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Kpop and the Censors How sexy is too sexy? 21 replies to this topic Started by Shoujo Q , Sep 10 2010 02:47 PM · 

#1 Shoujo Q

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Posted 10 September 2010 - 02:47 PM

Allkpop is full of crap or useless posts, but this one struck me as something worth talking about. The full post is here.

But I just took out some stuff to highlight, but the full article shows edits that girl groups have had to make in order to abide by the sensors and comments from industry reps.

Clothing censorship first began in 2000 with the three major broadcast companies imposing them. Now, 10 years later, the ‘checks’ have returned once more in an effort to reduce the amount of sexually-suggestive clothing and performances that are broadcasted. Singers in their teens and 20’s are the ones who are impacted the most by these new standards, especially for girl groups competing in an aggressive and competitive market.


SBS’s “Inkigayo” set three bans on outfits: shirts that reveal too much cleavage, shirts that expose the belly button, and wearing white shorts under miniskirts. Starting from the 4th, the producers of “Inkigayo” asked singers to make the appropriate changes, keeping the three bans in mind.


What’s becoming a bigger problem other than the regulations is that there is no consistency. Most of the new rules focus on the top and completely ignore the bottom and there are no restrictions on hot pants and other outfits that could reveal more than one would think.




I look at stuff on television today in America, public television mind you because cable television is it's own little world. And I wonder when we started to accept the stuff that's on there as not overtly sexual.

To anyone who lives in another country, what are your thoughts? Do you have censoring as strict as South Korea?

#2 DarkRidley

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Posted 13 September 2010 - 05:12 PM

It's interesting that South Korea is so censor-happy. I'm aware that the South Korean government is and has been known for curtailing press freedoms (the country, embarrassingly, is still at 69 on the World Press Freedom Index), but for the actual privately-owned TV network to censor the content that appears on it? Weird. I suppose there must be a greater trend of social conservatism in the ROK than I thought.

As to whether or not South Korea should become more liberal when it comes to sexual content on TV, I largely think it should, but at the same time, I don't exactly think the freedom we have in the West is all rosy. It's just gone down the "sex sells" road and ended up in a space where every tosser has to have some nameless girl gyrating round him in his music video. It's nothing but objectification at this point. I don't think censorship is the answer to seeing some more variety, and I can't imagine it working, but it would be great if there were some way to keep pop culture more interesting, because every time I see a new American/British mainstream pop video, I feel like nothing has changed for years and years. And frankly, I find most of it just unappealing and tasteless (Ke-dollar-sign-ha, I'm looking at you). "Sexiness" has become too much of a commodity.

The kind of shit in this article is just plain stupid, though. Banning things does not stop people from wanting them. New trends and pop culture waves can only rise if someone comes up with something novel, interesting and well-marketed. The mindless suppression of whatever is already popular is a waste of time and needlessly authoritarian.

#3 Ap2000

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Posted 13 September 2010 - 06:09 PM

You can say any word you want here in Austria and Germany. Stuff like piss, shit, cunt, fuck are all ok.
Austria has no regulation except for no porn. But softcore and sex in normal movies is perfectly fine.

Other than that the austrian TV stations are very tame when it comes to their self-produced shows, except for some comedy shows. (no sitcoms however, more like standup or colbert-ish shows)
I don't even know if there's a music show on any of the channels currently, but I think not.

German TV is sometimes heavily censored. Especially when it comes to blood etc.
The rating system there is quite extreme. Nipples and sex are generally ok, but violence is demonized. (a stark contrast to the USA)
Games with high violence levels get sometimes a no-advertisement rule inflicted. Or they get banned and you're not allowed to be sold.

Austria has no laws for such regulations, we can buy all games here completely uncensored.

Only thing I know about Korea and laws against things is that prostitution is illegal...

#4 eri

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Posted 13 September 2010 - 07:56 PM

Only thing I know about Korea and laws against things is that prostitution is illegal...


So is adultery!

I remember in the 90s when the Korean Govt basically got mad that all the pop stars were dying their hair and they were encouraged to keep things in the realm of natural (shades of brown to black). It was not a real law/censorship but it ended up impacting how certain stars were perceived and made up.

Given that I come from puritanical America, I wonder what the reasoning behind South Korea's censorship laws might be. Here, it is deep discomfort with sex that comes from a specific type of American Christianity. I know South Korea has a high % of Christians but it is institutionally younger than the US and I don't think Koreans imagine themselves to be a "Christian" nation in the same was as Americans incorrectly do. Japan --which has no Christian roots-- has a very different take on sexuality and I wonder what the laws are there.

Part of me thinks that the Korean govt is hyper aware of the high "exportable" value of pop-culture and is uneasy with the sort of "ambassadorship" they might signify to the rest of Asia (esp Japan). Given that Korea is a small country with high nationalism - and also considering their on-going rivalry with another "soft power" Japan - this might explain the sudden revival of state interest in stupid things like kpop.

#5 Plum

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Posted 13 September 2010 - 08:30 PM

German TV


Yep, it's completely flipped. Ass 'n' titties are perfectly fine, but violence is a STRICt no-no. I even saw them blur out a small knife being jammed into a door in a Pink music video a few years back, which I found absolutely absurd. That said, maybe it's because I spent half my life there, but I understand Germany's system more than America's... where a bare behind is shocking even in a comedic or relatively harmless context, but someone having their intestines ripped out and eaten is perfectly acceptable to show during daytime hours.

In any case, I do find it hilarious that it's perfectly fine to essentially wear underwear and dance around as long as your belly button doesn't show. I find hot pants to be far more sexually provocative than a midriff-bearing shirt.

#6 DarkRidley

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Posted 13 September 2010 - 09:44 PM

So is adultery!

I remember in the 90s when the Korean Govt basically got mad that all the pop stars were dying their hair and they were encouraged to keep things in the realm of natural (shades of brown to black). It was not a real law/censorship but it ended up impacting how certain stars were perceived and made up.

Given that I come from puritanical America, I wonder what the reasoning behind South Korea's censorship laws might be. Here, it is deep discomfort with sex that comes from a specific type of American Christianity. I know South Korea has a high % of Christians but it is institutionally younger than the US and I don't think Koreans imagine themselves to be a "Christian" nation in the same was as Americans incorrectly do. Japan --which has no Christian roots-- has a very different take on sexuality and I wonder what the laws are there.

Part of me thinks that the Korean govt is hyper aware of the high "exportable" value of pop-culture and is uneasy with the sort of "ambassadorship" they might signify to the rest of Asia (esp Japan). Given that Korea is a small country with high nationalism - and also considering their on-going rivalry with another "soft power" Japan - this might explain the sudden revival of state interest in stupid things like kpop.

I don't think it's the state making these decisions, at least not in this case. It's true that the South Korean state has established a tradition of high media censorship and state control since Rhee Syngman, but what baffles me is that a private broadcaster like SBS is choosing to self-censor now that they enjoy (relatively) more freedom. I always assumed that Syngman, Park Chung-hee, and other Cold War presidents only heavily censored the media due to the high North-South tensions at the time. Now that the South Korean media has more freedom, I would expect that they would choose not to be so puritanical. There's no mention in the article of the govt. having a role in this, only these large private broadcasters choosing to impose these regulations. And of all things, it's interesting that it should be sexuality that's censored.

I don't know. South Korea is still a young country. As you mention, there's a lot of nationalism in South Korea, and Korean nationalism is essentially tied up with Confucian values. Of course, they include women being obedient, acting and dressing modestly, etc. Also, the idea about what constitutes heavy censorship may be different in South Korea due to their recent history. These established corporations may be trying to hold up the old order of things through this censorship.

Edited by DarkRidley, 13 September 2010 - 09:45 PM.


#7 eri

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  • aka eri, the Alpha and the Omega

Posted 13 September 2010 - 10:17 PM

I don't think it's the state making these decisions, at least not in this case...what baffles me is that a private broadcaster like SBS is choosing to self-censor now that they enjoy (relatively) more freedom.

But, in one sense, it is like how Disney Co "tones down" and packages twee teenage sexuality in their pop stars. Surely Disney is not a gov't front, but they try to uphold a certain "family friendly" and "American" front. So beyond this specific Korean context, I don't think state interests, corporate interests, or "conservative" social norms are at all mutually exclusive when I consider how conservative large corporations are and how they are mutually beholden to state and popular criticism.

I wonder too about the Rhee legacy. The whole "state vs freedom of expression" binary doesn't have the same mythology outside the US. Certainly there was (and is) very heavy handed censorship that artists and entertainers might protest, but there is no romanticized of "freedom" that is tossed about in the US.

However, I do think that Korean nationalism saturates these things to a degree that is not at all comparable to the US or Japan (not sure about Europe). The level of "Korean pride" is insane, and on many levels. It is not even like American exceptionalism (ie. when Americans assume they are the most 'free', always right, and that the world should conform to them) but is like a hyper-awareness of global competition and "YAY KOREA." Given that the "Korean Wave" has been such a remarkable phenomena all over Asia this decade, I think there is an attendant anxiety over Korea's image and "products."

#8 DarkRidley

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Posted 13 September 2010 - 10:59 PM

But, in one sense, it is like how Disney Co "tones down" and packages twee teenage sexuality in their pop stars. Surely Disney is not a gov't front, but they try to uphold a certain "family friendly" and "American" front. So beyond this specific Korean context, I don't think state interests, corporate interests, or "conservative" social norms are at all mutually exclusive when I consider how conservative large corporations are and how they are mutually beholden to state and popular criticism.

Ah, I see. I think that especially makes sense in the context of the Korean economy. The chaebol maintain such a total oligopoly that it seems only natural for them to uphold those conservative social norms. As for K-pop's international image, I can well imagine corporate Korea having a vested interest in trying to mold Korean products so that they might reflect Korea as they would prefer it to be reflected.

On another note, it's interesting that post-war Japan has developed in a totally separate direction to South Korea with regard to censorship, although, of course, the circumstances were and are vastly different. To my knowledge, there's very little TV censorship in Japan, if any at all. I'm not particularly knowledgeable about Japanese attitudes towards sexuality, or freedom of the press for that matter, but I do find it interesting. I could well imagine that they owe their press freedom to the American occupation; after all, liberalism and freedom of expression are very Western ideas.

#9 eri

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  • aka eri, the Alpha and the Omega

Posted 13 September 2010 - 11:27 PM

I like you DarkRidley.

#10 Ap2000

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Posted 13 September 2010 - 11:40 PM

I like you DarkRidley.


Not joking, I was thinking the same. :weeeh:
Please stay and don't fade away like so many other new users !

Anyway, btt.

EDIT:
I like you too, eri.

I think I need to change my title to "Internet Lovemachine".

#11 eri

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  • aka eri, the Alpha and the Omega

Posted 13 September 2010 - 11:48 PM

I like you too Ap.

Anyhow, I am generally not aware of censorship issues in postwar Japan and it has only been in the last 20 years that there have been efforts to control child nudity/pornography. Even now, many artists protest restrictions on adult manga that depict children because they say it is a matter of artistic license.

Otherwise, Japan doesn't have the same sexual hangups as America at least. Or does it? Hm.

#12 DarkRidley

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Posted 14 September 2010 - 12:46 AM

I like you people as well. For all the bitterness I've seen directed at this site, it seems just fine to me. I don't see what's so controversial about a certain level of control on a forum to keep the discussion interesting and intelligent. I certainly have no intention of leaving, especially not with all the hours I wasted lurking at this place before joining it.

Anyhow, I am generally not aware of censorship issues in postwar Japan and it has only been in the last 20 years that there have been efforts to control child nudity/pornography. Even now, many artists protest restrictions on adult manga that depict children because they say it is a matter of artistic license.

Otherwise, Japan doesn't have the same sexual hangups as America at least. Or does it? Hm.

I'm aware of the child pornography situation to some extent. I think Japan has its own sexual hang-ups to deal with, but they're so different to America's problems that comparing the two seems extremely difficult. As far as I know, Japanese authorities haven't been doing much about lolicon manga, although obviously they've clamped down on child pornography. I vaguely remember reading an article about how UNICEF is putting pressure on Japan to ban lolicon manga, to little effect.

#13 eri

eri
  • aka eri, the Alpha and the Omega

Posted 14 September 2010 - 01:01 AM

For all the bitterness I've seen directed at this site


:weeeh: What? Seriously? Hilarious, I had no idea.

#14 neshcom

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Posted 14 September 2010 - 01:07 AM

For all the bitterness I've seen directed at this site


:weeeh: What? Seriously? Hilarious, I had no idea.

I think H!O doesn't like us very much? They see us as mean and hard to get into and we see them as LOLSORANDUMXDDd.

#15 fpd

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Posted 14 September 2010 - 01:35 AM

For all the bitterness I've seen directed at this site


:weeeh: What? Seriously? Hilarious, I had no idea.

I think H!O doesn't like us very much? They see us as mean and hard to get into and we see them as LOLSORANDUMXDDd.

To be fair this place has gotten a lot more calm over the years and used to be a lot more "mean" from an outsider's point of view, but in our defense the other forums are so filled with mouth breathing heathen morons that it was the only way not to have our brains melted.

#16 Tsuki

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Posted 14 September 2010 - 03:50 AM

I think a large part of it is the Neo-Confucian values seeping in, as much as they want to distance themselves from that and embrace a more modern way of thinking (nationalism being huge), it still permeates the culture. It elevates the family over all, and with it being so sacrosanct, it seems only natural that censorship is as heavy as it is in Korea. I mean, even in the US when they want to censor things, isn't it always "for the family" or "for the children"? I think it's a type of cultural conservatism at work.

#17 eri

eri
  • aka eri, the Alpha and the Omega

Posted 14 September 2010 - 04:12 AM

For all the bitterness I've seen directed at this site


:weeeh: What? Seriously? Hilarious, I had no idea.

I think H!O doesn't like us very much? They see us as mean and hard to get into and we see them as LOLSORANDUMXDDd.

Was that when the Panda's joined? Thats a funny comment because I had to scream at a lot of lurkers here who suddenly starting tainting our forum with their racist bullshit against Chinese girls. How strange to think that made our board more "welcoming" than HO.

Anyway, the Allkpop article is confusing. It seems like it is just one music TV show that is calling for less skimpy clothes. Plus, the "censored" outfits aren't especially modest anyhow. It almost makes no difference if a tank top is 2 inches longer, when they girls are still wearing mini-shorts and the tops are skin tight.

#18 fpd

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  • Mr. Ghey Ghey

Posted 14 September 2010 - 04:42 AM

I think a large part of it is the Neo-Confucian values seeping in, as much as they want to distance themselves from that and embrace a more modern way of thinking (nationalism being huge), it still permeates the culture. It elevates the family over all, and with it being so sacrosanct, it seems only natural that censorship is as heavy as it is in Korea. I mean, even in the US when they want to censor things, isn't it always "for the family" or "for the children"? I think it's a type of cultural conservatism at work.

Basically Korea is retarded. That's what I've come to realize after wondering how a country can be so sensitive about shirts being too short or something or too much skin showing, and yet have porn on normal television that comes on at 11pm on normal channels... (made a super awkward moment with my younger female cousin and me when we were there watching tv haha)

#19 Ap2000

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  • I program stuff.

Posted 14 September 2010 - 09:46 AM

LOLSORANDUMXDDd.


Unfortunately I have seen that lately here too. (this will be the last side blow about this though, I'm just going to give up)

@fpd; porn or just softcore stuff ?
I always thought there is no korean porn, because of the prostitution thing and it's basically the same.

#20 Shoujo Q

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Posted 14 September 2010 - 11:11 AM

I'm aware of the child pornography situation to some extent. I think Japan has its own sexual hang-ups to deal with, but they're so different to America's problems that comparing the two seems extremely difficult. As far as I know, Japanese authorities haven't been doing much about lolicon manga, although obviously they've clamped down on child pornography. I vaguely remember reading an article about how UNICEF is putting pressure on Japan to ban lolicon manga, to little effect.



Lolicon! I can talk about that. And not because of what you think, sick pervert!

I recently saw an article about it on tokyohive where Britney Spears was wearing "manga outfits". Cause you know Takashi Murakami was turning her into a Manga character. Truth is she's dressed as a lolicon, I doubt she knew what she was getting into when she decided to get Takashi Murakami dress her up, but that's her problem. Don't trust a guy who makes statues of anime characters squirting body fluid.

Quote's from the post that are of interest here.

LDP (Liberal Democratic Party )politicians in Japan are trying to get loli manga censored by using Tokyo regional government ordinances to get around the constitutional protections of free speech and art. Naoki Inose, governor of Tokyo, appeared on TV to support the censorship. Inose displayed some loli manga while on the show, but while censoring certain parts. The manga he used was “My wife is an elementary schooler!“, and he placed stickers on it to make it look like the scene was more explicit than it really was.

(Uhm... I doubt if he removed the stickers and showed it as is, it would STILL look more explicit then it really was.

If the law is passed, then not will the manga be illegal, but the magazine that Britney appears in will also be considered “unhealthy literature” and “virtual child pornography.”

[Unhealthy literature in Japan: Section 3: Restriction of the Sale of Unhealthy Literature

[...]

2. Items which through age, clothing, accessories, school year, setting, other people’s ages, or voice, seem reminiscent of a person who might be recognised as an under-18 (hereafter called a “a fictional minor”) engaged in, or appearing to be engaged in, sexual activity or activity resembling sexual activity, or which impede the development of healthy sexual faculties in youths, or which might be feared to obstruct the healthy development of youths.]



So they are cracking down, but that's like saying one part of the government is cracking down while the other is in the back room with their pants down, manga in hand.

#21 ///

///
  • ¯\(°_o)/¯

Posted 14 September 2010 - 12:24 PM

There are also age groups and for 12+ shows, you'll be bleeped if you say something like "that's crazy!" or "I punched him". It was on Invincible Youth and on Strong Heart. It seems like they're VERY strict on that kind of thing. I don't like it.

#22 fpd

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  • Mr. Ghey Ghey

Posted 15 September 2010 - 12:14 AM

LOLSORANDUMXDDd.


Unfortunately I have seen that lately here too. (this will be the last side blow about this though, I'm just going to give up)

@fpd; porn or just softcore stuff ?
I always thought there is no korean porn, because of the prostitution thing and it's basically the same.

porn to me = boobs and ass and such being shown. They just don't show penetration because that's illegal, but otherwise it's all good. Also, the prostitution thing... I assume cops are just retarded and look the other way if that's actually illegal? The first day I was there we walked my aunt and cousin to their hotel which was a "cheap normally hourly hotel" that my brother got a good deal on or something lol, and there were cards lining the hallways and posters in the elevator with all kinds of topless chicks with phone numbers which were obviously prostitutes.

Oh and that hotel had like a 52 inch plasma haha. It was a pretty nice place no matter how seedy the idea of the place was.