Sasaengs are K-Pop fans-turned-stalkers whose obsessions drive them to harass idols by invading their privacy, selling their personal information, and more. Some sasaengs do it for the money, others for the thrill, and each one has a story. Here are four confessed sasaengs who walked away from the sasaeng life, and why.
1. The Boarding School Sasaeng
Korea Scouter TV once interviewed an ex-sasaeng fan who never thought she would ever become one. She was a boarding school student with excellent grades, a satisfactory student life, and a casual interest in K-Pop music. At the time, most of the music she listened to was from the US.
One day though, a member from an unnamed boy group caught her eye. She fell in love with his visuals and dancing, and soon found herself searching for information about him. Before long, she went from listening to the group’s music to obsessively seeking out boyfriend memes and talking about the group nonstop.
Her love for them affected her grades, and she eventually decided to take a gap year to pursue the group, following them to locations and taking part in other sasaeng activities.
Like many sasaengs, she allowed herself to believe that stalking her bias would lead to dating him. When her bias began dating a girl group member, her delusions were shattered, and she was able to move on.
I believed I could at least become close to that celebrity by being a sasaeng. I thought he could become my boyfriend, or at least become a buy friend of mine. I think I had a reality check.
— Former Sasaeng
2. The Turkish Sasaeng
A YouTuber by the name of Sherliza Moé interviewed a Turkish ex-sasaeng who had stalked BTS for three years. For two of those years, the sasaeng was living in Seoul, South Korea.
When asked why she changed her ways, the sasaeng revealed that mental health played a key role. During the last eight months of her sasaeng life, her anxiety and depression became overwhelming, and she reached a breaking point.
I finally stopped when I found myself being so resentful that I contemplated something so embarrassing and illegal, I don’t want to reveal here, but I will say that for some sick reason I desired revenge against the members.
— Former sasaeng
3. Kasami Yamamoto
A Quora user by the name of Kasami Yamamoto revealed that she began stalking BTS in 2017. Even though she occasionally felt guilty about her behavior, and she knew how uncomfortable it made the members, she still couldn’t stop herself.
Stalking BTS took over her entire life, to the point where she stopped pursuing the hobbies she enjoyed before becoming a sasaeng. It wasn’t until her close friend quite being a sasaeng that she decided to change her ways too.
4. The Japanese Sasaeng
Although some sasaengs are able to curb their own behavior, many need intervention from friends and family to spark a change. After a Korean sasaeng offered cash for photos, a Japanese sasaeng took her stalking to the next level by following BTS’s Jungkook to his hotel room.
She ended up becoming passionate about spying on BTS, and she loved the money she was earning from it. What stopped her? Being confronted by her sister. After her sister found out about her stalking behaviour, the Japanese sasaeng went to therapy, and she now regrets her past actions.