3 Useful Things To Know About Cultural Appropriation and K-pop

It was great to be a part of the “Black Popular Music and K-pop” panel at #KCON17LA. The session was lively! In light of that discussion, here are three things that may be useful as people continue to think about the session or for those who could not attend. The session was important, not just for black K-pop fans to voice their experiences, but for ALL fans of K-pop, since we are getting joy from the influence of black popular music on K-pop.

The Supermen of Love Me If You Dare and When A Snail Falls in Love

C-dramas are bringing us male leads that are super smart and highly attractive.   Despite their socializing issues, they still manage to provide the romance that draws many of us to Asian dramas.  Both Bo Jiyan (Wallace Huo)  in Love Me If You Dare and Ji Bai (Wang Kai) in When A Snail Falls In Love are very good at their jobs, a little awkward with relationships and all the way adorable.

Not Just Pretty Faces: K-pop Idols and Quiet Storm Masculinity

2PM, a six-member male group from JYP Entertainment, may be the model for K-pop’s beast-like masculinity, which primarily depends on appearance, but they also participate in the black male soul tradition, which uses vocal ability to inform a different kind of masculinity. Scholars often focus on the appearance of K-pop idols, who are Korean entertainers who engage in extra-musical activities such as acting, hosting and endorsements in addition to musical performance. One mode of appearance refl

Digital Humanities for the Rest of Us

I recently gave a presentation at the Council on Undergraduate Research 2016 Biennial Conference on undergraduate research and digital humanities. The session was well-attended. Some the individuals who attended were not only interested in undergraduate research as a co-curricular activity, but also the unicorn that is digital humanities. I know many scholars in the humanities do not feel that they can participate in digital humanities. However, I think there is at least one thing that all human

Power in Unity!: Ideal Masculinity in Descendants of the Sun

We all know the primary reason we are all over Descendants of the Sun is Captain “Big Boss” Yoo Si Jin (Song Joong Ki). He’s become one of my favorite male protagonists in a K-drama, so central to the story that he takes attention away from the female lead. At the same time, he reinforces male friendships. Big Boss is pretty much perfect. He’s attractive. He dresses well. He’s courageous, often going into dangerous situations.  He’s humble (sorta?) but also confident in his abilities.  He’s rea

The Power of Nine · Girls' Generation (SNSD) Fandom Case Study

Girls' Generation (also known as So Nyeo Shi Dae (Korean) or SNSD, and Shojo Jidai (Japanese)), a nine-member female group that debuted under SM Entertaiment in 2007, includes members Taeyeon, Jessica, Sunny, Tiffany, Hyoyeon, Yuri, Sooyoung, Yoona and Seohyun. Members Jessica, Sunny and Tiffany were born in the United States. SNSD debuted in the wake of another large SM Entertainment group, Super Junior, and some initially viewed them as the femlae counterpart to the large male group. Girls' G

They Are Not Cheerleaders: Female Characters in Haikyuu!! and Kuroko’s Basketball

While you might assume that sports anime series like Haikyuu!! and Kuroko’s Basketball might relegate its female characters to the sidelines, they do a remarkable job of making them smart, relevant to the story and characters in their own right. Sports anime can pose a challenge in trying to include women characters, especially those with single-gender teams like basketball and volleyball. Female characters don’t play on the teams, so they often provide support for the teams in varying capaciti

EXO in LA!: A Report from Loge 10

As a K-pop fan in the United States, I’m always excited to see my beloved K-pop live. The EXO show in Los Angeles on February 14, 2016 was no exception. Having seen EXO “grow up” from those 23 teaser trailers to Sing for You, I was looking forward to the show very much! Let us never forget the epic backstory behind EXO’s concept, beginning when “the twelve forces reunite into one perfect root” to the current unknown EXO planet! I was in Loge 10, which was almost directly in front of the stage.

Redefining Heroism in World Trigger and Kuroko’s Basketball

We often think of heroes as being physically strong, but anime series like World Trigger and Kuroko’s Bastketball make us rethink what it means to be hero. While both lead characters are characterized as physically weak, they remain central to the action and make selflessness the new heroic standard. Both anime series place our potential heroes in situations where people initially judge them by a physically based notion of heroism. We have no illusions about Mikumo Osamu, the main character in 

My Favoritest Favorite. . . Songs By Bias K-pop Groups!

I like a lot of K-pop groups (a LOT…of K-pop groups), but I have four bias groups (SS501, Shinhwa, SHINee and Super Junior), my favoritest favorites. I looked at my iTunes to see which songs by my bias groups I played the most. I was surprised! It makes sense that SS501 is first. This group is my first love K-pop group, and like other Triple S, it doesn’t even matter that they are on an extended hiatus (THEY ARE NOT BROKEN UP!).  I’ve always liked SS501’s unassuming ways and brotherhood.  Still

Relationships and Justice in Nirvana in Fire

In the midst of a paranoid emperor and power-hungry royals, Nirvana in Fire enriches a tale of revenge and redemption with a narrative of love and friendship. We know this trope well: man wronged by someone in power returns on a righteous quest to set things right. This was a wrong of epic proportions. The Emperor (Ding Yong Dai), giving in to his own suspicious nature and a few forged documents, executes his own son Prince Qi and his household, the entire Lin family, and the Chiyan army (that’
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