Arts · News

Kpop: The Problem with Sasaeng Fans

For this time, I’m going to start of on a different note this time about the music industries and their troubles, particularly those of South Korea. Before I say anything else, this is my opinion on the issues, and everyone is entitled to their own opinions. Okay, getting back to the point, everyone has their favorite music idols and adores them, maybe even looking through their social media accounts to catch up with them; that’s just one the regular things that fans tend to do. Likewise, in Korea, there are the fans who show their love towards their idols and all, but there are also a portion of the fans who go through very questionable acts. Known as sasaengs, these types of fans, go to the extreme in order to know everything about their idols, and I mean extreme. Performing activities that put everyone in danger including themselves, many international fans, such as myself,  have been pondering what their reasons are.

First off, I want to say that what influences sasaengs might have something to do with the way that the music industry portrays idols. In Korea, music companies usually want to create as much money as possible with their idols, which leads some companies to have bans on dating. This creates a tension for the fans as if they had a chance with the idol and extreme thoughts such as “ownership” over an idol. Many fans may be too caught up in the moment and forget everything else but the thought of having a chance with the idol. Also, security doesn’t seem to protect the idols as much as the ones over here in America, which means that fans can probably have an easier access to their idols. But, I have absolutely no idea how and why sasaeng fans would still think that it’s okay for them to continue all of their actions.

Now, this is where things get a little out of order with the sasaeng issue, which landed them in the spotlight of controversy. Sasaengs are usually very bold in their actions,

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Jackson injured after the car accident

trying to find out everything about their idols including their private lives, address, etc. This not only places the idols in extreme distress but also those around them. Despite this, sasaengs also wait for follow their idols with taxis, yelling at the drivers to keep up with the idol’s car. This dramatically increases the chance danger as the taxis runs red lights, comes close to hitting pedestrians, and sometimes causes car accidents. An incident of this involves GOT7’s Jackson, as he was recently caught in a car accident because of sasaeng fans chasing him, and he injured his back as a result. This is one of many instances of idols being harassed by sasaeng fans; the situations gets a lot worse from here. EXO is also known for getting into a lot of bad interactions with the sasaeng fans ranging from grabbing
and injuring the idols to almost kidnapping them. One of the biggest cases in EXO was when the sasaeng fans crashed the wedding of Baekhyun’s brother and ruined it. They not only devastated an important day of Baekhyun, but also sent him a
terrifying message afterwards:

“Baekhyun-ah, I told you

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Sasaeng fans crashing wedding

Stop messing around, or we really don’t know what we’ll do next

Why do you think we went all the way there and caused a fuss?

Our puppy is so cute when he’s mad

But it’s time to tone down that personality isn’t it? You’re a public figure hehe

Try treating us like we’re insects one more time, we really don’t what we’ll do next time

And send your brother our congratulations on his wedding~”

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Child Kim Yoo Jung Wikimedia Commons © (CC BY 2.0)

Not only does it send chills, but this message was way to horrible to send right after all he and his family went through. And a last but definitely not least incident involves Kim Yoo Jung, a Korean actress and model. She revealed her elementary years, where a sasaeng fan pretended to be her father and tried to pick her up from school. Luckily, the teacher sensed something was wrong and asked her if she knew the man before calling the police. To me, this was one of the scariest experiences since Yoo Jung came so close to being kidnapped by this sasaeng fan. This goes to show just how daring sasaeng fans can be in order to obtain their idols.

Fortunately, the South Korean government is finally taking charge of the growing incidents of sasaeng fans. They have finally taken notice and have created a law stating that these sasaeng activities can be punished with two years of jail time along with a small fee to pay. Although this won’t get all of the sasaengs to stop with their actions, hopefully, it will lead some to get caught before detrimental mistakes are made. So, what do you think about this situation? Indeed, why do the sasaengs think that invading an idol’s privacy is okay? When will security for idols in Korea strengthen to an adequate level? There’s only the future to find out.

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