The Reality Of Early K-Pop Fan Culture That Is Unimaginable Today

Netizens reflect on how different fan culture was at the beginning of K-Pop.

Recently a post on a popular Korean online community board reminisced on the early years of K-Pop’s first generation and resurfaced a video from an event for a 1st-gen K-Pop group member that would be unthinkable today.

First-generation K-Pop group Fin.K.L

First-generation K-Pop group Shinhwa

With current K-Pop idols, companies often make a strong effort to protect their artists, with many posting clear guidelines and notices for fans to adhere to regarding idols’ private lives and where it is appropriate for fans to be.

For example, HYBE Labels often releases “fan etiquette” statements asking fans to refrain from visiting the company building, idols’ homes, or private schedules, among other privacy requests.

A standard “fan etiquette” notice | HYBE Labels

The OP (original poster) from the online community board posted a video from 2001 that seemed to be a scenario that companies today would want to avoid at all costs.

The video was of a news report, and on-scene footage showed a large crowd of people organized in a parking lot. Most were seated in the crowd, but some people came forward to bring gifts down an orderly line to add to a growing pile of presents.

While a large number of fans gathering for a public celebration of an idol’s birthday is not out of the ordinary, what was uncommon about this birthday party was that it was held in the parking lot of the first-generation K-Pop group H.O.T.‘s apartment complex.

Police officers arrived, not to ask fans to leave, but to help control the crowd as H.O.T.’s leader Moon Hee Jun arrived to briefly partake in his birthday celebrations.

The crowd cheering and yelling made the apartment community seem more like a concert venue as Moon Hee Jun cut his cake and greeted fans.

Netizens commented on how much fan culture has changed since then, sharing that idol addresses were more easily accessible in the first generation of K-Pop. At times, they were even published in newspapers and magazines.

Fan culture borderlined obsessive for not all, but some fans, which led older generations to frown upon younger generations being K-Pop idol fans at the time.

Infamous example of sasaeng fans in the background of Kim Junsu’s photo

Others reminisced on how rules and regulations hardly existed during K-Pop’s early generations. It would be unimaginable today to see an event like that occur at an idol’s home today.

Today’s fan culture isn’t perfect for any interest, whether for sports, film, celebrities, or music. Still, it was interesting for many netizens to remember the progress that has been made in establishing boundaries for idols over the years.

Check out the news clip below!

Source: theqoo and YouTube