Some comments that could potentially ignite a massive scandal no like other, were made by a Kpop superstar recently, regarding the physical abuse he endured and witnessed as a trainee before he made it to the big league. Jay Park, who just snagged Artist of the Year at the Korean Music Awards held on February 28th, claims the abuse is no longer an issue within the industry, but questions still linger. Is the beating of aspiring idols still going on?

Before making their much-anticipated debuts, K-pop idols go through a notoriously rigorous training program, taking a wide range of lessons from early morning until late into the night. On top of the basic voice and dance lessons, trainees study foreign languages, get etiquette training, and basically learn how to carry themselves as an idol. And during this process, the future stars are expected to maintain their physical appearance by adhering to strict and often times unrealistic limits on their weight. As if all this doesn't sound like enough to deal with, recent accusations made on a podcast by one of Korea's biggest stars has been making headlines, raising questions concerning the existence of systematic physical abuse that may be taking place at the idol training centers.

Jay Park spent three and a half years at JYP Entertainment's training center before he achieved the fame and success that he enjoys today. There, he experienced firsthand what every future idol has to go through, and what he remembers doesn't sound very pleasant. If what he said is true, it's downright criminal. According to Jay, besides putting him through endless hours of training, the instructors demanded that he sing and dance only a certain way, thus taking away his individuality. And if he messed up, he got beat for it. "The culture in itself was kinda like when you get certain lyrics or you get certain dance moves wrong, they would like literally hit you," claimed the singer. And even though he ended the interview by claiming that it's no longer like this, and excusing the hitting of students as the "Korean way," his descriptions of actual beatings he and his fellow trainees endured while at the idol school is actually quite disturbing.

And how can he say for sure that it doesn't happen anymore, anyway? Jay Park does have a point, certain types of social behavior are considered to be more acceptable in certain cultures than others, even regarding how adults can and should discipline children. But abuse is abuse, no matter how you look at it, no matter where you are. We'll see if anything more comes out of this story, but it most probably will just fade away. All we can do is hope that idol instructors are no longer berating and hitting their students for missing a step on a dance move.

The JYP Entertainment Center

Artist of the Year


Tomorrow With You

Starring Shin Min Ah and Lee Je Hoon

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