Weekend Today (Ch 9): K-pop and Mental Health

BTS have teamed up with UNICEF to launch the anti-bullying campaign “LOVE MYSELF”

On the morning of Sunday 8th December, I was interviewed on the morning TV show Weekend Today on Australia’s Channel 9 to discuss the issue of mental health in regards to the K-pop industry. This interview acts as a follow-up to my first appearance on the show, where I introduced K-pop fandom and discussed BTS.

I was invited to respond to the recent suicides of current idols, but I was adamant with the producers of the program that I would not discuss this and instead wanted to flip the narrative to discuss how fans are creating new narratives about mental health and to discuss some of the positive new directions we are seeing in the industry. I was able to address this in the latter half of the interview.

Unfortunately, the interview began with the typical discussion of “K-pop’s dark side” which we see in Western media… I tried to provide nuance, but the hosts framed their questions in ways that made this difficult. Indeed, some claims were editorialised by the hosts with which I do not agree (South Korea as a rigid, conservative society; the rigidity of the K-pop training system). This experience, as well as recent events on twitter, have inspired my colleague Stephanie Choi and I to write more about the positioning of K-pop fans as problematic and delusional.

You can view the interview here.

You can also read an opinion piece I wrote on this for 10Daily News here. Once again – I didn’t choose this title.

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