U-Kiss is a 7-member boy band that has debuted in both Korea and Japan. The boys range in age from 20-23, so they are slightly younger than other groups that we have looked at so far, but are still older than many boy bands in Korea today. U-Kiss is known for having upbeat, catchy dance songs and strong, choreographed dance routines. This video, “Tick Tack” (pronounced ‘tick tock’), is actually one of their most popular Japanese tracks. The group recently spent 8 months promoting themselves in Japan while on a hiatus in Korea.
Sun Jung says that “Many forms of non-Korean global masculinities – such as metrosexual, cute (Japanese, kawaii), and cool masculinities – cross cultural boundaries through disjunctive media cultural flows and hybridize contemporary South Korean masculinity. The consequent hybridity of South Korean masculinity creates mugukjeok traits which, in turn, contribute to its global popularity.”
In addition to mugukjeok, Sun Jung presents another term, chogukjeok (초국적, cross- or trans-national[ity]). She says that “in addition to mugukjeok or the effort to make ㄴouth Korean stars Asianied and/or globalized and to play down their Korean specificity, another characteristic is increasingly demanding of attention. This is chogukjeok, or the tendency to retain national specificity while deploying it as part of a transborder and multinational cultural configuration. It appears that such tendency is widely practiced and eagerly developed in the South Korean popular entertainment industry that is driven largely by its capitalist desires for globalization.” So, while groups do try to downplay their Korean-ness to be able to appeal to people of other cultures, they also embrace their Korean-ness while crossing cultural boundaries and targeting foreign audiences. In ‘Tick Tack,’ I would say that U-Kiss is practicing chogukjeok. While they are singing entirely in Japanese, they are not trying to cover up the fact that they are Korean and do not alter their clothing, dance routines or attitudes much from what we see in their Korean music videos.
There is a term in Korea called ‘nuna killers’ (pronounced noo na). A nuna is the term that males call females who are older than them. Whether it is an older sister, a friend, or simply a girl who is older than they are, ‘nuna’ is the term that is used. ‘Nuna killers’ refers to how young boy bands make female fans who are older than them feel. U-Kiss definitely falls into the category of nuna killers. The younger groups sometimes specifically target women who are older than them with their videos. They know that there is a huge following with that demographic and they take every advantage of that. By the term ‘nuna killers,’ we mean that older women fall in love with these boys and their music. U-Kiss even admits that they like women who are older than them. They are prime nuna killer material!