American K-Pop Group “EXP” Are Trying to Make It Big In South Korea

Just when you thought you have seen it all this comes around, good luck guys!:

A publicity photo of EXP Edition, mostly white, all-American “K-pop” band, provided by the team’s agency IMMABB. (Yonhap)

Over the past few years, South Korean pop music, or K-pop, as a whole has grown into a legitimate cultural force to be reckoned with. And while the scene has moved and evolved at lightning pace, some also began to look back and wonder: what makes K-pop K-pop?

EXP Edition, an experimental boy band which released its debut single “Feel Like This” on Monday in South Korea, is the brain child of Kim Bora, through which she asks that exact question in a unique and interesting approach.

The four-member team, artistically speaking, seems to fit the generic K-pop mold, exuding confidence in its K-pop cred and style. The catch? Its members are mostly white and all American, as opposed to being Korean or at least of Korean descent.  [Yonhap]

You can read the rest at the link, but the band is part of a project from students at Columbia University’s fine arts program to see what defines K-Pop.  Interestingly they are facing criticism from people outside of Korea for appropriating Korean culture.  Didn’t South Korea appropriate pop music in the first place from western countries so why can’t four Americans make a K-pop band?

Japanese Actresses Comment On “Whitewashing” After Watching Ghost in the Shell Movie

The Ghost in the Shell movie that has come under criticism for “whitewashing” sounds like a pretty crappy movie, but this is what some Japanese actresses had to say after watching it:

Yoshihara: People in Japan worship white people.

Kato-Kiriyama: Even in the story, there are Japanese people involved in creating these beings and they also may very well see the ideal human being as a white woman. So you’re sort of messed up all the way around.

Agena: Yes! I felt more messed up watching this movie. It reinforced my own personal messed-up standards of physical beauty.

Okatsuka: This is an important conversation to have.

Yoshihara: Even my ex-boyfriend, who is Asian-American, said, “What Asian lady has a body like Scarlett Johansson?”

Agena: There are certain priorities there.

Okatsuka: It’s this weird thing where Asian-Americans or Asian nationals living here like me, working in film, are fighting both our motherland and white producers here. We’re walking this in-between where I scream at Hollywood but I’m also like, “Why’d you do that, Japan?!” Et tu, Brute, on both sides.

Yoshihara: Japanese people are self-loathing.

Okatsuka: Is it crazy that suicide rates are so high in Japan?

Yoshihara: Even my sister committed suicide. That’s how many people commit suicide in Japan. That’s how messed up it is.  [Hollywood Reporter]

You can read much more at the link.

K-Pop Group, SixBomb Intentionally Shows What $90,000 In Plastic Surgery Gets You

This K-pop group SixBomb has pulled off a pretty good publicity stunt to get them noticed by releasing a video about their $90k worth of plastic surgery to enhance their looks:

Rounder eyes, narrower faces, bigger breasts: a South Korean girlband is celebrating the country’s obsession with surgically-enhanced beauty by going under the knife to praise the virtues of “Becoming Pretty”.

All four members of obscure K-pop outfit SixBomb went through extensive plastic surgery, from nose jobs to breast implants, before releasing their new single on Thursday.

A series of videos showed the four women visiting a clinic, strutting into an operating theatre and lying on the operating table. Another had them practising dance moves in sunglasses with their heads wrapped in bandages.

“Everyone follows me, they know I’m pretty,” they sing in “Becoming Pretty” — an electronic dance number with a hook reminiscent of South Korean singer Psy’s 2012 global phenomenon Gangnam Style.  (………)

South Korea’s #1 Youtube Personality Abruptly Quits Show

I guess I should not be surprised that a kids toy show is the most popular Youtube channel in South Korea:

This composite photo shows Kang Hye-jin (L), who played the original Carrie character on the popular YouTube channel Carrie and Toys, and Kim Jung-hyun (R), who will replace Kang as the channel’s main host in the near future. (Yonhap)

The “president” has quit. And no one saw it coming. Thousands of followers, young and old, found themselves emotionally lost, not knowing how to deal with the sudden void inside that was once occupied by her.

No. The impeached South Korean President Park Geun-hye isn’t the person we are talking about. It is Kang Hye-jin, the so-called “Carrie eonni,” or Sister Carrie, who is also referred to as “Ca-tongryeong,” or President Carrie, among her many fans.

The 27-year-old star of the popular YouTube channel Carrie and Toys sent shock waves among young toddlers and parents after it was announced in mid-February that Kang was leaving the channel.

So, what exactly is Carrie and Toys? It’s a popular YouTube channel run by CarrieSoft Co., a South Korean media company that specializes in online video content for children, launched in August of 2015.

The YouTube station, which had humble beginnings, became a go-to place for many young children and parents from a rather simple idea: reviewing toys and showing kids how to play with them.

Kang, who plays host Carrie, and her show gained a sizable following, becoming the number one South Korean YouTube channel in terms of total video views and ad revenues in 2016.

According to the state-run Korea Radio Promotion Association, Carrie and Toys racked up some 660 million views and earned 792 million won (US$700,309) in YouTube ad revenue last year. The account has some 1.4 million subscribers.

The company has also secured up to 5 billion won in investment from several major entities, including NHN Entertainment.  [Yonhap]

You can read more at the link, but Kang Hye-jin is rumored to be forced off of the show because of poor foreign language skills as the company looks to expand its market.  Here is a clip from the show:

Nintendo Announces Launch of Pokemon Go In South Korea

I am surprised it took this long for the popular Pokemon Go game to come to Korea:

Popular augmented reality (AR) game “Pokemon Go” was officially released in South Korea on Tuesday, six months after becoming a global hit with millions of downloads.

Users can download the Pokemon Go official application from Google Play store and Apple’s App store, and it is available in Korean.

Pokemon Go didn’t work in most parts of South Korea as the AR game uses data from Google’s mapping service, which is restricted by the Seoul government due to security concerns.

However, tens of thousands of local users have downloaded the mobile game since its launch in the United States in July 2016.

Game developer Niantic Inc. said that it will hold a press conference later on Tuesday.  [Yonhap]

South Korean Journalists Name “The Wailing” the Best Korean Film of 2016

It must have been a bad year for Korean films because I watched The Wailing on Netflix and was not all that impressed with it.  Not very scary and pretty predictable:

“The Wailing,” a supernatural thriller, was named best film of 2016 by an association of South Korean film journalists Wednesday.

Na Hong-jin was chosen best director for the tense drama which features a tranquil rural village embroiled in mysterious serial murders after the arrival of a stranger.

The movie, whose original Korean title is “Goksung,” stars Kwak Do-won, Chun Woo-hee and Hwang Jung-min. Since its premiere at last year’s Cannes Film Festival, it has been invited to even more international film festivals. In South Korea, it attracted 6.8 million viewers.  [Yonhap]

Anyone else see The Wailing and think it was the top movie of 2016?

Is Hollywood “Whitewashing” Asian Characters In Movies?

It does seem pretty hypocritical that the supposedly progressive Hollywood continues to have non-Asian actors play Asian roles:

A live action remake of Disney’s “Mulan” is set to release in 2018. For now, Disney hunts for actors and actresses with the potential to play the heroic roles of the movie. It was rumored that Disney set its eyes on famed actress Jennifer Lawrence for the role of Mulan. Lawrence is known for many heroic roles, including Katniss Everdeen in the Hunger Games trilogy. It is also rumored that actor Zac Efron will be playing the role of Li Shang from the original animated film. Despite both celebrities having great success in such movie roles, they are terrible candidates to take roles in the film, all due to racial background.

In the original story, Mulan is portrayed as a young Chinese woman taking her father’s place in serving in war by disguising herself as a man and secretly leaving her family. In recent days, heroic lead roles in Asian settings have been given to American actors. The upcoming 2017 American-Chinese fantasy epic, “The Great Wall”, stars Matt Damon (The Bourne Saga) as the lead role. The main question to stress is if the film industry is discriminating and disregarding people of color and the culture they represent.

Since there are several films where whitewashing has occurred, the main and only intent of the film industry is money.  [Korea Times]

You can read more at the link.