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The Norms and Crazy in the world of K-pop Fandom's
When people think of K-pop they think of the beautiful facade of companies, idols, music, and style. What people fail to realize at first, is that this world goes beyond the niceties of the groups and what they stand for. Beyond that line are the fans, and though some fans are like any other; giving their support to their favorite idols, there are millions more that take things a bit far, in the world of fandoms.
What are fandoms?
Fandoms are in essence the development of a subculture derived from the world of entertainment. Fandoms can be created for musical acts, artists, and even works of fiction. Many recognizable fandoms are Trekkies (Star Trek Fans), Whovians (US Dr. Who fans), Potterheads(Harry Potter fans) and so many others.
In the realm of K-pop there is no universal K-pop fandom name. However, with each musical group comes a new fan club and hoard of fans ranging from normal everyday people to those who are known as Sasaeng fans.
Sasaeng Fans and JYJ
Most people that are reading this are deemed normal fans. You buy your favorite artists music, posters and maybe even save up to go to a show once in a while. Then there are those who go beyond that. These fans were known for living in Korea and Japan, but with the spread of K-pop to a world wide audience these fans can be found closer than you may think.
So what is a SasaengFan? These people are commonly referred to as "crazy" or "Stalker fans". These fans work two, three, and sometimes more part time jobs, in order to spend their money on their "Stalkerish activities." Many sasaeng fans in South Korea are young, and skip or even drop out of school in order to participate in their stalking of an idol or idol group.
They save up money so that they can spend it on hiring Taxi drivers for each day of the week to follow their favorite stars from them leaving their house, to their daily activities. They wait outside salons, practice rooms and entertainment agencies to be able to get a glimpse, a touch, or even a photo with their favorite stars. These activities may sound like something a fan that really loves the stars they watch preform on stage, or fans that just simply want to meet their favorite star once would do. However these behaviors go beyond that.
They participate with other people who have the same feeling towards an artist and create clubs or mini sasaeng Fandoms. They attempt to learn everything about the artist for whom they desire. Many times they hire private detectives to watch their favorite artist and get photos of them doing anything from taking out the trash to brushing their teeth.These fans develop a sense of camaraderie and competition with each other. One fan will stalk a certain place and if something is found they send out a mass alert to their co conspirators and then a hoard of fans can be seen gathering at a suspected location of an idol. On their personal blogs they try to out do each other by getting pictures with their favorite idol or pictures never seen of them. These fans become obsessed with the idols, and their worship can turn to delusion rather quickly.
Many Saseng fans participate in the writing of "Fan Fiction". This type of writing is done by many all over the world. Often to convey how they feel a particular show episode or novel should have been written or structured. Sasaeng fans however, fill their writing with the idea that they have a relationship with their idol romantically and it will lead to marriage. These fans actually believe that their writing is reality and thus they become delusional. Their actions toward the idol or more notable the idols friends, acquaintances, or their significant other may turn violent.
If an Idol member goes out with a member of the opposite sex just to eat as friends Saseng fans go crazy. They will send death threats to the person who ate with their idol. They will stalk the person and go to great lengths to physically damage the person who has taken their "oppa" or "noona" (These terms of endearment are Korean words used to define a relationship of closeness between two people of the opposite sex. The first being male and the latter being female). These fans will also go to great lengths to be remembered by their idol. Some will slap, kick, or even spit in the face of the idol they are obsessed with.
These behaviors all represent deeper issues, within the "fans" themselves that should be addressed by a professional. With that said can these people even be considered fans, when their goals seem to be to destroy idols personal and professional relationships, humiliate them, and dehumanizeand them.
Are Sasaeng Fans Real Fans?
Joining Fan Clubs
Officially joining can take some time, effort and money. While many people who are fans of a group may call them self by the name of the fan club of the artist they like, sometimes joining officially may be more than just being called by a specific name or being put in a specific category.
For some fan clubs there is a lottery system. You submit your name and application, and a fan club fee, your name is converted into a number and with a bit of praying and a good bit of luck your number may be selected to be in the official fan club.
If you don't live in Korea you may have a local member of an official fan club in your area, or you may have to look online for someone. These fan clubs often offer, free entry and only collect small fee's in order to get the member items, such as personalized balloons, clothing, or light sticks.
The most common way of Joining a fandom at least for most fans, is to dub yourself with the title of a fan club and support your artist by buying their music, posters, and spreading the news about them. Also this can mean going to bat for them if they are involved in a scandal, or rumor.
Are you in a fanclub? Leave wich one your in in the comments!
Fan Club Names, Colors, and Fan Donation
Since the boom of K-pop focused on idol groups within South Korea it's self began in the mid 90's, fan clubs have exploded. Many group's names have significant meaning, and describe who they are as a group. The same can be said for the names of the fan clubs. The names of fan clubs work in tandem with the group they are associated with. While some groups name their fan clubs, some put it to a vote, and sometimes the fans come up with something creative that sticks, Some fan clubs have different names for home fans and international fans. There are official fan club names recognized by the idol groups and their companies , and there are unofficial group names for rookies groups, and some groups that have never taken on fan club names. Some examples of fan clubs names are; E.L.F or Everlasting Friends (Super Junior), Wonderful (Wonder Girls), V.I.P (Big Bang). These are just of few of the many that are out there.
Colors often represent not only the group or artist but the mass of support from their fans. When an artist performs on stage and looks out onto the crowd there are rivers of balloons with their colors, or fan sticks glowing in their group color. This is one of the best ways for fans to show their support for their artists. Besides balloons, and glow sticks, some groups use bandana's or flags which are reusable. Because of the limited colors on the color wheel many groups are represented with shades of a color, and their logo or name is printed on the balloons, and flags so people know who they are for.
In Recent years fandoms have been doing something that is commendable. Donations of rice have been given to artists for performances, Music Video shoots, photo shoots, commercials, and acting ventures. These donations way in at tons of rice. The rice is then donated in the name of the idol or group's name. The rice has taken place of the traditional flower wreaths that were once sent.
Can you be in more than one fan club from the same agency? Leave the name of your fan club in the comments.
Can you be in more then one fan club if their from different agencies? Leave your fan club name in the comments.
From the normal fans to the crazy ones, is this world big enough for the both of them and is even big enough for the fandom rivalries? What do you think of the Sasaeng fans? Do you think they are fans or not and why? Do you think you are a Sasaeng or are you a normal fan?
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