Memories of a First Generation American Kpop Fan

hot highfive of teenagers kpop

Well, I was a deprived First Generation American Kpop fan. I’m sure there were others out there who were able to read Korean, or lucky enough to find the original Soompi, (which supposedly came out in 1998. I never found it, unless it was one of those sites that sorely lacked the info I was after at the time, lol), but my 2001 fan days were full of struggles.

(Something important to note: I didn’t even know of the term “Kpop” until about 2010. To me, it was just “Korean music.”)

Imagine being a Kpop fan with no video sites, no communities like tumblr, and no news/info sites.
Imagine knowing of no other English-speaking Kpop fan anywhere besides the random fan site you run into once in awhile.
Here, I’ll tell you about my experiences….

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Artist of the Week: S#arp

Here is the Artist of the Week! Posted on Wednesdays as something to get you through the rest of the week~

This week’s artist is…

S#arp

This is an old-school band I grew to love. They were very popular in the 90′s and early 2000′s… I’ve heard one of their songs was featured on Dance Dance Revolution 3rd Mix too, but I’m not certain since I haven’t played it.

There have been a few member changes, but most remember it as a 4 person group – 2 guys, 2 girls. Well, there was a 5th member named Young John Kim, but after the first album, he left the group… and then Sori (Jeon Jin Young), the 6th member, left to study music in college after the 2nd album. (Some sources say that Chris was added after John Kim left).

Unfortunately, they disbanded suddenly in 2002; shocking many fans. Why did S#arp break up? Well, it is said to have happened because the girls couldn’t get along and were always fighting. The straw that broke the camels back, so to speak, was an incident in an elevator.

In a press conference soon after this incident, Lee Ji-hye explained what happened in the elevator, saying Seo Ji-young started swearing and verbally abusing her. Lee Ji-hye couldn’t take it anymore and whacked her on the back of the head a few times. Lee Ji-hye decided to apologize, but couldn’t contact Seo Ji-young… so she called Seo Ji-young’s dad instead. Of course, he told her to apologize to his daughter, not him.
Seo Ji-young’s current actor boyfriend, Ryu Shi Woneven called Lee Ji-hye and scolded her. Meanwhile, Seo Ji-young’s dad decided he wanted an apology after all, but sought it from Lee Ji-hye’s own father. He kept calling their agency demanding it to happen.

Later, when Seo Ji-young said she couldn’t go to a rehersal for the Music Bank show because her dad wouldn’t let her, Lee Ji-hye tried to apologize personally for what had happened. However, according to her, Seo Ji-young just ignored her and called her mother… Seo Ji-young’s mother then, according to witnesses, came over and publicly started pulling Lee Ji-hye’s hair and hit her on the back of the head, then swore at her out of anger and retaliation.

***

Seo Ji-young wasn’t at the press conference where all this was said. She was in the hospital due to a nervous breakdown. When she heard what Lee Ji-hye had claimed happened, she called her a liar. According to her, she mistook Lee Ji-hye for someone else when she was yelling at her. Lee Ji-hye then allegedly slapped her seven to eight times on the face and neck and then refused to apologize. She also said the reason she canceled Music Bank was because she just wasn’t feeling well… not because of her dad.

Through this whole thing, male member Jang Suk Hyun took Lee Ji-hye’s side. He hadn’t been around much since he was acting in the drama Orange, but felt that the other two group members, Seo Ji-young and Chris, had been bullying Lee Ji-hye.

Their agency, World Music, took interviews from each of the group members and then held a big meeting. 8 out of the 10 agency officials decided it would be best to just disband the group instead of dealing with anymore drama. (I don’t really blame them, since the conflicts seemed to be escalating since they debuted.) Anyway, I don’t think anybody is specifically to blame here… just like a divorce is usually both people’s fault. Their personalities just conflicted too much and they gradually just got jealous of each other.

Members:

Seo Ji-young
Birthday: June 2, 1981

Lee Ji-hye
Birthday: January 11, 1980

Jang Suk Hyun
Birthday: October 26, 1980

Chris Kim
Birthday: January 30, 1981

Since their disbandment, the rapper Chris released a solo album, then moved back to America in 2006 (he was born in Hawaii)… he came back briefly last year December 2010 to be featured in a Christmas album “White Christmas” by the group Eleven Medical Sound.

Seo Ji-Young  has been in a few dramas and released 2 solo albums, along with opening an online shopping mall. She also just got married a few days ago!

Lee Ji-hye released a solo album as well… just the other day she released her video for Rocket Power.

Jang Seok-hyun has been in two dramas.

Here are some of their music videos. Starting with the well known “Tell Me, Tell Me”:

“Closer” has a sweet sound:

This one is one of my favorites, “잘 됐어! (Chaldesso)”:

A lot of people seem to like “Sweety”:

Sources: Jusenlee Forums [1] [2Wikipedia naresome2.envy.nu 

Another Korean Idol Drug Crackdown

As most of you know, G-Dragon was caught with a positive for marijuana in a drug test last summer… though the news came out early last month.

About a week after that, Korean news came out that another “top idol” was being investigated as well, though they remained anonymous at the time.

Now, today, news came out that E-Sens of Supreme Team admitted to smoking marijuana too. He’s being suspended, but once everything is over, his agency is planning to welcome him back.

Unlike G-Dragon’s confession, where he claimed that he only smoked it once, E-Sens has said he’s smoked it multiple times throughout the year …with his friends… in Korea, (although his agency said he did not get any other musicians or co-workers to do it with him).

E-Sens’s statement could be a real eye-opener for some fans who think their idols are innocent and pure, when in reality, they’re most likely just like any other normal guys their age. Of course, most fans know this in the back of their minds, but it becomes more of a reality when we’re presented with evidence like this.

An anonymous Korean actor said, “Among celebrities, there have been several stars who have been suspected.[allkpop]

Plus, Korean actor Kim Sung Min, (who was arrested last year for possession and usage of both weed and meth), also revealed that he knew of 10 other entertainers involved with illegal drugs in some way.

As someone who’s been into Kpop for almost 10 years, I can tell you that these things are not new.

Back in 2001/2002, apparently ecstasy was the main concern (it’s probably still being used, but since it’s hard to detect, they don’t try as hard to test for it). There was a big investigation among 30-some stars for several types of drugs… including YG’s Psy. [mapinc.com] (I need to note here that Psy was NOT in YG Entertainment at the time of his marijuana conviction in 2001).

I remember reading about how Korean stores were taking CD’s off the shelves due to the ban of an idol who was convicted… and I was amazed at the difference between Korea and America when it came to drugs.

Yes, Korea is pretty strict when it comes to drugs, (I personally think the lawmakers there believe any drug is a gateway drug that will inevitably lead you to heroin somehow later in life), but even though they’re really anti-drug and strict, it’s naive to believe it’s very uncommon for people to be doing drugs there. (Although, if you already smoke weed in your country, don’t do it in Korea. They’ve been known to arrest foreigners for drugs just by seeing a “suspicious package” in the mail being sent to them. [Travel.State.gov] You’ll probably get arrested, deported and heavily fined… but mainly, it’ll contribute to giving all foreigners a bad reputation, so it’ll affect more than you.)

Anyway, no matter how weed is viewed in Korea, many stars there may very well be just like the ones here in America. The only difference could be that they just hide it much better. Who knows? Though personally, unless they do something really horrible like intentional murder (haha), I’ll always love my biases.