Mel & K-Pop/Talking about the pop culture of South Korea & Japan!

Hi! Today I have Mel, pictured above, talking about the pop culture of South Korea & Japan.  Could you tell me a little bit about yourself: your age, your nationality, and your interests?
I am 18 years old, born in England, but living in the great state of Florida. I enjoy Asian culture, especially that of South Korea and Japan. I enjoy collecting figures and plush toys and doing toy photography. I also watch a lot of Japanese anime and Korean dramas!
Could you tell me what K-Pop is? And what is it that drew you to South Korean music and pop culture?
K-Pop is Korean pop music. There is an English-dubbing anime company called FUNimation entertainment. They were at an anime convention in America in 2012 called Otakon, and they took photos there of a group called “VIXX” holding up different anime DVD’s that FUNimation did. I noticed that this group was holding up DVD’s from some of my favorite series, so I went on their Facebook page. All I saw was “VIXX – Rock Ur Body” and different things related to “Rock Ur Body.” It turns out that was their current song that they were promoting. From then on, I looked up everything to do with VIXX, which led me to other K-Pop groups. I have now been a fan of K-Pop for a year and a half.
Above, I posted a picture of VIXX, since they were my first and fav. group. This picture is their promotional poster for the song they were promoting in August 2012 when I found out about them.
I listened to a young South Korean girl, Ailee, singing Whitney Houston’s   “I Will Always Love You” and it was amazing. I also heard the group, Got 7, and I was impressed. I found it very different to watch their concert audiences compared to audiences in the US. They were intensely involved, but very, very respectful and reserved. Is this something that attracts you to the South Koreans’ music?
I think so. I noticed that the culture of South Korea is very polite and respectful in general, and I find that quite nice. In Korea, the fans do something called “fan chants” to show their support for artists. Found this online to better explain things: “They’re basically just phrases the fans like chanting while the performance is going on. Sometimes, they’re chanting the lyrics of the song along with the singer and sometimes they’re just yelling other phrases to go along with the song.
If you see this video, during certain parts of the performance, fans are all chanting a certain thing. The louder the chant, the better it is because it shows the performing group the strength of their fans. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rB3JN4aPrqU
Have you made any friends from other countries through this medium?
I have. I have made some life-long friends because of K-Pop; friends from many places from other parts of Florida, to South Carolina, to California to places like New Zealand and Hong Kong! I wouldn’t have known these people had it not been for K-Pop.
I know you have a great interest in comics and animation. Could you share a little bit about your interests?
I really like manga and anime. I like watching anime in English or Japanese, but it’s very fun watching in Japanese because I learn new words! I like to draw also; it was anime that got me back into drawing regularly. I have also made very good friends because of anime. One of those friends actually lives in Japan! I also take part in going to many anime and comic book conventions a year and even cosplay from time-to-time. Thanks to these conventions, I have met many of the English-dubbed voice actors such as Sean Schemmel, who plays Goku from the very popular series “Dragon Ball Z.” Below is a pic of myself with Sean Schemmel, since I mentioned him.
I’ve added pictures of three K-Pop items (out of many lol) that I own that I find interesting. One being a signed album from K-Pop superstar “G-Dragon” that I won from a K-Pop website called Gurupop for a drawing that I did. Another is a basketball jersey from a group I love called “BTS” (also known as “Bangtan Boys”) with my favorite member’s name from that group on the back. The bottom one is a plush I had made of a member named Luhan from the group “EXO” (next to my poster of Luhan).
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I’ve added links for a couple of videos. One is a cover of an English song that 4 members from the 12-member group “EXO” sang. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JKr9GU9emfg
Another is a video from G-Dragon, who I won the signed album from. The music video was filmed in London.
Thanks so much for sharing today, Mel. I noticed while watching some of your groups they reminded me somewhat of Motown back in the sixties, with the guys wearing stylized suits and dancing in syncopated rhythm to their songs. I appreciated stepping into your world for a little while. You showed me how much our world has widened in outlook and possibilities.
I’d just like to send thoughts and prayers out to those victims and their families of the South Korean ferry that sank.
If you have a chance to stop by, please let me know what you know about the latest in Asian pop culture. I find it amazing!

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