“Even if a sunbae (aka senior) songwriter sells the copyright of his hubae’s (aka junior) song, the hubae is unable to object and is reduced to swallowing his own tears. There are hierarchical relationships in Korea that would be unimaginable in Japan.” (a Japanese record label representative)
On the 2nd, JP news reported, “a Japanese weekly magazine attributed the reason for conflicts between Kpop idols and their management companies, such as those involving Dong Bang Shin Ki and Kara, to Korea’s peculiar ‘Family discourse’.” Influential Japanese weekly magazine Shukanbyun for its Feb. 3 edition interviewed Kpop expert and radio DJ Furuya Masayuki, a music representative who worked with Kara, a Japanese entertainment reporter, a Japanese record label representative, etc. and released a comprehensive, investigative piece on why ‘the Korean entertainment scene has no other option but to run into conflicts.’
“In Korea a unique family discourse is applied to the entertainment industry. Because of this the relationship between entertainers and their management companies are not seen as business relations but as familial. SM Entertainment refers to its signed artists collectively as ‘SM Town’ and YG Entertainment does the same with ‘YG Family’; both companies have actively developed this image. Because the entire company is portrayed as a family, the CEO, who takes on the role of the father, cannot be disobeyed. Although the average person might think that before filing a lawsuit it’s possible to work things out through dialogue, but signed artists in these companies have no choice but to respond ‘as you wish’ to the father-figure who reminds them ‘I got your back.’ Furuya Masayuki, who was also an MC at one of Kara’s Japanese events said, “the very act of filing a lawsuit in this context is to signal a desire to open dialogue, because there’s no way otherwise” to the magazine.
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