K-Pop’s popularity has soared quickly in the recent years, and people from all over the world have finally discovered its top-class quality music and aesthetics. With its still ever growing reputation, fans from all walks of life have entered its fandoms—most of whom get overwhelmed by the amount of new terms and unspoken rules. It’s normal. The K-Pop fandom can be a whole new world for them. And with that, we are here to guide you through the basic etiquette of being a K-Pop fan.
1. It is perfectly fine to be a multi-fandom fan, however, it is not okay to wear/bring any merchandise from a different group to a concert being held by another group.
This one is the first and most important etiquette in being a K-Pop fan. One of the best things in being an I-fan (“i” as in international) is you are free to like whoever you like, unlike K-fans who tend to stan just one group. However, if you are attending a SHINee concert, it is not okay to wear a…let’s say, GOT7 shirt. It’s only respectful to wear or bring stuff related to the group on which event you’re attending to. Just because it’s K-Pop, it doesn’t mean that it’s one whole group.
2. Not your fandom, not your problem.
This is one of the most important things to learn—if you see drama from another fandom, it’s best to stay away from it. Avoid adding fuel to the fire. In essence, mind your own business. It helps with you to concentrate on your favorite group more, and it also keeps you away from getting involved in inter-fandom drama. (We all hate fanwars, anyway, right?) If you think about it, it’s a win-win situation.
3. Don’t comment “Speak English” in any idol or group’s streams.
Our faves have been through enough when it comes to training, have stressed themselves out just to debut, maybe we can give them a break if they don’t speak a language that they are not that familiar with. After all, we chose to enter a fandom of Korean music so maybe we can learn Korean in their stead. If you don’t have the time to, fret not because there are fan-translators and the Naver Dictionary app to help you communicate with your idols easier. Please, let them speak English if they wish to do it on their own just don’t ask them to speak your language. Compared to many secondary English speakers, a lot of stars don’t really have the time to learn fluent English through someone like A. J. Hoge, but in truth, there is no language barrier in K-Pop.
4. Never chant/do banners of your OTP/ship’s names in concerts, streams, and fanmeets.
We get it—your ship is the best thing that happened since Jack met Rose (although that’s quite a tragic love story). However, ships are meant to stay within the fandom, and outside the idols’ lives. Think about it like this—what if you’re in class and your classmates ship you with your close friend and everyone just starts teasing you? Wouldn’t it make your relationship with your friend awkward? It’s pretty much the same with group OTPs. Let’s not take the fun out of ships and keep it within us shippers. Also, let’s let them find love their own way.
5. Acknowledge older generations of K-Pop groups.
It’s not a requirement to know about the whole history of K-Pop all the way from Seo Taiji and the Boys, but it is good if as a new K-Pop fan, you’ll know that older K-Pop groups really paved the way for the newer groups. They were the first to explore opportunities in different global stages. They made it possible for the newer generations to advance to a stage as big as the Billboard, or the K?haku Uta Gassen. By having a bit of background about the legendary groups, you’ll learn how your faves have gotten to where they are, and who influenced them as well.
These are just some of the basic fandom rules that you should be familiar with. We emphasize, though, that we are not forcing this to anybody or down anyone’s throat. These are just a short and simple guide to new fans. This could make us a better netizen, keeping us from being an fan attacking others because of lack of knowledge when it comes to K-Pop. Besides, in every community, there is always some form of accepted behavior to keep it fun, exciting, and less if not stressful. Hope this serves as help to new fans!
If you have more suggestions, we are free to take it and add it here as well.
Welcome to the K-Pop fandom! Have a happy stanning life!