Earlier this year, Korean stars like BewhY and Son Simba began calling out K-Pop fans who write fanfiction—but how do most idols and agencies really feel about it? In a new interview, two K-Pop industry professionals revealed the truth.
Through the course of his career, Dragon J (author of How to Become a K-Pop Star) went from K-Pop manager to girl group training manager to head of business development at a Korean entertainment company. YouTuber In Ji Woong is also a former idol trainer and currently directs K-Pop choreography.
After working with idols for so long, these two K-Pop professionals have spent a lot of time talking to stars and agencies about their thoughts. In a new “Comment Defenders” video with AYO on YouTube, they discussed their thoughts on fanfiction.
Do agencies know about RPS? I heard agencies are suing RPS, aren’t they just saying it?
— AYO commenter
RPS is a commonly used term in Korea which is short for “Real Person Slash”. The term refers to explicit, sexual, and generally inappropriate fanfiction stories written about idols and other real people. Back in January, BewhY became embroiled in discussion with his fanbase after spreading the hashtag #RPSisSexualAssault. Son Simba joined him, sharing a petition to punish fans who write RPS as criminals.
You can’t ignore the situation that has been created. There are people who are creating and selling their stories as well as drawings of real people. They are advocating for perversion but there are people who are busy trying to conceal it?
— Simba Son
On whether agencies know about fanfictions like these, In Ji Woong says he’s informed several companies about the issue. Of course, whether agencies themselves remain oblivious or not, many idols know all about the issue. In Ji Woong went on to reveal that when he’s worked with idols, many stars have admitted that they “suffer” as a result of RPS.
I actually told agencies about it a lot. When we’re working together at the scene, idols tell me how hard it is for them because of RPS, how they suffer from it.
— In Ji Woong
On top of that, the choreographer and former idol trainer says that some agencies actually see RPS as a positive thing, with companies claiming “a lot of people became a fan through RPS.” However, in In Ji Woong’s view, “If they became a fan because of [RPS], they’re not innocent fans in the first place.”
As for the subject of whether agencies are really going to sue fanfiction writers, Dragon J says that his company does check out RPS to see if they can apply any legal claims to it. “If an artist in our company gets hurt and suffers,” he explained, “We take legal actions against it right away.”