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 Minji of K-pop girl group NewJeans / Yonhap

Are people being overly harsh to K-pop stars or was Minji of girl group NewJeans being careless?The so-called “kalguksu controversy,” involving the 19-year-old member of rising K-pop sensation NewJeans, has ignited a debate about the intense scrutiny and high expectations faced by K-pop stars.This controversy has recently resurfaced, nearly a year after the initial incident, which the entertainer then apologized for.It originated from a seemingly innocuous moment in a YouTube video released in January 2023, where Minji quietly asked herself in Korean, “What’s kalguksu?”Kalguksu is a knife-cut wheat flour noodle dish served with broth and other ingredients, and is a common menu item in Korean restaurants. Minji’s remark about the popular dish stirred up a debate on whether she was feigning ignorance to be seen as a “girl of luxury” unfamiliar with the food of ordinary people.In the wake of all the fuss, Minji addressed the issue during a livestream that featured all NewJeans members, earlier this month on Jan. 2.”Do you think I wouldn’t know what is in kalguksu?” she said. “Please think about it twice. I said I didn’t know because I really didn’t know (what’s in kalguksu). Do you know about all different types of kalguksu and the ingredients?”Despite her efforts to explain, some online users still criticized her for using a “sharp and annoyed tone,” leading Minji to publicly apologize again on the fan communication app, Phoning.

“I am sorry for my bad attitude on a livestream on Jan. 2, which made the viewers feel uncomfortable,” reads her apology.”As a picky eater who has never tried kalguksu before, I said unintentionally, ‘what is kalguksu?’ when I was thinking about its types and flavors. I was just talking to myself, so I didn’t know there would be a misunderstanding.”She also mentioned her initial hesitation to clarify the misunderstanding.”And I thought the issue would eventually quiet down over time,” she added. “But the misunderstanding did not stop harrassing me and I decided to clear it up out of frustration. However, I am deeply reflecting on myself for letting you down with my immature attitude. Moving forward, I am committed to being more mindful to avoid repeating the same mistake.”Minji’s apology has divided public opinion, with some claiming that she did not have to apologize over such a trifling matter, sympathizing with the challenges of being a K-pop star, navigating the balance between public perception and personal expression in the world of celebrity culture.”It seems it is so demanding to live as a K-pop star,” an internet user commented.Another wrote, “She has been the vicitm of the ‘kalguksu controversy’ for a year and that’s why she spoke like that. I don’t see what the problem is.”But others maintained that Minji’s tone and attitude were too much and that her decision to apologize was appropriate.”Her accent and tone were quite aggressive on the livestream (even though she was clarifying),” an online user wrote. “That’s why she had to 토토사이트 apologize.”

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