Understanding the Influence of K-Pop on Filipino Teens

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Kpop are becoming more popular in Asia especially in the Philippines more particularly on Filipino Teenagers or what we call nowadays as millennials. The influence of Kpop on Filipino teenagers is gradually increasing. The visual, music, choreography, and artistic content of Korean music and videos are the factors that hook the Filipino Teens to be influenced by Kpop. Kpop influences Filipino teens in a negative and positive way. In this study, I would like to break the stereotype that most Filipinos who are not a Kpop fan tend to think that the only influence of Kpop music and videos to the Filipino teenagers are negative. I would make an emphasis on the positive influence of Korean music and videos on Filipino Teens. One negative effect that non-K-pop fan assumes by listening and watching Korean music and videos is that Kpop fan are becoming anti-social because they are always using computers or other gadgets by watching their idols but they don’t know that being a fan is also a way of having friends online or offline because you have the same interest like the same Kpop group to idolize.

Korean Wave also known as Hallyu is the rapid spread of the Korean entertainment industry in Asia. It is becoming more popular and love by countries such as Japan, Taiwan and China but I believe that the Philippines is gradually being influenced by the Korean Wave. In school, you can see students who dyed their hair in different colors like pink, white, red and more. Filipino teens are also addicted in Korean Dramas, after an episode aired they will post on social medias like facebook, twitter and Instagram about their favorite scene and reaction to the episode. The fashion style and hair style of Korean artists are also influencing the fashion and hair style of Filipino teens.

Kpop is a musical genre originating in South Korea that is characterized by a wide variety of audiovisual elements. A mixture of trendy western music and high-energy Japanese pop, which preys on the listener’s heads with both singing and rap, and emphasizes performance and strong visuals (Rolling Stone Magazine).

Auditions are necessary for becoming a Kpop idol. Various entertainments whether it is small or big, such as the big three entertainments in South Korea, SM Entertainment, YG Entertainment, and JYP Entertainment. Aspiring KPOP idols audition base on singing, dancing, and also by their looks. Accepted auditionee undergoes training and they are called trainees, they train for approximately 1 to 3 years if you are already talented and ready to debut or unfortunately they are trained up to 5 to 7 years because they still have an enhancement to do or they are not yet ready to debut. The goal of a trainee is to debut because this is the stepping stone for them to reach their dreams to perform what they have practice hard every minute, hour, and day in front of many people, and now they are called rookie group or a newbie group. They have now had their own fans just like how they are also a fan of their inspirational idols in the past.

The spread of Kpop in the Philippines started in 2009 by the legends of Kpop like Super Junior with their sensational song “Sorry, Sorry”, 2ne1 a four-membered group including our “Pambansang Krung Krung” Sandara Park or also known as Dara in South Korea, and Girl’s Generation with their hit song “Genie” that is composed of 11 members. They are the legends who gave away to their junior in Kpop to promote internationally. Although came from a small company Big Hit Entertainment, BTS also known as Bangtan Boys gained so much popularity not just in Asia but also in North America, South America, and Europe. In the Philippines BTS are one of the most popular Kpop boy group that teenage Filipino’s adored. “Music can change the world because it can change people” –Bono. “Music is now a part of many people’s lives and some even say that life is meaningless without it. In our generation, many people are dependent on music. It is evident that mood changes according to on what genre of music they were listening to and these genres include; pop, jazz, rock, slow rock, RNB, hip hop or rap, and many more. Kpop fits in our generation particularly in the 21st generation which has already accepted the Kpop civilization” (Agatep, E.A., Carvajal, J.A. II, Ballesteros, A.J., Navalta, C., Dulay, G.E., Espinueva, R.A., Magpali, D., Oringo, F., 2014, pp. 2).

With the help of technology, Kpop has spread to all over the world including here in the Philippines. Filipino teenagers are being influenced by their love and adoration on their favorite Kpop group. By listening on the music and watching the videos of their favorite group Filipino fans are influencing learning the language of their idols. “Language means the method of human communication, either spoken or written, consisting of the use of words in a structured and conventional way” (Agatep, E.A., Carvajal, J.A. II, Ballesteros, A.J., Navalta, C., Dulay, G.E., Espinueva, R.A., Magpali, D., Oringo, F., 2014, pp. 3). Language has a large impact on being a fan it is more advantageous for a fan to know and understand what your idols are saying and what is the meaning of their music.

Because of this Kpop fans are being influenced on learning the Korean language so that they can feel that they are the same with their idols even just through language. In the Philippines, we can observe that Filipino teenagers instead of saying hi in English or in Filipino language they are saying “annyeonghaseyo” in the Korean language because they are influenced by their favorite Kpop group that they are able to apply it in a daily basis. Also, by listening to Kpop music everyday Kpop fans are memorizing the lyrics of their favorite Kpop song and it will remain in their memory because they are always listening to it. “Language imparts a great role on the perception of fans as well as ordinary people” (Agatep, E.A., Carvajal, J.A. II, Ballesteros, A.J., Navalta, C., Dulay, G.E., Espinueva, R.A., Magpali, D., Oringo, F., 2014, pp. 3).

The visual, music, choreography and artistic content of the Korean music and videos are the factors that hooks the Filipino Teens to be influenced by Kpop. Music videos of kpop are different from western music videos because of its visual and artistic contents and story lines because western music doesn’t really have a story line and mostly sensual. Kpop music videos are in a form of various concepts, it can be cute, refreshing, cool and sometimes it can also be sexy. Filipino teens are influenced by Kpop music because of its catchy and repetitive lyrics and rhythm that is impossible to forget easily and also because of its catchy sound you can easily dance to the beat.

"The K-Pop songs that are most popular with international audiences have several key factors that make them unique and catchy. One of the most common forms of the K-Pop song features a repetitive chorus with a synchronized group dance. Representative examples of this kind of song include “Nobody” by the Wonder Girls, “Gee” by Girls’ Generation, “Ring Ding Dong” by SHINEE, and “Mister” by KARA. Overseas fans of K-Pop copy the group dances and upload the videos onto YouTube, which promotes the rapid spread of K-Pop music” (Korean Culture No.2, K-POP: A New Force in Pop Music, 2011, pp. 11).

Another factor that hooks Filipino teens in Kpop is their powerful and synchronized choreography. It is entertaining to watch the impressive and unbelievable choreography. Many fans make a version of the choreography of their favorite Kpop group that they realize that it is very difficult although when you are just watching you will think that it is just easy to execute. Kpop idol’s hard work in dancing also influences their fans who love dancing to pursue their dreams on dancing and never give up just like them. Kpop idols are really putting much effort to present a great stage to their fans, that is why their fans appreciate and love their choreographies. K-pop music’s beat is unique and is most appealing compared to other genres of music. “K-pop music’s Music Video gives entertainment to viewers, with their amazing dance steps and costumes. Melody gives the whole song its meaning and appreciation to fans. Sensational hits like the Gangnam Style of Psy became remarkable, it’s beat, music video and melody gave its viewers a deeper understanding in the song” (Agatep, E.A., Carvajal, J.A. II, Ballesteros, A.J., Navalta, C., Dulay, G.E., Espinueva, R.A., Magpali, D., Oringo, F., 2014, pp. 4). Another factor that influences the Filipino teenagers on Kpop is their undeniably beautiful visuals. Many non-fans argue that if they see Kpop idols on tv or the internet they are always saying that they all look the same or they look like a girl. Another important factor that enables you to become a Kpop idol is through your looks because Kpop idols are being promoted visually. They visualize Kpop through fashion statements and hairstyles that it also influences the fans by copying the fashion statement and hairstyles of their favorite idol.

Kpop also influences the needs of the Filipino fans, it influences their lifestyles. It can have a positive and negative influence on their lifestyle. “In his attempt to understand the participatory culture of television fans, Jenkins provided a list of stereotypes associated with fans: they are brainless consumers who buy anything associated with the program or its cast, they devote their lives to the cultivation of worthless knowledge, they place inappropriate importance on devalued cultural material, they are social misfits who have become obsessed with the show, they are feminized and/or desexualized through their intimate engagement with mass culture, they are infantile, emotionally and intellectually immature, they are unable to separate fantasy from reality. But why is there such a negative connotation on the fans? Jenkins added that it may have stemmed out of the fanatical, bordering on obsessive, consumption of fans of popular media. In fact, Sandvoss also said that there is an “emotional commitment” on the part of the fans, which is mirrored in the ‘regularity of which they visit and revisit their object of fandom’”. (Alanzalon, S.K., 2011, pp. 9 & 10).

Meanwhile, Parungao focused on the social interaction of fans who were members of fan clubs. He studied fans as a small group of people interacting, as opposed to being individual consumers. They join organizations to identify with fellow fans (Alanzalon, S.K., 2011, pp. 13). The social interaction Filipino fans is through online and offline, online with the help of social media they can communicate to the same fans be it you have a different country or the same country who also love the same Kpop group that it will eventually lead to them being friends online because of their common favorites. And through offline by joining organizations such as fun clubs you will become fans through gathering together to have an activity for your favorite group. Korean media sites like Kpop music shows influences Kpop on engaging more on their favorite groups. They are watching more entertainment programs from South Korea than their own country because of their high scale stages and wonderful performances by their Kpop idol. Even when you are an international fan you can still watch your favorite group’s performance because Korean media provides live viewing for the international fans and sometimes they have a chart shows overseas and creating a live concert out of them. It provides entertainment for Kpop fans all around the world not just Korean fans but also including Filipino fans.

It also influences the personal identity of Kpop fans including Filipino fans. Some fans might become obsessed with their favorite group that they may lack social skills to communicate with others because they are just in their room all day watching Kpop videos. They can be sometimes far from reality because of so much adoration to their favorite groups that they can be confused what their personal identity is, what do they want to do in life, what are their goals, they sometimes forget about this reality because they are being influenced by their favorite groups in their computer or television screen.

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