Kpop idols that suffer from depression
If we mention about girl group or boy band, Kpop suddenly shows up in our mind. The strength of Kpop is not only appearance, but also performance. Members of Kpop can sing and dance very well. The ability of singing and dancing is acknowledged country and worldwide. Being successful as Kpop is the highest dream of many people, including Thai. However, being famous Kpop star is not easy and needs a strong desire. Kpop industry is very competitive. The agents from record label or Kpop agency selects candidates from thousand to hundred and from hundred to tens. The candidates passing selection step to be trainee of record label. They have practiced to sing and dance more than ten hours per day and kept doing that for four or five years. Bandly, in spirt of hard practice, not all trainee can pass the test. Record label will choose the most outstanding group to be a boy band and girl group, while other trainees must finish pursuing their dream.
After through a difficult life, the most outstanding groups passing the practice will sign the contact with record label. They believe that their Kpop way will be smooth and beautiful as they dream. In fact, their lives expected before are not close to the reality. Being in spot light must receive all comments and be a good model of fans. This is vey stressful and pressure for them.
Sulli, 25 years old actress and singer in a Kpop member, found her body in her house by her manager. Her fans claimed that reason she died was critical online comment. These hurting words negatively impact on her mental health. She debuted as a girl group in 2009 and became individual as access and singer. Sulli was an outspoken; she never apologised for criticism. She was a couple star that shows her life online. Sulli had struggled with depression. Due to her contemporary thought and outspoken personality, she were target of hateful online vitriol. For example, she posted her photos to Instagram without wearing bra and this action generated a huge online criticism. Sulli was critically criticised that she was reckless and undignified which was not suppose to be a good model who was looked up by her fans. Although there is no official conclusion of the reason of Sulli’s death, we assumed that it is because of online criticism (Reuters, 2019).
Goo Hara K pop star in Kara group, decided to end up her life in her place. She joined the Kpop industry after leaving of member of Kara group. She became lead member in a short period of time. She had more fans after she went to reality Tv show of KBS. She became an individual singer. She had a boyfriend which one day they flighted and she got assaulted by her boyfriend. Her boyfriend threatened that he would publish her sex video to social media in order to finish her career life. This make Goo Hara falls in stress and depression for a period of time before she decided to commit suicide (BBC, 2019).
Jonghyun, K-pop lead singer in SHINEE, were pressured from being star. He left the harrowing note that he was facing with a lot of pressure from being in South Korea’s entertainment industry. As mentioned, The K-pope entertainment industry is intensely competitive. He was found unconsciously in his apartment and sent to hospital. But, it is too late, he died. He was renowned as solo artist and a band member. He and his band was popular worldwide. However, the note he wrote said that “broken from inside”. The depression slowly made him down and eventually engulfed him. He said that he couldn’t no longer fight with it.
Reflecting Kpop industry from Jonghyun
According to Jonghyun’s note, his death reflects the major problem in Kpop industry. Intensely competitive Korea industry pressure people so much that Korean has a high rate of committing suicide among industrial country. For entertainment or media industry, we are known that Kpop star or other pop star in Asia live under intense pressure. Also, they are strictly controlled their lifestyle, using phone, food, accommodation, dress, plastic surgery operation and including friends and lover by their record labor. So sad, but true— the kpop stars gain very low salary if compared from what they have to do (McCurry, 2017).
In 2009, Park Jin-hee, a female actress, wrote her master thesis that up to 40 percent of kpop star thought of committing suicide at least once in their lives. The reason is lack of freedom, cyber bullying, unstable pay and loss of being famous (BBC, 2017).
Entertainment industry in Japan and Taiwan is also criticised that record labels break their stars freedom. Minami, a female singer of AKB48, shaved her hair in order to beg the recored label to be back an artist after she broke the regulation by sleeping with her boyfriend (BBC, 2017).
As all mentioned, we can use these cases to analyse Kpop industry. The case of Sulli shows that an actor or actress carries the expectation of audience. Fans loved her performance, her work and characteristics firstly presented not the way she is. “Price to pay” is too high— being public means that you have to accept every comment and criticism from others. Is it right thing to do? If the reason of Sulli’s death is negative feedback, all commenter are maunderers. It is very easy to kill someone by using only fingers and if a bad thing happens then just comment RIP. Another case is Goo Hara. Her case shows dark side of being humans. People in online doesn’t care what she will feel. Sharing and mentioning about her video clip on online indirectly kill her. She felt embarrassed even though the clip was not published. Therefore, these are good case study that cyber bully must stop from now on. No one should get hurt by someone who comments for fun or think less even though they are in public.
BBC, 2019. The K-Pop Star And The Suffering Of Spy Cam Victims. [online] BBC News. Available at: <https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-50582338>
BBC, 2017. ความตายของ “จงฮยอน” สะท้อนด้านมืดวงการเพลงป็อปเอเชีย. [online] BBC News บีบีซีไทย. Available at: <https://www.bbc.com/thai/international-42421886>
McCurry, J., 2017. K-Pop Singer Jonghyun’s Death Turns Spotlight On Pressures Of Stardom. [online] the Guardian. Available at: <https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/dec/19/k-pop-singer-jonghyun-death-shinee-pressures-of-stardom>
Reuters, 2019. K-Pop Deaths Renew Focus On Cyber Bullying Of Young Stars. [online] South China Morning Post. Available at: <https://www.scmp.com/lifestyle/entertainment/article/3040175/k-pop-deaths-renew-focus-cyber-bullying-young-stars-and>