10 English Terms Essential For Korean Pop Fans

Your idols don’t do selfies; they do selcas.

Just like in any other fandom, getting into KPop requires a bit of education. The KPop world makes use of English terms you may not read anywhere else, some of which are in this list.

1. ALL-KILL

A single has earned an “all-kill” if it reaches #1 on all nine of South Korea’s major real-time charts: Bugs, Cyworld, Daum, Melon, Mnet, Monkey3, Naver Music, Olleh, and Soribada.

A song would then achieve a “perfect all-kill” if it tops all major real-time music charts plus the Instiz weekly chart.

As of this posting, there are seven songs that achieved perfect all-kill status in 2013, with “The Red Shoes” by IU being the latest.

2. FAN SERVICE

Originally used in manga and anime fandoms, fan service refers to the lengths KPop artists would do to titillate their fans. Showing off their chocolate abs is a good example, but having their male co-singer carress all over is a step up.

(N.B.: The guy-on-guy skinship among male KPop celebrities deserves another Buzzfeed article.)

Performing in drag and wearing animal costumes are other examples of fan service.

3. FANCHANT

KPop fans do not just scream and spazz, they also utter a series of cheers as their favorite artists perform. Fanchants vary by artist and song.

Look at it as how college basketball fans chant during offense and defense.

4. GUERILLA CONCERT

Often called guerilla gig in United Kingdom, guerilla concerts are spontaneous, street-side performances. They are usually done by rookie artists (in any genre) to get their name out.

Established artists also perform in guerilla concerts, albeit a bit more elaborate. Here’s PSY performing on the streets of Seoul’s Hongdae District in 2010.

5. HOT ISSUE

This is not about stocks trading. Hot issue has to do with a person or incident that is highly-discussed both online and off.

One of the many hot issues that are burning the KPop scene is CL of 2NE1 appearing naked in their music video for “Missing You”.

6. IDOL

Korean pop stars are generally referred as “idols”, especially those who were trained under a “factory-like” system from various talent agencies. Idols are expected to not only perform, but also act and host (just in case the music gig is not enough).

The road to becoming an idol is never easy, as only one of 10,000 trainees is likely to debut, and that is even half the battle.

The documentary “9 Muses of Star Empire” is an eye-opener that follows the rocky beginnings of idol group 9 Muses. Their debut song performed miserably in the charts, some members quit and got replaced, and the pressure to become popular was constant.

You can watch a short version of the docu here.

7. LOVE CALL

Popular idols receive love calls, either from companies to become their commercial models or from fellow artists to collaborate on a new song.

Word on the street is that Taeyang of BIGBANG has received love calls from American record companies for a possible solo career in the US.

8. SELCA

Koreans have a word for selfie before it even became relevant in Western media: selca (short for self-camera).

Cute selcas, such as this one taken by actress Clara (center, with Lizzy and Nana of After School), often land on Korean news sites.

9. UNCLE FAN

KPop mainly caters the young market, but that does not mean your idols should ignore their older fans. Aged between 30 and forever, uncle fans have the same sense of admiration to current artists, even though they could pass up as their actual uncle.

Crayon Pop is not only popular because of its out-of-the-box concepts, but also because of its dedicated uncle fan base.

10. V-LINE/ S-LINE

These two words illustrate Korea’s obsession for beauty. The V-line refers to the oval-shaped face, which is considered ideal for both men and women. Idols are either born with it or have their jaws shaved off to achieve it.

Meanwhile, the S-line is associated with a woman’s hourglass shape.

Thank you for reading! Kamsahabnida!

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