How “Sunbae” and “Hoobae” Relate in the K-Pop Industry

Words like “Sunbae” and “Hoobae” might be kind of confusing for other people since there’s no such thing as sunbae and hoobae ideas in any of the industries. Sunbae is a word that refers to people with more experience and hoobae refers to people with less experience. Generally, hoobaes have to use honorific language to sunbaes (called jondaetmal), which means Hoobae have to speak very politely and treat Sunabe with respect.

“Sunbae” and “Hoobae”: Relate in the K-Pop Industry

This concept is new to Americans and other cultures but quite popular in Korea. Like we know at work, there’s a boss, and there are co-workers. At school, we have seniors and classmates. Celebs like  Kardashian and Justin Beiber might get friends in America, but that kind of situation rarely occurs in Korea.

Likewise, Kara debuted 5 years, so Kara is a sunbae to the younger girl groups. Sunbaes are like seniors treated with respect and, and usually have more social power. However, if Kara’s hoobae girl group consisted of 30-35-year-old people, it becomes a bit confusing. Do these singers in their 30s have to use honorific forms to girls that are about10 years younger than them? Yes. It might seem a bit confusing, but in the work industry, the ideas become a bit different. However, just because Kara has a  “Sunbae” tag, it does not mean they should not use polite honorific language and not bow their head when they greet their 30-year-old hoobaes.

American fans have lashes the Asian community using words like ” unreasonable” and “stupid” but it’s a situation far more serious than just “misaddressing” someone. It’s a sign of respect, and not properly greeting your sunbaenims is more than worthy of criticism.

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Korea and other Asian countries generally have this concept or called tradition that “The older you are, the more respect you deserve.”So according to their culture respect is proportional to age. When younger ones do not treat older people with respect, they will be lashed upon by society for not having been raised or brought up properly.

Is this concept of using “honorific language” is appropriate?

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