Here’s Why K-Pop Fans Want A Particular “Pandemic-Era” Concert Item To Be Banned In 2023

An online post dubbed it a “deep-rooted evil, starting an intense discussion.

Back in 2020, when the WHO declared COVID-19 a pandemic, K-Pop began shutting down offline events. Music shows, concerts, and even fan meetings were canceled—and well into 2022, things were all done online.

South Korean medical professionals in hazmat suits during the peak of COVID-19. | Yonhap

It was during this time—one that South Korea coined an “ontact” era—that a new culture was born in the land of K-Pop: The sketchbook communication.

Fans began using sketchbooks (later upgraded to electronic devices like the iPad) to communicate their thoughts to the artists on the other side of the screen. Similar to how slogans were used in real-life situations, the sketchbooks were used to deliver messages…

TWICE during an online concert, surrounded by fans holding up sketchbooks. | JYP Entertainment

…though, soon, fans started using sketchbooks to get creative and stand out from the virtual crowd. From holding up bold statements to making personal requests, fans pushed through the pandemic with this written form of affection.

Actors Song Seung Heon, Lee Dong Wook, Yoo Yeon Seok, Lee Kwang Soo, and Kim Bum hosting an online fan meeting. | KINGKONG by STARSHIP

As of 2023, however, K-Pop fans are asking the sketchbooks be left in the past with the pandemic.

A fan holding up a sketchbook that says, “Please poke your cheek if you see this” at an offline concert. | theqoo

A viral post, dubbing the sketchbook a “deep-rooted evil,” pointed out that in an offline setting, “holding up sketchbooks is a mannerless behavior” that ruins the experience for the whole audience.

| theqoo

Here’s why holding up sketchbooks is mannerless behavior to other people:

– The sketchbooks are large in size, so holding them up obstructs the views for other people.
– When artists interact with the sketchbooks, it encourages pick me behavior and the requests start going over the line.
– Artists end up looking at/for the sketchbooks when, instead, the time could be spent interacting with more fans.
– Concerts should be inclusive, but sketchbooks create division.
– Some fans will end up ‘disappointed’ at the artists when their sketchbooks don’t get the attention.

Please know that it’s obnoxious and refrain from bringing sketchbooks.

— Online Post

The post also shared pictures of what the audience in the back sees when some in the front hold up sketchbooks.

OP wrote, “POV: Back row.” | theqoo

The post garnered much attention online; It received hundreds of comments from K-Pop fans in South Korea. Most agreed that sketchbooks should be “banned” from concerts—more so since it is “on the brink of turning into a toxic culture,” as some insisted.

| theqoo

  • “I’ve seen some of them hold up tablets to record. Like, f*ck… You’re blocking the view AND making me go blind.”
  • “How come this was never a problem before but now it is?”
  • “You cannot block other people’s views for attention. Have some manners.”
  • “I hope agencies start looking into banning them.”
  • “This sucks… Even light sticks can become obnoxious if fans hold them up too high.”
  • “Oh, I hate this… Blocking the views and all.”
  • “I never thought about it, but I guess this is indeed a pandemic era thing.”
  • “Whenever this happens, I feel the urge to slap them on the back of their heads.”
  • “One of those pictures comes from a concert that I went to… The view blocking pissed me the f*ck off.”
  • “I hate it when people block the view.”
  • “Oh, I’ve seen these at a recent ‘M Countdown’ shoot…”
  • “These people need help.”
  • “It’s not like the sketchbooks are designed well. Just scribbles and doodles. What’s the point in holding those up?”
  • “I feel terrible for people in the back. Can we please, PLEASE be considerate to each other?”
  • “What’s wrong with the world… I feel like some people no longer can tell apart what’s wrong from right.”

K-Pop fans seeking individual attention at concerts isn’t new. And, in fact, some clever messages on sketchbooks and placards have helped artists interact and make meaningful memories with their fans.

TXT’s Hueningkai Names A MOA’s Baby During Concert

Overall, though, the comments agreed on one thing: Fans could learn to be more considerate of one another.

| theqoo

I stan a fourth generation group and, this is a personal opinion but, I think the age shift has a lot to do with the sketchbooks, too. Young ‘Gen Z’ K-Pop fans are all about vlogging and TikTok-ing. These fans love attention and don’t think twice about disregarding others if it means going viral. I used to never see fans bring iPads before, but now it’s the new norm. We should learn to be more considerate of one another. After all, we go to these concerts because we share a common passion. Right?

— K-Pop Fan

Should sketchbooks be left at home?

Source: theqoo