As new-age K-pop fans, you might be familiar with associating colours with certain fandoms. What is a “fandom” you may ask. Fandom is defined as the state or condition of being a fan of something. So to put it in context, if you identify yourself as an EXO-L, you are in the EXO fandom. If you identify as an E.L.F, you are in the Super Junior fandom. So on and so forth.
Now back to the topic about fandoms and colours, if you’re still unfamiliar with where this post is going, here are a few examples of prominent K-pop fandom colours.
Of course, this didn’t all just randomly pop out of nowhere. It was rumoured to have started with the first surfers of the Hallyu wave, the first generation K-pop boy groups, G.O.D, H.O.T, Sech Kies (pronounced as “Jacks Kiss”) and N.R.G. As you can see, back in those days, they were apparently very obsessed with naming their boy groups with 3-letter names.
The fandom’s rivalry started to heat up with the rise of boy groups and these fandoms started to support their favourite idols way before light-sticks came to place, they used balloons instead. H.O.T’s fandom colour was Pearl White which also meant that all of their fan goods and also their support items would preferably be based off that colour. If you used a colour like for example blue, you might be suspected to be a traitor of the fandom because G.O.D’s fandom colour is Sky Blue. This is how sensitive fandom colours are.
In the recent light of the incident where Shinhwa member Eric politely tweeted to ask junior groups to not use their fandom colour “Orange”. Controversy sparked as many fans called him “jealous” and “selfish”.
There are definitely underlying issues with clashing fandom colours as there is an increasing number of groups debuting and if you refer to this list here, you might have realised that some fandoms have rather elaborate names for their fandom colours and one of the reasons of having that was that so companies could claim that they were using a DIFFERENT shade of a certain colour. Many, including I myself wonder what will happen when one day these colours actually run out. Also, light stick producing companies also have a limit to a certain kind of shade of colour that they can produce on a light stick. In order to step out of the competition, some groups have chosen to not have an official fandom colour altogether.
To many fandoms, colour means identity. It also means the reason for their “light stick oceans” that form at their concerts.
Having been to a K-pop concert myself, I can truly relate closely to the colour of my fandom and of course would not wish for another fandom to simply just use it. I personally understand where Eric is coming from because Shinhwa has built a whole legacy throughout the years and ultimately fandom colour is definitely a sensitive topic as it means “identity”. With the emergence of more and more groups that I’ve mentioned earlier, the sharing of fandom colours is definitely inevitable in the near future.
On the contrary 2AM and 2PM share the same fandom colour, Metallic Grey and they even share fandom names that fit together like perfect puzzle pieces. 2AM’s fandom name being “I Am” and 2PM’s fandom name being “Hottest”, put together being “I Am Hottest”.
As K-pop grows in popularity, fans stem from many different parts of the world and everyone has a piece to say. Being in the K-pop fandom for some time now and having witnessed fandom fights especially fights over fandom colours and sayings can really be heartbreaking. I hope that someday everyone could just come to a middle-ground and maybe the K-pop fandom will be peaceful once again.
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Article by: Cass Zheng @ kAvenyou