PARK YUCHUN/JYJ “Fandom” Trend in Korea

credit: Kim Do Hyung through “With Yuchun”

Translation: provided by Heartchaser…

If you think being a “hard core” fan of a celebrity is limited teens only, you are mistaken. Numerous companies of  A-jum-ma (older women) platoons are forming rapidly and very active in carrying out their rolls as devoted fans. The main pillar of so called, “Emo Fandom” is formed by women who are in their 30’s through 50’s. There are other older fans who are in their 50’s and 60’s, for singers like “Jo Yong Pil”, but they can’t be called  Emos, because they are close to his age. Starting with a girls’ group, “The Girls Generation”, “Uncle Fans” were formed but it didn’t come nearly close to the current trend of JYJ “fandom”. There were also “Noo-Na” (older sisters) fans in the past and some are still active but compared to current “fandom”, it hasn’t reached neither in volume or the power to support any celebrities.

Then, what is so difference about “Emo fandom”, which appeared suddenly like a tornado? It started with the singer, “Rain” and DBSK a while ago; but the real fandom didn’t start until JYJ (the three former members of DBSK  or TVXQ).  Their affection towards JYJ and the guys’ enormous talents started it but the dispute story over unfair contract with  SME, became enough reason to stand as fighters.  The power of Emo fans aren’t noted because of  their ability to raise a huge amount of funds (within a month), enough to purchase an internet broadcasting station and to cover the cost of displaying JYJ support ads on public buses; or have hidden weapon to stand against a giant Corporation called, SME.

What caused these middle aged, ordinary Korean women who are mothers, wives, and anties (A-Jum-mas) to rise up like a giant  army, ready to go into the battle?  Their stories are  interesting and worthwhile looking into…

Contributing factors:


There are two breeds of Emo fans that are part of the current fandom. One is who had been DBSK fans from the beginning.  Choi, Eun Young, a 36 year old working woman who is heavily involved in organizing the internet station solely for JYJ is a typical case. While she was living in Japan in 2006, while doing her dishes one day, she discovered talented group of guys on TV who spoke fluent Japanese. It was none other than DBSK. Their charming ways, talents and hard work, won her over and she had been DBSK’s fan, ever since. She states that from there, she became a devoted  JYJ fan because “the three” were her favorites.  Becoming  a part of  the fandom came automatically, thereafter.

The Emo fandom became most evident, when they discovered JYJ.  In most cases, it started with “PARK YUCHUN” in the TV drama, “SSK Scandal” where he played the main character, Lee Sun Joon.  Another Emo fan who is a part of “486 Generation”, (meaning, she’s in her 40’s, went to school in the 80’s and were born in the 60’s) said, the first time she heard DBSK’s music was, when she took her daughters (who are in 12th and 9th grade) for clothes shopping. Then, she found PARK YUCHUN through SSK Scandal and realized that  he was a part of DBSK.  Her sudden interest in PARK YUCHUN, grew. She went on line only to find that there weren’t any new information on him.  She got more curious and later found out the situation with the DBSK/SM law suit and the full story behind JYJ. The unfair treatment, JYJ was receiving from SME and the main stream media, she couldn’t turn her head and walk away.

The oldest member, Mrs. Kwon, Tae Sook, who is 77 years old also became a JYJ fan after watching YUCHUN in SKK Scandal. She felt that seeing the boys who are as young as her own grand sons, trying so hard to fight the system in achieving their dreams, wanted support and encourage JYJ. She says, she believes that the guys are good kids. She likes Yuchun for being so good in SKK Scandal,  Jaejoong for being handsome and manly;  and Junsu for being innocent and cute.

Her grand daughter says, her grandma often goes to Yuchun’s Mom’s Gelato Shop, to boost her business  and constantly pray for the boys. She also buys cds, dvds and posters to listen and support JYJ in the legal fight with SME.

– SME’s power abuse and  80’s political turmoil in Korea

Whether it started with DBSK or PARK YUCHUN’s SKK Scandal, these women have a common denominator that creates a strong bond. When the story of SME’s power abuse towards JYJ became public, they didn’t need anything else to stand with the guys. Another devoted fan, in her 40’s stated, “For middle-aged women who are busy trying to survive and take care of their family; who aren’t easily moved, emotionally, and used to think following celebrities around and visiting radio and TV stations on their behalf was degrading; and opening their wallets voluntarily when they are known for holding onto money so tight…I see the similarities between the power abuse of 80’s and present JYJ’s situation with SME”.

These are women who lived through “the era” as teens.  The era, where the abuse of power through political turmoil, had damaged so many innocent people. They lived in an era, a political freedom, justice, liberty and individual rights were more important than the current reality of fighting for jobs.  Whether they were directly involved in fighting or as bystanders in the freedom and civil rights movement, they have seen and experienced what it can do to the society, as a whole.  Years have passed and they were too busy living their lives. They had forgotten that it was still running through their veins, subconsciously. Then, one day, it all changed….

They had met a guy named, PARK YUCHUN through “SKK Scandal”. Their long forgotten identity as individual women who had buried hopes and dreams deep down, were suddenly awaken through, LEE SUN JOON/PARK YUCHUN. Their weary hearts were revived and became alive, suddenly.  PARK YUCHUN along with “Sun Joon Syndrome”, brought back the memory of their youth and their forgotten femininity. They wanted to find PARK YUCHUN and sought after him.  After finding and getting to know YUCHUN, it was only a matter of time, to find JYJ.  They were led to JYJ and to Jaejoong and Junsu…one by one.

Their growing affection didn’t stop at appreciating the amazing talents of these guys. The full story behind the legal dispute, reminded them the turmoils they went through in the 80’s. It fueled them into forming a current fandom, at a speed of a phenomenon that shocked the Korean society. Emo fans believe, they are contributing to the society by standing up to the corruption and power abuse JYJ is faced with.

Choi Eun Young (who is involved in forming JYJ’s internet station) stated that Emo fans do not believe everything they hear through the media. They want to help young fans who tend to follow rumors that aren’t based on facts; by acting as “filters” to present facts and truth and provide the feedback, they need.

[퍼옴] 연예 권력에 맞선 이모팬들의 대반격

credit: With Yuchun

‘팬질’이 아이들만의 전유물이라고 여긴다면 오산이다. 여러모로 적극적인 아줌마 부대가 등장 해 맹활약 중이다. 30~50대 여성이 주축인 이른바 ‘이모팬’이다. 가수 조용필도 50대 이상 팬들 숱하게 많지만, 그들은 조용필의 이모뻘이 아니다. 소녀시대를 필두로 ‘삼촌팬’들도 열광했지만 그 화력이 특정 팬덤을 논할 만큼은 아니었다. 누나팬들도 더러 있었다. 그러나 역시 새로운 팬덤이라고 부를 만큼 강렬하고 폭넓진 않았다. 최근 폭풍처럼 등장한 이모팬은 뭔가 다르다.
가수 비와 동방신기 팬들에서 생기기 시작한 이모팬들은 동방신기 3인(나중에 제이와이제이(JYJ) 결성)과 소속사 에스엠과의 분쟁 과정에서 결집현상을 보이기 시작했다.
제이와이제이 이모팬들이 제이와이제이 전용 인터넷방송을 만들고 거액의 버스광고 모금을 단박에 해치우는 등 거대 연예기획사에 맞설 만큼 강력한 힘을 갖고 있어서만은 아니다. 그보다는 그들이 평범한 대한민국 엄마·아내·아줌마에서 홀연히 ‘팬질’의 세계로 등장하게 된 까닭이 더욱 흥미롭고 의미심장하다.
중제 : 동방신기와 ‘성균관 스캔들’에서 JYJ 팬 형성

표면적으로 제이와이제이의 이모팬들은 크게 두 경로를 거쳐 형성됐다. 하나는 기존 동방신기의 팬에서 시작된 경우다. 인터넷방송에도 적극 참여 중인 최은영(36·회사원)씨가 대표적이다. 일본에서 생활하다 귀국한 최씨는 2006년 일본에서 동방신기를 처음 접했다. “어느날 설거지를 하고 있는데 티브이에서 연예인들이 일어를 하는데 너무 완벽하더라고요. 그래서 티브이 앞으로 가서 유심히 봤죠. 동방신기였는데요. 그 정도의 노력이 너무나 매력적이었고요. 제이와이제이는 동방신기에서도 특히 실력있는 친구들이었거든요. 자연스럽게 이모팬이 된 거죠.”
제이와이제이를 만나며 본격 팬질에 빠져든 이모팬은 더욱 많다. 이 경우 대개는 드라마 <성균관 스캔들>에 출연한 박유천에서 이어진다. “486세대에, 고3·중3 딸을 둔 주부요 전문직에 종사하고 있다”는 한 이모팬은 “딸아이 옷 사주러 들른 옷가게에서 우연히 동방신기 노래를 접한 뒤, <성균관 스캔들>에서 주인공이 박유천이라는 것을 알면서” 팬의 세계에 들어섰다고 했다. “드라마를 보면서 박유천에 대해 궁금해 기사를 찾아다녔는데 너무 이상한 일이 많이 있더군요. 주인공이 박유천인데도 인터넷 기사에선 박유천만 쏙 빠져 있는 데 분개하기 시작한 거예요.”
최고령 팬으로 꼽히는 권태숙(77) 할머니 역시 지난해 <성균관 스캔들>을 보면서 제이와이제이의 팬이 됐다. “손자뻘인 아이들이 착하게, 자신의 꿈을 위해 노력하는 모습이 기특하고 한편 안쓰러워서 격려해주고 싶어요. 박유천군은 드라마 연기가 번듯해서 좋았고 재중군은 목소리가 호소력 있으면서 남자다운 면이 마음에 들고, 준수군은 착하고 순수해 보여서 좋지요.” 권 할머니의 손녀인 김규원씨는 “할머니가 현재 에스엠과 소송 중이라 공적으로나 경제적으로 힘들 제이와이제이를 위해 종종 박유천 어머니가 운영하는 아이스크림 집에 들러 매상을 올려주시기도 하고 화보집, 음반, 디브이디 등을 구매하신다”고 전했다.

중제 : 거대기획사 횡포에 80년대 기억 되살아나

동방신기에서 시작했든, <성균관 스캔들>에서 꽂혔든 이모들이 더욱 적극적으로 팬질에 뛰어든 데엔 공통점이 있다. 거대 기획사와 지상파 방송사의 횡포로 제이와이제이가 피해를 보고 있다는 생각이다. 한 40대 이모팬은 “세상 살 만큼 살아서 웬만한 일에는 감동하지 않고 먹고살기 바빠 여간해선 행동에 나서지 않는 중년여성들이, 천하다 여겼던 방송국 게시판 순례와 전화질을 당당하게 실천하고 독려하며, 나 자신을 위해서도 열지 않던 지갑을 아낌없이 열게 만드는 힘”의 원인을 “1980년대와 2010년 사이의 기막힌 조우에서 찾고 싶다”고 말했다. “40대가 청춘을 보냈던 80년대는 민주화 투쟁의 앞에 나섰건 뒤에 숨었건 간에 자유와 정의, 인권과 도리에 대한 고민이 취업 고민보다 우위에 있던 시기였다. 이런 푸르디푸른 이상을 혈관 깊숙이 간직한 세대이지만 더러는 현실에 타협하고 굴복하고 더러는 내 살길 찾느라 이상 따위는 잊은 지 오래다. 그러던 어느날 <성균관 스캔들>의 이선준(박유천)을 만나 서럽도록 푸른 이상에 심장이 요동쳤다. 그러고 나서 이모들은 가수 박유천을 찾아내고 함께 재중과 준수, 제이와이제이를 만나게 됐다. 이들의 기막힌 재능과 그보다 더 기막힌 현실에서 이모들은 드라마가 아닌 현실 속에서 다시 한번 80년대를 조우하게 된 것이다.”
각성한 이모팬들은 나이 어린 팬들을 이끌며 건강한 여론 형성을 위해 앞장서고 있다고 자부한다. 최은영씨는 이모팬들을 ‘필터’나 다름없다고 설명했다. “이모팬들은 기사나 정보를 접할 때 걸러서 들어요. 무작정 받아들이거나 배척하지 않고 사실 확인하고 나서 피드백도 하죠. 어린 친구들을 만나도 이렇게 정보를 걸러서 전달해요. 무작정 좋아하는 순수하고 맹목적인 어린 친구들을 잘 데리고 다니려고 하고 있죠.”


About Heartchaser

An ardent fan of Park 6002... Loves his music and everything about the guy..! An art designer, slightly out of tune..? Also, loves and favors Junsu and JJ...our JYJ guys..!!
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