A certain post published on September 17 on a Korean online community called “Instiz” has been gaining a lot of attention recently thanks to its somewhat controversial nature. The thread was entitled Fans that Korean fans hate more than the Chinese or Japanese fans” and discusses the main 5 reasons why Korean fans despise international K-Pop fans.

Far from being a literary masterpiece in terms of accuracy or dialectics, it gives the impression of being more of a ramble with an excess of misplaced ‘hahahaha’s‘ and emojis, but nonetheless seemed to get a lot of supportive responses.

Hostility between K-Pop fans is not something recent. It is a very competitive industry and specially fans of groups that belong to major agencies such as YG and SM can be very protective of their idols, with ongoing discussions about which is the best group etc.

With K-Pop’s growing popularity outside its Asian borders, K-Pop has become something that doesn’t just appeal to Koreans anymore, but also a variety of other cultures, thus prompting, for example, a demand for more English translations. Sadly, rather than being seen as a sign of interest and growth, it seems to be considered a nuisance by Korean netizens, almost as if other fans are “meddling in” into what is none of their business.

The ‘reasons’ mentioned in the post refer exactly to these kind of issues. Demand for English translation, idol pairing or the fact that international fans are supportive of members that leave a group have been some of the points critized.

Below is the original post with the 5 reasons, which we tried to analyse one by one. 

“The fan groups we hate the most are~ International fans – Japanese – Chinese = The rest (Pacific Asians + White) 

**I assure you this is not racism.

What we gather from this piece of information is that in short, they hate everyone (pretty much).

Japanese fans are useful since they attend many concerts and are profitable for K-pop artists.
Chinese fans purchase many goods, support, vote relentlessly on various websites and help our artists become bigger.
But the rest….?? haha
Here are the reasons.

This seems to indicate that what makes a fan more ‘acceptable’ is determined by how much they are willing to spend. So although Chinese and Japanese fans are still despised by Korean fans, at least their spending is of some use to their idols and make them “bigger”. Which seems odd because the whole point of this post seemed to yell to the outside world “this belongs to us, do not intervene“.

1. They can’t do math
They keep yelling OTP (One True Pairing)
It means they support the group as an entirety
In Korean we say 10-1 = 0
They always support members who abandoned their group
?????????? (referring to fans continuing to support OT9, OT12 and such)
The basic math is 10 – 1 = 0 and 9 – 1 = 8 right?????
I personally don’t mind if they support it but it is too much.

Rather than not being able to count, the real issue here seems to lie in the fact that international fans are more supportive of idols that leave their groups. Who knows, maybe we just got used to seeing that kind of thing and are able to just shrug it off after seeing groups such as Backstreet Boys, N’Sync, Destiny’s Child and more recently 1 Direction split up in the past.

2. Their delusional fantasies are over the top
Many fans love secretly pairing up their favorite idols together
But international fans ESPECIALLY love pairing up male idols and female idols.
Even on YouTube, you can see I’m telling the truth.
It doesn’t just end there but try to ‘manage’ those members on relationships (?)
They LOVE spamming on the comment sections with the same comments and pictures.
They love mentioning artists that have NOTHING to do with the post or video they’re watching.
With their actions, the idols who are in good relations with each other might even drift apart ^^

Considering the fact that South Korea is still a very conservative country in many respects, can being outspoken about the possibility of idols dating each other really be considered ‘delusional’?

3. They want EVERYTHING in English
Most of the fans LOVE just looking at what their biases write on their SNS whether or not they understand it.
And most of the fans just translate it through a translator or wait for a fan to translate it for them.
But….. These international fans… When their biases don’t write in English
They complain and ask their oppas and unnis to write it in English.
“Oppa, English please” “Unni, English please”
Why does a Korean artist need to write in English…?
Sure it would be great if they wrote something in English but it shouldn’t be a requirement? I don’t understand when some international fans demand things be written in English as well..

After South Koreas economic growth in recent years the demand for English language has grown immensely, but it still appears as if the country is trying to catch up with said demand. The fact that there are fans out there from other countries that want to understand what their idols are saying and writing should be a positive indicator of how much K-Pop is growing, but instead is seen as an inconvenience by Korean netizens, some of which are asking “why would idols have to adapt?”. While it is true that this is not a requirement, it’s probably something that would benefits idols and fans alike.

4. They always pretend to know EVERYTHING
In truth, they don’t know ANYTHING haha
When I see their comments, they write on things they have no clue over.
And then insult Korean fans and netizens with no reasons haha
And they act if they’re such generous and understanding beings haha
They always act as if they’re understanding…
Then they don’t understand why Korean fans act the way they do…
It is because Korean fans have their reasons okay? ^^
They always insult Korea and Korean netizens hahahaha
Especially on culturally sensitive topics, they have no clue yet they are so exasperating in their attitude….
Anyways, they always spread rumors and stories over things
They probably heard from people who accidentally misinterpreted or mistranslated from somewhere.
And then when a Korean fan or netizen try to fix their stories, they play dumb.
There is no communicating with these fans.

The main problem here clearly seem to be the cultural difference between Koreans and the international community, which leads to misinterpretation, lack of understanding and frustration. Sadly, the only justification from the accusing party is “It is because Korean fans have their reasons ok?“. Well, this is helpful.

5. They always want to ‘preach’ Korean fans
Every time there is a controversy or an incident, all of their reactions are
‘Oh, Korean fans are being too harsh. Korean netizens????

HAHAHAHAHAAHHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAH?????????????

(we’re slightly confused about the meaning of interrogative laughter. If you do, let us know)

What are they freaking talking about? Hahahahahahahahahahahaha
Yes yes you guys are all geniuses and Korean fans are dumb;
We, too, cannot understand your behaviors ^^
But at least we spend money for our artists.
You guys don’t even spend for them ^^
Downloading music illegally and sharing videos from YouTube haha”

Again, it seems that money is used as a measurement to determine how worthy a fan is. While K-Pop merchandising might be easily found in South Korea and other Asian countries, it’s far more difficult for fans outside these countries to get a hold of these products. In most cases, they are either sold in small specialty shops at extravagant prices or have to be acquired online. However, many international fans do actively support their idols by purchasing their tracks on iTunes and attending international concerts.

In any case, measuring the support of a fan in terms of how much he spends on his/her idols or groups seems to be a rather dubious argument.

Another important point to consider is that fan cultures across Korea and other countries differ radically. This being said, certain words and actions can often be seen as extreme or shocking to fans from other countries who are unfamiliar with this ‘sasaeng fan’ (사생팬) behaviour, which explains why some tend to express their surprise at harsh comments and opinions posted by some Korean netizens.

Below are some of the comments on the post:

“Yeah.. Japanese fans… I don’t want to like them but all of the groups’ songs in Japanese are so good and they earn so much money in Japan… T_T_T_T”

“Yeah that group of international fans are hopeless…”

“Really yeah… They always spread rumors and stories that don’t make any sense”

“‘Sub plz oppa,’ HAHAHAAHHAHAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHA”

“Oppa… What does it mean? I DO NOT UNDERSTAND… But saranghaeyo oppa <3”

“Yeah.. Those fans just pretend to be generous and open minded but don’t want to understand why Koreans sometimes act in certain ways”

“Korea is Korea… They should just respect their artists’ culture and not bash it”

“I agree with this hahahahaa”

It is a shame that the K-Pop fan world, rather than being a community of mutual support and a tool to unite people from different parts of the world with one common interest, is split into groups determined by nationality, individual idol preference and entertainment agencies. Cultural differences, of course, also contribute to this, but what the original posts about the hatred towards international fans seems to tell us is that some netizens are still not ready to include foreign fans into their midst and accept that K-Pop is not just restricted to South Korea anymore.

What do you think about the original posts and how was your reaction to it? Do you agree with certain points or feel there’s a lack of tolerance towards other fans? Make sure to let us know in the comments!

Alexa Randegger

Alexa Randegger

Writer at UnitedKpop
London-based blogger, writer and K-drama addict. Powered by coffee.
Alexa Randegger
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London-based blogger, writer and K-drama addict. Powered by coffee.

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