A guide to vocabulary you may encounter while exploring this site  and other Korean pop culture oriented sites.


DPRKDemocratic People’s Republic of Korea, or North Korea. After WWII a civil war on the Korean Peninsula resulted in the area being split into two governments. The North was and is still a communist regime with its capital in Pyongyang. It is at the center of East Asian conflict and tensions.

Economic Development – The process in which an economy, of a municipality, province, or more often a nation, grows in GDP and GNP (or roughly wealth) and develops infrastructure and industry. This is often associated with a greater standard of living and modern lifestyles. Korea and the US are considered developed nations, while places such as South East Asia are considered developing.

GDP – Gross Domestic Product is the sum market value of all goods and services made in a nation in a period of time, or in other words the value of the economy in the past year, month, your decade. This combines domestic of foreign companies within the borders. Often when GDP is discussed the time is one fiscal year. The GDP is limited by location (only what is produced and serviced within the borders). GNP is limited by ownership.

GNP – Gross National Product measure the total value of all goods and services produced by the country regardless of whether it’s in or outside the borders, and excludes foreign companies within the home country.. It also includes citizens incomes, whether they are made at home or abroad, and does not include income earned by non citizens.

LDC – Less Developed Country or a nation that’s service sector is still outperformed by industry. The standard of living is lower than MDC’s, and the economy and infrastructure are not usually highly developed. This is all in relation to NIC’s and MDC’s. Senegal and Russia are LDC’s.

MDC – More Developed Country or nation that is considered to be post industrial; their service sector of the economy generates more income than the industrial. These nations have a high standard of living and political stability, along with a high GDP and advanced infrastructure, among other things.  Often these countries are seen as superior–this is a purely economic status; it does not reflect the social conditions of a nation. The US, Japan, and South Korea are MDN’s.

NIC – Stands for Newly Industrialized Country, or a country that is approaching high economic development and is between the two categories of MDC and LDC. India, Mexico, and South Africa are examples of NIC’s.

ROK – The Republic of Korea or South Korea. This is the southern half of the peninsula that was split away after the 1950’s civil war. It is currently a democratic republic, with its capital in Seoul. One of the largest economies in the world and highly developed South Korea is a still growing economy and nation.


Anti-cafe – Online forums and websites that are formed with common hate/dislike for a star, as opposed to a fan club.  Associated with anti-fans, who run and participate in anti-cafes. These are highly prevalent in Korea, more so than in North America.

Comeback (stage) – When Korean pop star group comes out with a new single, also their first performance of that single on a Music Show. Part of the music industry cycle for established pop groups in Korea.

Farewell (stage) – The last performance (usually on a Music Show) of a K-pop groups single or song from an album before they go on hiatus. This is another important part of the music industry cycle for Korean pop music.

Gagmen – Comedians, with Gagmen reflecting Korean comedies more slapstick, family fare edge. Comedians often host variety shows and participate in reality shows as hosts, usually with young pop stars. They are supportive of the Korean pop music industry and dont provide similar critical comedy of young stars as you see in North America.

Gangnam – A district in Seoul that means South of the River (the Han river), it houses most of the capital’s wealth, along with the young, rich, beautiful, and famous. It is often depicted in Korean dramas as an analogy to the American Dream or going to Hollywood. Many young Korean pop stars and actresses also live in Gangnam. Saying you live south of the river means something in Korea.

Hallyu – A term coined by a Chinese journalist, meaning Cold Winds and describing the spreading, sweeping power of Korean cultural products such as Korean dramas and Korean pop music. This has been used by the industry of Kpop and the Korean government also, both of which are looking to expand Kpop beyond Asia.

Idols – A term for young Korean pop stars and actors. Most are not soloists but in groups of 4-8 people under a few major labels. Idols often appear on variety shows, reality shows, and in TV Dramas. It is a combination of being a singer, dancer, actor, and TV personality,. Because of this, idols are highly visible in television broadcasting.

K-drama – Korean television shows of varying genres that have become famous abroad in Asia and beyond. Winter Sonata became hugely successful in the early 2000’s in Japan and Southeast Asia and Korean dramas are airing in multiple countries and can be found on Hulu and Netflix with English subtitles. They are more positive, optimistic, and family oriented than Korean film.

K-pop – Mainstream, large studio driven Korean pop music that is a cross between dance, hip hop, pop,electronic and more. It is well-known for its focus on performance and dance, with less focus on lyrics and content. It is aimed for tween to young adult audiences. It has become popular in Asia and beyond.

MOGEFMinistry of Gender Equality and Family that enacts bans and restrictions on music performances and more. They are often criticized and attacked by Kpop fans when they ban certain songs from being performed on television or stage, or to be played on the radio. However bans often come quite a time after a single’s release.

Music Program – Major performance based TV programs where mainstream Korean pop groups come and perform and often compete for awards. There are four major programs, Music Bank, Music Core, M! Countdown, and Inkigayo. Idols not only perform but host these programs, and they air weekly.

OST – An original soundtrack song that individual idols often produce for k-dramas or films. Individuals, not whole groups, generally make OST’s and it focuses on signing and not performing so often strong singers and more thoughtful lyrics are used. Sometimes singers in Drama will make a OST for the Drama..

Selca– A self-portrait taken with a phone. Idols often take these for their fans and are the fodder of comment boards and websites.

Seoul – The capital of South Korea (the name essentially means Capital City). One of the largest metropolitan areas in the world, almost a third of South Korea’s population lives in Seoul. Highly technologically advanced and still growing, Seoul has been touted by some as the new New York city of travel.

Ulzzang – Viral celebrities famous for their good looks. Some become actual singers and actors, or TV personalities.