The scandal surrounding Seungri, a former member of boy group Big Bang, illustrates the ongoing struggle for gender parity in South Korea and hints at deep-rooted problems with representation of women by the K-pop industry.
Over the past 20 years, the South Korean musical industry has experienced explosive growth. But it has failed to develop artistically, depending on big-scale Western productions. The problem lies with local production companies that prioritize profit over quality, some say. But many industry insiders blame the fans.
Going to a noraebang and belting out a tune or two is a favorite pastime for South Koreans. Some companies, though, see an opportunity in elevating this mundane experience to a new level: helping Chinese tourists feel like a K-pop star for one day.