So… How about a quick introduction about you and what you do?
As you guys know my name is JK. I have a YouTube channel called JKTV. I’m Korean and living in Korea. On my channel I cover a lot of things like K-Pop, Korean lifestyles and attitude, the overall Korean Wave and my general life through vlogs. Basically anything to do with Korea I try to make videos out of it!
How did you start doing reaction videos and why did you start doing it?
Originally I didn’t start of doing reaction videos; at first I started doing prank videos as social experiments but at the start it didn’t work out really well as the culture in Korea is one where the general public are quite shy. One day I was watching videos on YouTube and stumbled across the channel JREKML and I thought, wow this guy (JRE) is funny… and he knew more about K-Pop than I did. I mean I’m Korean, born and raised, but I knew next to nothing about K-Pop so I thought I would try to do reactions also. It’s not something that a lot of Koreans actually do so I thought it would be a nice spin on things.
Now there is slowly becoming a trend for Koreans reacting to K-Pop… however your channel was one of the pioneers. Why do you think it is popular now?
Maybe because it’s kind of new. Its kind of new because everybody has different taste, everybody has different perspectives and people may wonder what others think about my favourite group, why others from a different country and a different language would watch my favourite groups like debuts or music videos. Maybe people want to see others… maybe that’s the reason why it’s getting so popular… so there are more fans going crazier and crazier!
So since starting your reactions what have you learnt about K-Pop and the K-Pop fandom? Has anything in particular surprised you?
A lot of my opinions on K-Pop have changed! At first I thought a lot of these idols were only just good looking people without much talent. That’s the pre-conception a lot of people in Korea have about them. But now that I watch a lot of K-Pop music videos and I’ve listened to a lot of their music, they actually do have a lot of talent! A lot of them compose their own songs and write their own lyrics, and they can dance really well… they can pretty much can do anything! I was like “Oh sxxx…” I underestimated them before but now I see them in a different way. Now I feel like they are actually underrated in terms of the overall Korean music scene.
So far, what has been your favourite video to film and why?
I think my favourite reaction was ‘Korean Guys react to Hyuna’s Roll Deep’ because that was actually shocking for us. I knew who Hyuna was and I knew about 4MINUTE but I’ve only seen live performances but I didn’t see the official music video at the time. I brought all my friends, we sat on the couch and I was just like, “Hey guys, lets watch this!” and everyone was like “what’s this? …ah it’s Hyuna… Roll Deep?… Yeah alright!” Then once the music video started everybody was going crazy [laughs] and after we filmed the reaction we re-watched the video about about an extra 10 times. I literally became Hyuna’s biggest fan after that!
Have there been any videos that you have looked back and felt embarrassed about? Or felt like you could have done differently?
There is one video, its actually our 3rd reaction video. I still remember it was Red Velvet. In the video I said the music video kinda looks like an old school Japanese music video. I didn’t mean it in a way where I meant Red Velvet has copied ideas from Japan or even that Japanese music is better than Korean music but all the fans went crazy. Specifically the Korean fans… International fans didn’t misunderstand what I was trying to say. But Korean fans were saying things like, “That’s bad!” and “How can you compare Red Velvet to the Japanese?” After that I thought, “Man… I should watch my mouth and be careful of what I say!”
You’ve recently started another YouTube channel. Tell us more about it!
Originally I wanted to have a channel like Eat Your Kimchi. They’re Canadians but I’m Korean, I live in Korea. I wanted to show the beautiful parts of Korea to people abroad. That was my first intention of making a channel but then later on, I started reaction videos. I’ve been making reaction videos for about eight months now but sometimes it is hard because of the potentials of getting copyright strikes. Plus, in terms of sponsorship they are more likely to sponsor you for more original and creative content so that is why I created another channel solely for that called JK ENT. This is more about the entertaining side on Korean culture; we make social experiments, prank videos, some crazy and fun videos about Korea. And it’s all real, none of them are fake.
What kind of fans do you get on your channels? Do you find it’s mainly Korean fans or International fans?
On JKTV we have just over 100,000 subscribers; more than 30% are from America, about 8% from the UK, 15% are from Philippines and only 10% are from Korea. I don’t have many Korean fans on JKTV but I have a lot more on my JK ENT channel due to the nature of the videos so like if I walk on the street, people recognise me sometimes! I feel proud and like I’m getting there but I have never seen any foreigners come up to me and recognise me apart from one girl who said, “Oh I know you.. you’re from JKTV!” She was from America but lives in Korea. That was the only time. I guess I don’t have much of a strong fanbase compared to other YouTubers. Yet!
Recently, you have been collaborating and hanging out with a lot of YouTubers, like BapMokja and Haeppy. How did you get to know them and what is it like to work with them?
I first contacted BapMokja through facebook then I met him at the YouTube fan festival but we didn’t talk much. Then I got a phone call from Afreeca Global TV, who are a live broadcast Internet website. They called me up and asked, “Do you want to do a live broadcast? Do you want to be in one of our shows?” and I said yeah and asked who is attending and they told me that BapMokja, Haeppy and other YouTubers would be there too. So that’s how I got to know everyone. BMJ keeps on telling me to make collaboration videos together… we work together on Afreeca TV often but haven’t really had the time to sit down and make a YouTube collab together. Hopefully some time in the future you will see some videos appearing soon!
Are there any YouTubers that you would like to meet or work with in the future?
In Korea, there aren’t many YouTubers that have a channel dedicated to K-Pop reactions channels or at least I am not yet aware of them if there are. But I would really want to meet up with these two girls, 2MinJinJongKey. I would really want to meet them, I’m a huge fan and I think they are adorable! Oh, and of course JRE. I’ve actually sent him a message on Twitter and he replied back but I don’t know how to use Twitter so I must have replied back to him like 3 months later! I would love to hang out with JRE one day. If he ever gets a chance to come to Korea then he should holler at me, that would be good. [I proceed to poke him] Ah and also KSpazzing! I shouldn’t forget them too! Like, properly with Raph and Sabrina together! In London, maybe?
What is in store for your two channels? Are you able to give us any hints to things we can look forward to in the future?
My plans… JKTV will be a little bit different. I will try to film more Koreans reactions to things other than K-Pop and maybe talk about different things like talk about culture from a Korean point of view. Also, get other people to react to Western stuff and talk about other celebrities or things from other Asian countries.
To wrap up, do you have a message to your fans (and future fans) out there?
To all my fans.. I love you all and I want to say thank you for all the support. If you guys ever come to Korea, I will always be in Gangnam district so you should come and drink with me! And please keep supporting, I always appreciate it. I will try and give back everything I receive, which will be fun videos. So you will see me… I’m actually a crazy person, a very funny person but I’m very shy in front of the camera, but once I get used to it you will get six packs from laughing. So stay tuned guys!