On an episode of Sakigake! Ongaku Bankuze Eight there was an altercation between fans of the K-Pop group T-ara and members of the Hello! Project act Berryz Koubou. During scripted bits involving Tsugunaga Momoko (a regular on the show) playing up her ultra cute, super annoying character, T-ara fans became enraged at the comedic bits and started yelling some rather insensitive and harsh comments towards Momoko and Miyabi. (Chinami seemed to get a free pass)

This of course has enraged many Hello! Project fans and has again stereotyped K-Pop fans as vicious pariahs who feed on hating anything that isn’t to their liking. Leading to a lot of over reaction and a hell of a lot of unnecessary drama from both sides.

The Selective Hearing Staff have gathered to discuss this turn of events. As always the opinions expressed are those of the individual writers and if you don’t agree with what anyone has to say be mature enough to respond accordingly with intelligent rebuttals. If you can’t do that the administrators reserve the right to modify any inappropriate content at will. You have been warned.

TOZ

My first reaction was, “They did that?” But, I gave it a fair shake. Did T-ara fans just not know this was scripted? Did they not know this was done in good fun? Perhaps. Even so, to yell that you want them to die is too much. Also, there are reports that there were tears shed. For full disclosure, I am a T-ara fan and I didn’t like this one bit. If they didn’t find it funny, fine. If they don’t think she was cute, okay. Even if they did find her annoying, that’s alright. But to verbally attack to the point of tears is uncalled for.

It does appear that there are different standards when it comes to the Japanese and Korean pop. I don’t see this kind of drama going the opposite way. Maybe it does, but I haven’t come across it. It’s like having the green peas and the mashed potatoes separated by a knife. K-pop fans don’t really want to see them mix. J-pop fans, even the most die-hard, are indifferent about other fandoms. From everything I’ve seen, even with the H!P & AKB divide, one side might not like the music from the other, but I don’t see such a hatred like this. Again, for full disclosure, I’m not even remotely close to intelligently comment on the H!P and AKB thing, so I’ll be the first to admit I could be speaking blasphemy.

But, I have to consider all the sides. Just because a group is the most vocal, doesn’t mean they represent the population. Just because there are pockets of fans that are willing to send these kind of verbal barbs, doesn’t mean all K-pop fans do. But sadly, I think it does reflect bad, not only on K-pop fans but the J-pop fans as well. There are blogs published about this topic, claiming they will boycott T-ara because of this. The seven members of T-ara didn’t do this. The fans did. You can still enjoy their music but don’t mingle with fellow fans. You can do that. If you don’t like T-ara’s music, make that decision on the music itself, not because of the fans who support it.

To summarize, K-pop fans need to lighten up about their favorite acts working in Japan, and J-pop fans need to understand that even with the horrible things that the K-pop fans have done, the music should be the ultimate deciding factor on whether or not you want to check out these K-pop groups.

Chiima

This is my first time experiencing the wrath of the K-pop fans, and I was honestly shocked – whilst I am now used to how biased, offensive and horrible H!P and AKB fans can be, I was unaware of what K-pop fans were like because I honestly don’t follow this fandom – and I was honestly surprised by how hurt I was that Momoko was getting hurt by this, because honestly, I do not care for Momoko in any way. She is one of my least favourite idols. I also do not care for T-ara in any way, nor do I really like K-pop as of right now.

Like TOZ, my first reaction was ‘What the heck? Did this really happen?’ and then it turned into the feeling of needing to protect Momoko. And that felt odd.

Now, it’s a known fact that Momoko is annoying – it’s her act, and it makes her popular and gets Berryz out there in the Media, much like Sayumi’s sickly cute act. I find it irritating, and it is probably the reason why I find Momoko so… annoying? But to tell her to go and Die is just too far, and it makes me angry and sad that they had to go so far just to show their distaste. However, I want to get this across: I don’t think that all K-pop or T-ara fans are like this. I have friends who enjoy K-pop and do not go to the extreme to tell me that certain Idols should go and die, and I have also had someone explain to me how extreme some fans can be with Idols that they love and adore.

In all honestly, I will say that this happened because I don’t think that the T-ara fans were told about this scripted piece – if they had known, then there would have probably been a lot less drama, and a lot less tears in the studio that day, and we certainly wouldn’t be here talking about these events. That, or maybe the T-ara fans that day were just vicious, and felt the need to protect a group they like by going to the extreme. I know that when someone attacks a member I like, I want to write a full-blown article about how great they are.

I feel like everyone is over-reacting to the news right now – fans of Berryz, Momoko fans, Miyabi fans, H!P lovers and the like, and there are also the K-pop fans, who are going to obviously jump to the defense of the fans who lashed out at Momoko and co. A lot of people are stating their distaste, myself included, and it has kind of spiraled and made Berryz fans kind of boycott T-ara, which itself is bad. It’s about the same as boycotting Morning Musume for wearing chicken suits!

But, on a personal level, this has made me respect Momoko a lot more, and has also made me realize my fear of the hate fans can have – this article actually helped me to like Momoko a little more, because I didn’t know that she was strong enough to stick up to these sorts of harsh words and extreme hate. I may dislike the girl and her little act, but as an Idol, I fully respect her. It’s horrible what these fans said, especially as they brought poor Miyabi to tears, but it happened – sadly, it just generalizes all K-pop fans, and it puts the innocent ones at risk of being hated on more by Hello! Project and Berryz fans.

NMB

Now that the show has aired, and we can see the video for ourselves, we can perhaps get a better sense of what the atmosphere was like there.

Of course, the event video was extensively edited, but it’s still pretty clear that the Berryz girls didn’t receive a very warm welcome, to say the least.

But what really strikes me is how they maintained their composure and continued to smile and be cheerful throughout the event. If they were upset, they didn’t let it show. Instead, they made light of the crowd’s heckling, and played it for laughs.

They really handled it well, and I’m proud of them.

As for their detractors, they only made themselves look like idiots. It’s one thing to playfully root for T-ara to beat Berryz in a silly little competition; it’s quite another thing to hurl personal insults at people who were, by the way, trying to help promote T-ara! Duh!

When I first heard about this, I’ll admit I had the same thought as many other Berryz fans: “I will never support T-ara again!” After all, my beloved Momo and Miya were publicly insulted and emotionally scarred; there would have to be retribution, and a T-ara boycott was the only way I could see to achieve it. And anyway, would I want to have anything to do with a group that attracts fans like that? Would I want to associate myself with those mean fans, and assist them in supporting their idols?

Of course, I now realize that line of reasoning is rather silly. The fact is, every fandom has its fair share of idiots. My favorite sports teams certainly have some idiot fans, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to stop rooting for them. My favorite politicians, bands, video games, all have some overzealous supporters. And there have been times when I’ve been the idiot myself. So, to hold T-ara responsible for the impulsive and misguided actions of a few of their fans, which they really have no control over, would be… well, idiotic. Besides, I like Roly-Poly!

So yes, to try to use this incident as a justification for boycotting T-ara, or as evidence that all K-Pop fans are deranged lunatics, is an overreaction.

However, it’s not an overreaction to swiftly and sharply rebuke the specific offenses that have been alleged in this incident. There’s really no need for this kind of behavior in idol fandom, and it shouldn’t be tolerated. If you’re at the point where you’re wishing death upon a teenage girl whose worst offense is acting comically cute, then you are taking this stuff way too seriously, and maybe it’s time for you to re-examine your life.

Greg

I first heard about this through Facebook. Someone in a group I follow mentioned something about “the incident” and there were posts of Miya (which is ALWAYS a good thing) & Momo with lots of supporting messages. I was wondering what everyone was going on about and then I found the link (see the preface above) to the story and laughed as I read it.

I didn’t let out a Dr. Evil maniacal kind of laugh, but I quietly giggled as I read about the stupidity of the T-ara fans in the audience. Then I went & read the reactions of Hello! Project fans and started LOL’ing inside (because at the time I was shopping with my family & didn’t ROFL in public) because of their overly dramatic reactions.

I can understand how fans of T-ara & Berryz can get all worked up about this but it’s not like the K-Pop fans were throwing stuff at Berryz or a massive inter group gang fight broke out. I tend to believe that the fans there were just a bunch of humorless pricks who were not smart enough to see obvious staged bits.

Then as the day the news broke out continued the mud slinging started generalizing K-Pop fans (which I am guilty of because 140 characters ain’t enough to say things.), the emo-ness of Hello! Project fans shined through and everyone all got riled up ready to smash their keyboards in protest. All this whole fiasco showed is that some people are beyond a healthy level of investment in some of these groups and need to get their heads in check.

Look, I too am not happy that a small group of idiotic T-ara fans made my #1 girl in H!P cry but it’s not like I’m going to go on the war path against them either. This could be an entirely separate debate altogether but we all know that the fan cultures in K-Pop and J-Pop are different. What is considered accepted behavior in one may not be so cool in the other. The lines of respect also blur when fandoms cross.

Unfortunately this kind of bullshit isn’t new is it? It’s just never been exposed to some Hello! Project fans to this degree before. Boycotting T-ara because of this will accomplish nothing, calling out K-Pop fans in general because of this is just petty and eventually this will blow over and no one will remember this silliness other than those who wrote about it.