On Korean Entertainment Censorships

6 Oct

Boy, YG Entertainment is not having a great year. Its biggest act Big Bang is already out of commission due to Daesung’s earlier car accident and now it’s hit with another blow: G-Dragon, the leader of the group, was caught smoking marijuana. With that revelation, YG decided to cancel G-Dragon’s upcoming promotions, which includes GD&TOP’s planned debut this year in Japan. What’s stunning about this is how minor this incident seems compared to Daesung’s earlier accident. Yet, the Korean entertainment industry treats them both equally.

I’m not implying that G-Dragon’s actions weren’t illegal or correct. However, there is so much to be said about how strict the regulations are in Korea and how borderline ridiculous they can get. The country is very conservative socially and they try to keep their entertainment as “clean” as possible. That means no drugs, no alcohol, no sex, no violence, no gay people. It’s understandable, given the nature of their society, why they are very uptight about their regulations. However, I think it severely limits the artists from fully expressing themselves through their music.

Take for example, B2ST’s “On Rainy Days.” The song simply made a reference to drinking in its lyrics. Oh yes, because kids are not entirely aware of alcohol in society considering the fact that every damn Korean drama features at least a drinking scene or drunk characters and stars talk about their alcohol limits on interviews. Their censorship is never universal. It’s hard for them to censor something until they’ve seen it. What’s funny about that is the fact that they usually see it with the rest of the people. Thus, they’re always late in removing “harmful” entertainment from public consumption.

This is where cultural differences make it difficult to stomach such blatant infringement on freedom of speech. I am completely aware of how ridiculously oversexed  most songs are in the west compared to the admittedly teeny-bop music that Korea produces. One part of me thinks that the songs here are too dirty but another part of me thinks it’s their right to sing about that. But in Korea, their culture highlights family and the government acts as a patriarchal machine that aims to protect its kids from the harmful realities of adult life.

Still, they can at least try to be fair about it. Why can’t singers sing about alcohol or sex (or even imply it) while TV dramas can show people drinking and imply sex? Really both K-pop and K-dramas attract the same group of people (even if they have slightly differing age-ranges) so they should be treated the same then. Otherwise, I say drop the whole thing and just let singers sing what they want. I’m sure record companies are not stupid enough to release obscene material anyway.



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