K-pop is basically an abbreviation for Korean Pop or Korean Popular Music consisting of different types of genre, from electronic to r&b, originating in South Korea. Because of its growing popularity, not only K-pop is a type of music, but it also has grown into a viral and popular subculture among teenagers and young adults throughout Asia. Moreover, K-pop has now even spread outside of Korea to America, Europe, and even Africa, thanks to the modern technology and social media, and most notably to the success of PSY’s Gangnam Style.
People all over the world now enjoy K-pop as well as the culture of Korea, fashion, and style of Korean idol groups and singers, even though they don’t necessarily understand the words (lyrics). Mostly importantly, K-pop has formed many lifelong friendships among the fans and fan-clubs, consisting of people from diverse background and culture that sometimes do not even speak the same language, of different idol groups. It is really fascinating how people from different areas around the world come and form friendships because of something they do not even understand.
Now, let’s get into the industry of K-pop music. There are many management agencies in K-pop industry such as Cube Entertainment, Starship Entertainment, and many more; however, the big three agencies are SM Entertainment, JYP Entertainment, and YG Entertainment. Below are the big name idol groups from each companies.
SM: TVXQ, Super Junior, Girl’s Generation, Shinee, f(x), BoA, and Exo
JYP: 2pm, 2am, Wonder Girls, Miss A, and Rain
YG: Psy, Big Bang, 2NE1, and Se7en
As I started following K-pop, I began learning and reading about their stories of becoming idols. Some stories even gave me teary eyes. One of the many things about K-pop that has respect is that the idols started training at young age for many years before debuting as idols. Some idols started training as early as 7 years old and trained for 11 years before debuting (Big Bang’s G-Dragon). JYJ’s member, Jaejoong, left his family when he was only fifteen to go and pursue his dreams in Seoul. He participated in an SM audition and was allowed to begin taking classes under the company. However, he had to pay for his own classes and, without his family’s support, he had to take many hardworking jobs such as working at a restaurant, construction work, and delivering newspapers. He then used his earned money to pay for his lessons first before using them on his food and clothing. If you are interested in reading more about the road to K-pop, feel free to click on the link below.