Korean Crackdown

The Asia-wide popularity of K-pop has spurred the Korean government to crack down on what it sees as lyrics that are “harmful” to young people.

In recent months, the country’s Division of Child and Youth Protection has ruled that 110 songs should be banned from TV stations because of their sexual content.

The band TVXQ was forced to change a line in one of its songs that goes “I got you under my skin” to “I got you under my sky.”
Other major artists, like Rain and Seung-ri of the hugely popular boy band Big Bang, have also been cited.

Critics, crying “censorship,” say that the government’s actions have actually boosted sales of the original uncensored songs.
Rain’s song “Rainism” saw a sales increase of 10 percent after being hit with a “harmful material” rating.

In addition, many of the songs cited have already been out for some time and promoted extensively without any complaints. TVXQ, also known as Dong Bang Shin Gi, had already sold 482,000 copies of its fourth album, Mirotic, before it was hit with the ban.

The rating means that stickers saying “unsuitable for people under 19 years of age” are affixed to the physical copy of the song or album, which are then placed in separate sections of record stores.

Moreover, the songs must be altered if they are to be performed in public or broadcast before 10 p.m.

The system of banning lyrics has been in place for a decade, but no top music acts have ever been cited until this past year.

Though the artists have said that their lyrics are being misinterpreted by the division, most have made changes and released “clean” versions.