Compared to solo artists, most K-Pop Idols debut and work in groups. It can be said that this is a special feature of the Hallyu industry, clearly showing the typical community character of Koreans.
Watching: What is Akgae
Idol’s group activities have many advantages compared to solo singers. Similar to when doing a personal project, the amount of work one person has to bear is very large. However, if there is a group to work together, each member will reduce the burden and improve work efficiency.
Moreover, for the artist world, group activities help members rely on each other in the harsh showbiz place.
However, many Idols working in the same group are inevitable that one member has more fans than another. And the fact that fans only like one member of the group is also difficult to stop. It’s like in a family, but the youngest is loved more, or the eldest is favored.
Fans who are only fans of a group member are often referred to as “fans only”. This is a familiar name that even non-fans know. However, in Korean there is a more “in-depth” concept of these fans: “akgae”.
“Akgae” (악개) stands for “악성 개인팬” (rough translation: malignant individual fan). “Higher hands” than fan only, akgae in addition to only loving a single member, they also put down other members.
If you just stop here, you’ll think: only akgae are hated for stabbing, and fan-only is gentle and harmless. However, in reality, the line between fan only and akgae is very thin. Fans only want to protect their Idol, so it’s easy to “slander” the rest of the members, becoming akgae.
In addition, K-Pop fans call their favorite member of the group “최애” (choi-ae), international fans are used to calling it “bias”. However, 최애 is only used when a fan likes all of the group members, but prefers a slightly better member.
Although akgae and fan only often use 최애 (bias) to refer to their favorite idol, this article will not use these words. Because “not self-identifying as akgae or fan only” is one of the characteristics of this “rogue element”.
Let’s take a look at some of the reasons why akgae and fans only become “criminals” of both fandom and idol.
“Casting a spell” damages the fandom
“Why can’t my sister push?!” “My sister deserves better” “My sister is pitiful to be in this group” “This group is the only one that works hard for me” “The other members just just get in my way” “Why does my brother sing less while being the vocalist?”…
The above are familiar phrases commonly found in akgae and fan only. Their first characteristic is always being overly protective of their Idol, on the contrary, snooping on other idols. Therefore, it easily leads to the situation of “I love you, I hate”.
The time when these components are “revealed” the most is when the group releases a new product. At this time, the time of appearing on the MV, the singing time of each member was put on the scale by akgae, fans only. As long as their favorite member appears less or sings less, they will complain about the idol and put other members down.
However, fans have “put on the scale” the appearance time of each member. They claim that “Jimin is biased, V is treated unfairly” when Jimin appeared 40 seconds on the MV 3 minutes 37 seconds long, while V appeared only 14 seconds. Many fans only of J-Hope and Jin also expressed dissatisfaction when the “air” time of Idol in the new MV was not much.
These outraged fans only created the hashtag #BigHitBeFair on Twitter, demanding that Big Hit treat its members fairly.
Besides, Jimin’s only fan thinks that Jimin is the main character in this MV. Because Jimin’s forte is contemporary dance, so he was assigned to many difficult segments, suitable for the MV.
Not only BTS, other groups have also encountered similar cases countless times when the singing part is not evenly divided. Even fans make clips of the members’ singing time with precision up to the moment to compare for “fair”.
Blackpink’s concert performance costumes are also a hot topic in the group’s fan community. Fans discovered that Jennie wore a variety of outfits throughout the performance days, while the other members had to re-dress. At the peak, member Lisa wore only one outfit at all concerts.
Fans think that YG is favoring Jennie too much, and unfair to the other members. But Jennie’s only fans think that she is more prominent, more attractive and deserves it.
Akgae and Lisa’s fans only think that she is treated more unfairly than the other members when she is always dressed in the worst clothes. Fans of Jisoo and Rose believe that the uneven popularity of the members (Jennie is famous in Korea, Lisa is famous in Southeast Asia and internationally) is due to YG’s bias. They constantly ask for their idols to solo, especially after Jennie released her first solo product.
The position of the idol is also one of the “standards” that akgae and fans only bring out to dissect. Project group IZ*ONE predetermined Jang Won Young is the one who takes the center position. However, she often has to give up the part to the other members in the highlights.
IZ*ONE is a project group that came out of the show Produce 48, the 1st place member takes the center position.
Jang Won Young’s fans are worried that she will be robbed of this position, when constantly letting the spotlight fall on other members. Many people are angry that if they don’t want the center to take this position, then don’t organize to choose a center to collect money from fans in the first place.
Above are a few typical examples of “civil wars” in fandom against each other. It can be easily seen, which group has a lot of akgae and fans only, the fandom of that group is at odds.
The discord within the fandom will cause many difficulties for both the management company and the idol. Because the market of the K-Pop industry is fandom. Therefore, both the company and the idol must try to please customers if they do not want to suffer disastrous consequences when the fans turn their backs.
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I want to be good for Idols, but Idols carry the burden
Loving only one member naturally leads to difficulty pleasing other members. Therefore, the line between akgae and fan only is extremely thin. Moreover, defending and “claiming justice” blatantly for their idols often causes immeasurable harm to the idols they support.
Pristin, the girl group that debuted in 2017 under Pledis has announced their disbandment after 2 years of operation. More painfully, they only operated for 6 months, then froze for 1 and a half years before officially announcing their dissolution. Many people regret for a group of talented, promising, but short-lived girls.
Pristin gathers talented members from Produce 101, including 2 members who debuted with IOI. It can be said that the members have already created their position in the hearts of the public, along with their carefully honed talents.
There are many reasons why Pristin cannot continue to work. In which, the majority said that it was the fans’ discrimination against the members that prevented them from moving forward together.
Kyla was once “estranged” by fans because she thought she pulled the group’s beauty down
At a fan meeting (팬싸인회) of Pristin, each member was asked to pose for fans to take pictures. However, when it was the turn of member Kyla, the Homma lenses simultaneously turned to the other members. Kyla was rejected because she didn’t have a crane like a K-Pop Idol standard.
As a result, Pristin announced that Kyla was temporarily suspending activities with the group and returned to the US with her family to stabilize her health. Obviously, the young girl suffered a huge heartbreak when she was estranged from her own fan community.
The moment when Kyla was ignored by Pristin’s own fandom
Pledis tried to save Pristin’s image by launching the 5-member group Pristin V: Eunwoo, Nayoung, Rena, Roa, and Kyul Kyung. However, once again the “collective bullying” of this fandom is repeated. On live shows, netizens discovered that the fandom went silent every time Kyul Kyung raised her voice, only cheering on the rest of the members.
The group’s fandom goes silent every time Kyul Kyung sings
At the group’s difficult time, Kyul Kyung is the one with the most individual schedules in his home country of China. Therefore, most fandom thinks that she is a “traitor” when attracting fans in Korea, then returning to China to work.
Even Kyul Kyung’s fansites at that time simultaneously announced their suspension or closure. This move of the Hommas sparked rumors of Kyul Kyung leaving the group. Although Pledis denied it, Korean netizens were still very noisy about this incident.
Pristin’s fandom is called “악개 집단” (akgae corporation) after what they did. And as a result, the group they supported disbanded in the regret of the K-Pop fan community.
Lisa (Blackpink) also missed the opportunity to collaborate with DJ Snake because of the “whispering” of the remaining fan only members.
The famous DJ Snake posted pictures with “Hac Huong”, and followed Lisa’s instagram account. When asked by fans about the collaboration with Blackpink, DJ Snake affirmed “Yes” making the fan community restless.
However, the only fans of the rest of the members kept harassing DJ Snake because he only followed Lisa. They reasoned: because Blackpink has 4 members, DJ Snake has to follow the other 3. Too angry, even the male DJ not only didn’t follow, but the expected collaboration was canceled, Lisa was also unfollowed by him.
DJ Snake also bluntly “frustrated” Blackpink’s only fans: “I won’t follow people I don’t like. People are weird.” When fans asked about the collaboration, he bluntly: “No”, “you guys brought this up yourself”.
Although not always causing “big cases” like the above, but akgae and fans only cause awkwardness between the members is undeniable. When they are close and treat each other like family, the fans are agitated, causing division. Undeniably, akgae and fans only is one of the reasons why idols’ teamwork performance is reduced.
Will Idols compete like fans only
?The answer is: maybe yes, but not many, or maybe just a few members of the Idol world. A group that wants to be durable and develop, must have cohesion among members. The members of the group understand that, so they always want to take a long, long walk together. However, they need the cooperation of the fans to do this.
Many people may think that Idols only win the hearts of fans when they say: want to go far with the members and fans. However, if you look at the “victim idols” of akgae and fans only, it can be seen that the fan’s consensus and support is extremely necessary for idols.
During the 2019 BTS Festa event, V (BTS) told the story of how he “discharged” to test fans on the sensitive topic “akgae, fan only”.
One time V was playing a game, suddenly an account asked: “Does anyone here like BTS?” without even knowing that a BTS member is “in the area”. On this occasion, V used a virtual account to message that fan. Looking at the nickname, V knew that the friend liked Suga, so he dropped a bait: “You like Suga right? I hate BTS’ V.”
Devoted to lure fans, V received a heartwarming answer: “All 7 members are very precious to me”. V shared, he was extremely happy when he heard this sentence from Army (BTS’s fandom name).
In addition, V repeatedly reminded fans to love all 7 members, when a fan said they would like him more. It can be seen that V considers BTS like family, and is annoyed when fans compare the members who are better than anyone else.
V tells fans to love all 7 members
Sung Jae (BTOB) was once commented as the most promising idol in the group with enough talents from music to acting. Especially after the success of the movie Goblin, he became the brightest face of many different projects. However, Sung Jae still chose to stay with the members, and always added BTOB’s name when introducing himself at any event big or small.
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If you want to go fast go alone, if you want to go far go together. This is something not only idols, but fans should also take to heart. If you love them, please respect and support the Idol equally and soberly, because that’s what’s best for them.