South Korea in the Perspective of a Filipino Expatriate

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Earning Money By Performing BJ in Front of the Camera (Looking into the Mukbang Culture of Korea)


BJ-ing is the current trend in Korea right now. Every Korean wants to do BJ nowadays, not only it is such a fun thing to do, they can actually earn money from it. They can BJ all they want in front of the camera and money will just come easily.

But wait, do you have actually any idea what I am talking about? Before you think wild, let me explain this first.

If there’s a DJ (Disc Jockey) and a VJ (Video Jockey), in Korea, they have this thing called BJ or Broadcast Jockey.

Who are they?

Well apparently, BJs are porn stars, I mean foodporn stars. BJs are just ordinary Koreans with extra ordinary way of eating. When you see them eat, you will not only influenced by their appetite but you will also find them entertaining. To showcase this kind of talent, Afreeca TV in Korea opened the way to let these BJs broadcast themselves while eating and they call this trend MUKBANG. The word Mukbang is a combination of two Korean words 먹(meok) which means eating and  방 (bang) which means broadcast, so basically, you broadcast yourself while eating, then you can call yourself a BJ or Broadcast Jockey.

If you think this is just some kind of a nonsense idea, then probably you are wrong. Apparently, Mukbang is such a hit in Korea right now. More and more Koreans love the idea of being a BJ because people are actually earning a handsome amount from doing it. BJs are also gaining a celebrity status on their own right because their respective fans are also growing. As a BJ, you have to entertain your so called fans by not only eating in front of the camera but also doing some funny antics and some extra talents. The fans who are watching you on their respective devices will give you balloons that cost 100 won each, the more balloons you receive, the more money you can get. The biggest earning I know so far is that of a BJ named Diva, one of the most popular BJs in Korea  to date. At one point, she earned a handsome amount of 9,000 dollars coming from the donations of her fans. In fact, BJ-ing became her full time job.

Now, let’s talk about the fans. Who are they and why are they participating in this so called Mukbang?

In Korea, eating is such a communal thing to do. It is not something you should do alone. However, as time goes by, people in Korea get busy and some learn how to live independently to the point of them facing the fact that they have to eat alone. They find it lonely to have nobody to talk to during mealtime, so for those who would like to have a companion while eating, they subscribe to this Mukbang and through the personality of the BJs, they get virtual companion in their meal time. Happy fans can in turn donate money to the BJ.

The BJs either order their food or cook their own food and entertain their fans by eating the food in the most interesting way possible. Needless to say that BJs must be good eater, somebody who could stimulate the appetite of the viewer.

With the highest recorded views of 3 Million and more than 650,000 fans of a particular BJ, Mukbang is undeniably a big thing in Korea. I think the positive thing about this aside from it entices people to eat deliciously, it is also became the venue to create community. Although it’s just a virtual activity, people get to talk to other people with same interest in eating and food.

Here is a sample video of how Mukbang looks like and how the BJ performs in front of the camera to eat it.


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