Let’s Discuss: Park Yoochun & The Changing Perception Of Leading Men in K-Dramas

Despite his princely image on screen, it now seems that actor and JYJ member Park Yoochun may have a darker side. Park’s reputation as an actor has been permanently damaged by the recent accusations of four women who said that he sexually assaulted them. All four women work in adult entertainment bars and claim he forced them to have sex, shocking fans of K-dramas from around the world. Whether or not the charges are proven to be true, the suggestion of violence and the recurring visits to adult entertainment bars has damaged Park’s image so much that he will likely never land a K-drama role again.

Park’s scandal may do more than damage his own career. The latest in a series of scandals involving popular K-drama actors, the assault case may also dishearten K-drama lovers, who watch dramas at least partly out of the romantic notion of the idealized male lead. The idealized male lead is a big part of the charm of K-dramas, but it’s harder to succumb to that charm knowing that in real life some K-drama actors don’t treat women the way they should.

The Ideal Man

In’s “Drama World,” Justin Chon describes all K-drama male leads as “confident, handsome, slightly arrogant but always with the leading lady’s best interests at heart.”

A hyper-idealized version of a man, that a woman must win over, K-drama male leads are multi-talented, smart, and ultimately protective of the women they love. Even if they are initially mean to their leading ladies, as So Ji Sub comically was in “The Master’s Sun,” or as Ji Sung cruelly was in “Secrets,” ultimately K-drama male leads will sacrifice everything for the woman they love; they would die to protect her.

Also on KultScene: Victim Blaming In Kim Hyun Joong & Ray Rice Cases Minimize Realities of Domestic Abuse

It’s easy to fall in hypothetical love with such idealized men, especially when the actors who play them don’t seem to have a personal life to contradict their perfection. That lack of a personal life makes it easier for viewers to imagine the actor in fact is the living embodiment of the fictional character he’s portrayed. Korean entertainment agencies take great pains to control the private lives of their entertainers and prevent negative publicity from tarnishing an actor’s image for this very reason.

But even the most vigilant agencies may find it impossible to monitor all of an actor’s less responsible behavior. Three recent scandals have shown that K-drama actors are not only human, but have a darker side than their “sweet ideal boyfriend” persona would suggest.

First it was Park Shi Hoo, star of “Neighborhood Hero.” In 2013, a woman accused him of sexual assault but he claimed their sex was consensual. Although the charges were eventually withdrawn, he could not work for years. This was a case of he said-she said with no definitive proof offered by either side, but the mere accusation of assault temporarily derailed his acting career. His character in his drama comeback role — after three years absence — was much more jaded than his pre-scandal role. He won’t likely be offered naive chaebol roles again like the one he played in “Cheongdamdong Alice”, since drama viewers can no longer relate Park to that sort of figure.

Next there was actor and SS501 member Kim Hyun Joong’s drawn-out and messy scandal. As an actor Kim Hyun Joong epitomized the “ideal boyfriend.” But his own romantic relationship resulted in his ex-girlfriend filing multiple charges of physical assault against him and then some time later announcing that she was carrying his child. Although Kim previously made an effort to move away from the “ideal boyfriend” persona and toward an edgier rougher image, fans were so disappointed in the scandal that his career has been derailed. No one can prove exactly what happened to cause what his agency claimed was accidental bruising, but the pregnancy and past relationship were very real and DNA tests proved that the baby is Kim’s. The fight over the pregnancy proved the couple’s relationship was at best tumultuous and that Kim was definitely not the ideal violin-playing boyfriend that he acted in ‘Boys Over Flowers.”

The last K-celeb in this scandal trilogy is the JYJ singer and actor Park Yoochun. Four women stepped forward within the past few days in South Korea, asserting that they were assualted by the K-pop star. The first has since withdrawn her claim but the Seoul Metropolitan Police assigned a special task force to investigate the charges of all of the women to see whether they were merely false accusations aimed at getting monetary settlements from the star. Park’s agency, C-JeS, said that they would pursue legal retaliation for false charges, calling it malicious blackmail. Regardless, the damage was done and Park’s image has been irrevocably tarnished. (The scandal also imperils the popularity of “Lucid Dream,” the film he recently worked on before entering mandatory military service. )

C-JeS statement on Park Yoochun (Screenshot)

C-JeS statement on Park Yoochun (Screenshot)

Whether or not the alleged charges are proven to be true, the fact that Park may have repeatedly visited an illegal adult entertainment bar, of the kind known for providing various degrees of female companionship, does not fit favorably with his squeaky clean image or the characters he played in dramas such as “Rooftop Prince,” “Sungkyunkwan Scandal” or “Girl Who Sees Smells.” Nor does the idea that this supposedly serious but sweet actor had one night stands. Real men may have one-night stands but it’s rare for a male lead in a K-drama to engage in casual sex and if they do, it’s rarely seen on screen. But humans aren’t characters and no matter how diligently the agencies police actors’ personal lives, bad behavior can become public information.

K-drama viewers, who in the U.S. are predominantly female, probably won’t like a K-drama lead who treats women roughly or at best indifferently. The perfect although quirky and not easily winnable male lead is a K-drama fixture and it’s hard to imagine an actor with assault charges as the leading man in a romantic drama.

Also on KultScene: Let’s Discuss: Making Excuses For K-Pop Idols

For Park Yoochun’s sake, let’s hope the accusations of assault are not true. If they are, he will have to face the consequences and not-so-gracefully retire from show business (as he’s said he will do if any of the charages are proven true), which would be unfortunate for the other two members of JYJ. Even if those charges are dropped, Park’s reputation has taken a veritable hit and longtime fans, who stayed with Park and the other JYJ members even when they split from TVXQ in 2009, are already jumping ship.

For K-drama viewers, let’s hope these scandals don’t permanently tarnish the seductive fairy tale of the ideal K-drama lead but instead help us focus on the difference between stars and the roles they portray.

What do you think about K-drama actors who have been accused of physically or sexually assaulting women? What ruins the image of an actor? Share your thoughts in the comment section below and be sure to subscribe to the site and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr to keep up with all of our posts.

Playlist Sunday: K-Pop Feuds

Playlist Sunday: Favorite February Releases

K-pop is a cutthroat battlefield in many ways, but the public feuds are few and far in between. This week’s Playlist Sunday focuses on some of the most sensational K-pop Feuds over the past few years, either between agencies and idols, or singer against singer.

While some K-pop feuds are between two people, the ongoing dispute between JYJ and SM Entertainment is something that has been going on so long that it has even led to action from Korean politicians. JYJ (Junsu, Yoochun, and Jaejoong) is made up of three former TVXQ members who left the group in 2009. Seven years later, the trio still finds their activities blocked bythe influence of their former agency. But in the “Untitled Song, Part 1” (Or “The Nameless Song, Part 1”), which was released as part of JYJ’s 2011 self-composed music essay, the three went out and attacked their former agency, addressing in song what had led to the trio splitting from the other two members of TVXQ. The song, written and composed entirely by Yoochun, details their time at SM Entertainment from 2003 in an earnest way that is lacking from many K-pop songs. The trio sings and raps about their hardships, their journey to the top in Korea and Japan, and the pivotal moment when they reached out to SM Entertainment’s CEO and were disappointed. “When he needed us, we were family to him,” sings JYJ. “When we needed him, we were strangers to him.” The song continues on to express that JYJ’s members realized they weren’t getting paid enough and other hardships and is a frank depiction, and explanation, of the turmoil that led JYJ to leave from TVXQ at the pique of the group’s height. The song ends with JYJ thanking fans for their support. Musically, the song is simple, but the lyrical storytelling is heartbreaking and shows JYJ’s side of a story.

— Tamar

Also on KultScene: 5 Everyday EXO Looks We Love [+ North American The EXO’luXion Tour Information]

Hot off the back of his win on “Show Me The Money,” iKon rapper Bobby released a diss track calling out all idol rappers. He said that they have smeared the name of idol and rapper but took the time to exclude WINNER’s Mino and Block B rappers Zico and P.O. While making some good points about the overall state of rapping idols, coming for the most of them meant he insulted a lot of people who probably don’t take rapping that seriously. You might say that maybe they should, but in the context of being an idol it makes up only one part of what is expected of them. Generally he came off as arrogant and whiny just to drum up some extra attention. I don’t think that VIXX’s Ravi’s response to him is in any way a better rap, but I do agree with the sentiments. His corny track “Diss Hater”
was about how he thinks all idol rappers are just that and it makes no difference how good you are. Listen to Ravi everyone, we’re all the same really so relax.

— Joe

Also on KultScene: ’20 Once Again’ vs. ‘Miss Granny’: Which One Is Better?

What do you do, as a big shot entertainment company, after you’ve “let” an artist go because of “misinterpretations” to then seeing them trying to make a comeback in the industry that you wanted to potentially claim yours? Due to some severely “mistranslated” and overlooked comments that ex-2PM member Jay Park made while still a trainee about the unfavorable aspects of Korea, he was then practically shunned from the industry and country. Although by the time Jay was ready to make his comeback in Korea in 2010, while everyone else was ready to welcome him back with open arms, JYP Entertainment wasn’t having any of that. The company made it so that Jay was blocked and blacklisted from making any possible televised appearance. Jay would be scheduled for certain tv shows, appear on set and then be told to leave and/or get calls the morning of and be told that for whatever unforeseeably reason, his appearance had been cancelled due to “pressure” from the “higher-ups.”

After an almost five year hiatus back in the United States, you can imagine that Jay’s comeback was anything but smooth. Things eventually got better; producers from certain broadcasting stations eventually realized that Jay would be able to grant them better viewership. Certain shows like “Immortal Song 2” and “Dream Team” brought him on knowing that aside from the past drama stemming between JYPE and Jay, that Jay himself would be good for their business. For the sake of their company and pressure from the industry, I get why the company sent Jay off like that, but they shouldn’t have gone about it the way that they did and even afterwards when things were long done between the two parties. Although it seems like the two have moved on from the past, JYP seems to still be holding on to some angst, considering how Jay can’t appear on “Running Man” due to the producers familial relationship with Park Jin Young himself.

— Tam

Who’s side are you on? Share your thoughts in the comment section below and be sure to subscribe to the site and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr to keep up with all of our posts.

Playlist Sunday: YOLO

Life can get overwhelming real fast –that’s no surprise. But in the midst of it all, we shouldn’t forget to unwind, let loose, and live in the moment, you know, just say YOLO from time to time. That’s why for this week’s Playlist Sunday we’ve decided to carpe diem –seize the day– and compile a list of songs talking about exactly that.

2PM’s single Go Crazy! is the perfect example of living for the moment. The song is a party song accompanied by a party music video. Sometimes you just have to let go all of the stress and work and negativity and let loose. Their lyrics urge you to let it all go and enjoy yourself: “Go crazy, Tonight, We are determined to go nuts, Just for one night, go all out.” And if 2PM’s lyrics aren’t enough to get you in touch with your crazy side, then their music video will surely inspire you to have an unforgettable night complete with an arsenal of stories to tell for years to come. So go out and enjoy yourself and go crazy!

— Tara

JYJ’s In Heaven may seem a bit depressing, but along with being vocally beautiful, the message of the song and music video are really “live for the moment.” The music video is about a man, played by member Junsu, who is in love with a woman. But he is so wrapped up in his work that he doesn’t have time for her and doesn’t notice her enough, leading to her walking in front of a car and dying. But then time rewinds, and he is given a second chance. Things take an interesting turn, but at the end of the day, everyone is happy because they did what they wanted instead of what they did the first time around. We don’t all get second chances, so let’s learn the lesson from In Heaven and live our life to the fullest!

— Tamar

Also on KultScene: NU’EST “I’m Bad” Music Video & Song Review

BEAST is a group that brings us the best heart-wrenching break up songs; it’s like their staple or something. So of course a party song by them is a bit odd, but absolutely fantastic. And there’s no better message for a party song than to let loose and live in the moment like in We Up. Sure, the song is directed at a specific girl, but still, we can just imagine the boys are singing this to us personally, telling us to go wherever without thinking of manners and etiquette and be the night’s heroine. Moreover, BEAST also performed this song during Good Luck promotions, and their performance was always fun and infectious; they even interacted with the dancers in a playful manner (I’m looking at you, Doojoon!). Groups mostly always look almost robotic when performing, but with this song, BEAST let loose and actually had fun with it, and what’s more YOLO than doing your own thing at a music show?


Having fun with your friends and going all out with no regrets is one of the best feelings in the world. There’s nothing better than the feeling of letting go, we only live once after all and we have to live our lives to the fullest. The perfect track to go crazy with is G-Dragon’s Michi Go. BIGBANG’s leader is the king of crazyness and knows how to belt out a perfect party song. The crazy beats in the track create a very chaotic sound that fits perfectly with the feeling of the song. And who can forget that, “Dirty nasty as f***” that he spits out subtly throughout the song. As soon as you press play to this song it will instantly make you want to get up and dance like crazy.


Also on KultScene: ‘The Technicians’ Is Korea’s Answer To Hollywood Heist Films

If you’re really going to go all out YOLO on a night, it is a priority to have some killer tracks at your disposal. Up and Down by Korean producer Smells is a perfect addition to this playlist. As was the trend last year Up and Down is a dance track by way of the British house scene in the 1990s. He mixes this with commercial synths, which sound straight out of Ibiza, to create an exciting, danceable, and euphoric track. Son Seung Yeon features to provide some typically generic but soulful, effective vocals. It all comes together to form something typically Korean in that it mixes old and new, west and east to create the ultimate modern club banger. As a bonus the video features a group of people in a bedroom, YOLOing it to the max, which you can take your cue from.


What are your dreams and aspirations? Have you thought about how you’re going to go about making it happen or are you too nervous at the thought of possibly failing? B.A.P’s One Shot is a reminder to us all that even if the high walls try to block you, jump over it all, even if you fall every time. How will you ever know what the outcome might be like if you’re too scared to give it a try? This is the present, you’ve got to grab that opportunity right then and there and seize the moment!


Share your favorite YOLO songs and moments with us in the comment section below and be sure to subscribe to the site and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr to keep up with all of our posts.

XIA Junsu’s ‘Flower’ Imagines A World With No Future

Is K-pop the future? JYJ’s XIA Junsu certainly thinks that he is the future. At least, that’s how it appears upon first watch of the singer’s music video for his latest song, Flower.

Flower is XIA’s first solo comeback song since 2013’s Incredible, and it definitely doesn’t disappoint. With a rap from Epik High’s Tablo and lyrics about love, truth, and lies, Flower is already complex enough before the music video begins. But the music video takes the cake.

Post-Apocalyptic Haven? Or Horrific Wasteland?

The music video opens with XIA Junsu appearing as a despot in pristine white ruins among the rest of a dark, black world. XIA sits in a chair, wearing bright colors and having his hair and nails painted unnatural colors, while surrounded by lackeys. He is godlike, and the symbolism, golden eagles, stone lions, and thrones are all associated with tyrants.

Read more

K-Pop Release Cheat Sheet 07/27-08/02/14

Once a week, KPOPme will post a list with all the latest music videos and singles released. We will aim to recompile every single song  each week, but between the multitude of K-Pop groups and OSTs released weekly, sometimes we’ll miss something. Please let us know if we do! We aim to please.

Here are the release from the end of July and the first few days of August. Some of the biggest names (JYJ, HyunA) made comebacks, and some interesting debut songs (HA:TFELT, Red Velvet) were also released this week. Check them all out!

[Music Video]

JYJ Back Seat

Red Velvet Happiness

HA:TFELT (Yeeun) Ain’t Nobody

Clazziquai Project Madly

Sunny Hill Once In Summer

Tae Wan Good Morning feat. Vebal Jint

BESTie Hot Baby

4L Move

LC9 East Of Eden

HyunA Red

High4 A Little Close feat. Lim Kim

Sonnet Son Love Again


Davichi It’s Okay, That’s Love [OST It’s Okay, That’s Love]

Bob Girls Oh My Boy (Summer Edit)

Sunny Days Half Of The World Are Men

What was your favorite song released this week? Be sure to share your thoughts and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, and Bloglovin’ so you can keep up with all our posts.