JJCC’s Prince Mak Discusses The Dark Side Of K-Pop

On a recent episode of SBS PopAsia‘s The Prince Mak Hour, Prince Mak addressed some of the most popular and dark rumors in the K-Pop industry head on.

Prince Mak is an Australian-Chinese celebrity, who is part of Jackie Chan’s K-Pop idol group, JJCC. While he is still officially part of the group, he has stopped promoting with them in Korea and has begun pursuing solo activities in China instead.

In the interview, Prince Mak shared his experiences with elusive “slave contracts,” weight, appearances, manners, work hours, and what it’s like to be a foreigner working in the K-Pop industry. Koreaboo has outlined the multiple negative experiences that Prince Mak underwent, according to him.


“Slave Contracts”

One of the most famous alleged “slave contract” was between SM Entertainment and JYJ. JYJ had sued their management company with allegations of unfair terms in their contract. The courts recently ruled that the slave contract allegations were false, but these allegations brought forth concerns and social awareness about the existence of these contracts.

Prince Mak confirmed that K-Pop contracts usually range between 7 to 15 years. He revealed that his contract was marked at 7 years. He also revealed that most contracts only begin to “count down” once an artist has debuted. 

“You could be training for 10 years, and if you debut with a 10 year contract, that’s 20 years of your life gone.”
– JJCC’s Prince Mak

In fact, the Fair Trade Commission has ordered several agencies to change unfair terms in their contracts.

Artist Payment

Prince Mak also brought to light how contracts work regarding payment between artists and their company.

In the past, companies claimed 90% or 80% of the artist’s income. The 10% or 20% the artist earned is then split among the team members.

Many artists don’t earn an income until late into their careers. This is because their company requires the idol to pay back the trainee fees spent on them from their percent split.

The length of the contract in years is listed below each company. On the left side is the percent the company gets and the right side is the percent the artists get.

Work Hours vs. Sleep Hours

While the most popular groups can live comfortably, Prince Mak alleges that idols are often expected to work 20 hours a day with 3 to 4 hours of sleep each night.

“Every day we average about 3 hours to 4 hours sleep, the rest is all training or work.”
– JJCC’s Prince Mak

Waking up early is required due to extensive training and practice. It’s also necessary to wake up early to get their hair and makeup done correctly.

Appearance and Weight

Extreme dieting is already a well-publicized issue plaguing the industry, with many artists taking serious measures to maintain the perfect figure.

Prince Mak explained that idols usually get their weight checked once a week. If they go above the weight the company wants them to be, they are punished with additional exercise or are forbidden to eat.

“When JJCC was training, there was another girl group called LABOUM and they were trainees still back then. Their weight was very controlled and they would get nervous every single time that they had to step on a scale in front of their manager or other staff.”
– JJCC’s Prince Mak

He also revealed that appearances are maintained via etiquette training and plastic surgery. South Korea is known for its plastic surgery practices and it comes as no surprise that K-Pop idols often receive surgery.

Some agencies are even known for going to extreme lengths to make sure their idols look perfect ahead of promotions.

Foreigners in K-Pop

Being a foreigner in K-Pop, Prince Mak revealed that he also faced many difficulties. He stated that the industry is not very foreigner-friendly. His experience being an idol was difficult due to not being fluent in Korean.

“[The K-Pop] industry, it’s not very foreign friendly. They won’t forgive you for not speaking very good Korean.”
– JJCC’s Prince Mak

Prince Mak revealed that it was tough working in the K-Pop industry because he was Asian and was expected to know about Korean culture and Korean language.  But, because he did not understand the culture or language very well, he was put in a difficult position.

Source: SBS PopAsia