BTS. Blackpink. Monsta X.
If you haven’t heard of kpop, you should emerge from under that rock and rejoin the rest of society. Far from the niche market that it used to be, Korean pop has become a worldwide phenomenon with fans from all around the globe, and it’s revitalized interest in music, dance, fashion, choreography and even skincare.
You’re probably familiar with viral hits like “Gangnam Style” and “Baby Shark.” These songs came from Korea, and they’re a lot of fun.
However, they aren’t really representative of kpop as the movement that it’s become today. Artists like BTS are outselling Ariana Grande and Lady Gaga. Artists like EXO are representing luxury brands in Gucci, Bvlgari and Dior.
You can find their albums in major retail stores. You can attend their concerts at famous stadiums. They absolutely dominate social media, and they’ve started to trickle into newspapers and radio shows as well.
Kpop isn’t a strange interest to have anymore. It isn’t just a cool and trendy thing from overseas, either. The kpop market is growing year after year with no signs of stopping, and a revolution is imminent!
Are you ready to join the craze? Or maybe you’re already a fan, and you’re just looking for some cool swag to buff up your kpop collection.
Here are a few of the most iconic kpop memes that are floating around social media as we speak.
Kpop Meme 1: The tale of the lesbian Korean billionaires.
If you’ve been into kpop for any amount of time, you’re probably familiar with the evangelizing promotional efforts of Loona fans. “Stan Loona” is practically a trademark at this point.
However, it wasn’t until the “lesbian Korean billionaires” prank that the fandom truly went worldwide. It claimed that two members of Loona were rich heiresses who were marrying each other and becoming the richest couple on the planet with their combined wealth.
It was completely fake, but it was a good gag. Many people fell for it and laughed at themselves when they realized the truth. Even outlets like The Washington Post wrote about it!
Kpop Meme 2: Strut your stuff, ladies.
You’ve probably seen this GIF even if you’ve never listened to a kpop song in your life! It stars Mijoo from Lovelyz as she dramatically poses on a walk to her bandmates. From flipping her hair to showcasing her purse at different style points on her body, she completely works that imaginary runway.
Fans loved it, and even non-fans found it relatable. It’s been captioned with everything from “me when I’m feeling like a boss” to “me logging onto twitter dot com to overshare personal issues and joke about my depression.”
Great memes don’t need any context to riff on them, and Mijoo proved that here.
Kpop Meme 3: Annyeonghaseyo!
When Kim Junkyu walked into a room and said “hello,” he probably didn’t expect it to go viral several months later, but that’s exactly what happened with this so-stupid-it’s-hilarious meme.
He’s literally just walking into a room and saying hi! It shouldn’t be this funny!
Somehow, however, this TREASURE member tapped into the silly part of our brain that likes low-effort memes. His greeting has been used in all kinds of social media posts, and they aren’t limited to Twitter. You can find him on Tumblr, Instagram, Facebook, KakaoTalk and more.
Kpop Meme 4: When you’re determinedly ignoring life’s problems.
Viewed more than 50 million times, “the girl with the headphones” was such a viral meme that it actually transcended kpop fandom. Everyone was using it. Many posters had no idea that it was Yeri from Red Velvet as she played a game on the Korean variety show Knowing Brothers.
What makes this video so funny? Maybe it’s the expression on her face. Yeri is one of the funnier members of Red Velvet, so she knows how to work a comedic moment.
Maybe it’s just the fact that this video can be used in so many ways. Whether it’s “when my mom asks me to take the garbage out” to “when my bank account begs me not to spend so much money on kpop merch,” Yeri just isn’t listening.
Kpop Meme 5: When you’re too beautiful to be believed.
As one of the visuals of BTS, Seokjin is so handsome that he’s gone viral multiple times as things like “car door guy” and “the third guy from the left.”
It was during this broadcast, however, that Jin cemented his status as a star. A fan shouted “you’re so handsome” in the middle of his hosting duties, and without missing a beat, he replied “I know.” It caused the other hosts to burst out laughing right then and there!
Kpop Meme 6: Chungha
Chungha has been turning heads since she first appeared on Produce 101 as a hopeful trainee. Despite her beautiful looks and glamorous wardrobe, however, her most famous image is probably this one. It’s such a versatile meme that you can use it for anything!
Are you laughing at a funny post? Are you screaming to hide your pain at something cringey or embarrassment? Has your favorite idol just put on another feather ensemble? Have you just stepped on a Lego?
Chungha doesn’t discriminate. She’s ready to be your go-to meme for all occasions.
Kpop Meme 7: To jop is to be divine.
The world might have laughed when SuperM announced “Jopping” as their debut single, but it turns out that the joke was on us. Jopping memes have become one of the funniest things to ever happen in kpop fandom.
It isn’t limited to riffs on religious brochures, either. You can find all kinds of posts, images, videos, fancams and GIFs with Jopping jokes. It’s a song that lends itself well to good-spirited humor.
Just be careful. Once you start Jopping on repeat, the song really grows on you!
Kpop Meme 8: Because some people just want to watch the world burn.
This is another meme that spread across social media with many people having no idea of its kpop origins.
The man in question is SHINee’s Key. He was attending a Halloween party back in 2015, so he dressed in a Ronald McDonald costume and shared some behind-the-scenes photos after the fact.
Most posters don’t know this. They simply refer to him as “sad clown guy,” and he’s part of their anonymous meme collection. He’s often trotted out when people want to make fun of themselves for believing or expecting something that didn’t come to pass.
In other words, he’s used when people feel like clowns.
Kpop Meme 9: When your retinas have been traumatized forever.
Poor Jackson was just trying to enjoy an awards show when his boss, the 48-year-old founder of JYP Entertainment, suddenly appeared on stage doing a sexy dance.
It was just as cringey as you might expect. In fact, it was so cringey that it actually made headlines for being cringey.
Jackson might be a cool, stylish member of GOT7, but even he couldn’t hide his reaction when he saw his boss grinding on stage with a woman half his age! Hilariously, his face was caught on camera when it panned out into the crowd, and it became one of the biggest viral sensations of the year.
Kpop Meme 10: Who knew that ice was cold?
TWICE’s Nayeon had a moment of surprise after stuffing her cheeks with ice cubes. It could’ve happened to anyone. Luckily for us, it happened on Nayeon, and it happened on camera, so this hilarious moment has been forever immortalized as a meme.
Don’t feel bad about sharing it, however. Nayeon loves memes! She’s one of us. While she’s never commented on this particular image, it’s a safe bet that she would find it hilarious.
Long live Nayeon and her memeability!