Did K-Pop’s Dark Side Contribute to Jonghyun’s Death?

Did K-Pop’s Dark Side Contribute to Jonghyun’s Death?


If you were paying attention to pop music in 2017, you likely noticed the increasing popularity of K-pop, the South Korean genre that first made waves in North America in 2012, when Gangam Style went viral. But unlike Psy’s one-hit wonder, the current K-pop invasion is wide-reaching and, from the looks of it, has serious staying power. This year, BTS made their North American debut with appearances on The Late Late ShowJimmy Kimmel Live! and Ellen, in addition to winning a Billboard Music Award and releasing their first Top 40 Hot 100 hit (the Steve Aoki remix of “Mic Drop,” which features rapper Desiigner)—both firsts for any K-pop group. But the wins weren’t restricted to BTS. The fashion world has increasingly taken notice of stars like Exo’s Oh Sehun, while devoted fan clubs have popped up in the most unlikely places (Kpop Dallas, a Texas-based Facebook group, has grown from 50 to 6,500 members in the past five years).

But there’s part of the story that newbie fans may be missing: as an industry, K-pop is notoriously brutal.

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