[OP-ED] The Rise of Korea's DIY Punk Scene

Matt Maraia, April 21, 2017, 10:48 a.m.

Pop culture in Korea is ruled by its ever growing KPop scene. Due to how influential Korean record labels such as YG, JYP, and SMT are, there leaves little hope for subcultures that revolve around punk, indie, hardcore and even hip-hop to be exposed.

Korea’s punk and hardcore scene is so small that the community is pretty much shrouded in secrecy. For them, it’s probably the ideal situation. I grew up going to hardcore shows in Los Angeles, at the beginning the community was fairly small but it grew and grew and grew. Now if you go to a punk o rhardcore show there’s a good chance you’ll see plenty of people out of place who are just there to take a flick for Instagram, just to say they were there. It can be exhausting, especially because those are usually the people the tend to start fights because they don’t understand how things work.


The Geeks is one of the bigger bands that came out of Korea’s hardcore scene, they even found themselves touring the U.S. and beyond. Drinking culture in Korea is HUGE, to further fight against the norm, The Geeks claim themselves as a straight edge band. None of their members drink or smoke, they use sobriety as a form of rebellion. The band’s frontman, Ki, has a clear disdain for the country’s education system. "School culture here is terrible...It's not about learning, it's about slotting you into a narrow box. Students study from 6am to 11pm and all they're taught is to hate – hate Japan, hate anyone who is different"


A lot of the racial tensions that still exist between Korea and Japan stem for the schooling itself. Ki mentions, “At school, half the history book is dedicated to what Japan did to us..."It's done with a negativity that breeds passive hatred in everyone. Of course people know better, but there is a fundamental bad atmosphere. We're trying to readdress the balance in the hardcore scene by constantly having Japanese bands play too."

"I just have to say this: Korean society is just a bunch of fucking nationalists. We are all brought up to hate. Eighty percent of Korean men are stupid fascists." - Yeong-Jun from the band Things We Say

*Images from Vice.com*

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