Recently, all over social media, we saw the incredible video of a North Korean soldier doing the unthinkable, crossing the white line at his local DMZ. That single daring act does not come cheap. It comes at a very steep price, and he was willing to pay it. Also, that 100 yard dash, may as well have been as far as a trip around the world, for him. But, why pay so much and go so far!? Aside from the obvious, living in a free-market society with some protections for individual liberty, he just wanted to see his fav kpop group, Girls Generation.
In 2016, when Nork Korea was behaving badly once again, instead of retaliating with harsh words and empty threats, the South Korean government decided to blast kpop across the border into North Korea at high volume. A curious decision at the time, but clearly incredibly wise, given this 24 year old North Korean soldiers decision to put his life on the line. I wonder how many others there are?
Early on when I became a fan of kpop music, I would hear stories of fans going across the country to see their fav kpop groups. This was when if you wanted to see a kpop concert in the United States you had to go to LA or New York. And, even Kcon was still only based in LA, at that time. At the time, to those stories I sometimes thought “how ridiculous!”
For example fans, would come from Michigan to see Big Bang in New York, in 2012. Or, fly from Florida to see Super Junior in Los Angeles in 2010 at the first American SMTown.
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The craziest fan story I have heard was a Japanese fan who was quite literarily following JYJ’s Junsu, around the world on his first solo concert tour. After seeing him perform in Japan, she followed him to Korea to watch him perform there also.
I met her when she followed Junsu to New York City, and was heading next to Los Angeles to watch him once again live in concert. She was however debating following him on to Mexico City.
Now, that is one dedicated fan. She had basically, at that point, dedicate her life to Junsu.
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It wasn’t until one day in 2012, I would find myself doing the once unthinkable, flying across the country to see Girls Generation. After a particularly stressful day at work, I decided to conveniently schedule my next vacation to coincide with SMTown in Anaheim in 2012. I would repeat the act again for TVXQ IN 2013.
Was it worth it? For TVXQ, most definitely. But, for that particular SMTown? Even though I was thrilled to see Girls Generation again, I don’t know if I would make that particular trip again, if given the opportunity.
It was then I understood the struggle. Now back to our hardy North Korean soldier.
Crossing a white line may seem ordinary for ordinary people, but not when this particular one is located at the 38th parallel. Miraculously, the soldier managed to survive the onslaught of bullets from his erstwhile comrades.
Dragged to safety and subsequently hospitalized in South Korea, as he lay convalescing, he had one simple request. Turn the TV to Girls Generation.
The 24 year old soldier had faced death to see his fav girl group. Was it worth it? I certainly hope so. But, they should wait till he’s all healed up, before breaking the news to him of their break up. So, he doesn’t suddenly begin to question his life-decisions.
Also, SM Entertainment needs to do the right thing. Gather as many current and former members of Girls Generation together, and have them pay this brave soldier a visit. I bet his buddies back on the other side of that white line would be green with envy.
And, once word spreads of the visit from our infamous feline vixens, who knows a different kind of invasion may occur. A flood of NK soldiers making life-decisions just to see their favorite kpop groups. Have they heard of Twice?
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