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  • ISSN 2508-8297 (Print)
  • ISSN 2671-7123 (Online)
[Commentary] Always Fans of Something: Fandom and Concealment of Taste in the Daily Lives of Young Koreans, by Lee Eungchel
Cedarbough T. Saeji

Vol.5, pp.79 – 84, 2021


Abstract
One of the most interesting aspects of K-pop idol fandom expanding beyond Korea, into East Asia, then Southeast Asia, and now to the entire world, is that it is not just fandom of Korean idols that is spreading but also Korean fandom practices. Korean fans developed the model for how to support idols―often based on earlier examples from Japan, where the idol concept was developed―but it has evolved over time. K-pop fandom has even arguably helped K-pop’s international spread, as fans not only partake in music and related products but also become part of an exciting new culture, with its own internal vocabulary and established sociocultural norms that create strong “in” and “out” groups. Yet often, overseas fans lack a clear understanding of how idol fandom in Korea has developed in response to Korean attitudes towards the passion of youth, especially the passion of young women for popular music stars. Fans abroad experiencing judgmental attitudes due to their interest in foreign artists who may not conform to local cultural norms may imagine that idol fandom in Korea is more normalized. Instead, there is a general, worldwide dismissive attitude toward youth enthusiasm for things the older generation did not discover first, and in Korea, due to strong awareness of generations and age, it is perhaps even more pronounced.
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