K-pop extremes: The deplorable tale of akgaes and sasaengs in the industry

Yunho and Taecyeon were victims of horrid acts by toxic fans (Image via Instagram/@yunho2154/@taecyeonokay)
Yunho and Taecyeon were victims of horrid acts by toxic fans (Image via Instagram/@yunho2154/@taecyeonokay)

The K-pop industry encourages the culture of die-hard fans, but the presence of toxic and obsessive ones, referred to as akgaes and sasaengs, threatens the safety of idols. Countless instances of such virulent stans have occurred in the past, and it has jeopardized the lives of K-pop artists.

The word Sasaeng comes from the Korean word 'Sa,' meaning 'Private' and 'Saeng,' meaning 'Life,' referring to the tendencies of fans to disrupt the private lives of K-pop stars.

Akgae, on the other hand, refers to individuals who pick favorites in a K-pop group and support one particular member over the others, and often bash the rest of the group. These so-called fans have repeatedly transcended all boundaries of hate and mania to cause havoc in an idol's life.

Disclaimer: This article contains mentions of Su*cide, blood, and self-harm.

K-pop Extremes gives readers a look into the lives of idols, uncovering a few hidden truths of the K-pop industry. This article explores the tale of akgaes and sasaengs.

Five times akgaes and sasaengs pushed it too far with their despicable acts

From constantly calling them on live broadcasts to stalking them at airports and other public places, akgaes and sasaengs continue to showcase their outrageous behavior. Moreover, horrific cases of chasing, stabbing, kidnapping, and poisoning have taken place in the otherwise glamorous world of music.

1) When TVXQ's Yunho was poisoned with super glue

In 2006, TVXQ's Yunho faced a disastrous situation when an akgaes poisoned his drink. The K-pop idol visited a cafe where the girl laced his orange juice with super glue, causing him to cough blood.

Yunho was rushed to the hospital, and the intoxicant severely damaged his stomach and other organs. Considering the perpetrator was a minor, he refused to complain.

This abhorrent act invited massive hate. However, this incident could not prevent future instances - former Super Junior member Han Geng also experienced a similar incident. He received a box of cake that was filled with blood, a knife, and a stabbed photo of him. The cake was later found to be poisonous, but fortunately, no one consumed it.

2) When 2 PM's Taecyeon received a bloody letter

2 PM's Taecyeon was considered the heartthrob of the K-pop industry during the group's peak success. The now 33-year-old K-pop idol was also a victim of horrific acts by akgaes and sasaengs. In one infamous instance, he received a letter written in period blood and smeared with pubic hair. The fan wrote:

“I dedicate to Taecyeon my period blood letter Ok Taecyeon, You cannot live without me Sprinkled with a few strands of my pubes.”

The fangirl also posted a picture of her bloody sanitary pad to prove her claims. This utterly disturbing sight was loathed by K-netizens who demanded the girl be caught and punished.

3) When Lee Bon was kidnapped


The iconic first-generation idol Lee Bon was also a target of akgaes and sasaengs when a male fan kidnaped her. The veteran artist revealed her plight and the details of the kidnapping in an episode of Kim Soo Mi's Did You Eat?

According to Lee Bon:

“I finished filming and headed down a long stairway, but just as I was getting close to the car I blacked out. When I opened my eyes the next day, I realized I wasn’t in my room. I heard from outside the room, someone saying, ‘Why did you bring her here and cause all this trouble?’ I realized that my kidnapper may not want to harm me.”

While her constant refusal of proposals from the kidnapper eventually set her free from the turmoil, it continues to be a traumatic experience.

A similar incidence also took place with Girl Generation's Taeyeon. During the 2011 Angel Price Music Festival, a male sasaeng fan managed to get on stage during the group's performance and tried to abduct Taeyeon, however, the efforts of her bandmates and the MC saved the artist.

4) When harmful substances almost blinded Baby V.O.X's Eunhye

Baby V.O.X's Eunhye is yet another idol who was subjected to the attacks of akgaes and sasaengs. In one of the episodes of Happy Together 3, former fellow member Kan Mi-yeon talked about the horrific instance that Eunhye has to go through.

She revealed that during VOX's peak popularity, Eunhye was shot in the eyes with a water gun filled with a mixture of soy sauce, red peppers, and vinegar. She continued:

"At the time, I was scared. I felt like they will come after me one day. It wasn't just me but my members were harmed too so I felt so sorry.”

Such incidents trigger K-pop idols to feel constantly anxious. They look for unique ways to deal with akgaes and sasaengs to effectively escape perplexing situations.

5) When fans self-harmed to write Big Bang's Taeyang and GD letters

Writing letters to one's favorite K-pop idols is not uncommon, however, akgaes and sasaengs find toxic ways to do so. Big Bang's Taeyang and G-Dragon received letters that were written in blood. Akgaes and sasaengs intentionally self-harmed to express their love for the two idols.

Two fangirls slit their neck, palm, and wrist to write the letter, and the pictures of the incident surfaced on the internet. This gory and gruesome act worried people about idols and fans alike.

In 2016, Akgaes and sasaengs started a 'self-harming' trend when BTS' Jung Kook and Jimin were rumored to be in romantic relationships. The anti-fans posted self-harm and su*cide attempt pictures with hashtags like #cuttingforkookie.

These akgaes and sasaengs have deeply penetrated the K-pop industry. While the first and second-generation idols continue to encounter bizarre acts, the intensity of these acts has reduced, primarily because of stricter company policies, digitalization, and better security arrangements.

However, it does not suggest that the number of akgaes and sasaengs has decreased. The ever-growing instances of idols' personal information getting leaked and incidents of mobbing and stalking persist and this epidemic needs to be dealt with strictly.

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