BTS’s announcement of their hiatus has brought attention to structural problems in the Korean idol world.
We decided to talk to media representatives who specialize in covering Korean idols and have seen many of them at work. Unlike television, where every word and deed of the idols is captured on film, magazine interviews are not exposed to the viewer’s eyes except for the moment of shooting. Therefore, it is easier to see the true nature of the celebrities.
What kind of aspects of the Korean idols did the production side catch a glimpse of at such situation? Our interviews revealed two aspects that were somewhat different from those of Japanese idols.
The first is the seriousness of the idols, who are so diligent that they can be said to be working 24 hours a day.
“They are always very pleasant and hardworking,” he said. They must be very busy and tired, but they never show that kind of attitude. In the make-up room, they can be a bit absentminded, but once it comes to filming or interviews, I get the impression that they turn it on. She always smiles and answers each question very politely. So much so that the time for the interview often runs over even though there is not much time left, and the office staff is often snapped at by the interviewer.
(Interview writer) “I don’t mean to be rude, but many Japanese male idols have a bad attitude when they are interviewed by magazines. I often think, ‘Their faces are too different from what they look like on TV. But there is no one like that among Hallyu idols. I get the impression that they take each job as a challenge. They are trying their best to leave their mark on us with their charm and charm.”
But if they were to throw themselves so hard into everything, they would probably break down at some point. It can be annoying at times, but I also feel that Japanese idols who pull it off well are more normal in a way.
Staff members binging on snacks during filming
Another thing that caught my attention was the structure of the situation, which is a bit different from that in Japan.
In Japan, whether you are an idol or an actor, you are basically treated as if you are going to be interviewed. We provide them with plenty of food and drinks, and always ask them, ‘Are you cold? We always pay attention to the environment. Because of this, some of the talent may get the wrong impression of us.
But as far as I can tell, there seems to be no such hierarchy when it comes to Korean idols. Whenever they shoot, there are always a few adults who are like, ‘Who is this person?’ They are always acting as they please without caring about the talents. Sometimes they occupy the rest area and the talent is left hanging around with nowhere to go. This is a scene you would never see in Japan.
It is said that in Korea, the positions of staff and talent are more equal than in Japan, and there was an incident that symbolized this.
“For a big project involving a large group of girls, we prepared a lot of popular Japanese sweets and special snacks,” said one of the interview writers. However, during makeup and filming, the staff members accompanying the celebrities ate almost all of them! By the end of the shoot, there was nothing left but chocolate, the kind you can buy at a convenience store. But the girls were still happily chomping down on them, saying, “Wow, there’s chocolate ♡. I almost cried because I felt sorry for them, as they must have been hungry after the early morning shooting.”
In Japan, it is 100% illegal for staff members to touch food before the idols, so we never expected something like this to happen.
Both the Japanese and Korean idol worlds may have their advantages and disadvantages, but one can only hope that the BTS issue will be an opportunity for the idols to have their voices heard and their structural problems corrected.
Interview and text by： Nanako
Born in Ehime Prefecture. After working at a broadcasting station, she became a freelance writer. She specializes in interviews with celebrities and articles analyzing popular events, and is always on the lookout for serial dramas and popular Japanese movies. She is a well-known beautiful writer in the magazine industry.