The Super beginner’s guide to K-pop terms
So you just got on the K-pop train. This after enjoying a sample of what the genre has to offer after watching the One Korea Concert in Manila last week.
If you browse online, you will discover that the fandom is a community made up of people who enjoy the music, fashion and lifestyle of their Korean idols. It has its own language.
If you are someone who is just starting to like a particular group or idol, knowing the basic words will help you understand what other people are talking about in forums.
Oppa—A female uses this as a respectful term to refer to an older male. It is like Korean’s version of kuya. The difference is that they also use “oppa” in a flirtatious manner. In the drama “One Percent of Something,” the lead female character says that “oppa” can now refer to any good-looking male regardless of age.
Hyung—What males use to refer to an older male.
Example: Choi Minho of SHINee often refers to Super Junior members as hyung.
Noona—A male uses this to refer to an older female.
Unni/eonnie—A female uses this to refer to an older female.
Visual—This refers to the face of the group. A group can have more than one visual. Sometimes a group has an official visual assigned by the company, sometimes it’s the fans who decide. Idols who are clearly visuals include Minhyuk and Sungjae (BTOB), Minho (SHINee), Gongchan and Jinyoung (B1A4), and Seolhyun (AOA).
Leader—This is a position assigned mostly to the oldest in the group. Idols live in dorms. It allows their company to bring them to their media appearances and recordings. It also keeps a tight rein on them. Leaders are supposed to be the peacemakers and the order-keepers of the group. Leaders include Onew (SHINee), Eunkwang (BTOB), Yong-hwa (CNBlue), Jimin (AOA) and Bang Yong-guk (B.A.P).
Maknae—The youngest in the group. You can sometimes guess who is the maknae of the group by observing how the group treats one member. For example, Jonghyun of SHINee excitedly points out to Taemin a fan wearing a flower crown with his name on it during the One K Concert last week. Taemin is doted on and given special consideration as the baby of the group. Maknaes from other groups include Sungjae (BTOB) and Gongchan (B1A4).
One True Pairing (OTP)—Fans would ship one member to another based on how sweet they are to each other, how deep their friendship is or how well they perform together. Examples are Jongkey (Jonghyun x Key, SHINee) and Minkwang (Minhyuk x Eunkwang, BTOB).
Bias—Your favorite in the group is called the bias. You can shift biases as you get to know your group better.
Wrecker—A bias wrecker is your second favorite in the group.
Trash—If you can’t decide which one in the group you like best because you live and breathe for every member, then you are called a trash. It is only in K-pop fandom where that word is not considered derogatory.
Sasaeng fan—Call yourself this and you will be considered dangerous. Sasaeng fans are the crazy ones who hurt themselves, the idols, and other fans. They are downright creepy. For example, Taecyon of 2PM once received a letter written in menstruation blood. Do yourself a favor and love your idols in a clean, good way.