The girl group Kara
is on the verge of splitting.
Three of the five-member group said they will terminate their contract with their management agency, DSP Media.
They claim that the group's agency forced the idols to perform in unwanted activities and signed various contracts on their behalf without giving prior notice.
In a press conference, the disgruntled members' legal attorney said that there still is a chance that the group could get back together if the agency turns over a new leaf.
The lawyer added that there is no discord among the five members themselves, but that the agency is playing favorites.
While the controversy is ongoing, all this bodes ill for the K-pop phenomenon that's winning over the hearts of fans across Asia.
This boom, which has been around for nearly a decade, has been dubbed the "Korean Wave" and comprises not only songs, but TV dramas and movies as well.
After a brief lull, this past year a wave of Korean girl groups like Kara
and the Girls' Generation
have been credited with the resurgence of Korean pop culture in Asia, especially Japan.
They are so popular that Japanese fans and even celebrities are mimicking Kara
's outfits and dance moves on both national TV and online.
But, this is not the first time that Korean pop acts have become huge in Japan only to run into problems with their management companies back home.
In 2009, three members of the already popular K-pop boy band TVXQ, or Dong Bang Shingi, terminated a contract with the Korean agency SM Entertainment.
While the three teamed up in Japan with a Japanese agency and are doing very well there, the lawsuit in Korea has yet to be solved.
Experts say that such breakups of successful groups are usually attributed to unfair distribution of revenue and that exclusive contracts tend to have loopholes.
And some say that the government should intervene and overhaul the labor practices of young idol stars.
They voice concern saying that a recurrrence of such disputes at home may stunt the further growth of the Korean Wave overseas.
Park Jong-hong Arirang News.