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International Fans & Culture issues / The Koharu "Scandal"

Posted by JaeJoo, in Uncategorized, Morning Musume 26 January 2013 · 2177 views

Kusumi Koharu Jpop Kpop Internation fan Culture Rant Block B Morning Musume
Recently a certain event has caused quite a stir on the forum. Let’s call it the “Koharu scandal”. Is it a scandal, is it not a scandal. I don’t even care. Is it that bad or not? I won’t say my opinion on it, but throughout might post, you might find an answer.
What got me raising an eyebrow is that on the Koharu’s official thread, there are pretty much 2 type of people; not the ones who bash on her and the ones who defend her, but the ones who try to think in a “Japanese way” and the ones who think in an “occidental way”.

That’s what I call the “immersed fans” and the “outmersed fans”.
Immersed fans to me are the fans who, not only will be fans of a group, but will also understand the culture of the country this group is from. Morning Musume; Japan, T-Ara; South Korea, By2 : Taiwan & China. Okay, those fans can go to some PRETTY INTENSE EXTENT and… I’m sure you know what I mean by too much into the culture type of fans…
Outmersed fans are… fans of a group that will not bother to know about the culture, or just choose to ignore it or take only what they like want from this culture. Like for South Korea, look at those little girls with their “Oppa, oppa” alright, what else do you know expect from Oppa, Super Junior and EXO? Okay right, nothing.
I’m not saying one is better than the other one; everyone is entitled to… be the fan they want to be.

But there’s one thing that ticks me off and makes me really annoyed; people who give their opinion based on their own culture when it comes to a “scandal” that has to do with something from another culture.

I’m going to give a proper example; back in 2012, Block B (Korean boyband), went to Thailand and acted with no manners (putting their feet on the table, talking between themselves while the journalist was making the interview, not seating properly and even making jokes about the flooding that happened a little while before in Thailand). Of course, they insulted their hosts but they also put South Korea to shame. Why? Because as a group from South Korea, they are supposed to represent them (that’s how Koreans see it). Their acts didn’t make THEM look bad but ALL the Koreans. No surprised that this became a major issue in South Korea and many people asked for the band to disband, to apologize publicly and some people even asked the member who made the “joke” on the flooding to commit suicide.
Well guess what; international fans started insulting South Koreans. “Crazy people, damn Koreans, what the hell is wrong with them?”. I’m not saying it’s all of them, but most of them. Most of those people who are “fans” of KPOP, but don’t know a single thing about the South Korean culture except for the “hoobae/sunbae” system “the oppa/noona/hyung”unnie / dongsaeng” relationships and stuff like that.
Once again; I’m not saying that it’s a good thing to tell a 17 year old boy to commit suicide for putting a whole nation to shame (well… said like that…) but, at least, I understand the reaction of the citizens of South Korea. South Korea, you know, the country where those guys come from!
Now picture this; if Taylor Swift goes to South Korea and start laughing at them, America won’t give a damn crap. Why? Because we, occidentals, don’t give a damn crap about those stuff.
But how South Korean would see us? Well, like they already do see us; people who lack of manner, respect and etiquette and should stay in their own country.

What I’m trying to say here is that everything is relative depending of the culture; if Koharu had said those things on our radios, nobody would’ve cared, but it’s on a Japanese radio, talking about her Japanese (ex)co-wokers and current Japanese employer in Japan.

Put yourself into a context; she talked like Koharu, yes, she used poor choice of words, yes, but those words were still said and are out and about everywhere.
If you want to judge the real impact of those words, think about the Japanese culture; the importance of respecting people, the senpai/kouhai system, the employment system, the politeness, the subtlety of everything, the gratefulness to one who has given to us… And then, maybe, maaaaaaybe you will understand what made this become a hot topic.

It’s not to feed the troll or Koharu’s haters on 2ch; what she said would make any Japanese citizen raise an eyebrow and ask where the hell she has been raised, cause her parents probably forgot to teach her a thing or two (okay I’m exaggerating. Or not.)

Well, in the end. I think it was actually a rant.
And have a nice day
Feel free to comment if you want ^^

Great rant! I totally agree. Sadly, most of Koharu's defenders still won't get it. Because they are ignorant Westerners who are not able to think outside of their own cultural box ...
*claps* This is a great rant. Koharu needs to learn Keigo now that she's an adult. It was okay in her Morning Musume years, but she's on her own now. Being "Koharu" is not something she should do with elders. To add off, the topic continued in this week's radio show. I'm interested on how Charmy, Yossie, and Mikitty reacts to this.
I really enjoyed reading this!
If this was Facebook I would like, share, save forever and post it on my wall everyday.

Love Koha to death but she was really rude.
Not a scandal.
I liked this, thanks.
THIS x10000

I don't feel like visiting the Koharu thread, I now understand the idea that "love is blind."
Thanks for all your comments guys!
I'm glad so many of you read it and so many of appreciated what I wrote. (and thank you Crazed lurker; Westerners was the word I was looking for but I could get hold of it haha. English isn't my first language so sometimes it's hard...)

Makito, if you want to post it on facebook, feel free to do it, though! haha

and maora & S-N-I-P-E-R : exactly my thoughts!