So any person familiar with current pop groups in America know that the fans of that particular group are pretty… well fanatic. Beliebers, 1D’s, Barbies, Katy-cats, they vote for their idols and practically live and breathe for news about what they eat, wear, date and sometimes their music too. While fan names are not required for American pop bands and are invented by the fans themselves, fan groups are an important and structured part of the successful kpop band formula. Fans will come up with an unofficial fan name if one is not announced and are very uncomfortable if one is not announced for them (for example f(x) are self described as aff(x)ions, but are still waiting for an official club).
They will describe themselves in youtube comments as a member of a certain fan group, for example fans of Girl’s Generation will describe themselves as a Sone. Sometimes the fan name will be related to the group name like Blackjack for 2ne1 and Shawol, which stands for Shinee’s World for Shinee. Individual members of more popular bands will also have fan names, like Yubinians for Yubin from Wondergirls and YoonAddict for YoonA from SNSD. There are so many SNSD fans that they have even come up with fan names for when their two favorite girls interact, like YoonHyun Loyalist for Yoona And Seohyun. Lastly, there are shipping names for the fans particular favorite pairings, like SkyDragon for CL (Ciel is sky in french) from 2ne1 and G-Dragon from BIGBANG. Many of these shippings are pairings of two men, like JongKey from Shinee.
One of the most crazy aspects of fan groups in Korea are the fan colors. Not every group has a fan color, but when they do, watching their concerts is typically a sea of fans wearing one colored clothing with matching balloons and glowsticks. Korea is running out of colors to give their idols, and this has resulted in a trend of adding a “pearl” sheen to all the newer colors, to differentiate them from other ones. To be honest, looking at all these colors that only vary slightly apart reminds me of high school football games where both sides share the same colors and it was awkward trying to figure out which group was which. Korean pop groups will soon have to resort to having 2 fan colors, like sports teams, so their color combination can set them apart from other groups.
One part about fan groups that I like very much is the “fan chants” that Kpop concert goers will use. They still have crazy screaming and applause and the like when kpop bands go out on stage, but during the song, fan groups will come up with lines that the fans will yell back at the performers. “This is War” by MBLAQ has some particularly good fan chants, especially in the bridge.
The most important thing for a new Kpop fan to realize is that you don’t have to be part of only one Kpop fandom. For example, when talking to a group of Kpop fans, I would introduce myself as a Blackjack, because 2ne1 is my favorite band, but I don’t think of myself as just a Blackjack. Deep down, I’m a Blackjack, a SONE, an ELF, an Aff(x)ion, a SayA, a Shawol, a Baby and a L.O.Λ.E. I respect the Cassies and the B2uties, the V.I.Ps and the Hottests. I hope that someday I can be a part of those fandoms and other fandoms as well. I think that’s the most important part about being part of a fandom, having an open mind. So many times fans tear down other groups for copying styles or their singer’s attitudes, and become an Anti-fan of that group. I never want to be an Anti-fan because listening to Kpop makes me happy and I would never want to taint that with negativity. I hope that through out this journey, you will find the band that makes you the happiest when you listen to them and respect all the other people who have made a choice different than your own.