8 Biggest K-Pop Fandoms You Should Know About
Behind every K-pop group or artist is a dedicated K-pop fandom that will support the group or artist through thick and thin. Perhaps the most well-known fandom is the ARMY, dedicated fans of the worldwide phenomenon, BTS. But sorry ARMY, this article isn’t going to be about you. We already know quite a lot about the Adorable Representative M.C. for Youth. Let’s give other K-pop fandoms a chance to shine.
What are K-pop fandoms?
K-pop fandoms are essentially fan clubs for K-pop groups or artists. The name of the fandom is what K-pop groups and artists refer to their fans as, and what fans refer to themselves as. The process of creating a fandom begins with the debut of a K-pop act. After the group debuts, their management will slowly release information on the fandom. This includes the name, meaning of the name, and potentially lightsticks (though some K-pop fandoms have waited years before getting an official lightstick).
K-pop fandoms distinguish themselves at award shows or any events where multiple K-pop acts perform with lightsticks or the group’s official color. As a fan club, they often engage in online community building and even have charity events in the name of their group.
BLINK – BLACKPINK
BLINK is a contraction of BLACK and PINK, fitting with BLACKPINK’s motto of mixing girl crush with bubblegum pop concepts. The 4 members of the girl group reportedly came up with the fandom name and announced it in November of 2016 in an Instagram post.
In May of 2018, YG Entertainment revealed the official BLACKPINK lightstick, dubbed ‘Bbyongbong’ to mimic the sound it makes. The lightstick is a heart-shaped hammer that resembles a squeaky hammer toy.
Once – TWICE
A clever play-on word, the meaning behind “Once” is if fans can show love to the group once, the girls will repay their support with “twice” the love and dedication. The group announced their fandom name via Instagram in November of 2015. Korean and international fans have different variations to their fandom name, Once Candy and Once Jelly respectively.
TWICE’s lightstick is just as sweet as the group; a colorful lollipop! The Candy Bong made its debut in 2016. It received an upgrade in 2019 and the name changed to Candybong Z. It still resembles the candy fans adore, but it includes the group’s official colors: apricot and neon magenta.
ReVeluv – Red Velvet
This K-pop fandom name combines the first two letters of Red and Velvet. The “luv” of course stands for love. Reveluv coincidentally also means dream in French, further emphasizing that fans make Red Velvet’s dreams come true every day. Fans eagerly waited 1,000 days after the girls debuted for the fandom name, which took place on April 27, 2017.
Similar to the fandom name, fans waited 4 years for an official lightstick. The simple and cute lightstick contains the group’s initials in pastel coral. The lightstick’s name is “kimmanbong” with “kimman” short for “kimchi mandu” meaning kimchi dumpling. This is because it looks like a dumpling sitting on top of a stick.
Neverlands – (G)I-DLE
Going along with (G)-IDLE unique and versatile concept, Neverlands is the perfect name for their fandom. Deriving from the fairytale Peter Pan, Neverland is a place where children never grow up. The group hopes to travel to Neverland with their fans and stay happy together forever. The company announced the fandom name on October 29, 2018. The official logo for Neverlands is a castle.
The group announced their official lightstick in October of 2019 and it is also called Neverland. It features a purple castle with glitter surrounding the dome. The enchanting design captures quite well the dreamlike theme of the fandom.
EXO-L – EXO
EXO has a very creative naming process. EXO-K is the Korean subunit while EXO-M is the Chinese subunit. The group considers their fans as an extension of their identity, so they named their fandom EXO-L, which stands for love. The fandom officially began in August of 2014.
The lightstick for EXO, called “Pharynx”, gives off a slick and sophisticated vibe. It features the group’s logo and has 12 different lights, representing the 12 original members. During concerts, fans can create a rainbow ocean.
NCTzen – NCT
During a live stream in 2017, all of the members of NCT (including all the subunits) gathered to announce their fandom name. NCTzen essentially means a citizen of NCT, which stands for Neo Culture Technology. The concept of the group revolves around having an unlimited number of members to form subunits based in different locations. So their fans are citizens of the music they produce.
NCT showed off their lightstick for the first time in 2018. It has bold neon letterings of the group’s name. It also has a space inside the dome for fans to decorate as they wish.
MOA – TOMORROW X TOGETHER
TXT had some trouble coming up with a fandom name. Their first choice was “YOUNG ONE” which coincidentally was the fandom name for SNSD member Tiffany Young. After a lot of considerations, they came up with MOA. It stands for “Moments of Alwaysness” and represents how fans come together in a fragment of time to complete TXT’s dream.
The group teased at their official lightstick in multiple tweets on Twitter. On the handle of the lightstick, fans can spot the TXT logo: + x +. There hasn’t been any official information as to what the name of the lightstick is, but it shouldn’t be long until someone comes up with something as ethereal as TXT.
Stay – Stray Kids
Stray Kids’ fans give them a reason to stay, taking the “r” out of “Stray” and leaving them with “Stay”. The name of this K-pop fandom is special because both fans and artists feel at home with each other. Stray Kids announced the name on a Youtube video a week prior to their comeback in 2018.
Continuing the Stray Kids’ theme of lost and found, their lightstick features a red compass. No matter where the group is, fans will always be able to find them using the “Nachimbong”. The name directly translates to “compass rod”.
With so many K-pop acts out there, it’s impossible to name all of the fandoms. But let us know if you want a part 2 to some of the biggest fandoms you should know about.