Kpop fans have played a major role in taking Kpop global. Their loyalty has helped many Kpop groups get massive exposure on YouTube and even break records. While you can find a fandom for pretty much anything on the internet, Kpop fandoms are by far the most passionate. While a vast majority of the best Kpop fandoms are composed of legit fans, there is a very small minority within fandoms that are toxic fans that give fandoms a bad name.
Most Kpop fans have done a great job of calling out hostile and hateful fans that bring down the Kpop community as a whole. It is one thing to love and support your favorite Kpop group, but it is another thing to hate and despise someone for liking or disliking a particular group. However, 99% of real fans, have done an amazing job of supporting their favorite Kpop group or groups. Therefore, this article will focus on the positive aspects of Kpop Fandom and not mention some of the toxic incidents.
BTS – ARMY
ARMY is BTS’s official fandom name. It was established in July of 2013. Many might not know what ARMY stands for. ARMY stands for Adorable Representative MC for You. The Army’s official lightstick is the Army Bomb which is very difficult to find online due to the fact it gets sold out very quickly. ARMY is known for its passion for BTS merch. For example, the average BTS fan has spent over $1,400 on BTS merchandise, concert tickets, and exclusive content.
When BTS had to cancel their shows in Seoul due to Covid and refunded the fans. Army then started a social media movement to donate concert ticket refunds ($333,000) to coronavirus relief. The Army was inspired by Suga’s donation of $83,000 to COVID-19 relief efforts. The dedication of ARMY is pretty impressive and admirable. They prove just how powerful Kpop fandoms can be and just how much love and support could make a group go.
BLACKPINK – Blinks
Blink is the official fandom name of BLACKPINK. The name was created from the combination of Black and Pink. The group members themselves came up with the fandom name in late 2016. Their official lightstick is one of the most recognizable as it has two lit hearts on both sides. They might be the only Kpop fandom that can compete in terms of social media influence with ARMY. With Rose and Lisa coming out with their solo debuts in 2021, Blinks are sure to support them as well. There is a reason why BLACKPINK is able to constantly break viewing records on YouTube, their fandom is dedicated.
EXO – EXO-L
EXO has some of the strongest fans in all of Asia. Their official fandom was created in August of 2014 with the name EXO-L. The L stands for Love. EXO has been doing a great job of connecting with fans via social media even though they have not been very active the last few years. However, you can’t deny the passion of EXO-Ls. There was a clear example when EXO-L’s were able to create a light show that spelled out EXO WE ARE ONE at one of the concerts that took place in a stadium. It is one of the most impressive fan-choreographed showcases of all time.
Twice – ONCE
Twice fandom is called ONCE. The saying goes if you love us even once, we’ll repay you with Twice the love. The group promised to work hard so that you can look at them once, and fall in love with them Twice. Twice’s official lightstick is the candy bomb. When you go to a Twice concert you can’t miss their fans making visuals using these lightsticks. For Twice fans in Korea, they are called ONCE Candy, and for fans outside of Korea, they are called ONCE Jelly. 2021 was a massive year for TWICE and expect bigger things in 2022.
Super Junior – ELF
Super Junior has one of the most loyal fandoms in Kpop. Many have waited patiently for all the members to return from their military service. They have been through a lot and have stuck by Super Junior from members leaving to members dating. One might say that ELF’s are the most mature of all Kpop fandoms.
BIGBANG – V.I.P.
BIGBANG has some of the biggest Kpop tours in history which goes to show just how big this fandom was at its peak. Before ARMY and EXO-L’s there were V.I.P.s. They played a major role in helping take Kpop international and making BIGBANG one of the greatest Kpop boy groups of all time. Many have moved on to other fandoms but V.I.P. still needs to be on this list as they still continue to have loyal fans both in Korea and around the world, especially the west. While a 5 member comeback is unlikely, there is a chance that a 4 member comeback could happen in the coming years.
SNSD – Sone
SNSD was one of the very first girl groups to have success outside of South Korea and Asia. Their fandom is called Sone which in Korean pronunciation means “to wish”. They were one of the first fandoms to leverage social media channels like Twitter, Facebook, and even Tumblr to promote their group. In addition, thanks to social media, SNSD was able to grow its fan community very quickly. While SNSD members have gone on to other individual successes, no one ever truly leaves the fandom. A SONE is a SONE for life.
StrayKids – Stays
2021 was a massive year for StrayKids which means Stays are growing by the month. The overall fandom is so positive and incredibly supportive. While others have much bigger fandoms, Stays are some of the best fans around. STAY is the official fandom for Stray Kids. It was created by Woojin Entertainment with the help of the fans. STAY is Stray without the r. The “r” in Stray stands for reason. Therefore their fans are their reason and where they stay.
SHINee – Shawol (SHINee World)
Shawol is short for SHINee World. SM Entertainment has been able to grow its fandom by creating websites both big and smaller for each specific group. In addition, most members have their own website for their promotional needs. For example, Jonghyun and Taemin each have their own website outside of SHINee’s official website. They even have a separate website for Japanese fans called SHINee World J. In 2021, Key had one of the best Kpop solo albums of the year with Bad Love and the support from Shawols was a major reason for its success.
TXT – MOA
TXT (TOMORROW X TOGETHER) had an amazing 2021 and the best Kpop group album with The Chaos Chapter: Freeze. Their fandom name is MOA which stands for “Moments of Alwaysness”. TXT fans shared their many ideas but the group ended up going with MOA. They felt it showed that each moment of TXT will be shared with their fans always and forever.
GOT7 – Ahgase (I GOT7)
Ahgase is the official fandom name for GOT7 and it means “baby bird” in Korean. The fandom was founded in 2014 through an announcement on their YouTube channel. Jackson made it fully official by referring to fans as Ahgase. The baby bird was a key design factor in the creation of the official light stick.