A sasaeng, or sasaeng fan, is a stalker or other person who invades the privacy of celebrities, particularly Korean idols, drama actors, or other prominent figures. The phrase sasaeng is derived from the Korean terms sa, which means ‘private,’ and saeng, which means ‘life,’ and refers to fans’ intrusion into celebrities’ private lives. It is widely used in South Korea.
Popular Korean celebrities may have ‘between 500 and 1,000 sasaeng admirers,’ according to celebrity managers’ estimations in the Korean media, and be actively followed by roughly 100 sasaeng fans per day. Female Sasaeng followers are described as being between the ages of 13 and 22, and compelled to perform what may amount to borderline criminal behavior to garner celebrity recognition.
Seeking out celebrities in their dorms or homes, stealing their things or information, harassing family members, and giving idols obscene presents like lingerie are all examples of such activities.
The obsessive, disruptive fan behavior that the name sasaeng denotes began with the growth of K-pop idol groups and ‘fandoms’ in the 1990s, as highlighted by local English-language newspaper Korea JoongAng Daily in 2001.
Industry veterans and members of first-generation K-pop groups such as H.O.T. and G.O.D. have described such fan behavior before the digital era. Extreme and disruptive fan behavior toward Korean idols and celebrities has been seen worldwide because of the rapid expansion of the Korean popular culture sector and the spread of the Hallyu trend internationally in the 2000s and recent decades.
Anti-fans differ from sasaeng supporters in that their main purpose is to see certain stars or groups fail. Yunho, a member of TVXQ, was brought to the hospital in 2006 after taking a drink tainted with adhesive from an unknown admirer. In addition, the suspect, in this case, had written Yunho a letter condemning TVXQ and threatening the band as a whole, as well as confessing to being an anti-TVXQ fan.
Sasaengs have devised a variety of means for getting knowledge on idols, as well as a sasaeng network via which they may share information and establish task groups. It has been observed that sasaeng followers who are old enough to work will seek employment in industries that will bring them closer to their heroes or information about them.
Also READ: Is ‘The School for Good and Evil’ movie out?