The act of bowing and its importance in the Kpop industry: why some idols got into trouble for not bowing

Many Kpop idols were drowned in criticism for not doing this crucial gesture in Korea. 

Manner, respect, and hierarchy are of great importance in the Kpop industry. Accordingly, the 90-degree bow is often carried out by Kpop idols as a sign of respect and an expression of gratitude towards their seniors, audiences, and the media. Therefore, if an idol does not bow properly, it’s likely that they will get into trouble with the public.

The act of bowing
Kpop idols often make 90-degree bows towards their seniors, fans, and the media. 

In fact, the gesture of bowing is an important part of Korean culture, as it not only shows manners and respect but also displays the social hierarchy in the relationship between seniors and juniors and between idols and reporters. In addition, it is an expression of gratitude and appreciation toward Korean fans. 

BTS Jungkook bowing to fans and reporters during promotions for the group’s latest comeback “Yet to Come”.
BTS always bowing deeply until they reach 90 degree
BLACKPINK doing the 90-degree bow to their senior IU
“Legends” DBSK bowing at their concert as a way to thank fans and staff members 
Kep1er Chaehyun bowed to say thanks to the support of fans. 

According to Korean traditions, junior idols are required to bow 90 degrees to those who debuted before them, while seniors have to bow back in support. BIGBANG G-Dragon, for example, never fails to do this gesture properly in all of his public appearances, which earned him ample love from Koreans. 

BIGBANG G-Dragon is always praised for his manners.
Now a legendary artist, G-Dragon still bowed to the media before leaving for a Chanel fashion show. 

As a bow is simple yet crucial, a lack of this action would easily land Kpop idols in hot water. IVE, for instance, used to face trouble over not bowing. 

In particular, after winning their first music show cups with their debut song “Eleven”, IVE did not bow to their seniors who were leaving the stage. The group was quickly criticized, with many netizens targeting Ahn Yu Jin and Jang Won Young for forgetting the gesture despite having previous stage experience. 

Jang Won Young
IVE was criticized for not bowing to their seniors on the stage. 
Jang Won Young
After the issue, IVE started to bow in later stages. 

However, the importance of bowing is only applicable to Korea, leading to idols from other countries facing culture conflicts. Unlike Korea, where people do full-body bows often, Chinese people only do such a thing to special people like parents and grandparents. Therefore, many Chinese Kpop idols, including EVERGLOW Yiren, aespa NingNing, and SEVENTEEN Jun and The8, would skip the full-body bow, leading to further complaints. While some accept that this a culture difference, many netizens insisted that as long as these idols earn money from Korea, they need to follow Korean traditions. 

EVERGLOW Yiren was under fire for not doing the full-body bow. 
Jun The8
A similar issue also happened to SEVENTEEN Chinese members Jun and The8.

Source: Yan

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