Tag Archives: k-pop

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SKorean Artists Try to Carry Out the Dreams of the Young Sewol Victims Posthumously

by HAEIN JUNG

Of the 325 high school students aboard the Sewol ferry that sank off the Korean coast in April, only 75 survived. With the deaths of these 250 teenagers, their hopes and aspirations died with them. However, in a touching tribute, various South Korean artists are trying to carry out these youths’ artistic dreams posthumously, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

In honor of Sewol victim Park Ye-seul, who aspired to become a fashion designer, for example, Seoul’s Seochon Gallery is featuring 40 of the late student’s designs in an exhibition that opened July 4. Titled “Park Ye-seul Exhibition, Danwon High School, 2nd Grade 3rd Class 17th Student,” the display has already been visited by over 5,000 people. The artwork ranges from Park’s childhood crayon doodles to some more recent, developed sketches of shoe designs.

“I hope visitors can take a moment to think about Ye-seul’s dreams and remember the tragedy, and also take the opportunity to reflect on the surviving children and their dreams,” Jang Young-seung, head of Seoul’s Seochon Gallery, told the Hollywood Reporter.

Fashion designer Lee Gyeom-bi is also helping to bring Park’s dreams to fruition by creating two pairs of high heels based on the student’s designs, the article said.

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Park Ye-seul’s shoe design sketch. (via Korea Times)

Meanwhile, K-pop songwriter Yoon Ilsang, who had previously composed a song titled “Budi” (“Please”) to honor the victims, is working on creating a digital album of  the songs written by deceased student Kim Se-yeon, a budding film score composer and head of her school’s theater group. Yoon is hoping to release the album in August, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

Other artists, including singer Shin Yong-jae and the band Sinawai’s Shin Dae-chul, are also working on similar projects with music composed by some of the deceased students, including an unfinished love song by teens Lee Da-un and Nam Hyeon-cheol.

The Seochon Gallery will exhibit Park Ye-seul’s artwork indefinitely, and the Korea JoongAng Daily reports that the gallery would like to add more works of art from other victims, so the people who perished in the Sewol tragedy—and their dreams—are not soon forgotten. “Although those children have not come back, it is our duty to make them live in our hearts,” said gallery head Jang Young-seung, as quoted by the Korea Times

Image at top: A poster of the art of fallen Sewol victim Park Ye-seul, an aspiring designer.

 

 

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G-Dragon, SPICA Join All-Star KCON 2014 Lineup

by JAMES S. KIM

Big Bang’s G-Dragon and girl group SPICA are the latest names to join the lineup for this year’s KCON, the largest Hallyu fan convention in America, happening on August 9 and 10 at the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena. Billboard.com reported that the singer/rapper will headline the first of the two concerts at the festival, which also features fan meet-and-greets and panels.

G-Dragon, who performed with Missy Elliott at last year’s event, will join SPICA (U.S. debut), Girls’ Generation, IU, CNBLUE, Teen Top, B1A4, BTS, VIXX and Jung Joon-young on the stage. South Korean TV and movie stars Lee Seung-gi, Lee Seo-ji and Yoo In-na are also set to appear at the festival.

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KCON expanded to a two-night festival last year, and this year’s event will feature two concerts as well. South Korean music chart program M Countdown will also be filming the performances, which might mean longer sets from the performers.

Tickets go on sale today, and more ticketing options will be available later. You can purchase them at KCONUSA.com.

Top photo: G-Dragon performed with Missy Elliott at last year’s KCON.

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KoreAm’s Ultimate K-pop Summer Playlist

by JAMES S. KIM and STEVE HAN

Tomorrow marks the beginning of summer, and to celebrate, we’ve put together a jam-packed playlist of the best summer-themed K-pop songs ever.

The first wave of hits is a mix of old and new, celebrating a few of our favorite things: the ocean, sand and sunblock.

Whether or not you live near the beach, these songs will take you there.

Cool – “Woman of Beach”’

“It’s summertime!” We jump right in with a blast to the past from Cool.

SISTAR – “Loving U”

SISTAR in Hawaii? Yes, please.

Big Bang – “Sunset Glow”

Beach party with Big Bang? Of course!

Jinusean – “How Deep Is Your Love”

How deep is my love? As deep as the big, blue sea … and as cheesy as late ’90s fashion.

Fly to the Sky – “Sea of Love”

Anyone ready to bust out the karaoke machine yet?

Dynamic Duo – “Summer Time”

The latest single off their new album, which released this past week!

DJ DOC – “Summer Story”

Another summer classic.

UP – “Sea”

UP was a short-lived group, but they did churn out some great tunes, including this one.

Clon – “꿍따리샤바라” (Kung Ddari Sha Bah Rah)

Are you somehow feeling down? Then turn this song up! There’s no proper translation for this song’s title, but the closest might be “hakuna matata.”

IU feat. Clon - “꿍따리샤바라” (Kung Ddari Sha Bah Rah)

IU brings a much more mellow feel to her remake, which also features the original artists.

Jessica (Girls Generation) & Park Myung-soo – “Cold Noodles”

We know how the Spurs won the NBA championship this year. Korean naengmyun is the perfect dish to beat the heat!

MC Mong – “Ice Cream”

Ice cream is a no-brainer. But love can be like ice cream, too. We won’t delve any further.

Yoon Jong-shin – “Pat Bing Soo” (Red Bean Shaved Ice)

The original song about our favorite summer dessert item.

Akdong Musician – “Red Bean Shaved Ice”

These two can sing about cutting down a tree and we’d still listen.

IU & FIESTAR – “Sea of Moonlight”

What if IU were part of a girl group? This is what it may look like, but it’s a short-lived vision as the other girls leave her behind on an island. Seriously, this is what happens in the video. Apparently, they didn’t want to take her on.

Busker Busker – “Yeosu Night Sea”

If you’re walking along a beach a night, perhaps with someone you care about, this is the song for you. Let lead vocalist Jang Beom-jun’s soothing voice wash over you like the crashing waves.

1TYM – “Hot”

Of course, if cooling off isn’t your thing and you always keep it hot, 1TYM understands. (Bonus: Can you spot the future Big Bang members?)

UPDATE: We don’t know how we overlooked these.

Deux – “In The Summer”

Shinhwa – “Eusha Eusha”

Uhm Jung-hwa – “Festival”

What other gems are we still missing?

(Above photo: The Kim Sisters (left to right: Mia, Sue and Aija) pose for a photo shoot at the Edgewater Beach Hotel in Chicago, 1961.)

Before K-pop Hit U.S. Shores, The Kim Sisters Were An American Musical Sensation

A visit with a member of the Kim Sisters, the singing trio who rose to fame in the U.S. long before K-pop hit these shores, leaves an indelible impression.

(Above photo: The Kim Sisters (left to right: Mia, Sue and Aija) pose for a photo shoot at the Edgewater Beach Hotel in Chicago, 1961.)

by BENJAMIN M. HAN

November 2009. Las Vegas, Nevada. I claim my baggage and wait eagerly outside the airport for Sue Kim to pick me up. I’ve never met this member of the Kim Sisters, the singing trio from South Korea who earned notoriety in America in the 1950s and ’60s; the only image I have of her is from the YouTube videos I’d watched over the years. As I look at my watch, I grow anxious and wonder, “How will I recognize her?” Then, I notice a silver Mercedes SUV slowly drive by, with a license plate that reads: SOOK-JA, Sue’s Korean name. Phew. One problem solved. We make eye contact, and she seemingly knows to pull over for me. I get in the car quickly. Seated next to her is her husband, John Bonifazio. We stop at a cozy Korean restaurant, and as I browse the menu, I wonder if Sue still speaks Korean fluently. As soon as she orders bibimbap in perfect Korean, I have my answer.

Over the next two days, I would visit Sue’ s home and conduct extensive interviews with her. As a scholar working on my doctoral dissertation, I was seeking to unearth the history of Korean Americans in early American television. The Kim Sisters were pioneers in this regard, appearing on such popular TV variety shows hosted by the likes of American legends Ed Sullivan and Dean Martin—long before “Gangnam Style” made its way to these shores.

But my time in Las Vegas talking with Sue would turn out to be more than just a research trip; it would be a revelation for me.

As a Korean American myself who grew up in four different countries—the Dominican Republic, Mexico, Indonesia and the United States—I always struggled with identity. When someone would ask me, “Where are you from?” I would hesitate to answer. While I can speak English, Korean and Spanish fluently, I am not a native speaker in any of these languages. In the three days I would spend with Sue, I would feel a deep bond with her. Despite us seemingly having very little in common, and being decades and generations apart, she would become the role model that I had been searching for since I left South Korea at the age of 7. As someone who challenged the racial status when it came to representations on American television at that time, she would become a source of inspiration for me, someone who tries to challenge the black-white paradigm in academia.

I first heard about the Kim Sisters while a graduate student at the University of Southern California studying media. I was already familiar with Asian American actors like Sessue Hayakawa and Philip Ahn. But then, someone mentioned the Kim Sisters to me one day. I asked my parents about the group, and my dad explained that they were really popular in Korea back in the day.

F-Kim-0614-MOTHERThe Kim Sisters with their mother, Lee Nan-young, at the Palmer House in Chicago in 1963.

Later, as a doctoral student at NYU, I started seriously researching the Kim Sisters and managed to find a Las Vegas mailing address for Sue on the Internet. At that time, I had no clue whether she was still residing there, but I drafted a formal letter and mailed it. A few weeks later, I received an unexpected phone call from Sue, and I still remember vividly the first question she asked me: “Why are you interested in my story?” After I gave her a detailed response, she then asked my age. “Twenty-eight years old,” I answered. She was surprised that I was so young. I kindly asked her if I could fly to Vegas to interview her, and she eventually agreed.

Later at an event at the Korea Society in 2010, Sue shared with the audience how she was hesitant to reach out to me when she first received my letter, but it was her husband who convinced her to respond. She ultimately agreed to the interview, she says, because I had told her, “I want to tell your story.”

Sue was one of seven siblings born in Korea to a very musical couple. Their mother, Lee Nan-young, rose to stardom prior to the Korean War with her sentimental ballad “Mokpo Tears.” Their father, Kim Hai-song, was a well-respected composer and orchestra conductor who produced a number of popular musical shows. Thanks to this parentage, the Kim children naturally would become quite musical themselves—but it was also, in part, out of necessity.

After the Korean War broke out in 1950, Kim Hai-song was captured and murdered by the North Korean army, and Lee had to find a way to take care of her family. So she sang for American troops as a way to earn money. Soon, her children would learn how to sing American tunes like “Candy and Cake.” Eldest daughters Young-ja (Jane), and Sook-Ja (Sue) would eventually join their mother performing in the nightclubs of Busan. But being an entertainer was not the life Jane wanted. That’s when their youngest sister Ai-ja and their cousin Min-ja (Mia) Kim joined Sue, and together they formed the Kim Sisters in 1954.

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The Kim Sisters performing with their brothers (the Kim Brothers) at the Stardust Hotel in Las Vegas in 1970.

Despite the negative perception of Asians as the Yellow Peril—an image often perpetuated by Hollywood movies with conniving “Orientals” as the antagonists—the Kim girls established a rapport with the Americans GIs stationed in Korea, and the latter, in turn, taught Sue, then 13, 12-year-old Ai-ja and 11-year-old Min-ja pop stan- dards and, later, rock ‘n’ roll.

“The GIs would go crazy when we sang rock ‘n’ roll songs, even though we didn’t pronounce the lyrics correctly for ‘Blue Suede Shoes’ and ‘St. Louis Blues,” remembered Sue, now 73. “They were pounding their feet and say- ing, ‘More, more!’ … They would give us cases of whiskey and beer, and we would exchange them for rice.

“Without the GIs, we didn’t perform. I don’t know where we will be today. That’s how I feel, how grateful I am. Without them, we couldn’t have survived.”

Meanwhile, on the other side of the Pacific Ocean, there was a flourishing Chinese nightclub scene with the establishment of the Forbidden City and the Chinese Sky Room in San Francisco. A club owner by the name of Tom Ball was the force behind the production of “Oriental” shows, such as the “China Doll Revue” and the “Geisha Revue,” which were performed regularly at the Thunderbird Hotel and Desert Inn Hotel in Las Vegas, respectively. Ball told his friend Dan Sawyer, an owner of an entertainment production company in Japan, that he was searching for another Asian act to headline one of his shows. GIs in South Korea who had seen the Kim Sisters’ act told Sawyer to check out the talented trio. One soldier, Bob McMackin, who was also Sawyer’s friend, arranged an audition for the Kim Sisters in front of Ball in Yongsan, South Korea, in 1958.

“[Ball] liked the fact [we] could sing a lot better than the Happy Tokyo Coats,” recalled Sue, referring to the Japanese performers in one of Ball’s shows.

After the Kim Sisters’ successful tryout, McMackin became their personal manager. “We respect McMackin a lot,” Sue said. “He used to take us to all these clubs and give us fried chicken.”

F-Kim-0614-STAGE2The Kim Sisters playing the banjo in a concert in Hawaii in 1963.

F-Kim-0614-STAGE3The Kim Sisters performing at the Latin Quarter in New York in 1963.

F-Kim-0614-STAGE4The Kim Sisters playing the marimba at the Palmer House in Chicago in 1965.

F-Kim-0614-STAGE5The Kim Sisters playing the violin at the Stardust Hotel in Las Vegas in 1965.

When the young ladies, who had never before been anywhere outside of Korea, arrived in Los Angeles in 1959, the experience was a bit anti-climatic at first. “Someone told us when you go to L.A., you open the hotel room window, you look out, and there is a movie star walking around,” said Sue. “All day we waited, and nobody showed up. [So] our agent Tom Ball put us in his 1959 Cadillac and drove us to Las Vegas.”

While there, the Thunderbird Hotel signed the Kim Sisters for a four-week engagement with a four-week option as part of the “China Doll Revue.” After a successful eight-week run, the group was signed to perform at the Stardust Lounge, where the Sisters would remain entertainers for eight consecutive months.

It was at the Stardust where they captured the attention of legendary TV host Ed Sullivan. In 1959, he was in town to broadcast The Ed Sullivan Show live from Vegas, and after a successful audition, the Kim Sisters made their debut on the variety program on Sept. 20, 1959, performing a cover of the hit song “Sincerely.” They would go on to make 22 appearances on the country’s most watched program, known for bringing American families together every Sunday night. While the trio was able to sing renditions of American popular songs in perfect English, Sue said they had just memorized the lyrics phonetically. She said their struggle to master the English language hindered them somewhat because they could not interact easily with other guests on American shows when they made appearances.

Meanwhile, many newspapers at the time highlighted their assimilation into American society, yet the Kim Sisters always thought of themselves as proud Koreans, said Sue. She described the time when they wore traditional Korean clothing out on the streets, expecting Americans to recognize the hanboks as Korean. “Everybody says, ‘what a beautiful kimono.’ We get so angry—‘this is not a kimono!’” said Sue. “‘This is a Korean outfit!’ I told Ai-ja and Mia: ‘We have to become successful. That’s the only way they are gonna know we are from Korea.’

“As young as we were, we had strong patriotism in our heart,” added Sue. “If anybody said we are from China, we used to get angry. They couldn’ t tell the difference between Japan, China and Korea.”

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The Kim Sisters with Dean Martin on the set of his show in 1967.

While different Asian ethnicities were not distinguishable on American television, what was anomalous about the Kim Sisters’ appearances was the fact that Sullivan often introduced them as performers from Korea. As Sue explained, “Absolutely, we are from the Republic of Korea. They couldn’ t tell South or North. So our manager told Ed Sullivan, ‘It’s gotta be the Republic of Korea.’ ”

My days spent with Sue were filled with unforgettable anecdotes. She recounted giddily the time a container filled with kimchi sent from their family in Korea exploded in the lobby of a New York hotel where they were staying. Then, there was the time the king of rock ‘n’ roll himself, Elvis Presley, came to the Stardust and told the Kim Sisters’ drummer that he would like to take them out. The sisters’ response: “We are not dating.”

The Kim Sisters perform on the variety show Hollywood Palace:

As Sue drove me around Las Vegas, each hotel on the Strip that we passed seemed to conjure vivid memories from her past. She played the Kim Sisters’ songs on the car stereo as she shared her thoughts about each recording. As I observed her face, she looked like a grandmother finding renewed vigor and enthusiasm in telling bedtime stories to her grandchild.

But I had a burning question, one I was initially hesitant to ask: Why would the Sisters often wear the traditional Chinese costume, cheongsam, if they were so self-conscious about their identity as Koreans? I couldn’t leave Las Vegas without getting an answer, and the opportunity came while discussing how Asians have been victims of Orientalism in America. “The act we were doing, there is no way we are going to move around the stage with a Korean costume. It is too much material,” Sue answered matter-of-factly. Also, their agent, Ball, wanted the performers to showcase their beautiful straight legs, she said. Sue, however, did note that the Sisters would also open their act wearing hanboks and singing “Arirang,” the beloved Korean folk song.

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The Kim Sisters with Frank Sinatra at the Harrah’s Club (Lake Tahoe) in 1976.

As for responding to critics who could read the Kim Sisters perfor ances as self-Orientalism, Sue said that the Kim Sisters knew what the industry wanted, and therefore that meant they had to sometimes perform songs like “China Nights” (or “Shina No Yoru,” a Japanese song), the most requested song by GIs in the U.S. Army clubs. But the Sisters also often switched into different costumes—including Western dresses, heels and sometimes top hats— and played a variety of musical instruments (clarinet, xylophone, drums, trumpet, etc.) and genres of music within the same act. As the women took command of the stage, showing off their considerable talent as entertainers, period, this was arguably an illustration of how they were subverting stereotypical representations of Asians in America. Who could forget their 1963 Ed Sullivan performance, in which they sang a song in English paying homage to their mother, singing lyrics like, “Mother taught us all we know in Korea”? In the same performance, their mother joined the Kim Sisters on stage and sang her lyrics in Korean. Again, this happened in the 1960s, on the most popular American TV show at the time.

Throughout the ’60s, the Kim Sisters would enjoy tremendous visibility and success, also appearing on the shows of entertainers Dinah Shore and Dean Martin. Ai-ja was even offered a role in the all-Asian cast for the musical Flower Drum Song. However, she turned down the offer because she thought her English was not fluent enough to play the role.

In 1970, the Kim Sisters returned to Korea for the first time since they left in 1959. They had been cultural ambassadors on behalf of Korea to the United States for years, but upon their arrival, they did not receive a warm welcome. An interpreter was waiting for them at the airport because the Korean government thought they had not only lost touch with their native country, but also lost the language. When the Kim Sisters showed they could speak Korean just fine and had their cultural pride still intact, Koreans embraced them. Their concert at Sejong Center sold out quickly. During their short stay in Korea, they recorded a song titled “Kimchi Kkakdugi,” (Cubed Radish Kimchi) that described their experience as diasporic Koreans:

Our home is far away Memories of yesterday
Now we found the other way We are in the U.S.A.
We will rock some songs today We must eat the American way

Just like there is an ending to every great film or novel, there is an ending to the extraordinary story of the Kim Sisters. As each member found her life partner and started her own family, the siblings’ career as entertainers slowly came to an end. Ai-ja passed away in 1987 due to lung cancer; Mia went to Hungary to relaunch her music career; and Sue settled in Las Vegas with John, her husband of 45 years, giving birth to a son and daughter and now with five grandchildren. Sue continued to perform with her brothers, the Kim Brothers, in different venues throughout the United States and Korea until 1994.

F-Kim-0614-suekim2Sue Kim, in a photo taken this past April.

March 2014. Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Four years after my visit, I receive a phone call from Sue. She can’t hide her excitement as she shares the news that she will become the first Korean to be inducted into the Nevada Entertainer/ Artist Hall of Fame on March 27.

After the Hall of Fame event, I speak again with Sue. The Korean American Women’s Association attended the event to honor her, she says, but not a single Korean newspaper showed up to cover the story. Even former South Korean President Kim Dae-jung once promised that the country would host a celebration to commemorate the trio’s contribution to South Korean cultural diplomacy, but that promise was never fulfilled.

I hope articles like this one help make people more aware of the Kim Sisters’ incredible journey as some of the earliest Korean entertainers to be embraced by mainstream American audiences. I hope their story inspires younger generations, as it has me.

Sue tells me that, as a young child in Korea, she used to look at the stars in the sky, pray and hope that she would go to America someday. Her childhood dreams have been more than fulfilled. “Dream big, never give up,” said Sue. “Work at it, and your dream will come true.”

This article was published in the June 2014 issue of KoreAm. Subscribe today! To purchase a single issue copy of the June issue, click the “Buy Now” button below. (U.S. customers only. Expect delivery in 5-7 business days).


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TIME Names Girls Generation’s “Mr. Mr.” One Of 25 Best Songs Of The Year

by STEVE HAN

Dubbed by TIME as the “K-pop juggernaut,” Girls’ Generation’s (aka SNSD) “Mr. Mr” has been chosen by the magazine as one of the 25 best songs this year.

Fans, they say, “won’t be disappointed by their latest dance-friendly single, and the addition of a scratchy electronic bass line and a hint of darkness should even attract listeners who don’t dig their usual bubblegum sound.”

“Mr. Mr.” made the list alongside Mariah Carey’s “Make It Look Good,” “Love Never Felt So Good” by Michael Jackson and Rita Ora’s “I Will Never Let You Down.”

The selection of Girls’ Generation’s latest song comes at an odd timing as South Korean fans and media alike are starting to wonder if the popularity of the once mega-popular idol group is starting to wane. Even the search intensity on Girls’ Generation in recent months has been mediocre in comparison to Psy, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Nevertheless, Girls’ Generation will return to the U.S. in August to headline KCON 2014 in Los Angeles. KCON will take place over two days, Aug. 9 and 10.

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UC Irvine Korean Culture Night Presents: ‘KOREAM NIGHT LIVE’

Live from UC Irvine, it’s KOREAM NIGHT LIVE! This year, UC Irvine Korean Culture Night presents a production exploring art, entertainment, food, identity, and everything in between. Bringing together various performances by student actors, dancers and musicians, the show is a celebration and reflection on the memories and stories that have shaped the identities of Korean Americans today.

KOREAM NIGHT LIVE: “WHO WE ARE” is an interactive production that aims to give life to the personal recollections of our community members through a fusion of comedy and theatrics. Student acts include modern dance team Urban Mótus, traditional Korean percussion group Hansori and K-pop dance team KKAP (KONNECT K-pop Aspiring Performers.

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Come join the party this Friday, May 9, at 7:30 p.m. in the Barclay Theatre at UC Irvine. Doors will open at 7 p.m. Check out the trailer after the jump.

UC Irvine Korean Culture Night (KCN), presented by KONNECT UCI and the Korean American Students Assocation (KASA), is a student run production and is the biggest collaborative effort by the Korean American student community on campus since 2011. The goal of KCN is to promote solidarity and friendship, as well as to spread awareness about and celebrate Korean and Korean American culture.

Please check the Facebook event page for information on purchasing tickets. You can buy them online at the Barclay Theatre website.

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New Film Stars K-pop Star BoA and Dancing With the Stars’ Derek Hough

BoA and Derek Hough star in Make Your Move. Image via High Top Releasing

by LORNA SOONHEE UMPHREY

K-pop fans get a chance to see their “Queen of Pop,” BoA, in a whole new light, as she makes her American feature film debut in Make Your Move, co-starring Dancing With the Stars’ Derek Hough.

Set in the underground dance clubs of New York, the film tells the story of star-crossed dancers Aya (played by BoA) and Donny (played by Hough), whose respective families are competing to see who has the most successful dance club in the Brooklyn scene. Their brothers (Aya’s brother is played by Korean American actor Will Yun Lee) also are former partners who had a testy falling-out, making the pairing of Aya and Donny a somewhat forbidden one.

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The film’s writer and director Duane Adler (Step Up, Save The Last Dance) said that he wrote the role of Aya specifically for BoA. “I got introduced to her personally years ago through a Korean filmmaker friend of mine who said, ‘You make dance films, you need to know who this girl is.’ So when I started writing this movie, I wrote it with her in mind,” he said, during red carpet interviews at a March 31 screening at The Grove in Los Angeles.

So Adler sent over the script to the global K-pop star, and it didn’t take much convincing after that, according to BoA. “Ater I read it, I said, ‘Oh my gosh, I could relate to the character,” said BoA, also at the L.A. screening.

And, once she knew that the choreographers for the film would be dancing veterans Napoleon and Tabitha D’umo (So You Think You Can Dance and America’s Best Dance Crew), she jumped on board with the project. “They’re great, amazing choreographers, and I had wanted to work with them even before I started working on this project,” BoA said.

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This being her first English-language feature film, the singer admitted it was a challenge to act in English. “It was pretty tough, but I think I did my best, and it was really great to work with Derek and Duane,” she said.

Hough, who said it was “great to work with BoA,” was the one on set who shared with some fellow cast members just how prominent a pop icon BoA is.

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“When I got the role, I didn’t know who BoA was,” admitted Wesley Jonathan, who plays Hough’s foster brother in the film. “Then, one night we’re all in Derek’s room, and Derek puts her on YouTube. She’s amazing—her dancing, her music and everything.”

Notably, Make Your Move was scheduled to have an April 16 VIP premiere, but TV Report said that it was canceled because of the tragic South Korean ferry sinking, which occurred this week. BoA also reportedly has canceled other planned interviews for the film because of the incident, which has a nation in mourning.

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Uh-ee

Korean Network Bans Crayon Pop Song for Japanese Word

Crayon Pop in a music video for the group’s single, “Uh-ee.” Image via Chrome Entertainment

When it comes to Korean music, it doesn’t get any more traditional than “trot.” But as girl group Crayon Pop found out, it can take just one word to get a song banned from broadcast.

Last Thursday, South Korean network KBS confirmed it had banned “Uh-ee,” Crayon Pop’s latest single, for the use of a Japanese word, “ppikka,” which means “shiny” in Japanese.

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There is nothing inappropriate about the word, except for that it is Japanese in origin, according to the executives at KBS, which is well-known for being a conservative network.

“KBS notified us that ‘ppikka‘ is a vestige of Japanese imperialism and needs to be refined,” said Lee Sung-soo, an official at Chrome Entertainment. All other Korean television networks, however, approved the song.

The chorus of the catchy electro-pop song begins with “ppikka” and “bbunjjuk,” which is the Korean equivalent to “shiny,” as the girls sing about making sure they live their lives to the fullest, with shiny things. There is no reference to anything Japanese, and “ppikka bbunjjuk” is a commonly used term to describe something shiny—or someone who likes shiny things.

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According to Chrome Entertainment, the company has since changed the word to “bbunjjuk” and the band has re-recorded the song for KBS. Because Korea was under Japanese occupation between 1910 and 1945, the South Korean government used to have a policy of banning imports of Japanese culture, but no longer has such a policy. KBS, however, has a track record of banning songs and videos that it deems inappropriate, as it did last year with Psy’s “Gentleman” music video, which depicts the singer kicking a traffic cone.