Tag Archives: kpop

Kpop Pull Rituals


[i.e. having someone else pull K-pop merch for her as a lucky charm]

Alright, so if you listen to k-pop, and you buy something called, buy physical albums, they tend to come with physical inclusions that are more than just the CD or just like a small lyric book. There is usually a photoshoot book, sometimes there stickers, sometimes there’s like extra random like goods. But they almost always have something called a photocard which is like a small card that people like to um trade or buy after pulling it. It’s kind of like the same concept as a baseball card, for example, or Pokemon cards, where you basically, it’s like a gacha system where you can get one of the members in a group, or if it’s just a soloist then you just a soloist card. But there are generally different versions so collectors really like to collect all of them, similar to how like people like to collect all of the Pokemon cards or try to get certain rarities. 

So, in this case, what it means to be rare is to try to get the card that you want in particular, um which usually tends to be either a member you really like or a card from a set.

Um, so I guess in terms of like, ritualistic things that happen with this, I would say uh

one of my friends has really good luck with getting pulls that she wants and so recently, my friends have all been making her choose which albums we choose to purchase. Just because her, the chance of her getting the card we want has been… quite high in terms of like um which one what our pulls end up being. Most recently, she and I were getting the same album, but I wanted different cards from her. She didn’t really have a particular card she wanted, so she manifested for me instead. And I was wary, so I decided to switch the albums over. And the one she opened had all the cards that I wanted that she had originally given to me. So,…it’s been kind of interesting because if she is really sure about wanting a certain card, that card tends to appear. So um I guess that’s an example.


Context of Performance: In-person conversation

Me: Do you see any other cases of other K-Pop pull groups doing this, like having a specific lucky pull person?

Informant: um I have seen on like TikTok, that there’s this one guy who apparently. This one person’s boyfriend who also pulls what they want. I don’t know since I’m mostly referencing it from my group of friends.

Me: Do you think having her pull truly increases your chances?

Informant: I didn’t think so, but the coincidences have been kind of high as of late. She’s been able to get other people their pulls if she thinks hard enough about it. I don’t know if it’s really real or just a lot of coincidence, but it has happened enough that I’m suspicious.

Personal Thoughts:

The idea of having someone else participate in a heavily luck based thing is not unique to my informant’s experience, or K-pop pulls. There’s an entire genre of games referred to as Gacha games where players gamble to obtain playable characters. In addition, characters or other gamble-to-obtain items tend to be heavily objectified. In all heavily luck-based games there is a common thread of having someone else pull for you because they are luckier (an example is linked below). This is some that correlates with the past – for example gamblers having lucky rabbit’s feet. However this practice has also changed as we have moved into the modern era. Now, because we can SHARE our luck based experiences, people have lucky PEOPLE instead of lucky charms.

Additional Notes:

For another example of having a lucky person instead of a lucky charm:
Komemos. (2022, April 22). My best pulls ever???? Ayato and venti pulls … – youtube.com. Retrieved April 28, 2022, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sGrNpwNzAq8 

Fancam Culture

An explanation of the origin and evolution of Fancam culture from the perspective of a k-pop fan.


Informant: Fancam culture at the moment is in its most evolved form on Twitter. In which, people will reply to viral tweets, even if they’re unrelated to kpop, with a video that’s focused on a certain figure/idol/celebrity that they like. It started in kpop ‘cause there’s this thing called a direct camera or the fan cam where there’s one camera that doesn’t move and shows the whole performance, but there’s another set of cameras and each of those follows one specific member of the group throughout the performance. That one is where the fancam originated. Basically these videos are available for download on websites like Naver– it’s like Korean Google. On lot’s of fan sites they’re made officially and for download vertically. Nowadays they’re largely vertical videos so it’s like hella advanced. You can download these, keep them, and save them. I actually have like four on my phone right now. Anyway, people started posting them on Twitter. As the kpop fanbase became more populated, getting a lot of views on your idol’s videos became an achievement you unlock as you go through the ranks of being a stan. People started replying to viral tweets with a fancam because if anyone sees it the views go up automatically. So if a tweet goes viral, and you tag it there the views will go up. That was the origin of the dancing fancam. Those are the videos where you just see people dancing. Then k-pop fans started making edits. Edits are videos of a celebrity set to a song or an aesthetic. They’re often set to American rap songs by like Nikki Minaj or Cardi B. They subsequently became a part of, and often take the place of, the traditional fancam. Those two separate but similar fan edits merged to the more overall idea of “fancams”. The goal of fancams are now just to get the views up on every single kind of k-pop video, and recently it’s started to stretch out into all other fandoms.

Context: I asked a friend to explain fancams to me.

Thoughts: I only began to be exposed to fancams once they began to be edited to American music, and I think they have taken on a largely ironic nature after that. I’ve seen people make fancams as absurd as possible for very niche celebrities. Like green M&M and Kermit the Frog.