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What It Takes To Get A Song Banned From Broadcast Stations In Korea

By Staff Writer | April 30, 2014 09:54 PM EDT


Many K-Pop acts get their songs banned, baffling international and Korean fans alike.

Search 'banned Korean songs' on Google, and there are countless examples that pop up right away. Many international fans struggle with the news that certain songs are banned from being broadcast in South Korea, due to the multitudes of reasons given for banning songs.

Recently, Crayon Pop's follow-up song to there hit 'Bar Bar Bar,' 'Uh-ee' was banned by KBS because it used the Japanese word 'pika.' Fans were baffled, and many Korean fans pointed out that if using a Japanese word leads to a song being banned, then songs that use English and Chinese should also be banned.

Sometimes, there is less confusion regarding bans by broadcast networks. Songs with overly sexual overtones or cursing are often not allowed to air before 10PM. However, there is no set rule, or even obvious guidelines, across the board so many songs are released and then banned for apparently obscure reasoning.

In September 2012, it was revealed that KBS, MBC, and SBS had banned over 1,300 songs in the previous three years alone. Since then fans have become more vocal about the confusing standards, but the broadcasting agencies continue to ban songs.

There seems to be no rhyme or reason when it comes to the bans, but rather changes for each song. VIXX was banned from performing their live dance for 'Voodoo Doll,' because it was too violent, while B.A.P's 'Warrior' had a member shot on stage but didn't face the same ban.

Another example is SISTAR's music video for 'How Dare You,' which was initially banned because it featured a pole that the girls would presumably pole-dance with. The pole was removed, but the music video was still criticized. But After School's sexy pole dance for 'First Love' never even raised a mention of being banned.

While fans can still seek out the music that is banned, it often hinders artists in Korea.

A famous example is Ajoo, a solo artist who debuted in 2008. In 2009, he released a song called 'Chaebol 2nd Generation' and was banned by KBS for being too materialistic. However, KBS was criticized because its hit drama 'Boys Over Flowers' featured the very same things as Ajoo's song. Ajoo never returned to the Korean music scene.

The Government Youth Commission allows for songs to be banned if they're dangerous to the youth of South Korea, but the wording is vague so anything that is remotely related to violence or sexually explicit is open to being banned. However, because the regulations are so unclear, everything is fair game to be banned.

Freedom of speech has a long way to go in South Korea, so sometimes things are banned for no apparent reason.

Because many fans use YouTube and the Internet to discover new music, bans have very little to do with the average international fans intake of K-Pop. Only programming in South Korea is affected, but there is still a lot of confusion due to the irregularity amongst the bans.

The confusion doesn't seem to be going away anytime soon, considering the recent ban of Crayon Pop's 'Uh-ee' and the problem about banning one language over another. Until solid guidelines are released, there will always be this perplexity.

Tagged :  k-pop songs banned, banned k-pop, banned korean songs


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