I lose all motor skills LOL
    Definitely much more suited for EYK ;P

  145. people keep talking about how the idols can still get fan food even if their company doesn’t give them food but what we don’t know is whether that food is taken away from them behind the scenes, also, unpopular idols who don’t have very many fans would still go without food which is still unfortunate. Personally, I feel like being a korean idol or any popular person in korea for that matter is just taking on the role of an actor. You’ve to suppress all your feelings of stress and unhappiness, everyone’s telling you what to do what to wear and what to say you have no input whatsoever. That’s what an actor does when they act for a show, but kpop is music! That’s what you say but if it gets the company money they won’t give to flipping shits about their employees who are legally bound to them.

    Also, many of these idols start young so they stop going to school, leaving them with no school credits or a basic graduation certificate so even if they had the choice of not renewing their goodbye-life-and-freedom contracts they can’t because they have no qualifications to do any other form of business.

    This is not only prominent in the kpop industry but also in a lot of other industries, mainly asian (not to be racist or anything don’t get me wrong here) because asian parents make their children work so hard in fact this nature of overworking, privacy lacking, non-loving culture very well began from education. Disagree if you may but kpop and education in asia (mainly china, korea, japan and Singapore) don’t differ very much. Which also explains why Simon and Martina can be carefree the way they are and their employees like Soo Zee (I think her name is so cool) can be happy and enjoy working. Because Simon and Martina never grew up under a no-liberty condition. Soo Zee probably has and that’s why she’s so grateful to work for Simon and Martina. Kudos to you guys!

  146. I agree though, sometimes people just need a break. Cause I mean these Idols are people too and once they’re off-stage they’re back to their normal lives. They should be able to eat, go home, sleep- whatever without having to worry about fans following them or being caught on camera ><

    Sidebar: OMG can I come work for you guys ^o^??!!

  147. This video is speaking my own thoughts and opinions about the kpop industry. I started to get into it at the age of 24 (spring 2012), and after perhaps two weeks I said “I would NEVER wish to have this life”. Absolutely never. I love South Korea, with their funny shows (I love Running Man and Dad where are you going), their music and their food. Heck, I’ve soon seen Super Junior live twice and Big Bang one time. I might live there for three months next year. But I think one of the reasons I love it all so much is not only because it’s funny, bubbly and everything awesome. But it’s like a different world, that I know about here in Norway and it’s a world I can escape a bit to. Does that make sense? It’s so different to what I know of, and that’s why I also get so dedicated to know everything about it. Not just the nice sides.

  148. Where can I get a job like Soozee has? orz

  149. I really wanted to hear what you guys had to say about this. Let me begin by saying I totally agree with you guys I would never want to be a k-pop idol either, not in this conditions I value my freedom to do whatever I want much more than anything else that life could offer me.
    I’m a kiss me at heart, truthfully I like a lot of k-pop groups but the only ones I follow and can frankly say I belong to their fandom is u-kiss, when I first read Dongho left the group I was really sad, I mean I still am but I wasn’t even surprised, it was like I had seen it coming, weirdly just a day before I had thought that Dongho wanted to leave u-kiss and then it happened, I was more surprised by that, than the actual fact itself cuz I can really understand where he is coming from and respect his decision wholeheartedly. But if I said I wouldn’t be happy if he joined the EYK crew would be a lie xD

  150. I agree with what you said, they need to be treated better in their work environment and not just in kpop.
    and stalkers… seriously something needs to be done about that and i personally would love it if they were allowed to date… i don’t care if it’s my “bias” or whatever, if i’m truly a fan i should be happy that they’re happy and having a normal life.
    Which is why even though i’m really sad Dongho is gone i’m also happy because now at least he can have a less stressful lifestyle.

  151. Makes me want to work with you guys. Accept me! *shows aegyo* LOL

  152. bring the SHINeee D:

  153. Can I work for you guys? I want to be a graphic designer, and I like designing t-shirts, and that job just sounds wonderful

  154. I’m at peace. Your article really gave me the peace in heart that I’ve needed for so long: Realizing how vain the k-pop industry really is.
    I was given the opportunity to advance in auditions for YG ent back in 2010, and didn’t go. I have to admit that I haven’t forgiven myself for letting that chance go. Up until now. I’ve had a lot of uneasy, stress like, depressing feelings ever since, feeling that my life is going nowhere. I was hopeless so to speak.

    But now I’ve been able to forgive myself and I thank you for that.

    I’ve always been a “multi-talent”, a creative person wanting to express myself as an artist. And one of the main reasons I wanted to become a k-pop star was that I wanted to be an “idol”. I wanted to be looked up to, be a good example, have influence on others and share “my world” with everyone. But I realize that the k-pop industry might lead to the opposite (at least the last part.)

    It doesn’t shine as bright as we think it does. There’s always two sides to every coin. If one is shining in the sunlight, the other one is hidden in the shadows. I think k-pop may be much like this.

    I’m still not boycotting k-pop, though. I still care for the artists and check out their songs (which are better than the crap on mainstream radio), but I probably look at them in a different light now. Thanks again.

    Let’s hope for a better future for K-pop!

  155. Where do I start? Well, first I think it’d be better to apologize for the grammar and words I’m gonna use. Since I’m not a native English speaker, I probably gonna make a lot of mistakes.
    Kpop idols are a special group of people. They are usually started their career at a very young age when the kids around them care nothing more than getting home on time and getting their grades up. When they become a trainee and get the chance to debut (which is only a few of them), their primary job is to please the audience who probably at the same age. They usually are not well-rounded entertainer at first, the quickest ways they can gain popularity and affection is to following their sunbae idols, obeying their companies and doing whatever they’re asked to do on set. At this point, there probably is not much personal opinions can be paid attention to. They can only keep practicing and practicing, make good social network with staff and directors, and never make mistakes. After the rookie idols become popular, the fan-base grows bigger and bigger, their can only be more careful about their own opinions since more eyes are on them now.

    There’s news all over the place. Like within this year, there’re artists fainted in the backstage, or artists got protested by fans because of the scandals, or the one the TL;DR is talking about here. I’m not going to point fingers on anyone, but I found the fundamental problem is that they’re having problem with “am I pleasing my audience enough”. They have to pretty and energetic on stage, and have perfectly “pure” lifestyle for everyone to love. And they need to be present everywhere because everybody’s waiting for them and if they don’t come out they will soon be replaced by younger, prettier kids.
    Sad but this is the truth about kpop industry. If we look at the sunbae idols, like SHINHWA and member’s of H.S.g.R, they’re still working in the industry but with less pressure. Again, I’m not going to point anybody out, but a lot of the sunbae idols cannot be as successful as they are, and some of them even fell into bigger problems because lacking of support and self-discipline. If there are people figured thing out that they cannot be happy and fulfilled by entertaining the audience and quit the industry for good, it’s not a completely bad thing.
    As a fan of TVXQ/JYJ, I suffered from the heartbreaking similar things, and one of the protest JYJ held was the suffocating schedule and underpaying. JYJ was not quitting because they have the passion and talent of performance but they got banned from numerous TV programs because of the lawsuit with SM Entertainment. TVXQ as two members suffered a rather long gap as well, which is not benefiting at all. But one thing I can be sure is that they’re gaining from their hard work and talent from the audience, not only the paycheck from the company, but the fulfillment of being adored and supported by such a big crowd. Not to mention the profit they’re making now. They’re way richer than most of people at their age. They are among the lucky ones who grasped the opportunity, but they have to sacrifice at the same time.
    What I wanna say is that, being idol is a personal choice of career for people who are really talented in entertaining the audience. It is not for gloomy people, not for picky people, and not for people who wanna enjoy the coziness of suite hotel room and all-you-can-eat buffet.
    BTW, there should be law established to put saesangs to jail, for real.

  156. I feel like the work ethic is more of a cultural thing though. Like you said, everyone works hard, but that includes the general public too. Maybe I’m wrong and biased, but as a fellow Asian, there is this pressure on you to work hard and continually achieve higher and higher. There’s fierce competition between everyone in every field. You do what you have to do to win, to save face, to hold up your pride. It’s in our blood.

    I’m not agreeing with the treatment KPop idols face, but sadly, it’s not isolated nor confined to Korea.

  157. I have to agree that its lies in the culture of many asian countries to be hard working.

    Heck, just look at the overall history of Asia: it started it’s industrial revolution late, but grew the fastest. Today, many of the asian countries are considered wayyy ahead in terms of technology.

  158. Brazilian pirate?? did I hear it right?
    anyways, I couldn`t be a K-pop idol, I LOVE food!!
    It would be awesome if Dongho worked for EYK :)

  159. Ermagherd if Kevin passes the word on to Dongho and you actually recruit him, if this ACTUALLY works, it will be mass Nasty CHAOS around here… you did make it sound awfully nice to work with you after all :D

  160. I tots agree with you on Dongho and I am happy he chose the path that made him happy. and to answer after knowing all of this, yes I would consider entering as an idol. Those cons don’t seem to be that bad for some because for them singing and dancing is their life (as much of a cliche that is) and going through all these rough times just being on stage making people happy and smile makes it all worth while.

  161. lady_kire

    As much as the treatment of Kpop idols is pretty shocking, I can’t say that I’m boycotting or stop supporting them.

    To me, yes it is pretty bad, but it is a culture thing. Also, I’m not sure, but maybe China or Japan or any of the other Asian countries do the same. All I’ve heard is that I know someone who may have gotten trapped in a slave contract in China and forced to be in a boyband against his will. I’ve also heard of an AKB48 member getting into a scandal about sleeping over at a guy’s place at night and angered the manager and afterwards, shaved her hair off for punishment(? someone clearify this AKB48 fans). So, I can’t say Korean entertainment industry is the worst. It may be, or it may be in the category of crappy industries.
    I honestly think it depends on the company. Cjes is taking good care of JYJ and allowing them to be creative. Look at Jaejoong. He’s going towards a genre of music that he likes. Also, the company is going after the parents of netizens that post malicious comments.
    Maybe the smaller, less powerful/well known companies treat their idols better? But again, it is really hard to say.

    I have friends who took place in kpop dance cover contest and I know 1 of them got in contact with the CEO of one of the kpop companies, and another got to go to Korea to compete in the semi finals(?)

    I think they’ve said that they want to be in the industry because they love dancing. One knows that the industry is tough, competitive and more, but its her dream and passion.

    Strangely this is similar to how people feel about where their clothes come from. People become shocked that their clothes come from sweat shops…

  162. What would not surprise me in the least is to find out that Dongho “quit K-pop” because his entertainment company told him “if you leave, you’ll never be able to work in the industry again. You’re career as a singer will be OVER.” That’s what happened to JYJ. Look at what happened there – almost 4 years after leaving SM, and coming up on a year after the case is over and a settlement agreement with them was reached, they STILL can not be seen on TV or heard on radio in SK. Everything they try to do in SK, they run up against the blacklist SM has them on. This is what it truly ugly about K-pop. You either work yourself to death, every minute of your days are regulated, you can’t date and you get cheated out of your royalties or you find yourself banned and trashed by the Haters. That’s just beyond crazy.

  163. I would becaue I love to sing, I love the feeling of bringing happiness with my music~


  165. Asela Cheung

    I would work in a Korean entertainment business….but not as an idol. I don’t want to risk my privacy and do extreme dieting just to sing and dance on stage. However, I would rather write and produce songs with other artists. I would still be in the business, but I won’t be in the spotlight as much.

  166. I want to go to all of my favorite artists, offer them to come into my home, make them an awesome home cooked meal, and give them a warm bed to sleep in. Hugs will be shared and most importantly, NO MANAGERS AND NO SASAENGS.

  167. Did they really do that to that poor girl? Oh, my gosh! That is horrible! I can even imagine people doing that in America. I mean of course you have those crazy fans that ridicule others because of who they are dating, but oh man, I couldn’t imagine fans taking it to that extent. That’s a crying shame.

  168. I approve of Dongho working for Eat Your Kimchi <3
    Would you guys actually ask him if he wants to join you guys? O:

  169. The sheer amount of times you hear about idols going to hospital to get a drip because they’re so EXHAUSTED, it’s insane! Like what the hell are these companies doing!!? GET YOUR SHIT TOGETHER! Idols should be more protected from stalker “fans”, should be fed healthy food (90% of them are dancing all day, they need food!) and should be given work hours fit for humans. And idols are starting so YOUNG these days too. 11 year old trainees getting shit food , zero sleep, not allowed to visit their family and can’t go to school because of hectic training schedules, how is that okay?!

  170. Now that I know about the dating ban, the fact that bands are typically same-gender makes a lot more sense.

  171. Hire meeeeeeeeeee ;n; haha I had a dream to do my professional practice with you
    (something we have to do in mexicans universities) but I don’t know if I
    can anymore ): … anyway, I believe the same thing, idol life (i’m not
    sure if you can call that life) is so insane.

  172. I actually wouldn’t mind being a kpop idol, for a lot of reasons. 1.) My current diets are pretty much just as insane, yes I know it’s not healthy. 2.) I pretty much never get upset with anyone ever. 3.) I like being told what to do and having everything laid out for me. 4.) I sleep on the floor on purpose sometimes . 5.) I sleep around 4 hours a night anyways. 6.) I don’t care about privacy and 7.) I don’t want to date and I don’t forsee that changing any time soon.
    Then again, I do have pretty weird preferences.

  173. I understand all of the points that you guise mentioned without a single doubt. It sucks because however many cons there are, the pros almost completely overtake the cons…for a time. The joy of having millions and millions of people adoring you (no matter how superficially or true) and also the overwhelming feeling of so many people having your back is something that a lot of people would die for. But yeah, all of the bad circumstances that the Korean idols have to go through happens the majority of the time, which sucks.
    Truthfully, what you said about us looking up to our Korean idols as IDOLS is so true. As a fan of Kpop (i’m completely Super Junior biased), i can honestly say that i do look up to each and every one of my Super Junior oppas for different reasons. Each and every one of them show different traits that i admire and hope to integrate into my own life. I know that they have to abide by the rules of their company, and they have to deal with all of the undesirable things that their company throws at them, but what makes my Super Junior oppas amazing to look up to is that they do follow what they are told to do, which to me shows respect and responsibility. They also know how to make sacrifices in order to do what they love because they have passion for it. Not only that, but they also appreciate the love that their fans show them, and work hard to make them happy and keep them satisfied. Granted, us fans are pretty much their source of income, i feel as though they have a genuine love for us fans because they know that they personally influence our lives and help to make us better people.
    Obviously i know that it isn’t just Super Junior who lives this way. I know that many other Kpop idols do as well.
    And just for the record, i am in no way defending the companies that the Korean idols work for. Save a few companies, all of them have absolutely zero clue on how to treat the people who work for them. *cough* SM ENTERTAINMENT *cough*
    I’m just speaking from my own personal perspective.

  174. im just… OTL
    now i dont think i can feel the same way ever when i listen to kpop now like i mean listening to kpop used to be fun for me and now i just dont think i can listen to it again … in the same light

  175. When that is said… I’d rather work for you!

  176. I don’t want to be a Kpop idol, I want to be Kpop idols’ cook. Or a punisher to sasaengs.
    No but seriously, their schedules make me think of Hermione Granger, except they don’t have time turners… And the thing that pisses me off the most whenever I read/hear about idols’ life are these obsessed nutcases, insolent enough to call themselves “fans”, ugh.
    I know that even after quitting, Dongho won’t have “normal” privacy because people will still recognize him but I believe that he made the decision that was the best for him and I hope he feels better now.

    Now that I think of it, it makes me wonder what is the idols’ attitude toward the mandatory service in the army? I have no idea what it’s like in Korean army (knowing their workaholic mentality – most likely not easy), but still it’s some kind of break from their idol lifestyles.

  177. Like… I don’t know. First of all, it wouldn’t happen, since I do not have asian genes what so ever xD But doing what I love, in an industry that I adore, it /is/ tempting. I love singing, dancing, acting and music enough (I’m not saying I’m pro, far from it) that I would consider it /despite/ the cons. However I am also a romantic (In all aspects of the word, although the one involving love is the only relevant here), so it would be hard to give it up. On another note, my life is already so crappy that (I’m sorry to say), that would be an improvement. I also have to say (Poor me haha.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m not sulking, just stating facts here.) that my love life has been /horrible/ so far. However, I am only twenty and although I constantly say I feel old (Because of my younger, like-minded friends)… I am a positive person. I know/hope things will better. Had you asked me 3 years ago, when I had never had a friend before in my life, I would say yes within two seconds. Even if it would mean “/just/” being a trainee and not being guaranteed to be an idol someday ~ That’s my two scents, you guys. I really loved this video, this blogpost and I think I could listen to you talk (Not only about this, but other things too), for a long time and not tire. Not ever. (I think if I could, I wouldn’t have watched all your videos and every livechat [Though not always when it's live. Curse you timezone!])

    P.S. If you get to read this, I am the chick with the purple hair named “Berry” or “Melody” whom you (Martina) chatted with out of the window at Omona c:

  178. I feel like this is what turned me off from KPop aside from what felt like the repetitiveness of the music and the concepts of promotions. I loved 2PM and still support them but I couldn’t continue supporting the lifestyles they and other idols live. I can’t validate that this is morally right and though it may sound contradicting and that I should support them for working so hard, I just couldn’t. I’ll admit I fell off the 2PM fandom and in turn, the KPop fandom after the whole Jaebeom fiasco. Things seem to have been blown out of proportion but I have this conspiracy theory that Jay really wanted to get out because he never felt like he fit that idol image. I still support Jay because he does things the way he wants. My point is that I feel like supporting them is pushing them to live unhealthy lifestyles.

    When I was in my 2PM fandom heyday, I found it hilarious whenever they stuffed their faces during Idol Army or Wild Bunny but looking back, it’s because that was their first opportunity to eat after a crazy whirlwind of promotions and performances – That’s insane. They’re huge men that need to eat and yet they’re expected to maintain this form of the “perfect manly-man”.
    It’s the same with female idols. The Korean expectations of women are so high, especially for idols and entertainers that it puts so much strain on their bodies and we don’t realize how much they sacrifice until we read the tabloids about (insert name here) collapsing.

    Kind of moving off of KPop, I quite like JPop and especially the oh-so controversial Johnny’s Entertainment. The reason I like it so much is because they select their trainees/juniors because they’re different and promote that to the individual’s advantage. They have the usual good-looking idol boys but they also play off of the person’s imperfections to make it their charming point. At the same time, I recently read that to be on the “sex edition” of a popular magazine called AnAn, the men tend to go on crazy diets to lose 8-10 pounds in order to prepare for a shoot in which they would essentially pose naked. I was completely baffled by this revelation because I always thought most of these men are quite thin to begin with and to ask them to lose 8-10 pounds for a nude shoot is shocking but they thought it was necessary to achieve this so-called “image”.

    I guess the point I’m trying to make is that as much as I like the visual of these attractive idols and appreciate their music, I struggle to find the balance between supporting their career and supporting the lifestyle they’ve chosen to pursue especially since their career is their lifestyle and vice-versa. And no, even though I have the occasional thought of becoming a singer or a model, I don’t have the patience or the stamina to actually pursue those careers.

    On a side note, I would love to see intern Dong Ho as a part of the EYK team. I see him as Meems and Spudgy’s wrangler and personal assistant haha.

    • You got it. I don’t feel like supporting Kpop idols because I see something unhealthy from their lifestyle. I want them to be able to express as their ownselves more. I think I am the type of person that hardcore fans would call not loyal and not real fan though *shrugs* lol

  179. As part of the idol’s life, one’s image is an important factor. I see many idols that seem to have work done on them. I wonder if that a personal choice or is it force by the companies?

  180. Annie

    Dongho should work for you guys!! This i think was a tldr that needed to be said.

  181. hapagirl

    I personally would never want fame and to be in that creative field personally. So being a kpop idol or a celebrity or trying to make it, I say if it’s what love do it. I’m pretty sure it was Eric Nam during your interview who said that when he could be fine not being an idol because he loves music. I said it on twitter, I don’t blame him. It’s his decision and I wish him the best. And also thanks for not making this all about Dongho.

    And the schedule thing, that has always been my problem though now I don’t like it even more. I said it before with SHINee, they forget that these are PEOPLE they’re dealing with! Making someone put out an album every year or half a year, then learn choreography that is sometimes so difficult that people get injured, make a music video, going on interviews and shows and concerts to promote your new album and previous one, and god forbid you decide to do a play, a tv show, or movie. I don’t think anything is gonna change at all, it could take a whole company being blown up by a sasaeng and everyone would say that that’s what happens when you become famous. This is why it frustrates me to no end when people only see one side to it and assume that that’s it and that if you’re famous, you’re no longer allowed to want normal things or be treated like a human. Kpop and you guys have made me respect everyone who is in this sorta business.

  182. Personally, if I had the qualifications, I would NEVER want to be a Kpop idol – I don’t have the drive and if I had stalkers I would punch them, not the best idol material.

    BUT I understand why people become idols. It’s something they LOVE to do! They want to perform, they want to show their talent, they want to have a job based around something they love to do, and they want to be loved (who doesn’t?!). For most the hard part of idol life may not be as bad since when their on the screen they might be having the time of their life. Obviously idol life isn’t for everyone, neither is trainee life which probably helped many people that possibly could have made the worse mistake of their life. But if it’s truly something someone feels strongly for I tell them go for it.

    I’m happy that Dongho was given the option many idols don’t have (although maybe this took awhile for him to get out of?) and I hope he lives a happy and fulfilling life that he deserves :)

  183. I don’t really think you can stop people who are really passionate and driven to be a singer and make it big. I mean they totally deserve to have their talent recognized. Kpop industries just need to make a change and think about the health of their artists. Let them get enough rest and eat well, don’t pack their schedule and make them work from dawn until dusk. They should be allowed to put a restraining order on Sasaengs so they can have privacy, there should be laws that stops the stalking. Hopefully there will be a change so that no idol feels they should leave and fully enjoy their job :)

  184. I do think it’s horrible how little the companies care about their artists, but… I’d write the dorm and no love life as pros for me, well, also the busy-bee lifestyle too (I have my reasons, I am crazy and phobic and stuff), but the stalking… ugh, that would be such a no-no, with those armies the love ban would be like redundant O_o

  185. Reading the article on Busker Busker in addition to watching this really had me furrow my brows so much, I don’t think I can unlock them anytime soon. :( Kinda makes me wonder what it would take to exact change in this goliath of an industry. Entertainers’ guild/union? Legal reform? The prospects are gloomy… D:

  186. Oh btw! I have read/heard a lot that although all the companies probably treat their idols fairly the same, i heard that if you were to have a choice to pick between the 3 big companies, everyone seems to say YG. Because apparently they treat their idols slightly better; they are hardly ever on shows (which i guess people assume they must be doing nothing/resting/free time instead-though thats probably not the case), they are treated better and are given more rest and more freedom? I read that a lot, that YG artists get a little more of a say about their work and songs. And they are treated pretty fairly. I was wondering if you guys knew if this is true? Or your thoughts on it? I always think that although SMent give like some of the worst treatment to their idols, they are always big hits if you did debut. Like you are pretty much 98% guaranteed to be popular-but is it even worth it?

    • I TOTALLY agree with you. I’ve heard that YG-thing too lots of times. It seems like they have more freedom there, but we’ll never really know right? And about SMent: even though they might be 98% guaranteed to be popular, as you said, I don’t think it’s worth it.
      PS: Honestly, I just hope that there is a company that treats their artists better than the others – be it YG or another…

    • although you mentioned that SMEnt would get you more popular, i don’t really think it will guarantee the company more profit. well, maybe more benefit for the company but not the idols. since album sales in SK is not really that much unlike in the US or Japan, they’d have to do other things such as concerts and events to rake in more cash. and of course, these activities would then entail more promotional cost, thus requiring the idols to work more on concerts and other profitable markets/avenues. i don’t know… it just feels like a cycle of slavery never ending. in other words, not worth it if you want artistic freedom, but maybe enough if you want fame.

  187. Maybe a K-pop idol life is EXTREMELY hard, but there are some teens (As my self), that want to be an Idol becouse they love to be on a stage, to dance, to sign, to hear the screams, to perform the music that you love. Yes the big companies are killing this persons but maybe some of them don’t really care about it becouse they are doing what they love :).

    Grettings from mexico♥

  188. This made me cry )’: i still respect and Love Dongho.. because Ukiss is not 6 or 7 members it 9. thanks for doing this video.. although it made me cry.. I’m happy for him and the decision he made. being a kissme is hard, but i love being one.

  189. Just read that interview with brad from busker Busker. Damn everything was to the extreme! Geez I mean it sounded scary! Being an artist is supposed to be a creative process not hellish training and lies.

  190. I would definitely BE an idol if offered a chance. Why? I get contract (the longer the better), I’m payed for what I do, most importantly I have roof over my head and food on my table. What more do I need?

    Do you know what I got after 7 years of studying and working numerous part time jobs to pay my way through that same shitty school in my country? Nothing. I got bachelor degree, no job. So I got master’s, I’m still friggin unemployed. Honestly, I’m tired of watching out for every penny I’m about to spend and thinking can I afford something or not. So if I had any talent whatsoever worthy of korean entertainment, I’d be all up auditiong for each and every one of those comapnies. XD

    I guess, some of those idols are just desperate people. I can relate. =P

    • Which is probably one of the reasons those companies can give them crazy contracts with all kinds of restrictions and demands. Desperate people will accept the crazy demands. Thought the offer can be tempting to anyone.

    • I know… we live some tough times where employment is going the drain… I finished college but my level of competency isn’t enough to work for a full-time job. My mother kept putting pressure on me to get a job as soon as possible and I couldn’t take it anymore… and got a job as a…nanny. At first she told me that I could find a better job…that this job isn’t for me… but then…if I had listened to her…she would have continued to drive me crazy (until I would get the job she wanted me to have… and who knows if I had gotten it…when every employer requires experience)…Thing is… even if the pay isn’t extraordinary… I still get paid and bring money home… also, there are times when (even if I am at work) I have the opportunity to study and still be able to do my job properly…

      …recently (due to remodelling we had to do for our apartment) I found out that I like to smoothen the walls after plastering…and I found out that I’m quite good at it… also I did some oil painting … and since my brother moved to his own apartment, I sometimes have to assemble furniture and got praised for doing a good job… I didn’t always get it right and I sometimes made mistakes but after I found out that I like doing these kind of things I tried to get better at them

      ….no matter what other jobs I’ll have in the future… I won’t die of hunger… and as long as I can do part-time jobs, I can still study, improve the skills I’ve been nurturing in college, draw, make birthday cards..whatever I want… As long as I’ll do my best and not give up, I’ll be able in the future ,to have a job I completely love….

      …even so… I don’t think I’ll ever be able to perform a job that slowly transforms into something I didn’t wish for… no matter how much I love it… under extreme conditions… I quit… although… I don’t quit it for good… I’ll just go search for a place where I can be myself and do what I love to do.

      • I think that you are so cool. I know that you will find something that will make you happy in the future, and if you don’t think that the mainstream employment is for you start with something that you love. I know some people will say that, but if what you want to do isn’t popular bust through and pave the way yourself. We are similar and I know that it is possible to accomplish things that you want to do.

  191. haha, I would probably die within half a year or less…. I already have eating problems, can’t say no, and take everything personal. Soooo, nope, no k-pop fame for me :)

  192. Can I just quote one of my favorite k-pop idols real quickly? because i feel like most people just espressed that you couldn’t pay them enough money to be a k-pop idol ,but that is not what it is about!
    “Even if things are really difficult before going up on stage, I know that if I just complete this I’ll receive strength from fans and create synergy. When I’m on stage I unconsciously do things that fans will enjoy. I wonder how I would perform if it wasn’t for these people. I first began all this simply because I enjoy singing. Without a sense of responsibility or burden, I want to do this for them.” – Onew, SHINee
    So how about being paid with love? Your action and behavior can change people’s live! You can make people happy!
    I know it is a really hard life, because you completely sacrafice it for your fans, but isn’t that a decent reason to choose this life?
    I don’t know if i would like to be a k-pop idol, but i am not sure if i would decline an offer either. Could I be selfless enough?

    PS: I am not saying that this justifice the bad conditions k-pop idols live in. I am totally for a better, healthier life style, even if it means less interviews, shows and songs. I think I actually care more about them then about their music.

    • Your choice of idol to quote here is interesting. Onew was sexually assaulted on TV earlier this year and the response from at least the international fandom was pretty horrifying. More recently he’s been dancing on injuries. SHINee in general are beyond exhausted from a particularly hectic schedule this year.

      Let me make this clear, I think the ‘paid with love’ theme is in bad faith, because artists who enter the field because they love performing can still, and absolutely are, end up doing many things for the simple reason that their contract forces them to do it. One does not cancel out the other. And of course, a lot of contracts are signed when the artists are very young, which is really not exactly the same as taking up ballet or joining a school.

      • I know that the conditions they have to work under and their treaties are awful! I hate how especially SM treats their artists. SHINee had what 3 Japanese and 3 Korean music videos come out this year? AND they are on some kind of show ALL THE TIME! They are working very very very hard! I mean I could repeat what everyone said before, because I totally agree…
        Still, I am not completely disinclined to become a k-pop idol and so are many, many others. I am pretty sure the kids auditioning right now know all about the terrible conditions. Nevertheless people audition and have the dream of becoming an idol and I was just trying to explain why.
        I know a lot of people that were inspired by SHINee and other bands. I even know a person that got over her depression because of k-pop. I am just trying to point out the good things we should not forget about!
        Let them rest, let them recover. YES. But I still don’t want everyone to quit like Dongho did. K-pop is very important to me.

  193. I think this can apply to not Just Korean Entertainment industry. There are definitly aspects of this that you don’t see in the American Industry but in general the whole entertainment/media industry is mesed up. I remember reading a article about a ex magazine editor for a major magazine in Australia that talked about the conditions that Models will go through. She talked abut when she was dressing one of the girls she noticed lots of bruises all over her body. She asked how she got them. The model just casually replied it is because she doesn’t eat at all and is constantly fainting every few hours. The model didn’t even seem to realise that this wasn’t something normal that was supposed to be happening. She said most of the girls when they weren’t being photoraphed for a shoot they would be lying in the hospital hooked up to the IV drip. Not trying to say this makes the Korean entertainment industry is any better but it’s not just Korean entertainment that is messed up.

  194. I wouldn’t want to be a kpop idol at all even if they give like 1000$. It looks so exhausting to be traveling around to do concert, variety shows, music shows, radio and even if you work hard and don’t sleep enough, you have anti-fans and get hate mails. You have true fans who will always love you, but it still hurt to read ” YOU CAN’T DANCE/SING, I HATE YOU, YOU’RE FAT, YOU’RE UGLY, YOU SHOULD BE KICKED OUT OF THIS GROUP” and one of the thing that annoys me the most is when they’re talking about their skin color. People do jokes about it and they laugh, but if it was me, I would cry a lot because I’m easily hurt. I think every single kpop idol with a little bit darker skin looks beautiful the way he/she is and I think people shouldn’t judge because of that. And I would not want to be an idol because I want to date someone without hiding my face when we go out and only meet up really late at night or early in the morning to see my lover.And the #1 reason why I dont want to be a K-idol is diet. I need to eat the foods I like to live so I WILL NEVAR EVAR DIET.

  195. I want to work for you guys! I agree, work shouldn’t have to be something you loathe. I’ve had a job similar to Soo Zee’s in the past and it made me more productive. Restrictions are counterproductive, so I can only imagine how Kpop idols truly feel.

  196. If Dongho came to work for you guys, that would be awesome. Not even from a KissMe standpoint. You guys are awesome employers, I can see that in Leigh and SooZee’s faces. They look genuinely happy to be there. I know for a fact you’d treat him with the respect and kindness he deserves.

  197. Hey guise.

    “The artistic spirit is secondary to the industrial one, in which maximizing profit is a company’s greater concern than caring for their artists.

    Is that too scathing? Do I sound like an old man with a scraggly beard and furrowed eyebrows wagging his finger at you?” – Actually as I was reading this… I thought about Miss A’s “Hush”(and their other music videos) and how they don’t look happy with it… their expressions in the video seem so genuine…

    “…but the industry that they’re in is so unhealthy and almost poisonous that I have no idea how anyone would wilfully pursue a career in it.” – I don’t think that there’s any other way of pursuing this career unless you’re picked by a company… and some of the artists believe (and I do to) that if they reach a certain point in their career, they can be more free in their musical career…free to experiment and do the collabs they wish to do a.o (and others)…

    …and frankly…the music artists…not just the k-artists… are SO….sacrificing… I bet there are moments they feel like they can’t take it and feel so stressed( and might even think they can do without their musical career) but they …grin and bare for their fans… honestly… the music artists ….I feel like they’re so admirable… and whatever I do for them as a fan… is too little… (for you guise as well… )

    As for Dongho… I don’t know why ..but I somehow knew this would happen… he has a weaker constitution (he got pretty sick once… and I don’t think he had the chance to completely recuperate) and not anyone can fit this job…


    P.S: It would be great if Dongho would accept your job offer :) You’re like ones of the best bosses in this whole white world! :D

  198. Hello.
    About the hard life of Kpop idols and their crazy fans…
    I think we forgot about eee paparazzi who may follow you everywhere (actually do not know how about asian countries)
    And yeah … without fans there will be no idols … sad but true.

    And to be honest I didn’t know what to write here … just wanted to add my 10cent to this topic =)

  199. Hi! Thanks for this article and video..I think it’s something all of us kpop fans may be a bit scared to but really need to read. I think a lot of us try to push these facts away; we sorta know what our idols are going through but we can’t actually relate to them so we brush it off as typical Korean working standards and ‘they knew they signed up for this’ kind of stuff. But if we all actually took a good deep look into the kpop industry-or even spent a day or two with a group and doing what they do, living how they do, treated and fed how they are, I doubt any of us would last a week. My point is, we don’t REALLY know the full story of what goes on behind the scenes in the kpop industry, but once you find out, there’s a whole lot of view changing going on. Well in my head anyway. There’s no way i would want to be a kpop idol after hearing about how it actually is, so I’m so thankful for people like you guys who actually try to explain what goes on to us as best as possible. As fans we only know so much, and even then we’re not really sure, and even if we were we still can’t relate to how the idols feel so it stays as just an empathetic thought we try not to dwell on.

    I understand Korea in general has a bit of an obsession with being workaholics. Like it seems so unhealthy. Yeah, working is really good and you become a good, hardworking, someone your parents would be proud of, I-worked-hard-for-this-and-earn-it kind of person. But they lack breaks, and downtime, and freedom, and those are all needed. We are only humans and won’t function properly if we don’t treat ourselves properly just as you guys said. I think we just notice it more with kpop, and not also the Korean work industry. Probably because these people do all the hardwork and hours but with also no privacy and no love life (well, so we think-i hear a lot of secret dating goes on in kpop, is this true? I don’t blame them. Can you believe people have to ‘secretly date’?! what is life anymore) and sasaengs and WAY more flying around than normal people would do. Which is super tiring and wow it knocks you around.

    What bugs me most about the Korean work industry is they seem to be rather indifferent about getting sick or having sick days..I’m planning on teaching English in Korea and Japan, and i’m a bit terrified of that because I get sick A LOT. And it’s not that I mean to or that I’m unhealthy, i just do. i have a low immune system or whatever, but I have glandular fever rn and it knocks you down for about a year and a half-constant nausea, fatigue, agonizing neck pain. And i think, how would I work there if they aren’t too fond of giving you days off to recover? I hear they sort of expect you to still show up to work. Thats crazy, how is anyone supposed to recover if they make you keep working. And that’s how the kpop idols must feel. Though I’m sure they’re all super healthy, there are some things that can’t be prevented even if you are the toughest healthiest person alive. And it pains me knowing these idols go through these and are still made to perform. I could list many examples i’m sure we all could..it hurts.

    I always had a fair idea, but not how horrid it actually is, until I read Jonghyun’s description of their average daily schedule. He said this on 131029 – Yoo In Na’s Volume Up:
    Their schedules these days are:

    Wakeup and go for makeup at 5am.
    8am – rehearsal at tv stations.
    10am – recording then lunch.
    After lunch , recording again .
    After recording is live broadcast.
    After work , one has musicals and the other has drama schedules.
    The rest then go for radio/fansigns.
    Onew : Or go overseas.
    Taemin said that they hear often “You guys must be very tired” when they get on planes.

    What they didn’t mention, is that they probably don’t get to bed until 3am or something ridiculous. Giving them a couple of hours a sleep a day if that. They probably try doze off in the van or in between shows like you guys said, but yeah what kind of sleeping conditions are those?? It’s so unhealthy its insane. And this schedule happens (mostly) everyday. The same thing, same dances and songs performed multiple times a day..another variety show..no sleep, barely time to eat..maybe shoot a mv or interview somewhere in there. Oh which reminds me, you guys mentioned how an average mv is crammed all into one day without proper treatment. That’s probably spot on, but i do know that SHINee said their Everybody mv took 4 DAYS AND 3 NIGHTS to film. That’s crazy. They said they got next to no sleep during it aswell, just non stop shooting until they got it right. And if you guys know SHINee and their new dance, you would know why that just sounds like putting yourself through a wringer.

    Not just SHINee though- all idols are mistreated! To the point where it’s really quite disgusting. But what can we as fans do about it? Thats what sucks..I don’t think there is much we can do, without boycotting. And that wouldn’t work because we all care about our favourite groups and people too much to just stop buying or listening to their stuff and we couldn’t do that to them. That’s their job, having us support them, and as sucky as their job is thats what it requires-fans. So boycotting seems next to impossible. But I feel like it is possible for us to do smth about this..if anyone has any ideas? :)

    Anyway, thanks for this article EYK! We all needed to read/watch it even though none of us probably want to know all the details. I hope Dongho is healthier and happier this way! And I hope he joins EYK too lol!

  200. Hi Simon and Martina,
    Now, I know you said you don’t give pity to one group over the other because they ALL DO work hard, but do you think the popularity has more to do with what company they’re with. Because I love SHINee and EXO and Super Junior and they’re with SM Entertainment and BigBang who is with YG….But I also love B.A.P and many other groups have awesome songs, but people more focus on the BIG companies like SM, YG, and JYP.

    But also answering your question: No, I would never in a million years would want to be an idol. I see how much SHINee and GD and B.A.P work when they’re promoting and on tour, and I would never want that life for myself.

    My question is: Do you think that what company a group is with determines most of their popularity and how they might win more awards on Music Shows?

  201. Thanks you two, that you made this video. You can get upset again and again about this topic.
    I hate this part of the Kpop industry.

    I would never want to be a Kpop idol. Such a life would be not for me. I can imagine that other Kpop idols also
    want to lead a normal life, not only Dongho. I wish him all the best.

    If you see such interviews as yours with ukiss or other, most idols always say that they would like more sleep.
    I do not understand how the companies not care. This is a pity.

    I do not like it, that the idols are not even allowed to say that they need a break or that they almost never
    have anything to decide for themselves.
    These stupid contracts! :(

  202. If I could get a five-year contract (or even less) I would do it. The biggest problem for me would be lack of sleep, but everything else…doable. Food, sleep, friends…all important, but as long as I had enough to survive, I could live this way I think. Temporarily. Probably not my entire life.

    Why? Because I like working hard. Progressing, pushing past my boundaries…for all the lack of privacy and intense scrutiny they undergo, it must also push you hard to do your best. Being faced with yourself at every turn would really force you to confront your shortcomings and work harder. That’s something I have trouble doing, and I think an experience like this would be extremely valuable. I also like the idea of making things. Being able to point at something and say, “Hey, I did that.” Not for others so much as being able to see actual products of your progress and visibly see your development. This can done be with a lot of things, but I love music and I love making people happy…and kpop does that.

    • Yep, I agree. As a creative and a musician, I would love the chance to perform, compose, design concepts, travel, collaborate and meet people from the stage, but I would only do that in the K-Pop industry while I was young and had the energy, and if I wasn’t bound to it for more than a few years at a time (I’m the kind of person who hates doing things I’m forced to even if I initially did it voluntarily). I think, if you achieved enough success, then there would be a lot of satisfaction to be gained from getting fans and making them happy, performing on stage and holding concerts, creating and sharing music/ideas and meeting like-minded artists, which must be enough for those idols who are living crazy lives right now.

      But I totally agree that the industry goes about it the wrong way, the lifestyle they force on idols isn’t at all the best way to get the most out of them as artists, and I’m sure that the benefit of doing just one less concert a day, or giving them one extra day off a month, or another hour or two of sleep would be more than the cost.

      • I’m similar, although I’m a tech industry professional. I love problem solving and creating software (fixing a thorny issue gives me an awesome accomplishment high). I love what I do. BUT because of that personality strength and passion, I allowed myself (initially unknowingly) to be essentially forced to work until I’m burnt out. This subject is consequently close to my heart as I’m dealing with trying to recover even while still working and yes I still like the things I do. Work/Business culture seriously needs to be looked at hard not just in Korea but in my own country of the US too and not just in the Entertainment industry.

  203. I started to listen K-pop because of liking K-pop not really thinking about what they needed to do in order to become an idol. But when I got to know about it I kinda felt sad for them not having a personal life. I don’t know much about other artists outside korea but I do know that the artists in the Netherlands do have a personal life where they can do and be whoever they want.

    There’s a Dutch singer under the name Anouk and she has really good music. But if she isn’t treated as an equal person she won’t accept anything anymore. Because of this she even once didn’t sign a contract in Amerca because of not being treated equal. I think more artist should be like that and show people how it actually could be.

  204. Gemma Deacon

    I can tell ya I wouldn’t survive a day in the kpop industry. So much stress and pressure, I would want to run away from it all. I even felt like that during school. And that was just school! Instead I would like to be in the designing side. Maybe design the concepts and album artwork. I won’t cut of Kevin’s legs lol
    But if I was good at singing and dancing, I would probably go the academic route, do a performing arts degree or something like that. It shocks me that these idols start training at such young ages. You’re meant to be worrying about school then! And the dating bans, don’t even get me started. Isn’t one of the members of One Direction engaged?! Why do these companies have to give out dating bans? The poor idols won’t have any time to date anyway. That’s my two cents.
    P.S. I think Dongho would make an excellent addition to the eyk family lolololololololo

  205. Kačí Kys

    And you’ve talked about those who actually made it to debut, but what about all those other kids training for years, not having a childhood who are told in the end that they aren’t wanted?

  206. I have a question: Do the Kpop idols (really any entertainer in Koreaa) have a say in the surgeries they get or are they told what will be happening to their faces/bodies? Or is it a mixture of both – the entertainers and the companies? Does it depend on the company?

    • I’m guessing that it’s partly the company. Some will probably put a lot of pressure on their artists to get the surgeries they want them to get, and some won’t bring it up. Brad from Busker Busker said something about how they were pressured to get botox and other stuff. Horrifying. I won’t change my body just because someone else wants me to, I’ll change it because I want it to be changed.

  207. I think this TL;DR was really interesting. As much as I love dancing, singing, and K-pop as a music genre, being a K-pop idol would suck big time. Though I think it’s really good that you mentioned Korean culture in regards to K-pop idols because knowing the culture they grew up in, one can better understand why these idols accept the cons of being an idol as well as why they don’t stand up to their companies and demand a change (even though some have such as JYJ and Block B, though look at the consequences). It’s because they grew up in an environment where work takes priority over basically everything else and in an environment where you have to respect your seniors no matter what the circumstance. Of course I know this is biased and coming from a western perspective but the whole work situation in Korea seems depressing.

  208. I honestly want a job at EYK when I’m out of high school or college, or at least something like it. I want to be able to be creative all the time and share my ideas. I’d also rather work someplace where there aren’t many workers and I could have more of a friendship with my boss(es). One last thing is that I just want a job where I can constantly be working with music because it’s really the only thing I care about.

    • wow i have never related to a post so much in my life lol so much yes to this.

      • ohh geez i want exactly the same too! :D i just don’t know how to do it. it’s soon time to decide which uni we want to go to but i have no idea apart from communication, where my mom doesn’t want me to go & i cannot(don’t even want to) go elsewhere ‘cos all i know & i’m interested in is this >u< however the points are so high that i barely believe they'll accept me T__T

  209. As a songwriter, composer, and viola player, these conditions strike me as awfully unjust. Of COURSE I’d be the happiest person in the world if I could gain some fame (and recognition for the instrument) as a pop violist…not that a major corporation would invest in the viola, of all instruments, as a tool for achieving my stardom (and thereby their riches), anyway. >_>

    But there is another factor concerning idols (and less so the industry): fan hate. Dongho quit using Twitter several months ago due to negative replies. P.O of Block B was hospitalized due to shock in early 2012 after netizens’ petition for the members’ suicide. And then there’s Jonghyun, who to this day lives with the aftermath of his permanently-shattered relationship with Shin Se Kyung.

    I wouldn’t categorize hateful fans with saesangs, but like saesangs, antis are (ironically) overly-protective of their idols. I think this comes as an ingredient of fan craze, and fan craze a result of K-pop companies’ success in detaining humans and turning them into objects for admiration.

    We believe K-pop idols make a personal difference in our lives, but how much is it merely their “image” that has made the difference? This is something many of us hate to hear due to its strong viability.

    But then, how much of that personal difference K-pop and Korean culture has made in our lives comes from our (partial) understanding of the idols’ living conditions and our bafflement that they can endure it all? I am somewhat inspired by Korean workaholics to work hard myself; but in my country, at least, I can do it on my own terms.

  210. thisisjustforfunval

    That whole Brazilian Pirate thing seems like a nice fit for Dongho. Now we know why he was growing out his hair during Standing Still. Hmm, hmm, hmm.

  211. I see a lot of parallels in the kpop industry with the world of professional ballet. I’d have to say that having a true, undying passion for something such as ballet or singing is blinding and toxic but also the most amazing thing in the world. I know I could never be a professional ballet dancer simply because I lack the skills, but if I had the opportunity to do so I would in a heartbeat. The incredible joy you get from performing is unlike anything in the world, better than any high and more satisfying than any meal. Ballet dancers are kinda crazy, in that they train so hard and can never stop training, and there is no security. If you break your leg, you’re done and you need to find a way to make ends meet. Dancers and kpop idols make so many sacrifices, but in the end it’s all about the show. Although it seems crazy, all the suffering is meangingless when such a raw hunger to perform is present. That’s why I would be an idol if it was my passion, but I’d definitely say that trying to be an idol with a passion to perform is a terrible idea.

    • I agree. If I had the talent to be an amazing singer, I would probably be willing to go through the Kpop world as well. You practically have to give up your soul to do so, but that addictive feeling you get when you’ve finished performing a piece of music, and you know that it was you who created that sound, and knowing the power music can have to change lives. That feeling is incredibly, wonderfully addictive. Amusingly, I’ve felt a passion and love for music that is greater than anything I’ve felt in any of my relationships in life. I gave up on music because I knew I didn’t have the talent to make it professionally, but if being a singer was a realistic option, I would take it.

  212. Well, DongHo had a really bad thing with his lungs last year that made him having to go to the emergency room for surgery, it can be that too. But, I have a passion in music, I want to spread a message, so yes. Maybe you don’t have that passion (for music) so you wouldn’t put as much efforts as people who want to do music and know that’s what they want to do? ^^

  213. I think being a kpop idol is too much associated with just being a famous person, but most of these people have a passion for music and thats actually their main job. Making music, singing and dancing. It’s like how Simon and Martina love making vlogs and skits, most kpop idols actually do it cause they love to sing or dance. And you’ll always have to work hard if you want to do what you love the most. It’s not just about appearing on tv, being pretty and popular. No one would choose becoming a kpop star just for that. And the ones who do won’t even make the cut tbh.

    • I agree with you Naomi, usually the idols who stay with it are doing so because this is their passion and the path for that begins with the idol world. Even the idols who want to do other things-like producing, directing, etc.-find this the best way to get their name known to others and it will open doors to their actual dream.
      Now before someone reads this and accuses me of agreeing to idol abuse; I do not agree with it. However, these people are in a culture that is very diligent in work and accepting work as part of life even if it overwhelms their lives. For that to change, they must make those changes and it will be slow and it will be difficult but Korea is known for its harsh work ethic and its ability to make slow change-yet when they make the change it is explosive. I would suggest that people stay supportive of their idols and maybe if you want to make a change for the better for them then do so with an intelligent, well formed plan directed to the companies. Spazzing on the CEOs won’t help your idols.
      As for the diets and physical image, last time I checked the entire world was having diet issues because we have a societal image of what beauty should be and it is rarely the average woman. On top of that for Koreans, they have the ideology that beauty is very skinny and is a particular look. Again, change will be slow but even then it will probably not be what we think is healthy but what they think is right.
      Just my opinion of course.

      • I know right, but if you compare it to the western media, it’s all just as hard, cause most of the western artists don’t get professional training, and they have to find the right connections and get known by the right people. I’ve seen that even Katy Perry used to live in her car for at least a few years.

        But on the subject of dating, it’s really just that the companies try to exploit idols and make the most money as they possibly can with their “13 year contracts” and it’s absurd that the idols need to play this role of a perfect being so everyone will fall in love with them, so the companies in turn can make even more money. And also the fact that they’re probably busy with their crazy schedules 24/7. On top of that, some idols *cough*leeteuk*cough* are already old enough to get married and have children! But as seen when SHINee’s Jonghyun had a girlfriend, that really showed how it affected the group and the company. Less money for SM! Oh no! But as Jonghyun (and others) have been seen dating around, I don’t think it’s fobidden for everyone, it’s just not always shown to the whole world which is a good thing on the privacy matter ^^

    • For some idols, they did choose the job to appear on tv, be pretty and popular. Eli of U-Kiss just admitted on an English interview that he only wanted to be a singer/rapper just recently, even though he’s been an idol for 5 years. But it’s only just now that he’s doing it because he actually has a passion for music. I don’t know why he chose to be an idol before, but it wasn’t for the singing or dancing.

  214. I wouldn’t want to be a K-pop star either… I’ve decided to be an actor and would like to sing some too but at that kind of neverending cost. Life isn’t as meaningful if you can’t live it.

  215. Wow guys, fantastic video! I read the article about Busker Busker’s Brad, and OMG what he experienced was horrible. Since he’s a friend of yours, have you ever considered interviewing Busker Busker? Maybe he could talk more about it.

  216. I’m right there with you. The loss of my privacy and freedom is just too high a price to pay for whatever benefits one gets as a k-pop idol.

  217. Would you still want to be a kpop idol?

    Honestly I would say yes. However, first let me explain. I feel that Kpop idols are being used/mistreated. As a fan I feel a connection to them and even though I do not know them personally, I feel a somewhat intimate friendship with them. Which is why myself, and other fans, believe they should be treated better.

    Personally, yes I’d still like to be an idol (though the chance will never arise). I love performing. I do it every chance I get. Some days I will literally sing from when I wake up until I go to bed. I have been in choir, band, and theatre and if the chance came where I could do that for a living I’d take it, even knowing what it would bring.

  218. I think most people want to be a Kpop idol for the fame and fortune. Well that’s what they think. They want to be adored by lots of people but they forget about the stalkers and crazy fans. I hate it when I see an article where an idol was caught in a romantic relationship with someone and they are apologizing! I would not be apologizing for being in LOVE! We are all human beings. What do fans expect their favorite idols to stay single forever? Everyone has the right to be with whoever they want. No need for an apology! As for how idols and actors are treated the basic requirements should be met. That means they need decent pay, good food, and a place to sleep as well as sleeping time! Ultimately what people want is a great way to make money but what’s the point if you don’t have time to enjoy your success? The work ethic in Korea is a bit strict and way too many hours! I don’t like the thought working my life away….

  219. You gyus forgot the ANTI-Fans!!!! No human rights for Idols!! Why do the law not protect them enough? Let´s start a campaign “Save the Idols! (send them to EYK)”!!

  220. this video makes me wonder: what about the indie scene? is it that bad too? or is it more laid-back?

  221. One thing I think keeps kpop idols in the industry is, as you said in your blog, the workaholic mentality is just in the culture. But also, if they spend so many years simply training with the same kind of environment for their careers as idols, they aren’t given the opportunity to learn skills for other jobs or careers paths anyways. Since work is so competitive in the first place, they have a serious disadvantage if they quit and go back to school because there is that ongoing influx of young bright-eyed bushy-tailed graduates already ready to work.

    The thing then is, if you don’t “boycott” the industry in some form or another, how will the right conditions ever be changed? How can we influence the environment unless we stop feeding it? We may not get the immediate results but societies do change over time to adapt new attitudes, we just can’t control the pace at which they adapt.

    Thanks for making this video! It’s refreshing to see someone in the industry (but not in the industry) talk objectively about the subject in a relatable way

  222. I’m a young songwriter here in the UK and I have to say that though I’d never like to be a KPop Idol, I’d love to release a song in Korea in Korean as someone with an interest in the culture and history of the country. I’d love to see how it’d go down. I would never strike up a long term contract within the country, but I’d maybe take a short term contract for mixing and releasing an EP.
    …I’d have to get better at speaking and writing Korean first though…

  223. Ok, I do not actually think this. I am just trying to see both sides of the argument. I agree completely with everything you said in the video and the blog post.
    But I can also see where the companies are coming from. They’re spending a lot of money training these artists, so they’re gonna wanna make sure that the artists aren’t distracted by anything, including love. They’re also gonna want to get as much money as possible, and that means performing as much as possible. People are going to the concerts to see the group – I’ll use SHINee, cuz I know all their names – the WHOLE group, not just Minho, Taemin, Key, and Onew.
    As for the injuries, I used to do Synchronized swimming. I had Mono, multiple cases of strep, and a broken knee last season. When I complained of the pain to the coach, I was told ‘Pain is good as long as your not bleeding’. People are going to the show for the show, they want to be entertained. As an artist, they have an obligation to put on a good show, injured or otherwise.
    As for the privacy issues, as mean as this is going to sound, SHINee signed up for this. They knew what they were getting into when they signed the seven year contracts.
    And for a person who really really REALLY wants this, the idol life, they should be willing to work hard for it, to do whatever it takes to be an idol. So to them, the pros outweigh the cons.
    Again, I’m trying to see the argument from every point of view, I mean no offense to anyone.

    • “When I complained of the pain to the coach, I was told ‘Pain is good as long as your not bleeding’. ” Terrible example. At every point you had the option of freely choosing to leave and then getting to do so, if you chose it.

      • What I was trying to say was, as a performer, I had an obligation to do just that, perform. And I did have the option of quitting, but I LOVE synchro, and I wasn’t going to quit just because of a little sickness and pain. That, and if I left, I was going to weaken the team. Same for if your an idol. If you really want that life, you’re going to keep on doing it, pain or no pain. If you quit or choose not to perform because of injuries or sickness, you’re hurting the entire group.
        Anything else you’d like to discuss?

        • Nothing more I’d like to discuss with you, since you’re blanket-shaming anyone who might want to quit because CLEARLY they would be doing it just because they don’t LOVE THEIR ART or respect their colleagues. Which is BS, and also to miss the point entirely. You were free to leave. When someone is not, that is a problem. And in Kpop, a lot of idols are not free to leave. That’s it.

        • As I said in my original post, I was trying to see all sides of the argument. I’m sorry if you took it the wrong way. I was speaking from the point of view that I think the companies have and that my coaches in synchro had. Again, sorry if you took it the wrong way.
          And simply because your opinions differ from what I said doesn’t mean that we cannot have a calm discussion like the civilized people that we are. What makes you think that your point of view is the right one? I’m going to assume you’re from the West, sorry if you’re not. In Korea, it seems that this rigid, inflexible way of providing entertainment is the norm, and to Koreans, your view and mindset would be ‘wrong’.

        • As you can see from my original post, I was trying to see both sides of the argument. Sorry that you misunderstood. Thank you for taking the time to reply.

        • Hi departures, you may disagree with someone else’s comment, but please try to be more respectful in presenting your argument.

  224. Whoah this is crazy. Since I can’t sing nor dance I won’t have a problem beeing rejected by those companies xD

    I recently read an article about the visual kei industry in Japan. It’s extaclty the same there for the members but the company tries to form a “supergroup” and for that they take apart “not working/profiting” bands and form with members from other bands a new group.

    I think entertainment companies need to find an healthy path between this extreme way and the way my boyfriend has to experience. His band (alpha tiger) is signed to Century Media here in Germany and they do nothing exept for paying the production cost of the CD’s. I hardly doupt that they ever get money from them but this company is incapable of nearly everything. I had to send them the design for the booklet and stuff FIVE (!!!) times. They also don’t pay for the travel expenses. They paid 200€ for the video & photoshooting…

    And since this lable is kinda specialized to more heavier metal music that my boyfriends band does they continuously get bad comments on their vides on the lables channel…

    Sorry for stealing your time :D and thank you for beeing there <3
    bye Pauli

  225. Sasaengs make me ashamed to call myself a fan. I am so embarrassed by their actions that I don’t want to say that I am a Shawol/ELF/Cassie etc. As a non crazy fan, I am embarrassed when the crazy ones go and write on other groups pages, or get angry with their idols for actually having a life.

  226. Sigridur Osk Runarsdottir

    Ok I have to ask just because you mentioned it in the post, even tho I know it might be a bit personal.. Are you guys thinking about starting a family? Im certain that its atleast passed your minds once or twice by now after such a long relationship, but what are your thoughts on it? What things go through your mind, what are your ‘goals’ so to speak before considering starting a family?

  227. As much as I’m going to miss Dongho, it’s good he left. Honestly kpop schedules are CRAZY! If you saw B2ST on their recent Weekly Idol episode and heard Doojoon say their schedule… it’s just not right. You can see also as soon as U-Kiss are done promoting their new song they immediately go to Japan, then have a comeback song right after… They’re humans not super people :( And Sasaengs are no joke, I mean they crashed Baekhyun’s brother’s wedding and ruined the special day. You have to seriously be passionate about singing and making it big I guess -.-

  228. I think Kpop is kind of like chicken.

    When you look at chickens and the horrible conditions they are kept in, cooped up in a big cage with hardly any sunlight, its really cruel and inhumane but that doesnt mean that chicken doesnt taste good. It tastes amazing.

    And its the same with kpop, the conditions the idols live in is pretty shitballs, crazy schedules and lack of privacy but I think that the product they produce isnt neccesarily bad as a result.

    so I don’t know, maybe we need to have the same approach to kpop idols as chickens. Like free range chickens.
    Free range kpop idols…

  229. AJC

    So does any of the Korean Labour Standards Act apply to idols at all? The act has a lot of good stuff in there, but it seems to be pretty much ignored by Kpop companies. Are they somehow exempt or something?

    Are the idols afforded any protections at all? The Korean government doesn’t seem to be shy in regulating anything and everything (they sensor MVs all the time), so what’s their view of the employment conditions of teens and people barely out of their teens?

    I’ve watched the Nine Muses of Star Empire documentary and the psychological pressure the performers were put under was appalling. http://vimeo.com/53231198

  230. I would NEVER want to be a kpop idol, nor tbh would I want to date one. Cute though they may be. The amount of stress involved, lack of privacy, crazy fans (crazy management), stalkers, lack of time just be date and be yourself. Naaaah sounds too much like hard work.

  231. I always thought that a lot of idols date secretly especially from what lee joon said where he compared the kpop industry to the animal kingdom??

  232. I really hope they bring in laws about stalking in Korea.

    I’ve seen how those crazy diets affect the average Korean girl…. with friends and just Korean girls I know (my parents have a bunch of Korean girls staying with them). I feel like here in Australia everyone knows that eat healthily and exercise is probably the best thing to do… even if there are a few people that do fad diets…. but for Korean girls, I see how so many really believe that these stupid diets are going to work. My mother gets frustrated with the girls because it’s just one stupid one to another. My husband even goes to the point of researching and giving them links that prove this diet is not good for them…. but they’ll still do it because this idol lost this much weight doing it blah blah blah. They don’t care about their health, they just care about losing weight.

  233. I feel awful about Dongho, it would be crazy rad if he worked for you guys tough, I’m sure it would be a 360 change for him. :)

  234. This include pretty much all jobs, in my opinion, about being long hours and less time to yourself. Most people work in the 9-5 hours.

    I said to always tried it out even if you think it’s not for you, but find ways to incorporate your passion into it too. You will never know without trying, ie EYK :)

    Just like how I’m an introverted, but if I didn’t tried out the blogging, and online scene, I wouldn’t be who I am today. Instead of thinking entertainment in the sense of KPOP or big company, why not do what some people are doing now a day, youtubers, blogging singer, vblog, facebook, twitter, airbnb and etc… Another examples, Nurses & Doctors work more hours than you can count or think about. (My friends are nurses and doctors), it’s just crazy, but they love their job, and they have finally have enough to open a clinic for themselves. In addition, there are midwife that you can pay for like $1k versus a hospital in the State for $20k… The midwife really know their stuff too, and they love their job versus someone who join the medical field who just go in it for it, but not for themselves.

    Likewise, Sam Tsui, David Choi, and Mike Song are amazing singers, and they are now really well-known on Youtube. They’ve follow their passion and create something that work for them. I believe that as technology grow, jobs are opening up for more people now regardless if you’re an introvert or an extrovert or someone who is poor or rich.

    So, no I will not be an KPOP idol, but I love reading, writing, watching dramas and etc… So, I sometime write up stories, make a blog post, travel and enjoy my job as a good life while still being a student. What I do online and what I do outside of it are two different thing and person.

    Finally, Dongho may quit KPOP, but he can always do youtube and sing online for us to listen to his beautiful voice even :) or join EYK.

  235. How are ghost suspicion in Korea? Any interesting stories and what do Koreans think will help to prevent ghost?

  236. That industry is something that you have to NEED with all of your heart in order to survive. The insane work that goes into it is so soul draining that unless you truly cannot live without out it, it can break you down. And I don’t just mean the Idol part but the trainee stuff too. A lot of the interviews I saw mention training from like 2pm to midnight at the actual studio and then 3 -6 hours at home EVERY DAY! I don’t even know where that comes from! Where do they get that drive!?

    I actually was really…really….REALLY considering auditioning for JYP (they seem open minded enough to give an African American mid-20s girl a shot)…but then I realized, as much as I like performing in front of an audience, feeding off of their excitement and being on stage, it’s not so intense in my soul that I could handle moving to a new country, pounding my head with the language and culture, being alone and possibly even ostracized for not being Asian in anyway and then to have all this happen just so I could MAYBE in 5,6, or 7 years struggle to climb the charts with people I may only partly know in an industry that is harsh cruel and intrusive…nah. I’d be happier singing with my friends and family at norebang.

    Anywho! I found this TL:DR really interesting! Always makes me wonder if my groups are really any different or are they just putting on a facade for the cameras?

    • You’re right, they do need it to survive. Like need it need it. They train for being idols in place of the time they’d train for careers and, let’s be honest, the skills they learn are probably not the most versatile in regards to being useful and applicable to the rest of the “normal” job market. Not to say that they cannot go back and learn the skills, but they have to consider many factors, including the competition (from young, new, able workers) they have to face after they obtain the skills necessary for their work of choice.

      I have kept from being too attached to kpop groups and idols is because of the fact that you never really know if what you’re falling in love with is actually genuine or if its just an act. Also, even if I’d never meet them in person, I feel like it’s unfair to them as people, to be loved and adored for what they really aren’t. I mean, yes, everybody chooses the image the put out of themselves but I think deep down, most people would want to be love, recognized, and appreciated for what they really are. That’s a whole different topic though… hah ^ ___ ^;

  237. Great article. As a kpop fan it hurt to see ur idols (girls) so exahused in pictures. I always wonder, if they’re this good with so many things holding them back, how awesome would they be, if they could be themselves.
    PD: Dongho could be the “visual” of your crew lol!

  238. I feel like going into Kpop is an equal trade between how much you want it and how much work you’re willing to put in. I personally feel like the benefit outweighs the negative and I am personally pursuing my own Kpop goals by applying most of those restrictions to my life on my own. I’d also like yo say that it’s a little unfair to ask, “is fame worth it”, because theoretically, someone going to such great lengths isn’t doing it just for the fame. That being said, I do agree that maybe these artist should have a little more freedom, but there’s a reason they don’t, and the reason isn’t always money.

  239. I’m actually really fucking happy that you talk about this! Reading things about the kpop industry has made me feel nauseous at times :(

  240. The main problem with the K-pop industry is that the record labels have too much power. They can treat their artists like slaves and take too much of their money without the artists daring to do anything about it (if they speak up, they are easily replaced coz there are 1000′s of other talented kids willing to take their place).

    Unless the Korean government does something to stop this, things will keep being this bad.

  241. I could not avoid about posting the comment here and in facebook! GREAT VIDEO GUYS! I really love how you can be so honest about these polemic subjects! I love K-Pop and I consider industry’s Strategic Management as an example to be followed…except for this particular! Their treatment of artists SUCKS! It is great to have your “inside” vision on the matter…hopefully, it will worry some fans, who eventually, will demand more work ethics from Agencies! Korea will always be their home and center, but the current target of the main agencies is to reach international markets, where a more openess about procedures might be required! I really share your views, concerns…and even work ethics!

    Reading the comments, I remembered a fact for me NOT wanting to be an idol: THE FUCKIN’ CLOSET! I AM NOT GOING BACK IN THERE! I can not imagine how OBVIOUSLY gay idols deal with their sexuality! Heechul, Key, Ryeowook (my korean twin), Kwanghee are very open about their particular style and behaviour, but not so much about their feelings…will they be supossed to marry a woman or something? That makes me very sad! (and not only because I will totally date Key jajajajaja)

  242. THIS. THIS SO MUCH. Especially the part about how all the dances, outfits and concepted are pre-determined without the artists’ saying, I wish EVERYONE was aware of this, because so many idols get slandered by netizens for being too this or that, HyunA comes to mind – everyone says she, herself, is too slutty, with complete disregard for the fact that all of the things that make her seem “slutty” are actually decided and carried out by Cube Ent. and not HyunA herself.

  243. I have a sort of nagging respect for South Korea’s apparent workaholic culture (I wish I could be as dedicated or productive, because in comparison to idols my age, what have I done with my life?), but at the same time I realize how unhealthy it is. From what I know (and although I’m pretty immersed in k-pop, I can’t claim to know much), idols devote their entire lives to being the perfect mouthpieces and coat hangers for their entertainment industries. I’m in no way denying that they’re talented and unique individuals, but their personalities aren’t intended to come across as much as the identities that have been constructed for them. Maybe I’m just propagating first world problems, but I think it would be crushing and especially stressful to have to suppress your personality for the sake of your career, keeping in mind that your fans aren’t necessarily fans of you, but rather fans of who you appear to be. It seems almost impossible to find a lucrative venue for creativity just because you always have to sacrifice something so that the viewers stay interested in you. This isn’t just limited to k-pop or South Korea – it’s everywhere in popular culture.
    Maybe I’m reading too much into this, but it bothers me a lot. I’m definitely a fan of k-pop, so I’m partially to blame because I consume the culture. I try to look at k-pop objectively and respect the artists for their hard work (in my extreme dorkiness I decided that if I ever had the opportunity to meet an idol I would thank them for choosing to be part of the industry so that they could share their talents, even though it’s such a taxing career), but it doesn’t seem like enough. :(

    Thanks, Simon and Martina, for exploring k-pop and South Korean culture objectively like this. It’s always really interesting to hear about, and I’m glad that there are audiences that enjoy k-pop but are also looking at the other side of the coin!

  244. PunkyPrincess92

    seriously i do feel sorry for idols!!
    T_T aaaww Jonghyun and Shin Sekyung! i was sad when i heard they broke up!! i’m a FREAKIN’ HUGE HADRCORE SHINEE BIASED person, but i’m not crazy to get angry seeing them date!! i actually wanna see my boys happy with someone else!!

    i could never be a kpop idol
    1. i hate cameras and i’m awkward in front of them
    2. i hate attention on me!
    3. i love my bed!

    i’m still surprised there is no law yet against sasaengs!! something needs to be done against them!!

  245. Simon and Martina-Korea doesn’t have any anti-stalking laws?!?! WHAT?!? That’s crazy-but now all the stuff I’ve heard about sasaengs kinda makes sense. I always wondered why they were never arrested or why nobody put restraining orders on these crazy b****es. Korea should fix this problem, not just for the idols but for regular people. Nobody should be stalked-it’s a horrible experience that no one deserves. I just hope that it doesn’t take a drastic situation like a crazy sasaeng killing someone for change to happen…

    • I assume that is not the only problem Korea has when it comes to law…
      I hope nothing drastic happens too. It’s just one big mess with those…people…

    • Well, sasaengs have certainly *tried* to kill idols before. (Yunho drank something spiked with super-glue being the most well-known example.)

      • I’ve heard of that one and I remember being surprised that she wasn’t arrested for attempted murder or something-but I think that’s because Yunho didn’t press charges, right?

        • I think that’s right, but I doubt SM would have let him even if he personally wanted to. It would somehow be skewed into bad PR (the big bad powerful company picking on the helpless young girl, nevermind Yunho’s health crisis).

  246. After reading your post, I have to say that I agree with you.

    I also want to say that you two seem like the best bosses …ever ( after my father but since he is family , I choose to be biased xD lol ) !

    And yes , if Dongho happens to read this, he should try to join.

    But all that aside, I do hope that his life gets at least somewhat better than it was so far…

  247. Well firstly, I CAN’T SING OR DANCE! So, I’d make a suck-tastic kpop idol! My marketable skills are butchering the korean language with a French accent (I’ve taken 14 years of French classes, everything that I try and speak in a language that is not english comes out french), petting cats, writing papers, quoting war movies, speaking French and knitting. Yeah, my kpop career would be fantastic elastic.

    What Simon and Martina said pretty much sums up why I would never want to be a kpop idol and why I respect ANYONE in the kpop industry. Hey, I may not like your music, might not like your personality or the image your company portrays, but damn, you go through so much bs on a daily basis and have to plaster smiles on your faces, I just have so much respect for you guys and gals.

    On a different note, I’d like to make a note about what Simon and Martina said about the “Oh this group works so hard too, why don’t they get recognition.” I know everybody in the kpop industry puts in so much damn work. And I don’t begrudge the big daddies and mommies that have made it. They’ve done very well. But when you are a fan of a smaller group it just feels disheartening sometimes when it seems that they put in the same amount of effort as everyone else and at the end of the day it seems that a select few that get the awards and high record sales.

    My personal frame of reference is ZE:A. They have been around since 2010. Simon and Martina interviewed them and they even talked about how they were so broke at one point they were living in their practice room and barely eating. Those 9 boys have put in the same amount of work as other kpop bands. They’ve toured extensively in Korean and Japan, they’ve had 2 reality shows and were the principal characters in a movie, and yet they have 0 music show awards and are just barely breaking the nugu status after 3 years. I don’t think that the groups winning the awards are undeserving by any means. But as some point, I’d like to see bands that have not had much recognition, like ZE:A or U-Kiss or (until recently) Block-B, get a little token that shows that their weeks of running on coffee and ramyun and 2 hours of sleep amount to something more tangible than a tweet or message on their fan cafe.

  248. ChocoPandaa

    I totally agree with this, and you guys have also highlighted all the main reasons why being a kpop idol (or working in Korea in general..) is extremely….hectic and crazy and sometimes(not) sad.

    Even if I’m amazingly awesome at singing and dancing (which I’m not), I’d still say NO to being a kpop idol…unless if the company treats me right then yeah, sure, I’m in. But um, before being a kpop idol and actually having an idol life…there’s also a being a TRAINEE and having a trainee life. Being a trainee is, I don’t know. Well. You’re training for hours and weeks and years and competing with lots of other people….not knowing if you’re even going to debut or not. When I heard of some idols being trainees for like 8-9 years or more, I’d be like, “Woah, that’s fking insane!”. Like seriously… how? .___.”

    Well that’s one point.. Rest of my points are what you guys and everyone else probably mentioned already. Privacy, dating, eating, hectic crazy schedules, sleeping.. I don’t think I’d mind living with other people because honestly I haven’t experienced it and I want to experience it. Sure there could be fights and all, but who knows it could be really fun too…unless the person is a total bitch.

    And I really wish South Korea would do something about those sasaeng people.. Those people are not only extremely dangerous to idols, but to other people too!! And those sasaeng taxis are just insane. I have a lot to say about sasaeng people but then this would turn out to be some essay..so I’m just gonna say, why the heck won’t South Korea do anything about those people?! D:< …But I did hear that they aren't going to jail or anything because they're minors…

    I actually have a friend who wants to be a kpop idol. I don't want to be such a mean person, but honestly, I really don't see it happening even if her parents did approve of it. I've even gave her a pros and cons list but she still says she wants to be one. Well… people can dream.. I ain't blaming her. But if she somehow manage to become one I'd ask her to introduce me to her idol friends -laughs evilly as my fangirl dreams comes true-

    But guys, has ANYONE ever wondered… Those idols with pets.. How do they even take care of them and train them? Seriously.. HOW? Unless they get someone else to do it then..yeah..

    Also: It'd be so cool if Dongho worked for EYK. I see that Soo Zee is living one heck of a lifetime. I'm 200% convinced Dongho would be much happier and less tired and stressed there. xD "She was feeling a bit sick today, we told her to GTFO and not come back until she feels better." You guys are the best people to work with. omg can I work for you guys? :3

  249. as an employee in tourism in Greece I work crazy hours all year long and during summer I have no private life cause I have a dorm life but at least at the end of the day I go to my home and noone harass me …unless my boss calls…at least they geting paid on what they do cause lately they only thing we do here is Greece is working insanly hours and not geting paid for months…oh wiat…Block b weren’t being paied either…so…my arguement is invalid…so…I don’t know what is worse…Anyway if you have watched Dream High you could easily see that the weather was very cold and that all the actors were frozen despite that they kept acting…and this is only a minor example.

    • I hope the conditions in Greece get better soon, thi bloody economic problem is really a downspur for all of Europe!

      ~Love from Sweden

    • well I’m kinda off topic but Greece is at fault for their crisis.
      I see loads of small shops’re being closed in Thess during last/this year… and later there’re food (any type: from a cafe to catering & fastfood) that opens! I mean like WTF? It feels like there’re ONLY pharmacies, cafes & clothes everywhere in Thess! And despite having a crisis EVERYONE is sitting in the cafes/restaurants from morning till evening. If you have no money and you’re not payed at your job for months WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING AT A CAFE every day?? It’s much cheaper to have coffee or food homemade, then buying in out~ >__<

      • of course we are but even if we try hard to change things we are only few. As for Thessaloniki…well…we have become a fast food city haven’t we? I even work in one of those cafe/restaurant/bakery/patisserie places and our clients they just sit all day doing nothing and talking about meaningless stuff. Even those who have shops around us dont’ bother to do anything they just sitting in our tables. I honestly sometimes feel that I am the only one without money in Thess. Did you see today what was going on ? there was this strike and yet all the restaurants in ladadika were full to the maximum. sigh..I am really sick and tired of this attitude in my city.

        • I think Greek’s mentality is different to “try hard” and change things (I’m here for 5 years already, I think): it’s easier to go on a strike then work ACTUAL 8 hours per day EVERY day [it's got a really big problem here but the rest of the Europe is (more or less) the same, in fact]
          I don’t think Europe has ever had times when there literally was NO food at supermarkets like USSR for example – I’m Russian btw, and I remember my grams told stories how she worked her a** off on two jobs, then staying in loooong queue to buy some food and clothes.

          Nope, I hear there is a strike so I stayed away from the center, with my laptop at home :P
          So you’re in Thess? First time seeing some Greek kpop fans in Thessaloniki! Usually everyone is fron islands or Athens >.< Maybe we should πάμε για καφέ καμία μέρα? like they always say lol

        • yes we should :). Actually we are a lot of kpopers in thessaloniki but we mostly talk to each other through FB and twitter.

        • Call! ;P
          I wrote you on twitter too~^^
          really? I think I’m too quiet to ask real ppl abt kpop then! lol

  250. I totally agree with you guys, but i think i would like to try an K-entertainer (not idol) life. Most people think that i would like to try it out just because i would get a chance to see idols and stuff like that, but it’s not true. Making other people laugh and happy is what makes me happy. Also, you have fun together with other people on the show. For example, i just imagine how fun it was to film Family Outing. It’s like going out with your friends. I know and i have heard a lot, how difficult it is to be natural and how difficult it is to have fun in front of camera. Some of the shows are scripted and you don’t really get a chance to say your own opinion, but i still would like to try it out. Entertainers don’t usually have those hectic schedules and they don’t need to prepare for various stages and comebacks (well they need to read entertainment news daily to be aware about everyone, but i find it as a fun side). It is usually all about their sense of humor. Something that comes naturally.

  251. You have to be so strong to be an kpop idol, physically and mentally. I think that’s why kpop fans are so fiercely protective of the groups they like. They already go through so much that we almost feel like it’s our job to give them strength. We vote and vote and vote for awards that others may call nothing or stupid, but to us(at least me) they aren’t stupid. We are trying to show them that they matter to us, that they do is worth it, that although we can’t get them time off we can show them that we care. We will never know everything that these kids and young adults go through on the daily. I would rather be a fan than an idol any day. I’m a good cheerleader, but I’m not strong enough to play in the never ending game that is kpop.

  252. Thought it was hilariously sad to put the pieces together when GD was interviewed about Gaho, his dog–basically, idols are so busy they more have visiting rights with foster parents to their animals than actual ownership. SO SAD. ~ currently pet-free 27 year old who sometimes daydreams but would never be able to do even the US celebrity thing…

  253. I never even thought abou being a kpop idol. And I wouldn’t even like
    it, but only bcuz of pirvacy. I experince a work like this, I was (and I
    sitt am) sleeping in every possible place (one a floor, desk, in bus,
    standing on coridors), eating what whatever, and all days and night
    moving and working. You can get use to life like this, after a few
    months, pnly beging is hard. After you do everything automaticly, like a
    robot. and it’s funny cuz when you get some free time afterward you
    just don’t know what to do to relax (of course after sleeping a lot).

    I was living like this, and I’m only university student from Poland. I
    studied emergency medcine, and my university was to ambicious, they put
    lectures and other stuffs from 7-8am to 7-8pm, we had only small breaks
    in beetween just to move to another place, usully we eat in convice
    stores, and after coming back home all we did was learning till late
    hours. Now I droped this studies after 2 years, but not becuz of work, I
    change my major to better, withim I will find a better job. Now I’m
    doing biotechnology, it’s better, have only 2 day in week from early
    hours till night, and I finally have lecture in campus so I can eat
    proper lunch in canteen.
    But as I said, kpop idol – never – I like to have a life and be free to talk, wear, do what I want.

    • Your university life sounds like my life while I was studying in China, only a bit worse. And yet, I will apply back there for autumn semester 2014.

      But only for a year, which is probably why I don’t mind as much. And I usually spend saturdays adventuring, because you need at least one day off to recollect yourself.

      • So there are people in this world how have no life cuz of education like me. Hahaha, joking, it isn’t so bad, I still have weekends. As you say Saturday to chill out.
        Lately I was traveling a lot in Europe, and I started to think that Poland is like asian contries in education. It really hard here. And it’s starts at school. After school/evening school, tutors, language school, all of it after regural school. So almost every evening is in school, then learning at night.
        And after Univeristy – it the same, a lot of work. But I think that other major courses are lighter – like polish, english etc. (my sister did journalism, she had a lot of free time).

        • Nina Johansson

          Same in every country I guess… I applied for International Relations, I made it,but never bothered to enter because I got into Media and Communication, which was my aim. but this course (at the moment) has been VERY relaxed (almost too relaxed, but I’m not complaining), while I was told International Relations is one hell of a workoholic course. Had no idea when I applied, just glad I got in on my first choice.

  254. Oh, hell no, I wouldn’t want to be a kpop idol (or any idol for that matter). The reason I chose a work-from-home career was because I appreciate creative freedom and the ability to work when and how I want. Everytime I see kpop stars singing/dancing/acting and generally working their asses off I wish they’d be given some slack. Sometimes they look so tired and you just wonder how are they still able to give 110%???
    Plus, I’d hate not to be able to date. Love is such an inspiring emotion…

  255. I have to agree with you Simon and Martina, you would never be able to set my foot inside this business, even if you paid me millions. I actually think putting someone as an idol, for commercial sake is one of the cruelest things possible, and really stupid. It’s like they could use machines instead, I mean just look at Hatsune Miku and those other made things.

    Then again, I have no thoughts of going into entertainment in Korea, because I am most likely as un-Korean-ish as someone born there can be, and that is most likely because I grew up in a the fifth largest European country, with a population of 20 people for each square kilometre, which simply put gives you a lot of space to roam free in. Indeed, I have a very hard time living very, very close with people I barely know.

    With this said, I am sure I can work insane work hours, as I hope to work in China one day, in which work conditions aren’t always much better than they are in Korea, so… well… though luck. But, my aim is to stay within the Western companies, so at least the conditions are somewhat right.

    Anyway, I am glad at least you put your conditions as they are, in other words, as good as they are. I wish sometimes my Asian kins would realise happiness doesn’t come solely from work hours, and creativity is best born when you are allowed to be creative. Then again, this is something I think is starting to get noticed within Asia in general, maybe not as much within the entertainment industry, but from what I’ve heard before, people do realise working to death doesn’t make things better.

    Then again, as everything this process is most likely as slow as a snail climbing mount everest, but eventually I hope they will get there.

  256. I am Brazilian, and I think we don’t have pirates… Poor Dongho.

  257. Question: ” Do you want to be a kpop idol ? ”

    My Answer: ” No. I love my life with far less restraints more than anything else. ”

    But, that’s just me. Plus, I have different interests and being an idol/musician is not even on the list. I do enjoy music thou…

  258. I absolutely get incredibly mad at those saesangs… they make me weep and want to tear out someone’s kidneys at the same time (k maybe not) but yeah. I mean, dumb excuses like “it’s a mental issue so it’s not 100% intentional blah blah blah” are dumb excuses period. If that’s the case, they should be sent for treatment at a hospital or something. Solutions; not excuses tyvm.

  259. lady_kire

    I wonder if JYJ gets treated better. I know they went to CJES and looking at their pictures, they look a lot better. I know they aren’t doing too many promotions (b/c of them being denied on TV), but they do look like they have fun when they are at the bar. They dont seem tired out, and look somewhat healthy. Yes, the sasaengs are insane for them, so I won’t say that privacy got better…

  260. Yes, Dongho, should come work for EYK. That would be awesome! He’d be much happier for realz.

  261. I would be so happy if I could work at Eatyourkimchi studio :D ! Soo Zee is very lucky to have kind boss like you. I´m also happy that you treat her like this.

  262. I think that I would still want to become a k-pop Idol, not because of the fame and fortune but because 10 years from now I would like to look back and say ‘wow look at what I have accomplished’. I think that being an Idol would be the definition of ‘earning money by flesh and sweat’. For a person like me that has accomplished nothing, signing 7 years of my life away to have a chance to have people look up to you seems like a good way to go. For some people the kpop industry may seem a bit barbaric but for some others it would be an opportunity to be someone else. Take Yesung from Super Junior for example before he was an idol he was from a low income family after high school he would have to start working to help support his family, I don’t even think college was really an option for him. If you look now at his accomplishments I would say that he gained more than he lost. Don’t get me wrong it’s good that he (Dongho) left because he was worried about his health, and there’s nothing wrong with that, but I would rather spend my life knowing I did something rather than wasting away and have no one remember what you did.

    • You do know, we accomplish a lot more than we think. Unless you have literally lived your life locked inside a room without meeting anyone, then you do accomplish something. Life is not about climbing mount everest or finding cures for cancer.

      But I am sure, like everyone else, you have taken steps in your life to get where you are, small steps maybe, but steps nonetheless. I mean, finished school or making friends… friends who in turn gain something from you.

      I know there can be the possibility of yourself feeling unachievable, but this is something I started considering a while ago. Unless you live completely isolated from everyone else, you give people something. It is from the connection we have between each other that we grow as people, not necessarily in huge ways, but we become bigger and bigger piece by piece.

      Now, I won’t say don’t try to get into the entertainmentindustry, if that is TRULY what you want and what you know you can give something to. But sometimes it is better to consider your interests. I am pretty sure those who manage to give back not only enjoy doing that, but also enjoys very much what they do. And from that, others may grow as well.

      • That’s the thing, you see for me I have lived life on a routine its always School. Study. Home. Study. Sleep. In my opinion my life is pathetic. But I can’t exactly just abandon it because I don’t want to do it or because I want something more, its still a life that I created for myself. Everything in my life is limited, and there’s only so much someone else can give you the rest you have to come up with it on you own.
        But ill have you know I don’t want to get into the entertainment business, im much to shy for that. :)

        • Nina Johansson

          Your routine makes you sound like a student, is that what is bothering you? I can understand that, I mean I’m 25 and still in University… But as for limits… well I can understand economic limits, because I have those as well. I mean, sweden is freakishly expensive for student life, but that doesn’t generally stop you from enjoying life. It stops you however from getting a new computer when your old one starts freezing at random times, but hey… it hasn’t given me a bluescreen of death yet, so I do not worry.

          I seriously know people very close to me who have more than enough reasons to give up, and yet they don’t… because they’ve become limited or have always been limited by simple things as walking. And myself, I had no idea what to strive for until a few years ago, but maybe that is sosly because I chose something I realised I liked to do.

          My advice for you is to test things, not dedicate yourself at once, but student life is perfect for testing new things. For example, learn another language, that can open up cultures (it did for me), or trying different paths, and see which one fits the most.

          To me, being a student has been the time you can try more things, because you have not bound yourself to something. I know people who have worked for years feel so frustrated because this is not what they wanted really, and yet they don’t know how to stop.

          Still, that hasn’t stopped some other people I know. One, who was 50+ years old, changed job from a miedic nruse to a school teacher because she wanted to.

          But if you really aim to do something, I would recommend helping out in general, because I know many who have found that awarding.

          Like I said, life is full of opportunities, you just need to set your mind at it.

    • Like Nina said, you accomplish things day by day. We dont have to be known by millions of people to make an impact. You could make an impact on one person and have it motivate you for the rest of your life. What I want to say is, work hard for your dreams but make sure you enjoy the journey. At the end of the day that’s what’s going to count and what you’re going to look back to. Life is so short we dont realize it sometimes. Work on your own goals and what you want to achieve without denying basic things like good health and proper food. You can accomplish great things and not have to literally kill yourself for it. Everyone in life needs to work hard, but also needs to rest. Balance is the key ^_^

      • Yes I understand but I would still like to try. After having gone trough so much why would I throw it away but that’s just my opinion. I also think that life is not short, because no matter how many times I ask my self ‘What is longer than life?’ I can’t really come up with an answer. Nothing is longer than life.

        • Everyone has different mindsets, so its hard to see from another’s perspective. But I want to share an experience that although is not nearly as intense as being a kpop idol, it was in a way somewhat relatable. I went to a boarding school a few years back that was labelled this “amazing and best school in ___” and it was known because it specialized in Math & Science, and people graduated early. I had no actual motivation towards Math, Science, or even graduating early but I applied because of the good rumors, and because I wanted a change in environment.

          I spent 9th and my first semester of 10th grade there, and then I left… Socially, it was amazing. I had never met so many kinds of people with so many interests similar to mine and that was a very rewarding experience. However, the main point of the school is the actual school work, and it was very exploiting. My first year was manageable, and I still wanted to apply for my 2nd year because of my friends and because I was optimistic about being able to balance my time. Living there though, was very very different from what I was used to. After being back home in the summer, it was difficult to adjust back to having 3 roommates, sharing a bathroom with 8, poor dormitory conditions, bugs everywhere, lack of privacy, and most importantly: Balance between studying and resting. That 10th grade was a lot harder than I thought. Taking 2 math classes, 2 sciences, and in total having 10 hard classes got me to staying up studying in the dark till 1:00 a.m, to then waking up at 5:00 a.m to study more. I wasn’t sleeping enough, or eating enough. Although that school was up in a hill and it had a beautiful view, I could never appreciate it because I felt like I was living in the midst of hell. The stress was eating me alive.

          Here’s the big key point: I didn’t want to study anything related to Math and Science for the future. “What was I working this hard for? Shouldn’t life have a balance between work and rest? Will it all really be worth it in the end? When I’m older and look back, is this what I want to remember?”
          Right now I’m about to graduate in a few months, and even though its not from a school as big as that one, its one where I’ve learned a lot, and I’m still going to the college I wanted to go to. And I’m studying something I want to pursue. :)

          I also thought life was long before. Until I started thinking back… Maybe its because i’m almost 18, and I feel like I was 12 yesterday, and its like “Where has time gone by?” Hearing how people die everyday for whatever reason in their daily lives, and knowing I’m still here makes me feel blessed to appreciate each day and live one day at a time. Artifacts and many historical things have lasted millions of years, much more than a human’s life. Though in terms of life species, we do tend to live longer than animals or plants. But time, something that is so relative, seems like it passes by in the blink of an eye. I remember when I found 18 so far ahead. But here I am. And how I find 25 so far ahead, but I feel in another blink of an eye, if I’m alive, I’ll get there so quickly. So, I just want to make the most of what really exists: the now, the present.

          ( P.S Sorry this was a very large message. I went a little overboard. x3)

        • Tania Hernandez

          I know what you mean took hard courses when I was back in high school. Taking college classes while still in high school was hell, not to mention I had a job. It was difficult but not impossible, back then I liked the challenge, but now that I am a college student everything is just passing by in a monotone manner. Actually now that I think about it, that would be the reason why being an idol with that many con’s doesn’t sound that bad.
          P.s. it’s ok I understand

  263. Oh gosh … after reading a side note , I wanna work for you too xD

  264. I wouldn’t want to be a K-pop idol, because creating music and doing art in general should be a joyful, inspiring activity. Being a pretty bird trapped in a cage sucks, even if you’re amazingly talented and anxious to be heard and seen.

    The idol life totally ruined Dongho’s health. People actually die from pleurisy.

    • One part of the video we cut out: I actually had pleurisy once (Simon here). I had it in my second year of university. I legitimately thought I was going to die. I couldn’t breathe in more than a cheekful of air. I was in excruciating pain. The only way I could breathe somewhat reasonably unpainfully was with the window open in winter and cold air rushing in.

      It’s changed me forever. I can’t go into saunas. I keep the window open in winter. I can only breathe in cold air or I get really uncomfortable. Having to perform with pleurisy? I’d shoot a manager in the ass with a gun before agreeing to that…

      • I had it in my sophomore year of high school, and I basically got drugged up for 3 weeks straight and went to school anyway. I don’t remember any of it, that’s how drugged up I was. It was the worst pain in my life, though right now my pain is worse because it can’t be fixed so “easily”. I get to be in pain all of the time now, and it’s just getting worse with time ( unrelated to pleurisy, though I wonder sometimes if it’ll happen again ). Damn American “healthcare”.

        • Brandi Gerthoffer

          I got a mild form of it the summer before my Senior year of high school…and even now, because of it, I can’t breathe properly and I have a mild form of asthma and if I just lie down, I can’t swallow right or breathe deeply because it messed me up so badly.

      • That sounds absolutely terrible. Even if one doesn’t know anything about pleurisy, this video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z_h2Ty0V7Cc can give them some idea. Dongho looks like an old man. To think that he had to leave hospital to film a music video while he was still in such condition is inconceivable.

        What makes his story even sadder is the fact that he always seemed to have many ambitions, talents and interests. But like some kids get bullied out of school, Dongho was tormented out of the world of self-realization. Some people naturally have weaker health than others, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be able to dance, sing, rap or whatever they love to do. I hope he’ll find his way in life. However I don’t think he’ll be able to recover completely.

        P.S. Since Dongho loves knitting, he could knit some cool merch for you! (A knitted Spudgy would look great.)

  265. Look at 2NE1′s Dara and Bom. They only had their dating bans lifted only
    recently and they’re in their 30′s, what were they supposed to do not
    date until they’re 50? Singing “falling in love” thinking “yes, i’d like
    to but i don’t have the option”

  266. Some groups have a dating ban, some others don’t. When they don’t have, they won’t have time to even date. Some idols still go (went) to school but only can sleep 2 hours a night (for example: Hyuk from VIXX, it’s even clearly filmed by the members themselves). Others sleep only 3 hours a night or they pass out whenever they can (F.e. Ravi of VIXX just sleeps whenever he has a chance to).
    I feel bad for them. (Sorry for my slight VIXX bias.)

  267. Wish I work for you..!!

  268. A.J.

    I would still want to be a kpop idol. You have recognition and more people willing to promote you in all your efforts. I write obsessively and no one knows who I am or is going to put my works out there. If I were a kpop idol people would be like “Oh my gosh, she wrote a book, she wrote her own lyrics.” In the real world I can send my writing off to someone and hope for the best, or hire an agent which may or may not be a waste of money. I could give up everything to accomplish my dream, so for me the pros out weigh the cons. I can also fall asleep anywhere no matter the conditions.

  269. Being an idol wouldn’t be for me.. I mean, I prefer to laze around and enjoy all my hobbies. I wouldn’t be able to veg out playing Pokemon all day. I also like to be able to eat what I want (within reason).
    I had a friend in college that was DETERMINED to be an idol. She was really talented, but fell short on stuff like her weight and being gassed out from losing/gaining weight. I remember when she ate tissue paper to stop feeling hungry and got too sick and weak to perform. She blew all her savings on cosmetic surgery to have it not come out that well. Didn’t help her mom supported all this.

    Edit: should say, years later she’s okay. Working at a coffee shop, but totally regrets not making it and blames herself. Still trying other avenues on making it big like writing.

  270. You sound like a good boss :)

  271. Marzia Matalone

    II completely agree with you guys! I love Kpop music, but I’m also quite aware that singers are persons in the first place, and I think this kind of life will make them forget it themselves! This is their job, of course, but it’s also something that should never turn out as some kind of nightmare! I think this will eventually affect badly their performances too…singing,dancing, it has to be something you enjoy doing, this way who looks at you will be happy too…

  272. I think that if I didn’t get married and have kids young…. and I actually knew the Korean Language, I’d probably give it a shot. Here’s why.

    I’ve always had a hectic life. I grew up traveling with my sister and my mom for Gymnastics, Cheer Leading, Karate, Modeling, Commercial shoots etc. from the age of 3. And when I was at the right age, I joined in some of them as well. I was always busy, whether it was actually participating in the sport, participating in frequent gym events, or helping to run the tournaments themselves, I was always moving. Every weekday I spent in school, participating in school activities (choir, band, festivals), two-three hours after school were for homework/play with friends, and the nights and weekends were for practice.

    Now, I’ve never had to deal with paparazzi, and that could be my deal breaker, but that is something I would have to experience to find out.

    Why wouldn’t I want to be a singer in America? Well because most singers now a days (new ones) are jokes- or are taken as such -and don’t get much of chance to show what you got unless you can match someone already popular, which then you would be seen as a copycat and unoriginal. Sure, the schedule would be a bit more lax, but that also makes for less opportunity to get yourself out there. K-pop’s schedules may be ridiculous, but you know of almost every single group out there, even if they don’t as much recognition or win as many awards as others. I would rather know that I threw everything I had out to the world and not succeed, than to be so presumptuous to think that one song on the internet could get me instant fame.

    …That would be nice, but unlikely.

    … But I probably wouldn’t make it that far anyways because K-pop Stars- both girls and guys- are just to damn beautiful for me to fit in lmao.

    • I like your point!
      Though I’ve never had life that can actually be called “hectic” I REALLY wish I had, because even if I do normal things in “normal” life I have now I feel like I’m not actually moving, stuck… so I’d like to be in the entertainment cycle knowing all the cons… I guess I’m not too normal after all? :P

  273. I can just see it now, EYK: home for recovering ex-Kpop-ers.
    It’d be like Kpop industry rehab

    • This is a joke we have going on in the studio. We should make our studio like witness protection program, but for K-Idols that want to get out of the industry. Come! Work with us! We’ll treat you with decency!

      • thisisjustforfunval

        And feed you real foods! I’ve never understood how these guys/gals run on nothing but junk food, or no food, for that matter. Now fanmeals make a ton more sense, and why idols always seem so grateful to receive them. Fresh fruit seems to be a big winner.

        • Alexandra Huang

          From around the world!

          Now I wanna become a kpop star for the reason of having EYK save me

        • We should encourage the places that organize those to do it more often. Not just for comebacks or something.

        • thisisjustforfunval

          It’s all fan raised. I’ve been a part of a few. Fandoms will reach out and raise money online to buy these meals for them and have them delivered to the places they know they will be performing.

        • I know, that’s who I’m talking about. I know FYUK and Rocketboxx send it ( for U-Kiss, of course ), but I don’t know who else does. I’d love to see them get real food every day if possible.

        • thisisjustforfunval

          Yup, those are the ones I’ve gone for :) KissMe here. I’ve seen a few others. If you find the major run fan pages they have usually done it.

        • I’m a KissMe too! U-Kiss is the only group I actively follow and care about, honestly. I do feel sorry for the others that I like but don’t follow though, especially because of how badly they’re treated.

        • thisisjustforfunval

          I care a lot about the handful of groups I really follow, but I’m most invested in U-KISS. They are the only group I’m the most financial devoted too. For a long time I’ve felt that they are over work and get the shaft from their company. I’m feeling it’s getting slightly better for them. They are getting out and doing more stuff they want to and the with their success in Japan, they don’t seem as financial shafted. But still it isn’t to my liking.

        • lol that’s funny I also saw fan-food(?) for UKISS very OFTEN… but maybe it’s because I’m a kissme I noticed that?
          If to think more… I remember when KARA’s Guiri had a drama there were articles when her fans send food to the whole filming team too…

        • Raine

          It makes so much sense now that I know they don’t eat well.

        • Right. this video just made me see fanfood in a different light. I used to think why would they eat that food. a crazy sasaeng may hurt them putting random stuff in the food like the story of Yunho or Himchans rumor. especially just seeing the awesome food Miss A received for their comeback I was like “looks are deceiving FEI NOOOO!” but now i’m appreciative of those fans caring for them when artists companies won’t. Now I wanna send something myself but Im in America :-(

        • thisisjustforfunval

          It is a really wonderful thing that the fan clubs do. I’ve seen fan clubs raise enough money to provide a catered dinner for a whole movie set. From what I’ve seen, read and experienced the fans don’t generally have a hand in making the food. I’m sure from time to time they do, but for the most part the fan club(s) organize and get quotes from restaurants and caterers. Then they turn to the clubs, forums, etc within Korea or internationally and create a fundraiser. Once the goal is met then it is organized when the food can be delivered. I’m an internationally KissMe and follow Rocketboxx. I’ve seen them organize a few fund raisers to provide U-KISS with a meal during their promotions. There are lots of little to very large forums and fan clubs that do these type of things for their favorite idols. I really only no one or two for U-KISS and a few for members of SS501.

          I’m sure you can look around and find international fanclubs for your favorite groups who do these type of honorable deeds for their idols. Look around it and look up the group, ie do research, to make sure they are legit and really do what they say they are going to do. With Rocketboxx, they provide photos of everything before and after and with U-KISS to show the fans that their hard work paid off and the boys got an nice nutritious meal.

      • I can actually see this idea working…… It’d be totally awesome.
        It would definitely be a much better working environment for them, they’d still have some sort of income, and their fans would still be able to see them and get happiness out of just seeing them happy and healthy.
        I’m so bipolar about Dongho leaving. I still see him as my baby in U-Kiss since I got into U-Kiss because of him and I’m really sad to see him go knowing that I will probably not get any news of how the boy is doing, but at the same time I’m overjoyed that he’s out of that environment and can focus on getting healthy and doing something that will make him happy and living life as he wants to live it and I really hope that fans do respect his wish to live as a normal person from now on and not crowd him or whatever if they see him in the streets and such.

      • hapagirl

        To be fair, you have enough wigs that they can use to hide their identities

      • and maybe sleep on real beds… remember Jonghyun (SHINee) sleeping under the table on the floor with a tissue on his face? I swear, that broke my heart.

      • Sasha Phierce

        I want to help with siwon’s rehab…Call me guyS.. i do it for free.. NO NEED TO FED ME!! just saying… LOL XD

      • oh yes.. the fanmeals totally make sense now.. before I always wonder.. omg these idols make a lot of money but they still get food from their fans like could they just call the nearest 5 star hotels to get buffet or what?? nahhh ain’t no time for even spend those money for good food.. omagaahhdd.. being their girlfriend must be extremely exhausted… ah noo.. you can’t get gf too.. just those silly girls waiting you showcasing your aegyo.. jeezz don’t they ever feel sick?

        • Well also, I don’t even think that most idols make that much. Usually, a lot of groups don’t even make money off of their promotions until the company makes back what they invested into the group (training and other expenses). I heard Girls’ Day Minah talk recently on Happy Together about how she hasn’t made enough money yet to buy her parents gifts so she hasn’t been able to (the fact that she cried about it might be indicating something…)

    • That’s what the C-JeS label that JYJ is under calls themselves, well, I believe something similar. I saw an article recently about Gummy signing with them after her contract with SM ran up. The home for recovering or mistreated stars or some such…

      • Gummy was in YG not in SM, but I agree with you in the c-jes label is kind of a place were artist go to expres themselves, Block-B is also a good example.

        • Ah, my bad. thought she another battered soul from SM, lol.

        • I think Junsu called C-Jes a home for hurt souls. C-Jes has recently acquired a lot of veteran talents. There must be something these actors & singers see in the agency that they don’t see anywhere else. I’m just glad that there are some companies that don’t try to exploit their artists to maximize their profits.

        • Yeah but still, at the end of the day a entertainment agency needs to survive. And more talents enter the agency, the more people they would need to hire to manage them = more costs. I guess probably the reason why many veteran talents went to C-Jes agency instead would be the profit issue. And like Tomomi mentioned, probably veteran idols would want to try acting instead too.

        • C-Jes is actually better at managing actors and actress, actually, which is why JYJ gets many drama+movie offers. they have more connections in the acting industry, not much in the music industry, which us why they’re not intimidated by SM (cuz they work in slightly different fields) and one of the reasons why JYJ still hasn’t managed to perform on TV (they haven’t got much connection in that area)

        • Almost, but C-Jes would definitely be able to promote JYJ on music shows if it weren’t for one thing blocking them : SM. SM has pretty strongly implied that if any of the broadcast stations try to take in JYJ, all of the big-name SM artists won’t be available to perform on those stations anymore (there goes a major portion of the viewers/revenue out the window). There was a whole controversy with the labor rights union and everything, but SM skirted the whole thing and nothing changed.

        • yes but that’s sort of a double edged sword tho
          think of all the jobs that sm artist will lose because sm pulled them out. it’ll be a lose-lose situation in the end

        • Generally, agencies tend to have power over the broadcast stations. As SM puts out some of the top idols, they’re naturally going to have more loyal followers than the broadcast stations. For example, remember CL’s Inkigayo swimsuit controversy? SBS said so themselves that YG kind of coerced them into letting CL wear that thing, even though the station tried to censor it. So even if one station drops SM idols in favor of JYJ, you can be guaranteed that a number of other stations will come running to SM’s doorstep (the mindset would probably be $$$$$ oriented). Realistically, losing Suju, SNSD, Shinee, F(x), EXO, and other SM idols in favor of JYJ just wouldn’t be financially beneficial to any station. Although I think it’s totally unfair that the labor unions can’t do something about this because it’d basically be a smackdown between a people-run protest and a giant corporation :(

        • I read somewhere that the difference btwn C-Jes and other entertainment companies is that it isn’t actually really an entertainment company.. it’s more of a management company where the company caters to the artists rather the other way around. The company works for the artists. So that’s why they’re not so completely worked the bone but just… worked.

          Might completely wrong, but that’s what I read somewhere anyways ^^

      • Gummy was signed with YG, not SM. But YG didn’t really make full use of her, which is why I think she felt the need to leave.

  274. Akira Miyashi

    I agree with you guise 100%. You couldn’t have said it better. And honestly, I’d say no thanks to a job as a k-pop idol.

    p/s: Martina, show us your tattoo!!! :D

  275. Honestly, I completely and utterly agree with you. I was just having a conversation about this the other day with my brother. We are mixed and my brother loves SISTAR, but he’s been noticing how tired they all and HYunA as well, have been looking. Heavy make-up to cover dark circles, unhappy demeanors and their standards of how thin women are. SERIOUSLY, IT WOULD NOT KILL THEM TO GAIN 10 POUNDS. I feel so bad for Kpop idols. My favorite group is MBLAQ and it saddens me at how haggard they look sometimes and how little they are treated. I live in better conditions then them and IM almost middle class. It’s sad! Do you remember the time when Seungho was doing some kind of backflip and fell and hurt himself so bad that he was immediatly unconcious? They acted like it was an inconvinience and an annoyance, and seemed pissed. While his bandmates were very obviously scared and worried. Not to mention the dating bans and all of the hard work put in. It’s freaking sad when there are KPOP idols like Seungri and Seungho who are affectionately named ‘Panda’ because of their dark circles. Also the weight issues…omg that pisses me off. They made Mir loose weight because he was too big?….WHAT THE ACTUAL HELL? He looked so skinny that it made me sad, as he is my bias because he’s one of the few people they actually let show his personality. Oh and then Sungmin from Super Junior,….yea he’s gained like 10 pounds but hes not even fat. The supposed fans are even more hateful! I feel so bad for these KPOP idols who have these, as you correctly put it, ‘Bat-shit crazy fans’. These insane bitches do horrible things. One of them poisoned Himchan from BAP…I mean he’s so lovable! And then the weirdo’s who send letters written in blood…what the hell man? I’m from the US and we are not that crazy lol, KPOP idols need to treat international fans better because we know better than to cut ourselves to send a letter which the idol may or may not recieve. I got into KPOP because some American bands just dont give a crap about their fans, while alot of Kpop idols care so much more. I think they care so much for their fans because they aren’t allowed to have girlfriends or boyfriends. lol. Anyway, I’m in complete agreement of you both and I WANNA WORK FOR YOU. You both are so cute and amazing…I love you as a couple. <3 Also, I love your hair, Martina, you're really pretty. ^^ EatYourKimchi FIGHTING!!!<333

  276. Totally agree with what you guys are saying, being a kpop idol is absolutely brutal. There is no way I could/would work under such conditions. However, I am interested in working as a manager/promotor in the future, mostly in overseas venues for Japanese/Korean/etc artists, since a lot of the venues they book have been on a smaller scale. (mostly one to two tour dates a country) But seeing how hard they already work under such conditions… well someone/something will have to make the change so this is possible for me. Heck, maybe I’ll change the way they promote abroad.

  277. Cyber_3

    I totally agree with this TL;DR. But of all the things you said, I just want to put a big flaming arrow on the dating ban thing. Think about it, you start at 16-19 years old and you spend all your days learning to look sexy for the camera and you can’t date anyone until you’re 21-24 years old? Besides the fact that if you do get famous that dating has now become extremely problematic for you because you are unable to “get out and meet people”, wouldn’t it be very awkward being so old with no experience? It would be like dating a 12 year old who’s really 21? And this is only for the actual kpop idols. What about all those idols-in-training who you can bet don’t get to date for all those years either……..? Freaky.

  278. thisisjustforfunval

    Dongho should really take up your offer to come work at the Nasty Studio! His job could just be to snuggle the Spudgy and Meem’s.

    Even though it was sad to see Dongho leave U-KISS, I’m glad he made the decision that was best for him. That he didn’t let a contract hold him back from taking care of his physical and mental health. At such a young age he figured out what was best for him and fought for his right to get away from a life he was clearly no longer happy living. Really wishing him much rest and relaxation.

    Thanks for touching on the subject. All idols work insanely hard, and when fans and antifans go around bashing them, especially for living a life outside the stage, it infuriates me because they have no clue how hard these guys work and how much being put down must hurt them.

  279. bigbangfosho

    There are actually quite a few things that I didn’t think about you guys mentioned…and I’m sure there are things about plastic surgery and sexual harrassment that we don’t know about. Also, I’m not trying to call anyone out or put anyone down, but sometimes I feel that some idols don’t do it for the music. Kpop is so manufactured that sometimes i think they do it for the money and fame. But idols don’t even earn that much from what I’m hearing so I find idol situations just really sad.

  280. ChrysiyApls

    “I don’t want this to be also read as a “BOYCOTT KPOP!” article”

    No, no, no…but what we SHOULD do is Boycott Sasaengs…idk if thats a thing but what i mean is there needs to be something done about these stupid people with nothing else to do in their lives…it would have the kpop groups breathe a little easier if they don’t have to worry about dating people. They are human! There needs to be some kind of law i tell yah!

    • I don’t think it’s Boycotting Sasaengs, it’s pointing them out and straight up shunning them from the community until they understand that that sort of behavior towards Idols-scratch that PEOPLE, is not acceptable.

  281. I’ve been studying theatre arts for eight years and I’m trained to handle the pressure of performance training, rigorous rehearsals, and whatever you call it, but I know for a fact that nothing can prepare anyone for the toxic air of the entertainment industry in general. Though South Korea’s entertainment industry is very controversial, that’s the way that most industries work. This is why is “show business”. Money really does come first. Behind the poor treatment of artists, there are also roadblocks. I personally don’t think the problem lies within the companies alone. I tend to consider the artists as well who allow themselves to be treated this way in order to achieve the level of success they desire. This is why there’s so much abuse in the industry, because the gatekeepers of unimaginable success know exactly what people would do to get through them. It’s not as though I’m encouraging artists to pull JYJ’s and Block B’s, but the abuse of performers is rooted on the price of fame. Companies and artists alike both know what’s on the other side, so artists will bite the bullet as long as they can and companies will simply shrug and turn to the next applicant for artists who aren’t willing to comply. No country is exempt from this. The entertainment industry has executives and artists the world over who do all this. It’s a sad reality.

    The training system for performing artists truly are rigid in order to stand on the global platform, at par with the world’s best performers. Yes, there are definitely ridiculous stipulations for some agencies, but it’s a work in progress. This is why I personally am willing to go through the systems of the entertainment industry. Of course, I’ll stand my ground and stick to my personal values, but I’m dedicating my life as a performing artist to the improvement of artist development programs. It’s not always about skill, which is what some companies forget.

    The sad part of it all? It all boils down to the question, “how bad do you want this?”. And then those who don’t know enough would just keep accepting everything until there’s none of their own identity left. This is precisely why, despite being a performer since I was a child, I’m grateful my parents never allowed me to go into the entertainment industry until I graduated college. Now that I’ve graduated, I can take more responsible steps knowing that what I love is not something a company can bottle up and sell.

    • So true. As a classical musician, I’ve needed to make the bargain: put myself under stress and pressure to the point where I hate my instrument (which has happened before), or pursue something different?

      The problem with pursuing something different is, I practice my viola hours daily. It is very difficult to balance this level of passion with another full-time occupation. Fortunately, I love the occupation I have chosen (architecture; I’m just a student for now), and have reached the point where I can bear a day or so without practicing viola, knowing full well that there’ll be catch-up time later. There always is. Being a musician is my source of enjoyment, not my source of fame or money. Fame isn’t what it’s cracked up to be.

  282. I’m glad you guys talk about pitying groups and giving them preferential treatment based on how “hard” they seem to work over other groups. People have this misconception that releasing 5 singles in a year means that that group works harder than a group that only released one, but they don’t realize that there’s so much more work that goes on behind the scenes that we don’t know about. Some groups might only release one song in the span of a year, but they could still have crazy schedules nontheless. We all know that k-pop isn’t all about singing and dancing, they’ve got dramas, variety shows, radio shows, music featurings, events to go to, fanmeetings, practice, studying, etc, and then there are tours and overseas promotions which require a lot of time and preparation as well. Being an idol isn’t just a full-time job, it’s a lifestyle.
    The only time I would feel pity for a group is if on top of working really hard, they had to put up with excessive shit from the public and their fans. I’m not talking about the general hate idols get, but the real hardcore career-ending hate.

  283. I definitely agree with most of what you guys think, and I also understand that for some people those cons are not enough to deter their dreams. I would say that if you love singing and dancing enough to go through all of those things to become an idol, then awesome for you. But if you’re really doing it for the love of the arts, I think you’d be better off pursuing that elsewhere, you know? Like as an indie artist or as a hobby. I feel like the fame and fortune is a big motivator for some, because people who love the music would be more concerned with their personal expression, I think. (But then again, Korea doesn’t have a very individual-centered culture, so maybe not?)

  284. Autonomy, individuality, creativity, freedom, self-expression, healthiness, and all that hippy stuff

    Yep, I value them a lot too.

    EYK, thank you so much for pointing all these out. These issues are basically just there but are not really talked about (or even acted upon) in the open in the creative industry. You guise really don’t do normal very well ;)

  285. I’m a introverted person and there is just NO Freaking way I would ever be a Kpop idol, or anything like that. Like whoah, that must be really tough. But yeah, i guess like you were saying, they figure it would be better than a crappy office job. I hope that Asian cultures in general have better work and school conditions. I don’t know where this idea comes from that you should work yourself to the bone like that..in the culture I suppose.

  286. A lot of people say Kpop is manufacturing idol groups because company mass produce groups and , like you have said, “worked them to the bone”. Not everything is about the glitz and glam.

  287. “And she’s free to come and go as she pleases. If she’s tired, we tell her to go home. She can work from home if she wants. She can come to work in pyjamas if she feels like it. She was feeling a bit sick today, we told her to GTFO and not come back until she feels better. There are no sick days that we count here. She can date whoever she pleases. She can bring friends to work, or leave in the middle of the day to meet her friends for dinner and a drink.” BLESS YOU for being reasonable individuals! Seriously, all the point you said on the video and on the post and how good you are as bosses like *clap clap clap* bless you!

  288. I used to want to be a kpop idol until i see how fun it will be to work with you guys.
    I have a pet unicorn, will you hire me?

  289. No wonder South Korea has about the highest suicide rate in the world… Everyone is under so much pressure, even the youngest students…

  290. 24 hours together is definitely the deal breaker for me. I thought having 6 girls at uni in the dorm rooms is bad enough. I can’t imagine having to work and be around them 24/7.

    The free stuff/money as a kpop idol is probably the only pro

  291. Thats why I don’t consider myself a kpop fan…I don’t want to support those companies greed. ..and knowing that Most of the money goes to make those companies richer while the idols are not even treated like celebrities by their own agencies just like employees. ..
    A question. ..I know jyj s situation is different cause they can’t promote like the rest of the idols. ..but do they have more freedom with cjes like a lot of people think?
    And them suing sm, did that change anything for the better for all the other idols?
    I thought you were gonna mention them in this tl:dr..
    Im a JYJ fan..not a kpop fan..although occasionally I do listen to 1, 2 other bands. .. thanks Martina and Simon

  292. WHY DO YOU DO THIS TO ME!!! Now I really want Donhgo to come work for you guys!!! :DDDD

  293. Lindsey Miller

    I feel like fans should be the advocates for kpop idols rights instead of perpetuating the conditions that they have to abide by.

    • That’s kind of a point we wanted to get at as well, but it would take a loooong time to get into. The more fans support it, the less impetus companies will have to change their practices.

      • LinZi

        But how can fans change it? Fan Union? :)

        • Jessica May Matheson
          Jessica May Matheson

          Petitions, speeches, and international law. In a way, the biggest impact is running to our respective governments. If our voices are strong enough for our governments to start lecturing Korea, they’ll be ashamed to the point they have to change… that’s what I think

        • Fans have to change their demands–how much they want to see there idols, how they want to see them, what they expect them to say and do. But, that means changing how people think about other people in a cultural space. Not easy at all.

        • disqus_BdOLC1pcNm

          Well if a group of ELFs can sit for weeks and protest the addition of a member into SUJU…I think a hunger strike would make national news. But the thing is, a lot of fans SAY they want idols to rest more and to eat more but when that means less air time and less ways to see your idol, there is a hesitation. Korea’s idol industry has bred fans to look for their idols 24/7 both in media and in real life. There is an onslaught of advertisements, mvs, performances not to mention they sometimes film where you are. When you’re in that environment, it’s hard to suddenly disconnect.

        • Luci Georgieva

          The first thing I thought about when Shinee’s Everybody was coming was “God, let them rest already!”. I can’t even imagine how they slept trough this year giving they released six songs (plus Green rain), five albums and had a tour. And now Minho is filming a drama and Key is in a musical. Yeah. . .

          I think this ‘come back’ and ‘promoting’ system is really limiting. It’s like if you have a song you should be constantly advertising it to make as much money as possible. Good, but when this decision is made not my the group itself but by the company and the idols are not even paid enough for their work, it should have the fans at least concerned.

  294. Key from SHINee actually talked about what it’s like living with the other boys and was really frank about it: http://seoulbeats.com/2010/09/shinee-gets-honest-in-gq-interview/
    It’s enlightening and really depressing if you’ve still got the rose colored glasses on and think that all the idols are buddy-buddy with each other in their groups.
    I am under no illusions that the kpop world is a fast-paced, workaholic nightmare of an industry, but I’d still do it. I don’t know why I’d do it, but I’d still do it. Maybe I’m a glutton for punishment or maybe I just want to be able to become an idol, experience what it’s like to work that hard, and say “SUCK IT” to my parents and friends who think kpop is just a joke.

    • In that program where they drive idols around Key also once talked about his relationship with Minho. They fought long. Like really long. (2Years?) But eventually started to like each other. (They even fought after debut or something…)

      • They didn’t fight or hate each other, Key just said they were awkward. But they’re close now.
        Key once said this (later on):

        “Although I also go to Onew-hyung when I have worries about certain subjects, if we’re talking about personal problems, I’d have to say that I go to Minho. Out of the five members in SHINee, I met Minho first so he knows me better than anyone else here. It’s not even as if he gives out good advice, because he doesn’t really give any, but I go to him because he’s the closest thing I have to a best friend. If I am anxious about something personal, I keep it to myself until I see Minho and the words just fly out of my mouth before I even notice. He doesn’t tell me what to do but instead he just hugs me and tells me that he’ll be there if I ever need him. Because of his words, I will always feel a little better after I talk to him.”

    • ZodiArk-x9

      Wow. I hadn’t seen this article before. It’s horrible but really great how candid everyone’s answers were.

    • true, but I want to point out that this interview is 4 years old and there are more recent accounts of him discussing this topic with interestingly different answers (you can look them up if you’re interested, the others talked about it too on different occasions)

    • I LOVE THAT INTERVIEW SO MUCH!!!!!!! It has to be the most insightful and honest interview I’ve ever read or seen concerning SHINee. They all seemed so thoughtful and free and I’m almost shocked that it was released to the public because they all display so much individuality and in some cases (Key in particular) dissatisfaction. Key has always done his best to be himself as much as he can, despite restrictions (IMHO). It has totally made me closely watch their body language and subtle expressions and phrasing ever time I saw them on a new program or stage performance. I love SHINee with all of my heart, but they’re not what you’d call the closest of groups I feel. Maybe they didn’t even WANT to be. Personally, I think keeping your “friend” and “colleague/member” lists separate would be a lot less stressful. I have lived and worked with friends (even best friends) and it almost never turns out well. You have to truly LOVE that person to overcome all of the obstacles that go along with so much shared time and space. So, I think it’s great if they have their own lives apart from the group and it’s not all “one for all and all for one”. That kind of sentiment might be a nice thought and definitely groups start out with that sort of idea of camaraderie (EXO being a prime example in my mind), but in the end they need to think of their options and future after the group has split. We all want our favorite idol groups to end up like Shinhwa (still close and still going strong), but it all depends on the dynamic of the personalities in question and realistically, it’s not likely to happen for most. Sorry, for the rant, lol. This TL;DR was awesome, but definitely evoked some mixed emotions. It makes me think of them as mistreated circus animals :’( They bring so much joy to our lives and it’s a shame that they have to trade so much for fame and the love of fans. If they find it all to be worth it, more power to them, but if they are suffering I hope they take the road that Dongho did.

  295. Autonomy, individuality, creativity, freedom, self-expression, healthiness, and all that hippy stuff

    Yep, I value them a lot too.
    EYK, thank you so much for pointing all these out. These issues are basically just there but are not really talked about (or even acted upon) in the open in the creative industry. You guise really don’t do normal very well ;)

  296. Well, DongHo might like to work with you!!! LOL

  297. I’m sad about Dongho about leaving, but I completely understand and support him, I want him to be happy and healthy and if a normal life will get him that, then that’s what he should do! I don’t know if I would want to be a K-Pop idol, maybe I would but I couldn’t be part of one of the big 3, when you debut under one of those companies the fame is instant and I imagine it’s overwhelming. I would want to work to become a big star, rather than just automatically get it. Plus, they have the most sasaengs (especially SME artists) and they scare me and annoy me. They alienate me into not wanting to be associated with the idol group or call myself a fan which is sad :(

  298. Well…it is kind of hard… but if you think about it after 7 years they might have the money to do whatever they want with their life. Some might not even need to work (like ever again).

    And if they stay low for a few years they’ll get their privacy back…so really hard work for ten years and then the freedom to do whatever.
    Whereas in other careers you won’t ever get that freedom – you’ll have to work for 50 years and you might not get a time when you get to say “screw work. I’m taking a year off for traveling” :(

    • Cyber_3

      I dunno, I think the whole idea that you can “work as a kpop idol for 7 years and then be set for life” is a bit of a smokescreen. While the entertainment companies may take in large amount of money, idols end up paying (taken out of their cheques) for a lot of things they need for their job without any choice or any bargaining ability or control over like: housing, food, travel, clothing, make-up/hair, kickbacks, promotion, etc. This can all really add up and I wouldn’t put it past an entertainment company to make these things cost more so that you can keep the idol “on the hook” so to speak. Are there any idols that you know of that are leading the easy life after being an idol? What happens to idols when they are “done”? I’m not saying life as a Korean salaryman is better, but it’s not like you can go and get a regular job after being an idol…..if you even finished school or have any credentials….

      • What you say it’s also true
        I was thinking about the ones like JYJ, TVXQ, SNSD, Suzy and others that did great.
        They are not even 30 and have houses, side businesses (usually restaurants)
        Of course it is a risk – you might not do great as a kpop idol, but it’s like a lottery. After they finish with the whole idol thing they can work backstage – if they have what it takes, because they would certainly know how the industry works.
        But what other regular job allows them to do that by 30?

    • That’s under the assumption that idols get paid well, and that they’ll walk away with a reasonable amount of money after 7 years…

    • thisisjustforfunval

      Most idols sadly don’t get paid as well as we would all like to think they do. Hence all the over working that they do. They make more money doing shows and endorsements than they do from their music. When it comes to the music side the company gets first dibs to make back the money they put into recording, writing, feeding, house, training, promotions, etc. Then depending how large the band is then it must be split between all the members. Some contracts are equal some are not (this applies to all musicians everywhere, except western artist make their money on tours or if they are the writers of their own music.) That said, this is why I always push for legal purchasing of music. They many only get 5¢ from it, but damn it they worked hard for that 5¢, they deserve it.

      The idols who tend to be more popular, tend to be the ones who make the most money. The more they are called to do variety, advertisements, dramas or movies. The price for it though is their health. This was the case with Dongho. At one point he was filming a movie, a drama, doing variety, promoting in Korea and then preparing for Japan promotions. In Asia he is(was) the most popular member of U-KISS and NH Media really worked him to the bone.

      In the end not all artists end up with a bank account full of money to retire at 30 with. If you notice many first generation idols are still out there doing shows and working in the industry. Some will enjoy that life, but the majority sadly won’t, no matter how much we all wish they would.

      • I recall someone from Super Junior (I think it was Eunhyuk) telling Yunho and Changmin that he envied them because they only had to split their money two ways, where SJ has a lot of members to divide it between. Woah those ginormous groups totally get screwed in that respect (I’m lookin’ at you too EXO)…

  299. Bianca Peccioli Nonaka
    Bianca Peccioli Nonaka

    Brazilian pirates??? There are actual brazilians watching this, such as myself … and I’ve got one thing to say FUNNYYYYYYYYYYYYYY …

    • Tell us more about your pirates!

      • Bianca Peccioli Nonaka
        Bianca Peccioli Nonaka

        Brazilian pirates are huge fans of eyk for starters. The problem is the double eyepatch … Lots of problems walking with those. Well, now on a more serious note … I’ve been telling many of my teacher friends about you guys (Yes, guilty … English Teacher here). Even students have been watching as well. Super excited you guys replied to my post!!! Whenever you have a chance, come to Brazil, I’ll be more than happy to have you guys here. I live in Florianópolis and it is beautiful here!!!! Take care … brazilian nasty buh bye!!!!

        • YES COME TO BRAZIL!!! I would totally attend whatever event you guise might participate in here! We, Brazilian pirates, are very intense fans and will be ready to still your hearts <3 (most artists say that after coming here; not the pirate thing, the intense thing; like, good intense; I hope)

        • Bianca Peccioli Nonaka
          Bianca Peccioli Nonaka

          How cool … Where are you from Luiza? Are you also an English teacher? Very cool to know more people are watching!!!

        • I’m from the Midwest (yeah, kinda far away from everything… :P). I’m not an English teacher (although I think of teaching English someday in the future!). For now I’m a Social Communication student ^^

        • Denise

          Since the US Nasties have their hashtag, we should have one of our own: #NastyBrazilianPirates

    • Lol!! #NastyBrazilianPirates community! Love it…

  300. I think it takes a certain person to really commit to the entertainment industry. Be it kpop or Hollywood. I have worked in Hollywood and see a lot of similarities. Not as harsh as Korea, but a lot.

    Hollywood feeds their people though. My friend worked a few weeks for less than $100 a day on a TV show. They fed him, though. Fed him decently. No chips.

  301. /sings VIXX’s “I Don’t Want To Be An Idol” in corner.

    I feel bad for these guys. I mean I am coping with 5 unhealthy problems but these guys cope with way more. (Luckily my bias group has NOT a dating ban, but they have some unhealthy schedules and 4 comebacks in one year after their debut.)

  302. KATHyphenTUN

    Well I can’t watch the video yet cause I’m in class with no headphones T.T
    But YAY I’m back on this site after a long stretch of midterms /hugz all the nasties.

    I agree with you completely that the lifestyle chosen is insane! and I am personally very happy Dongho is doing as he pleases! I understand that it can be very hard for fans to loose a member (or bias) from a group!
    Shortly, before this my bias left my favorite jpop band and it was very hard (I commenced bawling for hours), but you need to understand that it is their life and as a true fan you can only support their choices! Keep strong and look forward to the new doorway that has opened up!! ^.^

  303. Shelley Beh

    wow I was totally thinking about this topic the other day. I totally agree with you. Idols are worked like slaves, especially in the bigger companies. I wonder if that’s why a lot of people who want to be idols are beginning to choose smaller businesses?
    It’s just really sad because they’re malnutrition and over-exhausted to the point where they do drugs because it’s the only way to keep them smiling on camera and staying awake. I’m not saying that, that’s a valid reason to do it (because I am against both smoking and drugs) but I sympathize for them. It’s just so sad.. they enter the entertainment with the goal of dreaming to dance and sing but by the time they achieve it or spend the many many years doing so, it’s too late to back out. Plus contract issues etc etc.

    • Shelley Beh

      oh and to your question of whether I want to be a kpop idol. Not anymore, yes I would like to perform but maybe not in kpop? I just wouldn’t want to put myself in that situation where I’m not happy. Doesn’t make sense, you only have however many years to live, use it doing the things you love. When I was in my early teens I really wanted to be a kpop idol, I was even considering flying to korea to audition. I was naive to think that all I would do is enjoy dancing and singing. thank goodness I never did :/

  304. With all that being said… I suddenly want to work for you guys… Hehehehehe

  305. Is it just me or do you hear something in the background while Simon and Martina are talking? Like a music but it is hurting my head a bit…Anyhow, totally feel bad for those K-Pop singers. Here in the US we hear about ppl complaining about stars requesting high end things while they are working~

  306. Macie Tonn

    Great topic covered!!! As everyone has said, Good for Dongho (he should be a pirate..) Simon and Martina, with all this said, what is some advice you would want to give to K-pop idols?? And are you guys getting enough sleep? #nastylovin

  307. I have nothing to say than to agree with you. I became interested in k-pop because it was different from what I heard, but little by little the glitz and that glamour have been replaced by anxiety, sadness and strangeness of this industry. At the moment I’m getting tired of this all and really wish there were more companies (either entertainment or education) like yours.

    • tatiana lopes

      Same for me. When I got into it, I was so overwhelmed but all the pretty guys, and great songs and all that. But when I realized what was really behind all that I got chocked. It’s so messed up in my head. It’s like they’re not making kpop groups, they’re making a product for us to enjoy. I mean, they can’t say whatever they want, they have to act perfect and cute all the tiime. Fuck that. I want to really know what they’re thinking about it. [That's why I love following Tiger JK in twitter, man when he goes on rants about the industry, it is the best.]
      I really don’t know if it’s worth it really. Because even if you’re rich you can’t do anything without it being scrutinized by the media.

      • Yeah, everything is beautiful if you see things in superficial perspective, because the more you get to know this industry the more you understand why most parents of idols were against their children choose this career. For the industry and, more generally, for any work and place in the world, what worth is the money you generate with your work and not your life. No matter if you are hungry, tired, sleepy or sick, the important thing is the money you’re giving to me.

        • tatiana lopes
          tatiana lopes

          It’s a shame everything is run by money. Especially in the music industry, where you are supposed to do the music you want, and they can’t even do that. Most of them don’t get their songs out, and I bet sometimes they don’t even like the songs they’re given.
          I remember now a drama that talked a little bit about the “idol industry” and it’s Shut Up Flower Boy Band. But they just tipped toe the subject a little bit. But I’d like to see this talked about more in korea.
          I guess that’s why so many people there don’t really listen to kpop.

  308. Your tattoo is looking really nice Martina ^_^

  309. I agree SO much. My friend and I actually talk about this a lot and how much it bothers us to see how all the K-Pop fans around us (in Switzerland) are being ignorant and only see the bling-bling. South Korea REALLY should loosen up a little in general. The country has done miraculous work by getting the economy to what it is today. Now they’re in a position to maybe also ENJOY what they’ve worked so hard for. Me and my friend (who both LOVE South Korea) have even gone so far as to say that if we, hypothetically speaking, married a South Korean man and had children with him, we would make sure beforehand that we would NEVER have to send our kids to school there. Oh well…

    • I completely agree with you. I love Korea, and I’m even studying there right now and would like to work here in the future. If I ever decide to have children, though, I will never let them go to school here. The US education system may not be perfect, but I never want to see them studying nonstop.

      • I’m glad to see that you agree with me. I can honestly say that the schooling system in Switzerland is absolutely excellent. I’m very proud of it and I sometimes, maybe also arrogantly, hope that other countries would take it as an example. Especially South Korea, who’s WAY too tough on their kids :(… Btw, good luck with your studies :D!

        • Personally I’d go for Finland, I’ve heard amazing things about it! But there are a lot of places ( mostly in Europe ) that are better than the U.S.. Hell, we don’t even learn the same things from one part of the country to another. For real.

        • Fabienne Burri

          I completely agree with you on that! Finland gets just as many things right as Switzerland does, I even have to be honest and say that the Finnish government and political parties do a far better, smarter and more efficient job. I like the current Swiss government, but the political parties are just…-.-… But anyway: I’m sure the U.S. gets a lot right, too! If all else fails, at least it brought out Simon and Martina ;D!

        • I don’t know anything about politics really, but the education system seems to be amazing. The U.S. does get a few things right when it comes to education, but there’s a lot more that’s bad than good. Mathematics is a big failure, teaching other languages ( hell, even English ) is not efficient or encouraged, in some places far too much emphasis on sports, and our textbooks’ content is determined by a few guys in Texas ( religiously biased and very conservative, not conducive to a good education ). There are even some places where they cut funding from math/science and totally cut out art and music to pour more money into sports. It’s really depressing.
          When I lived in the South briefly ( Louisiana. I live in Oregon ), I heard an English teacher with 20 years of experience use words incorrectly. She had no excuse, and she insisted that it was correct when I gently brought it up. “Whenever I was in highschool, I went on a trip to..” is wrong, and she used it constantly. The right word to use is “when”, since it’s a definite and known time. It bothers me even now, 5 years later.

          Psst, they’re Canadian! Leigh is from Texas though!

  310. I get that companies want more money and thats how they survive, but don’t they worry about their workers? Like actually care about them? They have to take care of their idols because they are the ones giving them the money.

  311. In the pursuits to want to achieve fame, popularity, or wealth as the high esteems of life- we must not forget that the grass is not always greener on the other side. Dongho wanting to leave is a testament for us fans to appreciate what music artists do and that when you put choreography, microphones, style, and swag aside…these people are normal human beings who just want to be respected above all else.

  312. I totally agree with you, I am happy he left. He shouldn’t kill himself working so hard, even though I will miss seeing him in the group, i don’t want him jeopardize his health. At-least he wasn’t kicked out like Alexander or Kibum (btw i read Kibum considered suicide after he left the group, poor Kibum!)

  313. I totally understand why Dongho left, and I’m kind of happy and proud of him for doing it, especially since he’s been getting sick/hurt a lot lately. But yeah, I agree with you. I would never want to be a kpop idol >.<

    • It’s kinda sad about the crazy stalkers. It’s almost like someone has to get super badly hurt/almost/die for anything to happen. It’s what the US went through..people had to start getting killed by their stalkers before the gov. stepped in and actually made laws about it. And it sucks that the majority of them are young girls who only get a slap on the wrist. Go after their parents. Fine the hell out of them. I bet that would help a little. Blah. :-(

    • thisisjustforfunval

      It really worries me that it will take something sadly drastic to happen before the government takes the stalking issue seriously. As if stalking, breaking into homes, hacking, knowing personal SS idea numbers, hitting them etc, etc, isn’t drastic enough. :(

      • I’m just afraid it’s going to take someone’s death to make them do something. And not a newbie either, but someone well-known and popular. It nearly happened with Yunho of DB5K, if I remember right. He was in the hospital because some chick put glue in a drink. He could have easily died.

        • thisisjustforfunval

          Yup an anti-fan but I believe super glue in a drink. Now he is terrified to accept drinks/food from fans. Don’t blame him one bit. And you know what he still had to perform when he was sick. o_O

          I didn’t want to just straight come out and say death, but it’s what I’ve thought before. Knowing what some saesangs have done honestly makes me very concerned for the well being of these guys. Especially the groups that have hordes of saesangs after them.

        • Yeah. That was probably the worst part about the whole thing. ><

        • Honestly? In this industry they’d take a death and press a platinum-remembrance album out of it and still make profit…

    • For your “no one trying to stop sasaengs” bit,

      I read somewhere that a majority of sasaengs are underage/minors so when they commit these acts that are completely horrible, all they get is a slap on the wrist and a “Don’t do it again” warning.

      From this and other stuff that I’ve read (mostly on Seoulbeats to get other people’s opinion), I’ve made a couple of assumptions as to why.

      I think we all can agree that getting idols into car accidents, hurting them in any way, and accessing things that should be private (even to your closest friend) are completely horrid. The drawback is that since most of these acts are performed by minors, I assume that Korean law (or the personification of Korean law) is hesitant to stop any of these because maybe it doesn’t want to recognize that these CHILDREN (all caps for emphasis) are doing any of these horrendous and seriously terrifying deeds. Maybe.

      I also read that Koreans are a bit hesitant to converse about the existence of anything not “normal.” May it be from mother to child, father to child, family member to family member, between coworkers, employers, etc. As spectators of different cultures and different situations arising from the movement of time, we can say that what sasaengs are doing are wrong and we will not be wary to say that these actions are wrong. We may be hesitant about wrongdoings done by children, but in the end, we will say that a wrong deed is a wrong deed and measures should be taken to stop it.

      What I want to talk about next is something I haven’t seen yet on comment sections in articles pertaining to sasaengs: the option that maybe sasaeng fans have some sort of psychosis?

      We all do wrongdoings and are reprimanded for them, but has anyone considered that there may be psychological problems going on with these girls? Maybe I’m just watching too much Criminal Minds. But in psychology, we learned that there are multiple types of love and multiple theories of it. What if these sasaengs just have some weird perception of love that they assume is correct, but yet is deemed incorrect by society due to the fact that their “love” equates to another person being hurt? No one seems to throw that idea out there. But then again, I’ll say I know nothing.

      Now, these are all my assumptions and really shouldn’t be taken to heart or be treated as serious facts. It’s just something to throw into discussion. These are actually thoughts I’ve been having since I started seeing more accounts of sasaeng activity.

      Anyways, sorry for making this SUPER SUPER LONG. I had a lot that I wanted to say…

      • I agree with you on most of the things you said. But nothing justifies bodily harm to another human being, not even if you call it a twisted kind of love. I have to agree with you that sasaengs need help and that the government needs to do something about them. But what irks me the most is really the fact that it’s become so stupidly easy nowadays to label any sort of irrational and even vicious behavior with some kind of psychological disorder. Which in turn means that these people are going to be dealt with by psychologists with satiny gloves on. It’s exceedingly difficult to find a “proper way” of dealing with such delusional people. There are days where I want to help them, and then there are days where I just want to give them a good and proper beating for their arrogance, stupidity and presumptuousness. In short: It’s difficult for me to uphold compassion when it comes to sasaengs, even though I should. So I’m definitely not the right person to make an objective statement. I still wanted to answer you because you’ve put a lot of thought into your post :).

        • Thanks so much for your comment! I love feedback!

          I agree with everything you said! Nothing does justify bodily harm, but yet they still are not stopped. They should be. Someone just needs to recognize it, which seems highly doubtful due to bodily harm and intent of bodily harm being done from sasaengs and antifans.

          It, of course, irks me as well when someone gets labeled with mental illness so easily and I didn’t mean to lump all of the sasaengs like that but maybe some of them are. It could be very mild. It could not be anything at all. The question I wanted to pose after your response is: Is someone noticing ANYTHING? Do these parents know what their children are doing? Even less, are they comfortable with their children staying out all night? (Okay, that was more than one question.)

          I also agree with the way mental illness is being treated so easily by prescribing medication. In all honesty, the medical profession seems to want to do “quick fixes” for most problems, but that’s a different discussion for a different topic. But yeah, I want to repeat that discussion should really go on with sasaengs, their parents, and officials about their behavior. That would be my Step 1 in a grand master plan to decrease the number of sasaengs.

          And yes, our emotions sometimes do get the best of us because even I want to punch a sasaeng in the face because really, you DO NOT crash a wedding just to take a picture of guest. *sigh* Maybe instead of compassion, we should really think logical? It’s similar to the way that governments or police officers deal with their own cases. Think of the problem objectively and find a way to fix that problem objectively.

          But now that I think about, maybe the Step 1 to the grand master plan of the “Sasaeng Problem” should be, ACTUALLY NOTICING THAT A PROBLEM EXISTS! (wink wink nudge nudge Korea.)

        • I agree with everything BUT the mental disorder thing. I think the real problem is not that it gets labled as a mental disorder, but rather people don’t understand mental disorders at all nor how to deal with them. Take psycho/sociopaths for example. Not all of them turn into murderers or serial killers, but obviously some do. How are you supposed to deal with a human being who flat out does not understand nor can they care about others? At first it seems like the person is just selfish, but recent evidence is suggesting that something is actually wrong with their brains, the empathetic part doesn’t connect or speak to the social, there is no connection. So, you can never get them to try to care about others by asking “Well how does that make you feel if you were in their position?” because they can answer, they can get that it would suck or be horrible if it was happening to them, but the connection still doesn’t reach. Not unless you can actually fix what’s wrong in the neuron connections and synapses in their brains can you fix them, and we simply don’t know how to do that yet, not to mention the implication that this person would be gone, it creates different personality to lose or gain empathy or different types of social interaction bridges, if you’ll excuse the description. Same thing with delusional people. They are mentally sick, but mentally sick shouldn’t mean kid gloves. it’s should be hard hitting physical understanding of what is wrong with their brains, how it started and how to fix it. Psychology is the best we have and a lot of it is guess work. Not until neurology really understands and can fully map out the brain will we have actual fixes to mis-wiring and mis-connections in the brain. A lot of mental issues amount to for all intensive purposes technical glitches, either caused by childhood abuse (negligence, improper nutrition, sexual/physical abuse etc) however, each technical glitch causes a variety of issues, some not so detrimental, others incredibly damaging, yet it still comes down to something stupid going on in the brain and sadly, a lot of how society views things encourages these glitches to happen or at the very least be more prominent. Some are even valued which is a whole issue it itself.
          Sorry for the rant, I’m just as frustrated as you when it comes to this and we need a good overhaul to our mental health systems around the world. No longer should it be a stigma, it should be treated just as much as any other sickness, such as a cold, flu or something, depending on severity, especially in light of many mental illnesses actually finding fixes, not cover-up’s with medications that make the symptoms less noticeable.

          TL;DR It is mental issues, as far as I can see when it comes to any form of behavior that damages themselves or others, HOWEVER psychology has only been able to go so far with out the factual understanding of neurology. And like you said, they just put on the satiny gloves and ask “So how does that make you feel?” instead of finding out what’s wrong with the wiring in their brain and if it can be fixed. This would take out the retarded social stigma of mental health and the kid gloves slacking overly babying approach many psychologists take (not all though). It’s difficult because we don’t have good mental health care, we either slap them with drugs or put them in insane asylums.

          Also just a note on the different types of love, that ownership love exists in abusive relationships. Even psychopaths and narcissists can have a similar twisted love. They don’t see people, they see things that they own and honestly, psycho-fans do a lot of the same thing. Now, whether some are actual psychopaths or not or if they’re just deluded into behaving in a similar way, that would have to be diagnosed I think.

      • I think another problem is that the companies themselves are unwilling to press charges or push for legislation (which they have powerful influence over). If the source of cash is from fans and you spend crazy amounts of time pushing your idol to those fans (ie the hectics schedules), a little thing like a crazy stalker is not enough to get upset and try to disturb the flow of cash. In the States, artists can get restraining orders. In Korea, idols spend 99% of their time pushing their faces to the public – you see them everywhere from adverts to mvs to performances to shows. Korea is small and competitive so there is a lot of pressure to stay on top which means you have to be very public and encourage fans to develop a personal relationship with you and think they can marry you (ie the no dating rule). The US doesn’t tolerate sasaengs but Korea encourages them. People might hate those stalkers but at the same time, there is an attitude like “it’s just the way it is”. No one thinks to blame the companies. When that one girl from BOF commited suicide and left an incriminating letter about the industry and named names, no one got to see it and no investigation went through. If the entertainment industry wields that much power, they are LYING when they say they can do jack squat about sasaengs. Truth is, they don’t care if an idol has to be occasionally poisoned if it means the cash flow stays good.

      • They honestly need some sort of juvie so they can get these kids some help and consequence for their actions. It’s also not only girls just a lot more girls then boys.

        • Agree. Don’t know if this will actually hapoen but let’s hope it does. People need to start being responsible for their actions.

      • Rather than a twisted sense of love, I (personally) think that it’s an addiction that sasaengs are feeding themselves with. Like, as fans, to a degree we are kinda addicted to what our idols do. The music, the music videos, the news etc. But with sasaengs, I think they take it up a notch because they can. You can kinda compare the situations to alcoholics, or porn-addicts, or hardcore drug addicts. It might’ve started as a hobby, or an escape from your life, but then you start to crave more and if it’s within easy accessibility and you THINK at the time, it won’t hurt anyone else, it’ll start going out of control.

        Anyways, regardless of whether it’s psychosis, or addiction or hey, maybe plain stupidity and selfishness, law enforcement is not the only solution for this either… A combination of law enforcement, medical treatment/education and just education is needed, especially if the majority of these sasaeng stalkers are minors. Adult sasaengs are most likely minor sasaengs that never got out of their hobby…

        Man, this sh!t cray ; n;
        Singers and actors shouldn’t beg through social media and their company’s media outlet for privacy.

        • Very interesting viewpoint. I agree with your statements. The only thing that makes this whole situation is the lack of attention this gets. Be it the lack of recognition from entertainment companies, lack of action from government, and etc, the first thing that we should do is to educate.

          It could be a mental illness, it could be addiction (which can be treated as a mental illness depending of the severity of addiction), or something else we’re not thinking of.

          I agree with your statements that sasaengs are the product of extreme addiction. Can’t an obsessive want to own or an obsessive want to be loved be counted as addiction as well? The companies really do not make the situation better as well. Like a person has stated before me, entertainment companies seem to lack the ability to recognize that their assets (their idols) are being damaged because all they want is the profit gained from working these people to the ground. They package their idols into a nice, shiny box that’s easily consumed (which brings in an ease of addiction – to add your opinion in the industrial mix) and also present these boxes with rehearsed lines of “Oppa/Unnie will always love you forever”.

          We could start a blame game in which it is the entertainment company’s fault for the uprising of really scary sasaengs (from stalking you everywhere you go to being able to enter your home – which is breaking and entering because they were not allowed or invited inside). But let’s not start a blame game. It can also be because sasaengs are inable to really stop themselves from consuming more and more.

          Thank your for your insight! I really liked reading it!

      • i do suppose eventually there is a point at which these fans can actually be mature enough to just stop…. but maybe i am hoping for much

    • cuz most of the police just go: “they’re only showing their lurrrve for youuu”
      and just let the sasaeng off with a mere warning =_=

    • Because unfortunately the saesangs spend a lot of money on the artists. Companies know that and kinda feed the saesangs fantasies to keep them happy and make more money. That’s the major reason companies wont do anything about the saesangs. Its probably gonna take a death for companies to take action.

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