Editor’s Chatroom: What’s the Essence of Kpop?

Julyssa: So what can be done to get fans to chill about discussions that do more harm than good? The whole thing about BTS not being Kpop when they are Korean and sing in Korean feels like grasping at straws. Almost like they’re being stripped of their own culture just to appease another.

The thing that bothers me a little is- Kpop is great, there is no shame in it being what it is, and there’s no need to change it to have others accept it for what it is. I feel people put to much pride in someone non-western making it big in America. Here I am, since when is being big in America the point? Sure, being globally known and popular is amazing. If we see the artists that are just that, 90% sing in English. But diminishing the roots of what something is just to fit in, it loses its charm-

Amy: -losing your raison d’être. I think the worst that could happen is to ‘whitewash‘ the term ‘Kpop‘ so it’s palatable to someone that will lately claim it was just a trend. It’s like the 90s Latin craze that had Ricky Martin, Marc Anthony and Enrique Iglesias singing in English. And we never got our Shakira back. lol

I think it’s impossible to sing in English and be Kpop. It’s a contradiction.

Julyssa: I am of the camp that language should not be a barrier. I still get a little annoyed when Kpop acts sing their songs in Japanese when I feel there’s no need. They are already known and popular in Japan thanks to their Korean songs. Singing in Japanese feels moot. Sure, it is needed so that the mainstream public can feel familiarity.

So maybe the next step for BTS is to switch to full English. Will that make the fans more happy, or will they alienate their Korean fanbase. It’s an interest scenario to contemplate.

Amy: I used to be of that mentality, but watching the movie market throughout the years, I have seen the upwards trend that movies in foreign languages that are subtitled have lost tremendous market to dubbed films. So a vast majority of people consume what they know and understand, and it pains me to witness that.

Even in a country like the US- the supposed melting pot. There hasn’t been a major foreign film hit since Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, despite the upward trend of Chinese and Indian diasporas watching their own movies. They’re always limited releases, and never nationwide.

Julyssa: It is sad. I mean with Shakira and Ricky moving over to the American market. I personally felt that they lost a little about what made them who they are. Not that I didn’t love their music in English and the amazing way they took over the world, but I will always prefer Shakira in Spanish than English.

It’s kind of like me preferring to read a book in the author’s maternal language, since it gives the book a whole different dynamic. No matter how well the translation is, it never can translate the essence of the original language.

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