The Late Capitalism of K-Pop

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Cuck Philosophy : Some corrections on the things I’ve said in the video: - The 13-year long contracts have not been legal since 2009. It is now limited to 7 years. - I say that Jessica is a member of Girls Generation, but she hasn’t been since 2014. - I say that in the 90s, “with the advent of the internet, South Koreans became familiar with American pop culture”. This is inaccurate as South Koreans had access to American culture long before that. What I meant to say was that the liberalization of media and communications technology in the 90s made American culture easier to access, which led to a growth in its popularity. In addition, it must be noted that some of the things I mentioned do not apply across the board to all trainee situations, for example, dating is not prohibited to ALL trainees and not all trainees have to pay back the money spent on training. As in any large industry, there are exceptions. There are, of course, also changes happening in the industry, but this video was more of a broad outline of how K-pop developed. Any comments involving news on legal and social developments in the K-pop industry are very welcome. Thank you for the views and the comments, I really appreciate it!

DahVoozel : Fun is mandatory. Happiness will be enforced.

CASHROLLIE BEATS : I am Korean and I am surprised by how accurate this research was. Great job. But it forgets to mention that the fundamental cause of all these abnormal phenomenon of K-Pop lies within S. Korea's cultural context; this is not just the k-pop, but overall atmosphere of the nation. Koreans overall have an extremely high work ethic; sometimes I see it abnormally high. It began with our upper generation being extremely poor, motivated to make the nation wealthy. It came to the point where morality, health, family life, and hapiness came after materialistic and career success. Kids studying 12-14 hours a day, going to after schools, sleeping 4-5 hours during a childhood and spending most of the time studying.. such abnormal work ethic is quite common throughout the society. This is why South Korean students have a very high acceptance rates in American Ivy League school. So I wouldn't necessarily say it is only that it is the particular entertainment management company that is evil- yes they are evil. But more so of these overall cultural influences of highly competitiveness in S. Korea combined with confucianism/militarism where every social structure is ordered vertically, meaning older generations are deemed much more authorized or higher ranks in company can dictate what they can do to lower ranks in company; kind of created this abnormal culture in Korea. The positive result of this was that such competitiveness and hard work ethic of Koreans have led S Korea to rise from one of the poorest countries into one of the wealthiest countries in the world within less than 5 decades, and that there came a lot of talents globally succeeding in all different areas of fields, such as art, sports, science, technology, and education,; the negative side of this was that such heavy importance in materialistic success and high work ethic have destroyed family life, moralities, overall happiness of the people, physical and mental health, and general negative atmosphere within the society due to the highly competitiveness of the people. This is not just the k-pop sector, but it goes same for all fields of Korea- the dark sides of Korea resulted by materialistic success. South Koreans are slowly realizing the problem of this but they don't know the direction to take with this fundamental problem within this nation. Most of these trainees are motivated by a dream to be a successful idol, which is heavily romanticized amongst youth, so a lot of these youngsters don't realize what they are signing up for. Also, a lot of the management system has gotten better in late years after it has received a negative attention from the media and people starting to realize the unfair treatment.

Fae Tolkien : And to think that non korean westerners now want to become idols in korea simply because they have romanticized them is crazy really.

semantix : I wrote a research essay about the irony of "Korean Rap" as a genre. In the sense that rap, as a music form, stems from the idea of authenticity, yet in a heavily manufactured genre like K-Pop it's become a prevalent mainstay in their song formula (each group has a rapper / every song has a rap verse). The inauthenticity doesn't make it bad, it just leads to generic song structures capitalising on whatever "sound" is trending (look to tropical house last year / latin pop this year), which makes it hard, I'd argue even impossible, to ever see it as art (with the understanding that "art" is supposed to convey something "more" / stem from authenticity).

Quaglium Quagnarr : So, they're like cute puppets?

Greg Murphy : While working as a teacher in Seoul I was in a foreigner-dominated indie rock show broken up by police. Turned out it was people in the K-pop industry who complained teachers were working as entertainers, technically a breach of our work permits. Funny to think they saw shoegaze as a threat to K-pop but maybe for good reason. I often asked my 7th grade students what music they liked. Those not interested in K-pop thought music, that's music in general, was boring or not for them.

Gameguru : I got into an argument with a girl in my class about this. I tried to explain that K-pop is insanely abusive to the idols, but she claimed that obviously the idols enjoy it because they keep signing contracts(?????). It's ridiculous, and it makes me sick.

wannnt : Don't see how could anybody listen/stream KPop without getting the chills while thinking about what the idols had to go through. It's souless music. It is a lot of people's cup of tea, not mine. I can't support anything like this.

AmericanNohbuddy ™ : It's like Disney but worse

Arthur U : I have like a month or so that I've been entering the world of kpop, and I've already heard unnatural things from the business. One idol was told to lose 15 pounds in one week or she couldn't debut. The idol resorted to eating only ice cubes and expressed how she felt so weak that she was scared of going to sleep as she was afraid she wouldn't wake up.

RedgraveGilver : No wonder they're lacking so much in Metal, Rock and Jazz or pretty much in most established music genre when you compare them to Japan who has a massive booming jazz/jazz fusion scene during the 70's till today and booming Metal scene during the 80's(X-Japan being the forefront) and even until today.

Makie : North Korea: Concetration camps, 16 legal haircuts, isolationism, cult of personality, economic instability. South Korea: No workers rights, brainwashing music, large poverty and homlesness, failed education system, political instability. #restorethegreatjoseon

Cryo Phobica : Do the fans know of this. Do they care? A friend I know kind of knows about this but doesn't want to know more and to just keep on enjoying it without guilt. Most people who find out about this stuff just kinda continue on with they're life, we're not gonna do anything

Dave102693 : Well made video! Do pedophilia in anime next!

Ganja Mozart : Loved the astute analysis (I’m Korean and so it was extra fascinating!).

BasedPeter : Now I have an objective reason to hate k-pop, aside from it being terrible music

EnderCrypt : jesus, k-pop is some auschwitz level stuff

Владислав Лазерев : This is why I listen to nk-pop and the moranbong band

FVR : kpop industry= inhuman as hell, represents capitalist lifestyle in its most accelerated and dangerous form

gogetyourgun : I watched a video of interviews with 2 north Korean defectors. What really stood out to me is that this one north korea man stated he didn't contemplate suicide while in North Korea. However, when he went to university in South Korea and is now competing with other south koreans, he felt he was extremely behind and not adequate enough. He was studying long hours, not fitting in with student, so he started to contemplate suicide. You would think that since he lived in an oppressive shithole country that he would contemplate suicide there, but the total opposite happened. He also observed a disconnect between family members in South Korea. In the North, families were more connected since they were all they got. But since South Korea is saturated with consumerism, materialism, etc., it seems people are way more interested in making money and material things since those qualities are more likely to get you respect amongst a capitalist society. There really needs to be some sort of workers rights reform since South Koreans are dealing with high suicide rates. In North Korea, you're a slave to Kim Jong Un, but in South Korea, you are a slave to private corporations. Of course South Korea is a way better place to live in than North Korea, but what the North Korean man said about his experience with suicide was extremely telling.

Noah Bessell : I absolutely loved this video. As a MASSIVE K-pop fan and an aspiring writer, I found this video to be as fascinating as it was precise. I feel as though watching this video is a necessity for a K-pop fan, kinda like how a McDonald's customer should know what their hamburger is made from. Truly excellent video. I subbed, homie.

Dumbass uwu : A year ago I started listening to kpop (especially bts) because a friend of mine was a huge fan and she recommended them to me. At first I was surprised because of the fandom, they hated the idea of the members dating or even acting slightly sexually, but they also fetishized them. I didn’t understand how american idols were able to go around singing about drugs and sex yet kpop idols were made to keep this child like image. But after reading a bit about the industry, it all started to make sense

muther1997 : Hey its like that other korea

The 80's Wolf : South Korea is like Japan. A nation "cucked" by western capitalism into becoming almost a parody on itself.

Truble_Shooter : MRW people say capitalism isn't just feudalism 2.0

Sean. A : 11:36 "My light skin tone". Jesus wept.

Glink : Good analysis and good points made that illuminate a underlying issue, but I don't understand you're constant aim against capitalism in all your videos. I don't think you can simply pin this to capitalism, but rather a more nuanced perspective of flawed business practices, complete lack of oversight, and lack of workers rights. All of these things can be tweaked to work well with capitalism, so pinning it on capitalism - the economic system which has brought more prosperity and quality of life in the past 50 years than any other in the history of earth, is cherry picking misleading I think. just some thoughts.

itsanixela : "their childhoods are robbed from them".... not just in kpop, but in normal everyday life too. Korean kids have no personal time, it's all just study study study, with no hobbies or play time. The way I saw it when I lived there is this: the older they get, the freer they feel, and therefore the more childish they tend to act. Despite work conditions being absolutely bleak there, the whole drinking culture, I think, stems from their childhoods being non-existent, and then what you have are drunkards spilling out of bars and nightclubs acting like idiots (and blacking out in the streets). And people turn a blind eye to it, because they know why this is happening. I don't think the drinking culture is just that, but they tend to turn into grown kids when they drink...

xelena : This was a great video, but I was surprised it didn't mention or link to the idol culture in Japan (J-Pop), which started earlier and exhibits many salient features that were directly imported into the K-Pop busciness and scene. Postwar Japan was yet another anticommunist project of the US.

XXthekingofyouXX : Soooo Korea is the blueprint for how Disney wants to run the US?

dbsk06 : Wow this video FAR exceeded my expectations in its quality and presentation. After visiting Seoul as a foreigner (admittedly I haven’t been to the other cities), I can honestly say its not a place for human rights and comfort

RigelOrionBeta : Thank you for providing me another reason to tell my friend who moved to Korea purely to get a kpop girlfriend why he's an idiot.

Sascha : I remember, when the leader and main vocalist of Girls' Generation (Taeyeon 11:05) said that she's struggeling with depression. A lot of people started to hate her. They said things like "You are unprofessional". They made fun of her on TV. A few years ago, when she was openly talking about her mental illness, she was voted as the most hated KPOP-Idol. After that incident she stopped talking about her depression and the last time she looked sad/was crying in public was when her best friend and co-worker Jonghyun killed himself. I do not know how to explain this. Is this the systems fault? Or are the people in the world are really that cruel? I am a KPOP fan and I love Taeyeon. She is my favorite singer for 3 years now and I love Jonghyun as well. It really hurts to see them suffering. Or not being on this world anymore... THIS SYSTEM IS SICK.

UFHoee : What baffles me is that Westerners support this industry knowing this.

Mike Gonzales : Honestly an individual's creative work can be quite garbage and there are many examples of it in America. I like how there's a system to make sure everything works, but it's just too oppressive for the performers. Surely they can afford to pay them more especially the popular ones. The fact that they are have to pay back their lessons is utterly ridiculous and its just there to control them. Their schedules are also ridiculous and I actually believe it is hindering their performance ability rather than improve. And finally the relationship thing shouldn't be the companies business at all. I believe these things also lead to the depressed life Jonghyun had which eventually lead him to kill himself. As sad as it is, its even sadder that nobody understands that, not even his fans and they just get emotional for a day then pass off his death like it was just a fluke.

Gigatless : Isn't it funny how there are hundreds of thousands of teenage girls who dream about being these k-pop stars don't realize the reality of it.

Inman Choi : You tell minimum wage from 2007 source. It was 10 years ago bro. And you posted this video in 2017.

MrPugg : You my dude. You just took Anime to a New level

Andrew Cone : Fascinating video, but the analysis is hollow. The point, it seems, is that capitalism is ultimately responsible for the ghoulish, dystopian world of K-Pop. The analysis totally fails to consider why most capitalist societies, like the US and Western Europe, have not converged on anything like such a state. What is missing is a no-bullshit consideration of culture. Korean culture is authoritarian. This was true in Joseon times, and the reasons for it go back centuries. Contrary to Marxist assumptions, the means of production do not, in fact, primarily determine culture. Culture is complicated and powerful, and frequently outlasts political or economic systems. It is transmitted not primarily through mass media or state authority, but through families and close social networks. Under a capitalist system, Korean authoritarianism made South Korea, a poor, war-torn country, into one of the most thriving economies in the world, with some of the best health and education outcomes anywhere, despite being under constant terrifying military threat. It remains authoritarian, and that authoritarianism remains cruel, such as in the case of pop stars. I do not wish to obfuscate or deny the harsh pressures under which South Koreans, especially children, currently live–despite their great aggregate wealth. But under the socialist system to the North, that same authoritarian culture has yielded an incomparably more horrific outcome. The culture of star worship that makes K-Pop stars into martyred gods under capitalism, has made the Kim family into vengeful, murderous gods under Soviet-style socialism. To attribute South Korea's post-war economic miracle strictly to US aid is bullshit. US aid only gave it a leg up. The vast majority of its wealth was created since the massive aid, by Koreans working under a capitalist system. It is dishonest in the extreme to focus exclusively on South Korea's brutal series of dictators, without any mention of the fact that, at the same time, South Koreans were rapidly progressing from widespread malnutrition and illiteracy toward their current state of development. Cuck knows full well that quality of life increased vastly for South Koreans over this period of time. He doesn't mention it, because it would tear down his whiny boilerplate-Marxist victimology of capitalism. To a Marxist like Cuck, reduction in starvation, disease, and illiteracy are beside the point. The only thing that matters to a Marxist like Cuck are the touchstones of alienation, inequality, and "contradictions"–and ultimately, whether we are proceeding apace to their promised revolutionary rapture. It is in these glaring omissions that the Marxists reveal their cynical, humanity-hating ideology. Don't be fooled by their lachrymose hand-wringing over the harsh conditions of K-Pop stars. They would have no interest in this subject if it were happening under any anti-capitalist system, just as they have no interest in the tens of thousands, possibly hundreds of thousands of people starving in North Korean prison camps. I'm not saying Cuck is sympathetic to Juche ideology, but his hatred is reserved for capitalism per se, not for systems that create misery in general. Any atrocities of anti-capitalist societies are to him as much a red herring as any positive effects of capitalism. To the extent we in the West recoil at the abusive K-Pop industry, we should be that much more grateful for our culture of individual rights, leisure time, and often chaotic dissent. That gratitude doesn't mean we should view Koreans as bad or backward or inferior, as lefties would like to assume. Nor does it mean anyone should try to force Koreans to adopt Western cultural norms. It means we should credit our culture where credit is due, despite its many problems. Similarly, we should credit the massive increase in human development seen almost exclusively in capitalist countries to capitalism, despite capitalism's obvious problems. There is nothing inevitable about our current freedom and prosperity, and if we unreservedly embrace the critical approach of Cuck and his Marxist friends, without appreciation for the benefits of our present systems, we should not be surprised if things get much, much worse. Fuck Cuck, fuck Marxism, and fuck its arrogant cult of victimhood.

Felipe Gelani : We're living in a world made of plastic.

Jack Le : From a westerner's perspective, this kind of treatment is really fucked up. But in Asia, people value hard work and dedication a lot more. It's almost like the more you brag about how much pain you were put through, the more people respect you.

myHuge249 : ive always hated pop music in general out of principle, for its lack of creativity and originality, but i never realised just how bad kpop was. I mean i knew it was bad, but at this point not only is it not even music, its borderline slave labour.

Evenstar : As a Korean, this is so spot on. I used to be a huge SNSD fan in my high school years, but now I can't really get into Kpop since I learned how manufactured everything is. And it's not just Kpop. It's a problem with the larger Korean society.

gatman66 : Way too many apologists in this comment section

Ryukachoo : I had a feeling it was messed up but this is next level spooky stuff

Elma Dedic : It's not like I think that BTS are the absolute saviors of kpop, but they definitely are changing up the game with their creative freedom. They are one of the few groups that aren't treated like puppies by their company, and have the utmost right to actually produce stuff themselves. When you dig deeper into the universe of BTS's music, you start you realize that everything is connected, and it creates a super interesting form of storytelling. Their music is all based upon books such as 1984 and the ones who walk away from omelas. And old folklores such as pied piper. The fans on the other hand overhype their most cliche love songs (They do have a double meaning but it's hard to comprehend for newcomers.) and make them look like a completely manufactured pretty boygroup with no actual love for music.

Annalease Nolan : As someone who likes kpop, thank you for this. This is what I mean when, I, as a kpop fan say that "the kpop industry is garbage"

Zahid Alvarez : For all the people saying they want to give up kpop now because of it's exploitive side, I got news for ya'. There's no such thing as ethical consumption under capitalism

MrMigraine : 9:36 "Ireland"