Posted in Korea, Portfolio, Reviews, Uncategorized

Hollywood Films, Korean Actors?

This post does not mean to offend or upset anyone who is reading. This post is solely my opinion.

koreanwave

With the growing success of the Korean Wave, Korean artists such as Psy and BigBang are gaining more coverage and popularity in Western countries. But during my research in to my dissertation, I realised that the Korean Wave has been around before most of our favourite K-Pop groups and artists. The Korean Wave initially started with Korean Cinema.

Korean films gained popularity in Western countries in the early 2000’s. This lead to the rise in Korean actors wanting to be casts for Hollywood Movies. The increase in interest in Korean films made it possible for Korean actors to succeed in getting roles in Hollywood films. However, are they gaining recognition as being Korean?

sung kang

Last week I watched Fast & Furious 6. at the end of the film, it occurred to me that Sung Kang (Han in the films) is Korean. To be exact he is American Korean but what made me think was, in Fast & Furious 6 he is in China and of course he was in Japan in Tokyo Drift, but his character has never been stated to be Korean. In Fast & Furious, he actually has two names, Han Lue & Han Seoul-Oh. Obviously the later is a Korean name, but as the film does not mention that he is Korean, many people believe his character is Japanese. This made me realise that many Korean actors are cast in American films, but the characters they are cast for are very rarely Korean.

Now I know this isn’t important but it cropped up in my research for my dissertation. My dissertation was about how the Korean Wave has influenced adopted Koreans to connect with Korean culture. As the topic is under researched and specific, I needed to conduct in-depth interviews with adopted Koreans. One person I interviewed mentioned Korean actors in American films and this was really important.

To prove my point, listed below are a few examples of Korean actors in Hollywood films, being cast as non-Korean characters.

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Sung Kang – The Fast & The Furious series – Korean name but thought to be Japanese or in The Fast & The Furious 6 – Chinese
Rain – Ninja Assassin – Japanese
Sung Kang again – Ninja Assassin – Japanese
Randall Duk Kim – Ninja Assassin – Japanese
Lee Byung Hun (eek) – G.I. Joe – Japanese
Jong Dong Gun – The Warrior’s Way – Character name Yang – used by American directors when they don’t want to define the origin of Asian characters.
Leonardo Nam – The Fast & The Furious – Tokyo Drift – Japanese
Rick Yune – The Fast & The Furious (2001) – Vietnamese
James Kyson – TV Series Heroes – Japanese
Ken Jeong – The Hangover – Chinese
Bae Doona – Cloud Atlas – portrayed as 3 different characters with 3 different  ethnicities – Korean, Mexican and White (or possibly Mixed Race White & Black)
And many more.

Although my last example of Cloud Atlas is a bit more confusing.

However, as previously mentioned this post is not intended to offend anyone . I am not saying that Korean actors should only play Korean characters in Movies and TV shows, I just hope that American movie and TV shows can start to acknowledge Korea more in their films. There are, of course, films and TV shows such as Lost (starring Daniel Dae Kim & Kim Yun Jin), The Walking Dead (Starring Steven Yeun) and Film Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay (John Cho as leading character Harold). But, during research for my dissertation, I spoke to adopted Koreans who, in their childhood and teen years, looked for Korean role models in Hollywood films and TV Shows. One adopted Korean I interviewed stated that he:

‘looked for Korean role models but whenever I saw an Asian guy in a movie, he tended to be Japanese or Chinese. I knew I was Korean so finding a role model was important for me to feel connected to my culture. When I grew up, I realised that Rain from Ninja Assassin was actually Korean, but his character was Japanese. I feel like the younger generation of adopted Koreans are probably doing the same thing I did but are having no luck. It’s strange how there are a lot of Korean actors in American films, but they aren’t playing Korean characters’.

But in the end, I am proud of all of the actors and actresses listed above and others who are breaking into Hollywood films. They are truly great actors and I wish them success in the rest of their careers. Hopefully with the growth of the Korean Wave, more Hollywood films and TV series will include Koreans as Koreans and acknowledge Korea more.

BACK ROW: ELIZABETH MITCHELL, DANIEL DAE KIM, DOMINIC MONAGHAN, JORGE GARCIA, MICHAEL EMERSON, HENRY IAN CUSICK, EMILIE DE RAVIN; FRONT ROW: YUNJIN KIM, MATTHEW FOX, JACK BENDER, CARLTON CUSE, DAMON LINDELOF, EVANGELINE LILLY, JOSH HOLLOWAY

Posted in K-Pop, Korea, Reviews, Uncategorized

Big Bang Alive Tour: London pt. 2

Please read Big Bang Alive Tour: London first!!!

The curtain drops.

The crowd pushes. I am too far way to see anything. But it doesn’t bother me! The atmosphere is so amazing. The crowd pushes again and I am in the 3rd row! As the night goes on, I am pushed more. I end up in the 2nd row.

I wish I had made a list of what songs BigBang performed but I was in awe! To be fair I couldn’t even reach my bag which was flung around my body and I wouldn’t have been able to write anything!

Now I’ve been to many concerts in my time and I can say that BigBang was one of the best that I have been too. Each member of BigBang offered a different form of entertainment.

Seungri was the person who danced around and interacted with the audience, a comedy act! He attempted to do a British accent! It was hilarious! He was constantly shuffling and really entertaining in general.

G-Dragon has this charm! Everybody in the audience were in awe as soon as G-Dragon came on stage. He performed One of a Kind twice, once with a beat box from Taeyang and the rest of BigBang, and the other with the live band. He was amazing. It seemed as though everything came naturally to him. He is definitely a leader. It is in his blood.

Taeyang, was also a charmer. I am one of very few people who do not say that Taeyang is their first or second favourite. He had a nose bleed within 15 minutes of the show starting! But he carried on and made a nose bleed and a tissue up the natural look fashionable. The girls in the audience loved Taeyang and he was soaking it up well and egging them on! He took off his shirt and came very close to the crowd! (Keep reading for more!).

T.O.P. What can I say? I love this man. He is amazing. His voice live was heavenly. He was tall, handsome and just so mysterious!! I love it! The thing is with T.O.P, and this is one of the reasons I love him so, is that he is so hard to figure out! At the start of the show, he was calm, collected and mysterious. But as the show went on, he got more and more fun! When him and GD sang Knock out (뻑이가요), he did his little crip walk thing and I fell in love!! He is actually a really good dancer!! As expected, the crowd went crazy when ever T.O.P was close or opened his mouth. I know I did! He came over to the crowd twice! I was lucky enough to touch him. It was amazing! (Keep reading for more!)

But the person who I am really glad I saw live was Daesung. He stole the show for me. Now, I’ve had a weak spot for Daesung since the whole car accident. But he has always been the underrated member. Everyone seems to forget about him. =[ This makes me sad. He has always been one of my favourites but yesterday he showed why he is a member of BigBang. He has the best voice I have ever heard live. EVER! His voice is strong, unique and flawless. He was also very good looking! I’ve always thought he was cute but yesterday I realised how sexy he is! He has an amazing body and a gorgeous smile!

All together, the show was amazing. They did an encore. By this time I was at the front! It was amazing! They performed some of their older songs as well as new songs. All of them performed a solo song (apart from T.O.P but he did a set with GD). I did not want the show to end. It was really too short! But until next time, it’ll have to be it! I am glad that I spent £100 on the ticket and if there was another tour, I would do the same!

Here is a bonus! My footage of the encore! Now I’m not sure how the quality is going to be because I was not allowed to take in my DSLR. I recorded it on my phone but I have captured every member! You can see how close I go to T.O.P & Taeyang! =D It was amazing.

I am still going to do blog posts about the show, and my thoughts on K-Pop success in western countries. But it is 12am and I have work tomorrow morning! So that is all for this blog post. Please read my posts about K-pop Success in Western Countries & Why I listen to K-Pop.

Posted in K-Pop, Korea, Reviews, Uncategorized

Big Bang Alive Tour: London

Last night, (14th December 2012) I attended BigBang: Alive Tour in London. It was amazing.

I’m going to explain everything that happened. This post will be split into two. The first will be the things that happened before the show. And the second post will be my review of the show and a video of the encore!!

So, here is part one!

I arrived at Wembley Park at around 2:30pm. There was a Samsung Galaxy stand where you can take photos with posters of BigBang members and you could get a photo of yourself printed on a badge! They were also giving out wrist bands to everyone for free! There was also a stand where you could purchase BigBang merchandise.

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My friend Destiny, (you can find her blog here!) arrived at about 3pm. We joined the line but we were kinda far back so we were bummed. =[ But we met some girls who were standing in front of us who came all the way from Sweden just to see BigBang! They were cool girls! So me and two of them decided to go to the merchandise stand to buy the infamous crown light sticks and we left Destiny and the rest of the Swedish girls in line.

bigbang crown

We were gone for about 10 minutes and a few of the Swedish girls came running! They were talking in Swedish and just said to me ‘Just come!!’ So we went back to the line to get my friend and I find out that the girls managed to get us early access!

For people who got there for about 7am, there were a few wrist bands given which would allow them to leave the line and come back later and be let in 10 minutes before everyone else. The girls saw a security guard who they were talking to earlier who came back to them and told them he could get them in earlier than the other people with standard standing tickets. So since we were talking to the girls in the line, they decided to tell the guy that we were with them! He got us wrist bands!

We were all so excited! The girls were all amazing! They were funny and Destiny and I really bonded with them! We were so grateful that we had met them, not only because they were kind enough to say we were with them, but also because they were generally really sweet people!

So we got let in to the stage area and we were about 4 rows behind. This was cause the event managers pissed us around a little and told us that they didn’t know about the wrist bands and all this bullshit. But either way, we got in early than we would have if we stayed in the line! We were told to sit down on the floor for our own safety. =S I guess it was so that we were not being pushed for an hour and a half more than we would be if we were let in as soon as the show started. To make the crowd hyped, BigBang music videos were paying on the screen. Every time a different video came on the crowd would screen and I would think it was BigBang and would get up with excitement!

The lights turn off…

Stay tuned for part 2!!

Posted in K-Pop, Korea, Portfolio, Uncategorized

K-Pop success in Western Countries?

Recently I have been reading blog posts which discuss K-Pop & Western success. The main thing I noticed was that there are a lot of people who think K-Pop Artists need to release songs in English, in order to get successful in Western Countries. This blog post is going to be about why I think this shouldn’t happen.

The band I am going to use as my main example is… 빅 뱅 (BigBang)!

So BigBang were in America recently and there were many blog posts about BigBang becoming successful in Western Countries. While I was glad to read about BigBangs success, I had a problem, every blog post that I read suggested that BigBang should have an English album. Now, I must state that this is purely my opinion, and I am sure people will disagree. I think, if BigBang or any other K-Pop band started singing in English rather than Korean, it would be a disaster.

I think that K-pop works so well because it is sang in Korean! There is something enticing ad attractive about listening to people talking Korean and I believe that K-Pop is the best way to show how interesting, beautiful & sexy Korean Language is! Singing or Rapping in Korean is what sets K-Pop apart from mainstream music in Western countries. I completely understand that some people won’t listen to K-Pop because it is in Korean, but people who appreciate well made music that is catchy, will listen to any kind of music, regardless what language it is sang in.

Being someone who hangs around with a lot of people who don’t listen to K-Pop, I realised that they tend to think that K-Pop is cheesy and sounds like the type of songs you hear when you play dancing stage in an arcade. So when I showed them songs such as G-Dragons ‘One of a kind’ and a few songs by Jay Park, they were shocked that they sound like songs they would hear in western countries. Some of them even liked the songs so much that they downloaded a few! The point I’m getting to here is that, if K-Pop had more coverage in the press, people will know that it does not sound like the music you hear on Dance Dance Revolution! And they might be more open to listening to K-Pop.

Recently, Psy (Park Jae-sang) has had a lot of media coverage, but as a comical music act, he does not and cannot represent the whole of Korean music. It’s like saying that Taylor Swift can represent western music as a whole. There are several different genres within Korean music, as there is in western music. There is Hip-Hop, Indie, Rock, Pop, R’n’B & Jazz to name a few, the only difference is that they are sang in Korean, by Korean artists!

Now, I was originally going to make one big blog post about K-Pop, but it might not be easy on the eyes! This post is already a bit long so I am going to do a small series of follow up blog posts. The next one is going to be posted today.

Please stay tuned for ‘Why I listen to K-Pop’…

featuring BigBang!