Sasaengs: Fans Who Harm Their Idols
Imagine yourself, hundreds of people swarming around you having no air to breath and even if you did leave terrifying cocoon of people you still have the fear of knowing that there are people watching you and able to watch you sleep in your own home. Sounds awful right? That is the daily life of a k-pop idol in South Korea and now growing to other countries in Asia specifically.
Many Americans know of k-pop because of the popular song “Gangnam Style” by Psy, who is with one of the biggest labels in South Korea YG. But not everyone knows the struggles that these stars have to go through when they are at home. The main struggle is sasaengs. “Sasaengs” or “Private” fans many of these fans are female ages 13 to 22 years old. The objective of these sasaengs is to make sure that their idol, specifically the male k-pop bands, remember them even if it is in a negative light.
There are many disturbing stories about how far the sasaengs go to provoke a reaction out of their idol. Byun Baekhyun of the popular boy band EXO was harassed by many sasaengs at his brother’s wedding when they crashed his brother’s wedding and creating a lot of disturbances during the ceremony and the reception causing Baekhyun to be livid towards these sasaeng “fans”. The most notable conflicts with sasaengs are with the boy band TVXQ. In 2012 TVXQ had suffered with numerous problems with sasaengs such as, they had their phone lines tapped and personal conversations recorded, TVXQ’s apartment was broken into and the sasaengs also attempted to kiss one of the band mates while they were sleeping, even an anti-fan tried to poison TVXQ’s Yunho by giving him a drink with glue in it and had to be hospitalized and had his stomach pumped. What’s even worse about this situation is that the government hasn’t done anything to help these fans or the idols, who are the victims in this situation.
Many of the sasaengs are so devoted to their idols that they will put other people and themselves in harms way just to see their idols. An example of this is when another popular South Korean boy band Super Junior were in Singapore they were involved in a seven-car collision, because there were eight Singaporean sasaengs dangerously tailgating SJ’s van on their way to Changi airport. Even though none of the boys from Super Junior weren’t hurt, they received a stern tweet from the leader of Super Junior Leeteuk in Korean “Here in Singapore…
I have the impression that it is a beautiful place. I’m okay with you guys following our car, but please be careful…it was a seven car pile up.
..I almost died”. As you can see the life of a k-pop star is difficult and having to deal with Sasaengs makes it more on them and can hurt them not only physically but also mentally. So by bringing awareness to this topic can help get this become an important issue and trying to fix this and make the k-pop idol’s lives better.