Tag Archives: k-pop

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LINK ATTACK: Naomi Ko, Jeremy Lin Goes Undercover, ‘World War Z’ North Korea

North Korea’s Ebola Response Mirrors World War Z
Although the current Ebola outbreak is far from a zombie apocalypse, many readers have been comparing North Korea’s closure of its borders to the events in Max Brooks’ 2006 dystopian novel World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War.

Korean Adoptee Heather Schultz Starts the Search for Her Birth Family
“I remember thinking this is what mothers do — they leave you,” said freelance writer and editor Heather Schultz. Schultz, who is currently on a three-week trip to South Korea, discusses her early childhood as a Korean adoptee and how she came to discover her birth family’s stories.

heatherschutlz(Photo credit: Heather Schultz)

South Korea Launches “Happy Education” Policy to Shorten Study Hours
President Geun-Hye Park launched a “Happy Education” policy that aims to prevent students from measuring their success solely based on academics by placing a one semester ban on exams for 13-year-old students.

The South Korean Ferry Tragedy Has Exposed a Political Divide
More than six months after the Sewol ferry disaster, extreme right-wing groups are now protesting against Sewol victims’ families’ ongoing sit-in protests.

Why K-pop Idols Flee From Their Groups
The Joongang Daily explores the numerous reasons why K-pop idols choose to depart from their groups.

Why I Changed My Korean Name and Why I Changed It Back
“Growing up in Seoul, South Korea, I loved my name. … Butchered in foreign tongues, ‘Seonjae’ did not have the beauty and power that accompanied it back in Seoul.”

Rainbow House Aids Abused Women
Rainbow House, a shelter for abused women in Flushing, was founded by a Korean pastor, Rev. Keumhyan Yeu and provides meals and a full-time social worker to families struck by domestic violence.

 

Naomi Ko of Dear White People on Avoiding the Asian Representation Trap
Visibility Project interviews Naomi Ko, who talks about what it means to be a millennial of color and how the feature film Dear White People deconstructs racial stereotypes.

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Japan Could Deploy Minesweepers off SKorea in War with North, U.S. Admiral Says
“Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s decision to let Japan’s military fight overseas could open the way for the country to deploy minesweepers in South Korean waters in the event of a war with North Korea, a senior U.S. admiral said on Friday.”

 

Top 10 Weirdest Places in South Korea
Korea Observer compiles ten bizarre places in South Korea, including the Suwon Toilet Museum and Love Castle, a sex museum in Gyeongju.

Whistle-blower Sees Little Change in South Korea 10 Years After Exposing Cloning Fraud
Whistle-blower Ryu Young-joon, who exposed groundbreaking cloning research as fraud, speaks for the first time about the fallout he faced from his tip-offs and discusses how South Korea is still tied down by values that allowed cloning fraudster Woo Suk Hwang “to become an almost untouchable national hero.”

 

Conductor Kristjan Jarvi on Giving ‘Gangnam Style’ a Classical Spin
Grammy-nominated conductor Kristjan Jarvi programs the viral song “Gangnam Style” to Pablo de Sarasate’s late 19th-century classic song “Zigeunerweisen.”

Cured of Ebola, Nina Pham Gets a Hug From Obama
Nina Pham, a nurse who caught Ebola while caring for a diagnosed patient in Dallas, was released Friday after making a complete recovery from the deadly virus. She met with President Barack Obama at the White House, where she received a thank-you for her medical service as well as a hug.

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Jeremy Lin Goes Undercover as Adidas Store Employee
NBA star Jeremy Lin is back with another prank. In his latest video, Lin poses as an Adidas store employee in Taipei and interacts with several unsuspecting customers.

As Decades of Korean Adoptions Dwindle, Identity Issues Remain
“What I hope the legacy of Korean-American adoptees is,” Korean adoptee Joy Lieberthal said, “is that we’ve elevated the level of conversation of what it means to be Asian, Asian-American, Korean, Korean-American.”

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[VIDEO] John Cho of ‘Selfie’ Dances to Crayon Pop’s “Bar Bar Bar”

by REERA YOO

In the latest episode of ABC’s sitcom Selfie, John Cho busted out his K-pop dance moves to Crayon Pop’s viral song “Bar Bar Bar.”

Cho’s character Henry finds himself babysitting Charmonique’s son, Kevin, with Eliza on a Saturday night in the show’s fourth episode, “Nugget of Wisdom.” The hilarious dance scene occurs when the trio attempts to create an illusion of a night club, so Eliza can upload photos of a “fun weekend” on her Instagram.

Upon hearing the bubbly song, Henry scoffs and says, “Oh I get it. You think because I’m Korean, I automatically like K-pop.”

However, Henry is unable to resist the infectious beat and soon releases his inner K-pop fanboy by dancing wildly. Even Eliza seems to enjoy the music as she shows off dance moves similar to Crayon Pop’s signature “straight-five engine dance.”

Watch the epic dance party below:

No one can resist the K-pop.

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Ladies’ Code’s Fatal Accident Likely Caused by Speeding, Not Vehicle Defect

by REERA YOO

On Oct. 20, Yongin Seobu Police Station released the results of the detailed analysis submitted by the National Institute of Scientific Investigation (NISI) and confirmed that Ladies’ Code‘s fatal accident was most likely due to the driver speeding and not a vehicle malfunction, as first suspected.

According to Star News, the police analyzed the CCTV footage of the accident and determined that the driver was traveling 130 kilometers per hour (about 81 miles per hour) instead of the speed limit of 100 kph (about 62 mph).

The driver had initially told the police that he felt the wheel pop off before the van hit the guard rail, but the NISI’s results proved otherwise, stating that the wheel came off as a result of impact. It is most likely that the driver lost control of the vehicle due to speeding on a rain-drenched expressway at night .

The police plan to review the case further to see if additional questioning is necessary before submitting the case to the prosecutor’s office.

Ladies’ Code’s fatal accident occurred on Sept. 3, which claimed the lives of members EunB and Rise, leaving the staff and remaining three members injured. Currently, members Sojung, Ashely, and Zuny are continuing to receive treatment for their injuries.

Photo courtesy of Allkpop

South Korea Concert Accident

K-pop Concert Planner Found Dead in Apparent Suicide After 16 Die

KIM TONG-HYUNG, Associated Press

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — A South Korean man involved in planning an outdoor pop concert where 16 people were killed after falling through a ventilation grate was found dead Saturday in an apparent suicide, officials said, as doctors treated eight others facing life-threatening injuries from the disaster.

The man, 37, an employee of the Gyeonggi Institute of Science and Technology Promotion, was found dead at around 7 a.m. in Seongnam, the city south of Seoul where Friday’s accident occurred, said city spokesman Kim Nam-jun.

The site of his death was not far from where 16 people watching a performance by 4Minute, a girls band that is popular across Asia, were killed when the ventilation grate they were standing on collapsed. Eleven other people were seriously injured.

It was believed that the man, who was questioned by police Friday night over the accident, leaped from the top of a 10-story building, police inspector Park Jeong-ju said.

Gyeonggi Institute of Science and Technology Promotion was one of the sponsors of the concert, which was organized by the news site Edaily and was part of a local festival. About 700 people had gathered to watch the concert, which was abruptly halted after the accident happened.

In a televised briefing on Saturday, Seongnam City spokesman Kim Nam-jun said there was a possibility that the death toll from the accident could rise. Of the 11 people treated at hospitals, eight were dealing with life-threatening injuries to the abdomens or lungs, Kim said.

Most of those who were killed were men in their 30s and 40s, while five were women in their 20s and 30s, fire officials said.

Photos of the accident scene showed a deep concrete shaft under the broken grate. Kim said it was believed that the grate collapsed under the weight of the people.

A video recorded by someone at the concert that was shown on the YTN television network showed the band continuing to dance for a while in front of a crowd that appeared to be unaware of the accident.

Dozens of people were shown standing next to the ventilation grate, gazing into the dark gaping hole where people had been standing to watch the performance. YTN said the ventilation grate was about 3 to 4 meters (10 to 12 feet) wide. Photos apparently taken at the scene showed that the ventilation grate reached to the shoulders of many passers-by.

The collapse came as South Korea is still struggling with the aftermath of a ferry disaster in April that left more than 300 people dead or missing.

For a time, the sinking jolted South Korea into thinking about safety issues that had been almost universally overlooked as the country rose from poverty and war to an Asian power.

The tragedy exposed regulatory failures that appear to have allowed the ferry Sewol to set off with far more cargo than it could safely carry. Family members say miscommunications and delays during rescue efforts doomed their loved ones.

Analysts say many safety problems in the country stem from little regulation, light punishment for violators and wide ignorance about safety in general — and a tendency to value economic advancement over all else.

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Associated Press writer Youkyung Lee contributed to this report. Photo courtesy of Lee Jin-man/AP. 

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

 
South Korea Concert Accident

16 Dead After Ventilation Grate Collapses at K-pop Concert

KIM TONG-HYUNG, Associated Press

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Sixteen people watching an outdoor pop concert in South Korea fell 20 meters (60 feet) to their deaths Friday when a ventilation grate they were standing on collapsed, officials said.

Photos of the scene in Seongnam, just south of Seoul, showed a deep concrete shaft under the broken grate.

Seongnam city spokesman Kim Nam-jun announced the deaths in a televised briefing and said 11 others were seriously injured.

Fire officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because of office rules, said the victims were standing on the grate while watching an outdoor performance by girls’ band 4Minute, which is popular across Asia.

About 700 people had gathered to watch the concert, which was part of a local festival. Fire officials said many of the dead and injured appeared to be commuters who stopped to watch the concert after leaving work. Most of the dead were men in their 30s and 40s, while five were women in their 20s and 30s, they said.

Kim said it was believed that the grate collapsed under the weight of the people. Prime Minister Chung Hong-won visited an emergency center in Seongnam and urged officials to focus on helping the victims’ families and ensure the injured get proper treatment, Kim said.

A video recorded by someone at the concert that was shown on the YTN television network showed the band continuing to dance for a while in front of a crowd that appeared to be unaware of the accident.

Dozens of people were shown standing next to the ventilation grate, gazing into the dark gaping hole where people had been standing to watch the performance. YTN said the ventilation grate was about 3 to 4 meters (10 to 12 feet) wide. Photos apparently taken at the scene showed that the ventilation grate reached to the shoulders of many passers-by.

The collapse came as South Korea is still struggling with the aftermath of a ferry disaster in April that left more than 300 people dead or missing.

For a time, the sinking jolted South Korea into thinking about safety issues that had been almost universally overlooked as the country rose from poverty and war to an Asian power.

The tragedy exposed regulatory failures that appear to have allowed the ferry Sewol to set off with far more cargo than it could safely carry. Family members say miscommunications and delays during rescue efforts doomed their loved ones.

Analysts say many safety problems in the country stem from little regulation, light punishment for violators and wide ignorance about safety in general — and a tendency to value economic advancement over all else.

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Associated Press writer Youkyung Lee contributed to this story. Photo courtesy of AP/Yonhap.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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2NE1’s CL to Make U.S. Solo Debut With Support of Scooter Braun

by REERA YOO

K-pop’s “baddest female” and 2NE1’s leader CL is prepping for a U.S. solo debut with the help of Scooter Braun, the famous talent manager behind Justin Bieber, Ariana Grande, and CL’s label mate PSY.

According to Korean news outlet Star News, the female rapper has already completed recording various tracks for the album. YG Entertainment confirmed the new earlier today and announced that CL will be releasing a U.S. single in the spring of next year.

Braun reportedly met CL in April last year and noted her high market potential due to her rapping skills, fashion sense and English proficiency.

Since their 2009 debut, 2NE1 has been blazing a trail in the international music scene, topping charts and breaking records. According to Billboard, 2NE1’s most recent album Crush is the highest-charting K-pop album ever. The group was also the first female Korean act to hold solo concerts in American arenas.
In May 2013, CL debuted in Korea as a soloist with her song “The Baddest Female,” which achieved an all-kill on South Korea’s major music charts just three hours after its release and its music video reached over a million views in less than 24 hours.

CL has been steadily rising in popularity overseas as a Fashion Week Regular, thanks to her designer friend Jeremy Scott along with her appearance on Skirllex’s new album. Maybelline New York also signed a modeling and endorsement deal with the starlet earlier this year.

In an interview with Billboard last year, CL expressed her solo ambitions and said she would like to express a different side of her as a musician, apart from her image with 2NE1.

“I want to represent Asian women,” she said. “I want to break that typical Asian female stereotype. There’s this standard where they’re all calm. I want to break that. I want to tell the world that there are some badass Asian female girls.”

Photo courtesy of CL’s Instagram

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Sungmin of Super Junior to Marry Actress Kim Sa Eun

by REERA YOO

Sungmin of Super Junior released an official statement on Tuesday, confirming that he will be marrying musical actress Kim Sa Eun in December, reported the Korea Herald.

Earlier in the day, local media outlets reported that the couple would tie the knot on Dec. 13 at the luxurious wedding hall The Raum in Seoul. However, Kim’s agency Golden 8 Entertainment initially denied the reports only to later confirm the wedding after talking with the actress.

“I met a good woman and will marry her on Dec. 13. I am heartbroken that you might have been perplexed and surprised about the news,” Sungmin wrote on his official homepage. “The news went viral while I was thinking about how to tell my good friends and loving E.L.F. I wanted to let you know myself. I am really sorry that you had to find out about it through the reports.”

After the 28-year-old singer released his statement, SM Entertainment reassured fans that Sungmin will continue his group activities even after marriage, according to Xports News.

The label even tweeted an encouraging message saying, “Sungmin~ Congratulations on your marriage! We wish for your happiness and blessings. We love you. -(Every) SM Entertainment family members.”

Kim and Sungmin met as co-stars in the musical The Three Musketeers late last year and made their relationship public just last month.

Many fans have brought up the possibility of a shotgun wedding, but Global 8 dismissed this claim in an official statement, stating that the two families met and picked the wedding date together.

Photo courtesy of Wow Keren

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EXO’s Luhan Files Lawsuit Against SM Entertainment

by REERA YOO

SM Entertainment is going through a rough year.

Following EXO member Kris’ lawsuit, (f)x’s Sulli’s sudden hiatus, and the recent withdrawal of Jessica from Girls’ Generation, another SM artist has filed for a contract termination lawsuit against the K-pop agency.

According to the Seoul Central District Court, EXO’s Chinese member Luhan filed a lawsuit against SM Entertainment on Oct. 10 in a bid to nullify his contract. The paperwork filed is reportedly the same as what his fellow bandmate Kris filed in May. It’s also being reported that Hankyul, the law firm that represented Kris and former Super Junior member Hangeng, will be handling Luhan’s case.

SM recently said in a statement that it was “baffled” by the lawsuit and claimed that they were in midst of discussing Luhan’s future activities after the artist had requested more individual activities in China. The agency added that they suspect a third party to be influencing Kris and Luhan’s actions.

“As it was with Kris’s case, Luhan filed a lawsuit when it was unnecessary, using the same pattern and lawyers after gaining immense popularity with the group, which leads us to believe that he is now prioritizing his own personal benefits while disregarding the understanding of his contract with the agency as well as everyone affected by his contract,” SM said in a statement.

While the specific details of Luhan’s case have yet to be revealed, media outlets are speculating that Luhan’s reasons for the suit are very similar to what Hangeng and Kris cited in the past. Sina, a Chinese media portal, recently revealed four main reasons as to why Luhan has filed termination against his agency:

1. SM Entertainment is unable to provide good future development plans for Luhan.
2. There is alleged discrimination in terms of treatment between Korean and Chinese members.
3. The allocations of resources are unreasonable.
4. Luhan has been experiencing health issues due to over-exhaustion of the body and stress

Rumors about Luhan’s fallout with his label first started circulating when the Chinese member was not present at the EXO concert in Bangkok last month. SM cited health problems as the main reason for his absence at the time, stating that the singer had been suffering from headaches and a sleep disorder. However, fans remained skeptical after Luhan’s consecutive absences from band activities including the SMTOWN concert in Tokyo.

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(Photo courtesy of Soompi)

As soon as news of Luhan’s lawsuit became public, SM stocks plummeted down to the daily limit of 15%, resulting in a loss of 64 billion won, the company’s all-time low this year. This steep plunge has allowed YG Entertainment to take the lead in market capitalization, according to Koreaboo. With the recent departures of some of its most popular K-pop artists, SM is expected to see a continuous drop in its stocks, without much time for recovery.

Featured photo courtesy of MTV Vietnam