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Dongho Quit Kpop

November 7, 2013

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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

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Dongho Quit Kpop

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  1. 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

    2 years ago
  2. 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

    2 years ago
  3. 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.

    2 years ago
  4. 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.

    2 years ago
  5. 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.

    2 years ago
  6. 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.

    2 years ago
  7. “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!

    2 years ago
    • 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.

      2 years ago
      • EXACTLY!! lol shunning them from the community needs to be done. If we need to bully them for bullying others that’s what we need to do!

        2 years ago
  8. 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.

    2 years ago
    • 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.

      2 years ago
  9. 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.

    2 years ago
  10. 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?)

    2 years ago
  11. 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 ;)

    2 years ago
  12. 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.

    2 years ago
  13. 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.

    2 years ago
  14. “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!

    2 years ago
    • Man I wish my company was run like this. TT

      2 years ago
    • I don’t even think of us as bosses. We collaborate with Soo Zee. She doesn’t work for us, but with us. It’s a big difference in our minds.

      2 years ago
      • Mav

        Can you hire me?
        You don’t need training IR grad students, journalist/historians?
        No, well its okay. Thought I should at least ask. meh

        2 years ago
      • There are a lot of people who would take advantage of that kind of work environment and abuse it. Soo Zee (and Leigh!) must have a very good work ethic!

        2 years ago
      • And you keep suprising me! There should be more people like you in this world!

        2 years ago
  15. 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?

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

    2 years ago
  17. 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

    2 years ago
  18. 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

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

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

    2 years ago
    • 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.

      2 years ago
      • But how can fans change it? Fan Union? :)

        2 years ago
        • 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.

          2 years ago
        • 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.

          2 years ago
        • 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.

          2 years ago
        • 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

          2 years ago
  21. 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.

    2 years ago
    • 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.

      2 years ago
    • 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)

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

      2 years ago
    • 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…)

      2 years ago
      • 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.”

        2 years ago
  22. 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 ;)

    2 years ago
  23. Well, DongHo might like to work with you!!! LOL

    2 years ago
  24. 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 :(

    2 years ago
  25. DEA

    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” :(

    2 years ago
    • 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.

      2 years ago
      • 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)…

        2 years ago
    • 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…

      2 years ago
    • 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….

      2 years ago
      • DEA

        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?

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

    2 years ago
    • Lol!! #NastyBrazilianPirates community! Love it…

      2 years ago
    • Tell us more about your pirates!

      2 years ago
      • 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!!!!

        2 years ago
        • 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)

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

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

          2 years ago
        • 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 ^^

          2 years ago
  27. 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.

    2 years ago
  28. /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.)

    2 years ago
  29. 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!! ^.^

    2 years ago
  30. 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.

    2 years ago
    • 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 :/

      2 years ago
  31. With all that being said… I suddenly want to work for you guys… Hehehehehe

    2 years ago
  32. 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~

    2 years ago
  33. 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

    2 years ago
  34. 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.

    2 years ago
    • 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.

      2 years ago
      • 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.

        2 years ago
        • 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.

          2 years ago
  35. Your tattoo is looking really nice Martina ^_^

    2 years ago
  36. 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…

    2 years ago
    • 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.

      2 years ago
      • 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!

        2 years ago
        • 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.

          2 years ago
        • 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!

          2 years ago
        • 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!

          2 years ago
  37. 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.

    2 years ago
  38. 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.

    2 years ago
  39. 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!)

    2 years ago
  40. 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 >.<

    2 years ago
    • 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.

      2 years ago
    • 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 =_=

      2 years ago
    • 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…

      2 years ago
      • 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

        2 years ago
      • 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.

        2 years ago
        • 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!

          2 years ago
      • 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.

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

          2 years ago
      • 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.

        2 years ago
      • 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 :).

        2 years ago
        • 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.

          2 years ago
        • 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.)

          2 years ago
    • 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. :(

      2 years ago
      • 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.

        2 years ago
        • 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.

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

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

          2 years ago
    • 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. :-(

      2 years ago