Scholarship on fandom in Korean pop music has grown in recent years, but the majority of the studies focus on international fandom, fan practices, and identities reflecting the global popularity of K-pop. This panel takes a historical approach to the topic, starting with the emergence of active fandom in Korean pop music in the 1980s and extending to the globalized and diversified K-pop fandom of today. Within this broad context, the panel investigates how fans, working with the K-pop industry, engage in diverse activities to achieve their own political, gender, and socio-moral agendas. Hyunjoon Shin goes deep into the fandom associated with superstardom in the 1980s and captures the labor of “love” exchanged between stars and fans as well as the mediating role of production-cum-management companies. Hye Eun Choi analyzes the interrelated causes that allowed fans of the Haitai Tigers baseball team to utilize the song “Tears of Mokp’o” as an expression of their insubordinate regional spirit against the South Korean government, while constructing additional social memories around the song in the 1980s. Jungwon Kim’s paper examines how female fans construct their own sonic space through chanting and singing, known as ttech’ang, in which they demonstrate their affective ties and articulate their voices. In doing so, Kim counters the generally negative conception of female fandom. Wonseok Lee’s research on BTS fans’ One In An ARMY (OIAA) project shows how K-pop fans’ socially conscious activities not only help enhance the affirmative image of K-pop but also form an imagined global Kommunity.
Paper Presenter: Hyun Joon Shin – Sungkonghoe University
Paper Presenter: Hye Eun Choi – New York University Shanghai
Paper Presenter: Jungwon Kim – Yonsei University
Paper Presenter: Wonseok Lee – The Ohio State University