Why Are Some Middle Aged Korean Men Crazy About K Pop?

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ENGLISH | CERITA

Senin, 29 Des 2014 10:44 WIB

Author

Jason Strother

Why Are Some Middle Aged Korean Men Crazy About K Pop?

South Korea, K Pop, Crayon Pop, music, Jason Strother

Jung Jong-hun seems pretty excited when he shows me this video on his smartphone.

It’s of him and other guys in their late 30s and 40s singing and dancing at a concert by their favorite Korean girl group Crayon Pop.

They not only know their lyrics and choreography, they’re dressed up like the five, 20-something year old singers too.
 
“When we go to their concert, we dress up like the singers. I wear cross trainers, a red tracksuit embroidered with my nickname on it and a white construction helmet with a strip of red electrical tape across the top. It’s no different than going to a baseball game and wearing your team’s uniform.”
 
Jung says he listens to lots of different music styles.  But there’s just something about K Pop that’s got him hooked.
 
“I used to not like these kind of Idol or boy and girl groups. But after I heard Crayon Pop, I really got into them and other K Pop groups.  I feel like they are my younger sisters.”
 
Jung says he’s not embarrassed by his fondness for these singers and there’s a whole online community of men that feel the same way.
 
Ok, it’s no surprise that older men are attracted to younger women. But there’s perhaps more to this obsession than just sex appeal.
 
Mark Russell, author of the new book K-Pop Now, says it’s in part due to the economics of the music industry here.
 
“Korea doesn’t have a very diverse music market at the mainstream level.  Most of the money is in today’s music, that’s where the record companies put their energy, its more out there, its what you are going to encounter.  It’s the music of now that’s in the public consciousness”
 
But the fixation that some Korean men have, in particular with the band Crayon Pop, might go a bit deeper than that.
 
A video shows about 50 middle-aged men chanting the names of the singers in the group.

They’re all wearing the signature work out clothes too. It’s part of a recent media art exhibition in Seoul on these guys who’ve supported the girls since they started out as street performers in 2012.   
 
Jung Yeon-doo created the exhibition.

“One of the guys told me he keeps his trainers and helmet in his car trunk because he doesn’t want his wife knows about it.”
 
The artist explains that Crayon Pop is not your typical K-Pop act. He says they’re not the prettiest or most talented performers out there. But they give off the impression that they’ve worked really hard to achieve success. And that strikes a chord with these older men.

“They got a feeling of healing from these girl groups. Being successful is hard. When you graduate from school, you have dreams to be something, but when you get older not many people achieve what they want to be.  If you see someone with strong desire trying to be successful show the passion, it moves people”
 
Crayon Pop fan, Jung Jong-hun says that’s what got him hooked.
 
“I think these singers in Crayon Pop are working really hard, maybe harder than other group.  I knew how that felt when I was in my 20s.”
 
And that hard work seems to be paying off.  Crayon Pop is currently opening for Lady Gaga on her North American tour.
 
Jung says he’s not so sure if foreign men will feel the same about the girls as he does.

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