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  1. What Koreans see when they look in the mirror Image from Unsplash By Amanda Price Recently, The Korea Times wrote an article about CL (Lee Chae-rin) from the disbanded girl group 2NE1 titled "CL shows off chubby curves in Singapore Concert." The well-written article reported that fans of CL were "shocked" at the images of the no longer svelte CL and were busy questioning what traumatic event could possibly have happened to turn their idol into, well, an average woman (at least one that did not look like a Barbie doll). It must be said that some fans were very supportive of CL. It is usually at this point that most Western writers begin deriding South Korea's obvious obsession with beauty, as well as suggesting that South Koreans are attempting to look more Caucasian. These arguments are not the view of this author. I believe that history, modern and ancient, provide us with a much better understanding of South Koreans' obsession with beauty. Regardless of rationale or cause, I would agree with any argument that claims that this obsession with beauty has already crossed the line and entered into the danger zone. South Korea is far from the only country obsessed with beauty, but it is the most cosmetically enhanced country in the world. Exact statistics are difficult to determine as not all cosmetic surgery is performed by legitimate surgeons and, as a result, goes unrecorded. But it is generally agreed that one in five South Koreans will have some form of cosmetic surgery in their lifetimes (curiously, only one in five Koreans is born with double eyelids). The cosmetic statistic is of staggering proportion, proportions that should sound alarm bells in any society. The bells are yet to toll in South Korea. Almost all American news outlets have at one time written articles about South Korea's booming beauty industry and usually imply, or outrightly claim, that South Koreans are chasing Caucasian features. This may say more about Westerners than it does about South Koreans, but regardless, it is far from the truth. To understand South Korea's beauty obsession, it is imperative to understand that cosmetic surgery in South Korea is not perceived as negative, pretentious and artificial, but as positive, reforming and even an admirable attempt to better oneself. If cosmetic surgery improves one's social status and opportunities, then cosmetic surgery is not only justifiable, it is extolled. This is because, in South Korean culture, beauty is partly intertwined with virtue and a superior self. The problem with an analysis of this unhealthy obsession is that many writers fail to ask the critical question of why do South Koreans feel they need to pursue the "superior self." In at least once recorded instance, a South Korean working for a military doctor asked the good doctor to perform eye surgery on him so he would look less like a Korean communist. As he explained, he wanted others to look into his soul, to see that he was a virtuous person, not a distrustful communist. While I'm reluctant to blame the Japanese occupation period yet again, we cannot move forward without understanding how the Japanese imperial rule of Korea forged a burning desire within South Koreans to be different, and often better than those that occupied the country. One Korean historian tweaked history to claim that Koreans were medium to tall, a "naturally a handsome and superior race" with little to no features that may be connected to other people groups. While some may read this as unlikely, it can also be understood as an attempt to reclaim a unique identity denied by foreign occupiers. Is this collective uniqueness a modern-day revolutionary response? Much has been written about the homogeneity of the Korean race and, while much of this is historically valuable, occasionally it is used to add a vignette around the Korean face. This is not to question that Koreans are a highly homogenous people, only to suggest that claiming to be a "handsome, superior race" puts one among some very bad company. Reaching back much further in history, the practice of "face reading" demonstrated that Koreans held a belief for centuries that one's appearance reflected one's personality, disposition and even social class. "Face reading" was also used to predict the future and measure the good or bad fortune that would follow a person through life. Pale, almost translucent skin, was highly prized among Korean women from the time of ancient dynasties, as this feature reflected a pure and uncorrupted nature. Historians agree that a fair complexion, sometimes achieved by soaking the face in peach flower water, was associated with both high social status and wealth in most Asian countries. New York Times reporter Su-Hyun Lee has asserted that this belief in increasing one's good fortune and upward ambition continues to be a motivating force behind many decisions to undergo, or have their children undergo, often painful cosmetic surgery today. Improving one's opportunities in life may seem extreme wishful thinking to Westerners, but that does not mean it should be dismissed as "foolish." Some Western countries throw salt over their left shoulders (to ward off demons), will not walk under a ladder, believe black cats are forewarnings of a disaster while some actors will not perform without someone telling them to "break a leg" (a "leg" being a curtain, though few who use this superstition know that!). Of course, none of these are as extreme as undergoing painful and sometimes dangerous surgery, it simply reminds us that holding irrational beliefs is not only a South Korean trait. But back to history. Jumping forward several centuries, past the Korean War and even the industrialization of South Korea, we arrive at the Asian economic crisis. At a time when thousands lost their jobs and even the most stable companies were teetering on the verge of collapse, competition for jobs skyrocketed. It was at this time that business began to require resumes with a full body photo of the applicant. Perhaps this was motivated by the vestigial belief that good-looking candidates would increase the fortune of the company, or because good-looking individuals had, by virtue of their appearance, more noble and upstanding characters. It took enormous public pressure on the present administration to demand changes to this requirement. And whatever the reason, this single factor catapulted the cosmetic surgery industry to a status that was unchallenged for years. Finally, we come to the modern engine that continues to drive this insidious obsession called the beauty industry. No one will be surprised to learn that this is the K-pop industry. If billboards are used to remind those passing by that beauty should be one of their highest priorities, then the K-pop industry is a living, breathing, pulsating and emotionally compelling version of those billboards. Far more than images, the belief that beauty enhances one's opportunities for success is animated and marketed in human packages. Both as victims and participants of the beauty industry, K-pop idols' responsibility is to ensure the re-enforcement and continuation of the beauty obsession. This may lead to performers collapsing on stage, falling victim to multiple diseases as their starved organs struggle to survive or, in some cases, choosing to give up on life itself. CL's status and fan base will help her survive the criticism, but others have and will be condemned without mercy. One cannot discuss the beauty obsession without giving space to those tragic ― by not a fault of their own ― individuals who either cannot afford or, for some other reason, cannot have their features made perfect by the surgeon's (or some backyard quack's) knife. Some of these individuals become social lepers, treated as if they were either "unclean" or invisible. Perhaps only in South Korea will a stranger walk up to such a person (even foreigners) and tell them to their faces that they are ugly/fat/unacceptable. In South Korea, this is the price of beauty: The cost of unnecessary surgery and the cost of rehabilitation; the risk of botched surgery and damage to essential facial vessels that may or may not lead to some form of facial paralysis, now or later in life, and the risk of bleeding from essential vessels that surround the jaw, with potential to result in suffocation and later death. The beauty obsession in South Korea may cost South Korea's current and next generation their hope for their future. If a young child, who looks nothing like their surgically enhanced mother, sees the future as the sum of their physical features, there is a young child being taught to become shallow and self-focused, a child who wants to emulate her mother, not for her character, but for her surgically made V-shaped chin and double eyelids. The beauty industry shows no discrimination, discretion or ethics. This industry will devour children as soon as they are ready to understand the concept of beauty and body proportion. History may explain why we think as we do, but that does not mean that history must define us. We discard many old traditions, attitudes and customs that modern thinking has helped us to see in a clearer, more just light. It need not take another generation's pain to realize that the belief that beauty determines our value, disposition and future needs to be discarded. Koreans, have never had, and do not now have, anything to prove to anyone. It should never take a knife to decide one's value, and perfect proportion should never determine one's future. At the risk of sounding as if I'm attempting to begin a revolution, now is the time to stop investing your income into beauty products; now is the time to refuse cosmetic surgery, even if your family is willing to pay for it; now is the time to stop bullying that child/colleague who looks different before they make a fatal decision, and now is the time to be proud of your uniqueness and find your value in yourself not your face. Now is the time to stop feeding an industry that is feeding on you. Society can change because we are society. Change may not be immediate, but it may be in time to save the lives of those we once treated as lepers; it may be in time to provide a different, brighter future for every young Korean child. It may even be in time enough for you and me. Amanda is the former Director of Hillcrest College's International Student Department. She is the founder of Griffith University History Readers and now writes full-time. She can be reached at amanda-price@bigpond.com. amanda-price@bigpond.com CR: The Korea Times
  2. August Brand Reputation Rankings For Individual Girl Group Members Announced The Korean Business Research Institute has revealed this month’s brand reputation rankings for individual girl group members! The rankings were determined through an analysis of the consumer participation, media coverage, communication, and community awareness indexes of 380 girl group members, using big data collected from July 17 to August 18. Red Velvet’s Seulgi topped this month’s rankings with a brand reputation index of 4,922,421, marking an impressive 104.60 percent increase from her July score. Seulgi’s highest-ranking related terms included “pretty,” “cute,” and “heart-fluttering,” while high-ranking phrases in her keyword analysis included “abs,” “Secret Sister,” and “Power Up.” Her positivity-negativity analysis revealed a score of 72.8 percent positive reactions. BLACKPINK’s Jennie came in at second place on the list with a brand reputation index of 4,538,602, while MAMAMOO’s Hwasa maintained her third place position with a score of 4,476,719. All five members of Red Velvet made the top 10 this month, with Irene at No. 4, Wendy at No. 6, Yeri at No. 7 and Joy at No. 8 for August. TWICE’s Momo took No. 5 in the rankings, with her bandmates Sana and Nayeon following at No. 9 and No. 10 respectively. Check out the top 30 below! Red Velvet’s Seulgi BLACKPINK’s Jennie MAMAMOO’s Hwasa Red Velvet’s Irene TWICE’s Momo Red Velvet’s Wendy Red Velvet’s Yeri Red Velvet’s Joy TWICE’s Sana TWICE’s Nayeon BLACKPINK’s Jisoo Apink’s Son Naeun BLACKPINK’s Lisa TWICE’s Mina DIA’s Jueun TWICE’s Jeongyeon TWICE’s Tzuyu MAMAMOO’s Solar GFRIEND’s Yerin GFRIEND’s Sowon GFRIEND’s SinB GFRIEND’s Eunha Girls’ Generation’s Seohyun TWICE’s Jihyo GFRIEND’s Umji TWICE’s Dahyun BLACKPINK’s Rosé GFRIEND’s Yuju DIA’s Jung Chaeyeon Apink’s Namjoo TWICE members: 5. Momo 9. Sana 10. Nayeon 14. Mina 16. Jeongyeon 17. Tzuyu 24. Jihyo 26. Dahyun 39. Chaeyoung CR: soompi, rekorea.net
  3. 『BOUNCE!TWICE the Final 〜TWICE,With you〜』story and interview (which includes questions via SNS by their fans sent in advance). TWICE are also grouped into 3 teams, sharing a cross-talk discussion on a given topic: Nayeon, Jeongyeon and Jihyo - 『TWICEの仲良しの秘訣』 Momo, Mina and Chaeyoung - 『夢中になれること』 Sana, Dahyun and Tzuyu - 『可愛い女の子とは……?』 CR: ViVi Japan
  4. 『BOUNCE!TWICE the Final 〜TWICE,With you〜』story's conclusion with interviews inside magazine .
  5. Books - 'Illusion of intimacy' Expert says multimedia helps fans build intimacy with stars By Kang Hyun-kyung In a packed stadium at a K-pop concert, it's hard for fans sitting far away from the stage to feel intimacy with their idols, the very reason they go to live concerts in the first place. Soon frustration could strike. No worries. Digital technology will sure make fans feel that they are there with their idols. K-pop expert Suk-young Kim's book "K-pop Live: Fans, Idols and Multimedia Performance," observes K-pop has been successfully transforming from digital music to live performances, owing to digital technology. Suk-young Kim's book "K-pop Live: Fans, Idols and Multimedia Performance" Based on her own experience at the K-pop boy band EXO's live concerts in the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena in February, 2016, Kim, a professor of critical studies and director of the Center for Performance Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles, explained how digital technology can pave the way for the "illusion of intimacy" in live performances. "Magnified faces of the stars started to appear on the screen as if to compensate for the spectator limitations of audience members seated far away from the stage," she wrote. "One by one, each member of the band directed his amorous gaze at the camera, looking directly into the eyes of the viewers, whose point of view had become entirely conflated with that of the person behind the camera. Each band member reached out with his hand to hold the hand of the cinematographer-cum-audience, transforming a 2-D video screen into an affective interface where thousands of anonymous concert attendees suddenly became positioned as intimate subjects who could touch and interact with these stars." Several K-pop bands have multi-city tours to reach out to their global fans. Heralded by BIGBANG's successful concert tours in the United States in 2015, which marked one of the top-10 tours there, several K-pop groups, including BTS, have gone on or announced their world tour schedules. Kim said some of their live concerts were successful because of effective use of multimedia technology. "I see K-pop as one of those powerful transmitters of complex sensory entanglement that produces the semblance and verisimilitude of live interaction and the pursuit of liveness in K-pop performance across media as a way to realize an impression of such synesthetic ideals," Kim wrote. K-pop is a beneficiary of the drastic shift in global music consumption from live concerts to digital music, a change that entailed illegal downloads and online piracy. Until 2010, the popularity of K-pop had largely been a cultural phenomenon only in Asia. K-pop singers were obscure among music fans in Europe, North America and Latin America. It was YouTube that helped some Korean singers successfully reach out to global fans. Psy's "Gangnam Style" music video is considered a turning point for K-pop's global expansion. The funny music video with the singer's signature horse-riding dance went global all across the world. Since then, some Korean singers, such as BTS, have garnered phenomenal success. Kim observes the meteoric rise of K-pop has been associated with multimedia-based music consumption. In her book, Kim says as a cultural phenomenon, K-pop started to gain momentum around the turn of the millennium when physical album sales were rapidly collapsing while the online music market was still evolving and maturing. "K-pop's global expansion came, not via live world tours, but via music videos, recorded TV music chart shows and other media promotions that became widely popular on YouTube and solidified K-pop's reputation as a form of entertainment...," the book states. Kim argues the digital-based music is undergoing a major shift and K-pop artists are striving to reach out to their global fans in multi-city live concert tours. hkang@ktimes.com CR: The Korea Times
  6. TWICE’s New Japanese Track “BDZ” Tops Line Music Chart TWICE’s latest Japanese song is a big hit! On August 17, TWICE dropped their title track “BDZ” ahead of the release of their first full album of the same name. “BDZ” has topped Japanese music streaming service Line Music’s Top 100 chart. As of 8 p.m. KST, the MV for the “BDZ” also surpassed 3.5 million views one day after its release. “BDZ” is an abbreviation for “bulldozer,” and the song conveys the message of crushing the walls in front of you to advance forward. The song and lyrics were composed by Park Jin Young. Park Jin Young said, “I always get touched by TWICE’s fans ONCEs’ energy while watching TWICE’s performances. ‘BDZ’ is a track that was created because I wanted to make a cheer song that ONCE and TWICE can sing together.” TWICE will hold an arena tour in Japan titled “TWICE 1st Arena Tour 2018 BDZ.” Congratulations to TWICE! Check out the MV for “BDZ” below! Source (1) CR: soompi
  7. TWICE shall attend 'Pocari Challenge Teen Festa' at Jangchung Arena, on September 4th (7 to 10pm -KST) http://www.pocarisweat-teenfesta.co.kr/ CR: Pocari Sweat Korea (Dong-A Otsuka) *Please help update on TWICE's schedule in the Calendar, thanks. @Jokballet
  8. sacheol-21stC

    [VID/ENG/TWT] BDZ Narration M/V Translation

    From the JYP PD-nim's Instagram: #Twice #BDZ #불도저 #트와이스 #원스와듀엣 #DuetwithOnce For ONCE's cheer at the chorus, when TWICE's sings "BDZ", Like a bulldozer (Twice) Hey! (Once) Like a tank, like a soldier (Twice) Let's go! let's go! (Once) 壊すよ 君の心のガード ひとつ残らず奪うよ ハート(Twice) Oh yeah! (Once) 君が好きよ (Twice) Hey! (Once) 絶対本命よ (Twice) Let's go! let's go! (Once) はち切れそうな 想いすべて 打ち明けたいの 願い込めて(Twice) Oh yeah! (Once) "Watching Once's passionate reaction at Twice's concert, I wanted to write a song which Once & Twice can sing together. That's why I wrote BDZ so consider it as a duet and sing along! And of course dance along!! "
  9. On sale from August 23rd: TWICE is on the cover of ViVi (Japan) October 2018 issue. "Bounce TWICE final!" special feature.


  10. NHK SHIBUYA NOTE Twitter account: #TWICE Challenges "Buzz Photo Showdown!" Our girls are divided into 3 teams (Dahyun, Momo and Jeongyeon pictured at a candy shop), (Jihyo, Mina and Tzuyu pictured at a fake food sample place) and (Chaeyoung, Sana and Nayeon pictured at a parfait cafe). Rankings are decided by the number of RTs (for each picture) and the team with the lowest number of RTs shall do an embarrassing punishment game. Rankings will be shown on September 15th, Sat., 23:30hrs -JST.
  11. SBS Announces Star-Studded Lineup For Upcoming Super Concert SBS has revealed some of the artists who will be performing at its next “SBS Super Concert” this fall! On August 17, the broadcast network announced part of the official lineup for its upcoming “SBS Super Concert in Suwon,” the latest in its ongoing “Super Concert” series. BLACKPINK, SEVENTEEN, Wanna One, MAMAMOO, and EXID will all be performing at the large-scale K-pop concert, which is scheduled to take place at the Suwon World Cup Stadium in October. According to SBS, a total of 11 K-pop groups will be participating in the event, meaning that there are still five more artists left to be revealed for the lineup. After kicking off in Daejeon last year, SBS’s “Super Concert” series most recently headed to Taiwan for the “SBS Super Concert in Taipei,” which took place on July 7. Meanwhile, the “SBS Super Concert in Suwon” will be held on October 14 at 7 p.m. KST. Source (1) CR: soompi
  12. JYP, SM, And YG Entertainment All See Growth In Stock Prices Despite sluggishness in the Korean stock market, due to global trade disputes and the economic uncertainty in Turkey, three major entertainment agencies (known as the “Big 3”) have seen strong growth in their stock prices. On August 16, the Korea Exchange reported that KOSPI (Korea Composite Stock Price Index) had seen nearly a 1 percent drop. In the securities market, foreign investors sold off 242.7 billion won (about $215 million), which played a major part in the drop. KOSDAQ (Korea Securities Dealer Automated Quotation) also saw their index drop. In this troubled market, JYP Entertainment saw their stock in KOSDAQ rise 8.21 percent since the last business day, closing out at 25,700 won (about $22.77). On the same day, YG Entertainment saw a 7.05 percent increase to close out at 37,950 won ($33.63). Both companies saw their stock price increase over two consecutive days as well. SM Entertainment also saw a 6.30 percent increase to close out at 43,850 won ($38.86). All three stocks also showed a high amount of roll-over from foreign and institutional investors. JYP saw their highest profits in the second quarter of this year (9.1 billion won) and posted an “earning surprise” of 20 percent for three consecutive quarters (an earnings surprise is when a company’s profits are above analysts’ expectations). The company’s economic health this quarter is attributed to the comebacks of TWICE and DAY6, GOT7’s world tour, and TWICE’s Asian tour. It is expected that JYP’s profits will rise to 10.4 billion won in the third quarter of this year if TWICE’s Japan showcase is factored in. With an operating margin of 28.7 percent, JYP’s rate of cost to selling price was 51.7 percent in the second quarter, their highest in history. JYP is also planning to debut a new group in China called BOY STORY in the second half of this year, while GOT7 recently announced a comeback. Hana Financial Investment, expecting that JYP will continue their “earning surprise” streak into next year, have raised their target goals for the company by 9 percent. Analysts reported that YG Entertainment’s second quarter was relatively good considering BIGBANG’s hiatus (due to mandatory military service), though they cautioned that the economic effects of the hiatus would not truly be felt in the second quarter. On August 10, the company announced that they’d seen a 68 percent drop in their business profits in the second quarter (compared to the second quarter of last year), with an 83 percent drop in concert revenues, 36 percent drop in commercial revenues, 14 percent drop in royalties, and 48 percent drop in album revenues. However, this was in line with market expectations, considering the anticipated risks. Nevertheless, YG’s subsidiary YG PLUS successfully went in the black after 14 quarters, turning a profit of 100 million won. BLACKPINK has seen a lot of success on domestic music charts, which will likely benefit the company’s domestic and overseas music development. Their music sales in the second quarter had increased 15 percent from the last quarter, and securities analysts expect the company’s profits to easily surpass 50 billion won by 2020. SM, whose market capitalization is close to 1 trillion won, also recorded a positive performance. Their revenue increased 84 percent from the same time last year at 124.4 billion won, their largest quarterly record. As sales on global platforms such as YouTube and Spotify increased, overseas music sales jumped about 70 percent from the same time last year. In the market, it is expected that SM will pass 50 billion won in operating profit this year. Comebacks in the second half of 2018 include Red Velvet, Girls’ Generation’s new subunit, EXO, and NCT, with TVXQ promoting in Japan. Moreover, SM C&C, which recorded a deficit of 300 million won this quarter, is expected to achieve a turnaround in the second half due to increased advertisement orders and recovery in the Chinese market, which had been suppressed by the law banning Korean cultural content in China. Source (1) CR: soompi
  13. Artists come together for unification : The 2019 One K Global Campaign will feature songs, art and a concert From left to right is composer Kim Hyeong-seok, members of girl group DIA and lyricist Kim Ea-na at the introduction ceremony for the “2019 One K Global Campaign,” which took place at the Seoul Museum of History in central Seoul on Tuesday. [YONHAP] To commemorate the 100th anniversary of the March 1st Independence Movement against Japanese colonial rule, the One K Global Committee will host a series of events throughout 2019 including a concert, an art exhibition and the release of a documentary about a city in England where people from North and South Korea live together. On Tuesday, the committee announced its plans for the “2019 One K Global Campaign” at the Seoul Museum of History in Gwanghwamun, central Seoul. The campaign aims to be the largest ongoing event promoting unification on the Korean Peninsula, according to Seo In-teck, the co-chairman of the One K Global Campaign Organizing Committee, who, together with Lee Bum-hun, chief director of the Korean Fine Arts Association, composer Kim Hyeong-seok, lyricist Kim Ea-na and girl group DIA, introduced the events planned throughout the year. “One K Global Campaign is a campaign designed to form a national consensus and expand the global support by spreading the ‘Korean Dream’ through the power of culture,” said co-chairman Seo. In 2015, the campaign began with the release of the song “One Dream One Korea.” Composed by Kim Hyeong-seok and written by Kim Ea-na, the song featured K-pop artists such as Exo’s Baekhyun, BTS’ Jungkook, Got7’s Youngjae and Red Velvet’s Wendy, as well as then-New Politics Alliance for Democracy (NPAD) leader Moon Jae-in. “One Dream One Korea” was heard by K-pop fans all around the world and was even played at the inter-Korean summit this April. Seo believed that K-pop would be the perfect medium to gain support for unification. The 2017 One K Global Concert held in Manila, Philippines, featured performances from K-pop artists such as Psy and SHINee, and was televised in 170 countries around the world. Kim Hyeong-seok and Kim Ea-na have once again joined the One K Global Campaign to create a new song titled “Korean Dream.” Lyricist Kim Ea-na explained that she came up with the lyrics for “Korean Dream” after having a meeting with Seo. “The moment I was able to grasp how to write the lyrics was when I realized I was only looking at the goal of unification.” Kim said she only looked at the moment of unification rather than what happens after. “I was dreaming a small dream. I want to write in a way where I am looking towards the future,” said Kim Ea-na. Along with the campaign song, the One K Global Campaign Organizing Committee has prepared a number of cultural projects promoting unification such as an art festival showcasing embroidery art pieces by North Korean artists and a documentary film by director Lee Chang-soo. “Unification is truly a difficult subject. What I learned from working with a British director and writer is that they have a lot more interest in the ethnic identity of North and South Koreans than I thought,” said Lee. He worked on the film with British director Robert Cannan and director and writer Ross Adam. Lee flew to New Malden, a suburb in southwest London, to film the documentary because the suburb is home to many North Korean refugees. “I am creating the framework of the documentary to include the experience of refugees, and the North and South Koreans living together as one community in New Malden.” “On the special day of independence on March 1, I hope that we can all feel people’s desire for unification, and hope that this campaign will be internationally supported. There is a quote that says, ‘A dream dreamt by one person is a dream, but a dream dreamt together is a reality,’” said co-chairman Seo. BY SUNG JI-EUN [sung.jieun@joongang.co.kr] CR: Korea Joongang Daily