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What the T-ara Incident Implies
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Along with the Olympics, the T-ara incident is heating our summer days and nights. Related news and comments are being posted on the Internet and SNS every minute like a live coverage, coining the phrase, "T-day, Ol-night (T-ara during the day, Olympics at night)."

On July 30, Core Contents Media, the company managing the girl group T-ara announced that it would release the youngest member, Hwayoung. Soon rumors spread that Hwayoung was an outcast among the group.

An Internet cafe, "We Demand the Truth from T-ara, (a.k.a. T-jinyo)" appeared on an Internet portal site with members exceeding 300,000, and demand for the break up of the group and a suspension of their TV appearances flooded.

Even the Japanese press and fans of the Korean wave joined in criticizing and expressing their disappointment at T-ara and their management company.

The main page of the Internet cafe, "We Demand the Truth from T-ara (a.k.a. T-jinyo)"



The T-ara happening shows how strong an influence idols leading the K-pop Korean wave have over our society and especially the younger generation. We focus on this event sparked from problems within a girl group because of its influence and the social implications hidden there.

Nowadays, you cannot guarantee a successful event without these groups. Their infinite and dynamic energy is shaking even the international pop-culture market. However, this incident showed fans the cold and cruel face of Hyde hidden behind the cute smiles, cheery music, and fancy dance routines.

Of course, the truth is yet to be revealed. The management company and even Hwa-young herself are fueling the controversy by vague announcements of their position and feelings.

Conflicts within a celebrity group can happen anytime, anywhere. Numerous groups including the Beatles have separated and reunited. However, discord within an idol group as in this case--especially if it had something to do with isolating one of its members--is a different problem.

The girl group T-ara performs during half time of the final qualifying round for the 2014 Brazil World Cup between Korea and Lebanon at Goyang Stadium on June 12. Lee Seok-wu



We should know that behind their fame and success story lies a dark shadow of commercial greed and endless competition, which is anti-educational and anti-human rights. The current factory-like system of producing star celebrities, where children in their growing period are locked up and trained Spartan-style to become "singing machines," has its limits and is not sustainable.

Entertainment management companies should take this opportunity to review their internal situation and reflect on their ways. In particular, since idol stars are still teenagers in their growing years, I hope the companies will take into consideration the education and human rights of these teenagers in the process of raising them.

Efforts to divert the concentration on idol stars are also necessary. In addition, the witch-hunting fandom culture by extreme fans, which appears all the time, and not just this once, is also something we need to overcome. I hope this T-ara incident will stimulate the Korean wave to mature.

Copyright The Kyunghyang Shinmun. All rights reserved. Reproduction and redistribution without permission absolutely prohibited.

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