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Sasaeng Fans: Beyond Admiration Essay

3081 words - 13 pages

You know that you have become an obsessed fan when you start to stalk celebrities everywhere. There are stalking that takes place online and offline for fans. It is a common thing for normal fans to follow celebrities on social networking sites. On the other contrary, sasaeng fans are the ones that take place offline. They will follow a celebrity all the way to their salon, shows, and house. In other words, they will follow them 24/7 if they can. In South Korea, an obsessed fan of a celebrity is referred to as a sasaeng fan. Sasaeng fans are specifically fans of K-pop (Korean-pop) celebrities. Sasaeng fans are located all over the world, but there are more noticeable in countries surrounding South Korea because they are able to travel back and forth within couple hours via airplane. There is not an established definition for ‘sasaeng fans’. However, according to many different sources compiled together, sasaeng fans are defined as fans that are extremely obsessive that interfere with the privacy of celebrities. Even worse they could physically harm celebrities just to get their attention or reactions. In Korean, ‘sa’ means private and ‘saeng’ means life. Altogether sasaeng means private life.
The coined term ‘Hallyu’ in English means ‘Korean wave’ and it literally means the ‘flow of Korea’. Hallyu wave started in the late nineties with the boom of Korean dramas. People in different countries began to idolize actors and actresses in these popular dramas. K-pop has also become a sensation for music fans. The wave has affected people all over the world, and it still is. It hit the world hard, particularly in Asia over the past decade. It is still new to regions like Europe, North America, and South America, but they do not lose to each other in terms of heat. Hallyu played an active role in the growth of sasaeng fans. The immense popularity increase was brought by Korea’s entertainment and music. To prove K-pop’s popularity, EXO who only debuted two years ago had concert tickets sold out in 1.47 seconds (I.said.hi). Even website servers have been down because there is too much competition in buying tickets. One cannot underestimate the obsession and competitiveness of a fan. The wave brought an increase in fans, and some turned into sasaeng fans. I was affected by it as well during the early days of K-pop. I remember I started watching Korean variety shows and dramas on television when I was seven years old. I would watch television all day and not go out to meet new friends. I remembered that I would tell my parents to record a certain variety show with a video home system tape if I know that I would miss it. It was becoming harder for me to socialize with people around me. Things got worse when I started using a computer. Internet seems like a more powerful place than a television. It was a whole new world for me because I could look up information on idols like their blood type and birth dates. I would surf online all day just to see breaking...

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