If you have started listening to Kpop recently, you might have already noticed the huge differences between Korean Pop culture and American one, and it’s because the music industry in South Korea is completely different from what we are use to.
Korean people take pop culture to a whole new level, their lives are pretty much dedicated (in the most part) to support their idols. Attending to concerts, to fan signs, getting their merch… Everything.
So, if you are new to this Kpop world, here’s a pretty simple guide on everything you need to know about Korean Pop Culture: The idols, the labels, the fans, how they interact with each other… Everything!
Idols in Korean Pop Culture
Let’s start off with the basic: Idols. You might have heard this word a lot if you are into Kpop, and for a good reason. An Idol is someone who has been signed by a music company or agency. Basically, every singer in every Kpop band is an idol.
Now, before they become an idol, they are usually trainees. Unlike in America or Europe, in South Korea most idols have to go through a very hard process to become idols.
How the training process begins:
Every year, these huge talents and music agencies hold auditions to search for the next big idols. These auditions are HUGE in Korean culture and every time, hundreds of young people audition with the hopes of becoming a trainee.
Once they do, they begin to work to become an Idol. Their training usually involves vocal and dance classes, and they can last months up to whole years.
Becoming an idol:
When they get through the training face, they finally become an idol, which usually means they debut as a part of a Korean band (Like BTS, BLACKPINK, Twice, Seventeen…) And then their actual career takes off!
Fanbases in Korean Culture
Obviously, fans are also a huge part of the Korean pop culture. If it wasn’t for them, these girl groups and boy bands wouldn’t be even half as famous as they are now!
However, since Korean pop culture is so different from American one, being a fan in South Korea is slightly different from being a fan in America or even Europe.
First, they all have a name that defines them. If you’re a fan of BTS you’re an Army, if you’re a fan of Twice you’re a Once, and so on and on. Not only that, but Korean fans are extremely dedicated: They work hard to get their special merch, go to fan signing events and more.
Second, unlike in America, in Korean Culture it is considered disrespectful if you take interrupt and Idol’s space to ask for a picture. South Korean fans are EXTREMELY respectful and protective of their Idols, and know how to keep boundaries and respect their personal space.
Korean pop culture is completely different from we are used to, and it takes time to get to know it, however, it is completely worth it once you start to understand and being part of this world.