2012/06/09 | 180 views | Permalink |
This week I look at a young Korean rocker who is hoping to challenge the K-pop industry and what kind of music and image it takes to succeed in it. The nineteen-year-old Juniel has had success in Japan, but is now hoping to penetrate the Korean music scene with her unique style and voice! The finger is waved at a recent documentary aired on MBC entitled: "The Shocking Truth About Relationships with Foreigners" and I take a look at how one Facebook page is uniting those who feel the piece was offensive. This is Tip of the Hat, Wag of the Finger.
The Hat: Young Rocker stepping up to challenge K-pop!
One of the biggest criticisms levelled against the K-pop industry is sameness, lack of individuality/creativity and the factory-style rollout of stars. What falls under the "K-pop" banner rarely challenges that which came before it. Flashy dances and bubble-gum lyrics, it's all too familiar as the industry continually reproduces itself with less and less palpable originality.
"I have my own identity, my own style, my own voice", she told a room full of reporters at her debut showcase Thursday in Seoul. "I don't' have to compete with girl groups". - Juniel
Nineteen-year-old Juniel thinks she has what it takes to change that though. This young rising star has been training in Japan for two years where she started performing on small stages and the underground music scene. Her timid and shy demeanour shows a modest young girl who packs a lot of talent and vocal potential. Back in 2010, she won a singing contest in Japan on the show "Niji Iro Supernova in 2010", which is said to be something similar to "American Idols". Juniel is currently with FNC Entertainment, a label that also includes more popular rock bands such as "FT Island" and "CNBLUE".
"There is more weight on my shoulders (after the victory in Japan), but it's like a little nudge that helps me work harder". - Juniel
Her journey into the Korean music scene will no doubt be a tough one. Despite her success in Japan, Juniel has her work cut out for her as the Korean K-pop scene is a little less welcoming to rock that Korea's neighbours down south. Still, this young talent is stepping up and taking the challenge by putting herself out there, and with the help and guidance of groups such as FT Island and CNBLUE, she may be able to capture some young hearts and minds with her alternative music style and image. Fighting!
The Finger: MBC and "The Shocking Truth About Relationships with Foreigners"
The past two weeks have seen the foreign community in Korea up in arms over a controversial documentary aired by Korean broadcaster MBC. The piece, entitled "The Shocking Truth About Relationships with Foreigners", is a five-minute short documentary that supposedly spills the beans on the dark underbelly of foreign men and their immoral treatment of Korean women. The documentary has been quickly been meet with strong criticism from expats and the blogosphere has been bussing with their response ever since the show arired. The issues against the piece include racism, sexism, misogyny, xenophobia and prejudice, all wrapped up in what the foreign community believe to be sensationalist reporting that misrepresents the foreign community.
A Facebook group was create to unite the foreign community as well as all those who wish to speak out against MBC decision to air the show. The group's presence quickly became know, and they now have close to 9,000 members! The creators of the page describe it as a group "formed to congregate and rationally discuss the MBC video showing foreigners as a negative influence on Korea. Our primary focus at the moment is making people aware of the issue and discussing it".
Many followers on it have responded by posting pictures of their happy and healthy relationships with Koreans and a number of peaceful protests have been suggested and planned. One such is a couple's picnic, whereby members are encouraged to attend an upcoming picnic in Seoul to show the Korean public that healthy relationships can and do exist between foreigners and locals.
The page has also received a lot of attention from bloggers and news reporters. With one of the creators appearing on a eFM radio to talk about the matter. Expat newspapers are also picking up the story, with each taking a unique approach to countering the report. One such magazine is planning to collect the pictures of couples on the Facebook page and put together a collage, while another is putting together a video with these photographs.
There has been no official apology from MBC, only a statement saying that the report was not a product of their production team, but rather the work of an outsourced company. However, the foreign community are calling on MBC to take reasonability for the piece and formally apologise for it.
* Information on Juniel was obtained from a Korea Times article which can be viewed here: http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/special/2012/06/139_112650.html
- C.J Wheeler ([email protected])
"[HanCinema Korea's Diary] Tip of the Hat, Wag of the Finger"
by HanCinema is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
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