[Hallyupedia] Bu-kae (부캐)

연합뉴스 / 기사승인 : 2021-05-01 10:02:16
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by Yun Ji Hyun / Cha Min Kyung

[ENG] Alternate Character/Persona

The term 'bu-kae' is originally used in online games as it refers to a newly created character in addition to the character that was originally used in a game.

In the game world, bu-kae are often made when someone wants to enjoy new contents after they lose interest in their original character. The term bu-kae has expanded its use into people's daily lives in a similar sense after it first appeared in the early 2000s, when online games were popular.

Usually people create bu-kae as a secondary character and make them act in a new way that is different from their usual character appearance.

▲ The Bu-kae craze within the entertainment industry
Last year, there was a boom in the Korean entertainment industry where celebrities would create new characters with concepts that were quite different from their usual image.

▲ This photo provided by Mnet shows rapper Mad Clown disguised as 'Mommy Son' in the rapper survival show, "Show Me the Money 777." 

S. Korean rapper, Mad Clown, is cited as the first example of creating an alternate character within the Korean entertainment industry. Mad Clown, who was already acknowledged for his skills, suddenly appeared in a mask on Mnet's popular rapper survival program, "Show Me the Money 777" in 2018, under the name 'Mommy Son.'

Following this trend, Yoo Jae-seok, who is also called the 'Korean national MC,' carried out a similar example of bu-kae in MBC's popular entertainment show, "Hangout with Yoo."


▲ This photo provided by MBC shows comedian Yoo Jae-seok's three different alternate characters from "Hangout with Yoo." (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

He played different characters, including a rookie trot singer named 'Yoo San-seul,' a record producer as 'Jimmy Yoo' a drummer 'Yoo-go-star,' and ramen chef 'Yoo Lasek," which captivated the audience since all of the characters contrasted Yoo Jae-seok's original image as the national MC.

▲ This photo provided by MBC shows SSAK3 members Yoo Jae-seok, Lee Hyo-ri, and Rain. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)


Singers Lee Hyo-ri and Rain, who were members of SSAK3, a super group formed on "Hangout with Yoo," also had alternate characters with the names Linda G and B.Ryong respectively. In addition, comedian Kim Shin-young and Choo Dae-Yeob created their bu-kae(s) as 'Second Aunt Kim Davi' and 'Copy Chu,' which spread the bu-kae trend to the point where there were lists made with all the celebrities and their alternate character names.

This trend has become interesting in that celebrities have given viewers fun content through concepts that are different from their existing image. In other words, the idea of bu-kae has opened opportunities for celebrities to impress the public with their charms that wouldn't be delivered through their original selves.

▲ The spread of 'bu-kae' into our daily lives
Due to the 'bu-kae' craze within the Korean entertainment industry, the trend is started to spread into the society as a social phenomenon.


▲ This photo provided by Mnet shows the poster for the 'bu-kae' contest, which determines the best of stars' alternate character. 

People have started to create bu-kae(s) in order to express their hidden passion or personalities that they have not shown to others. For example, if a person's 'bon-kae (someone's original self)' was an employee from an average company, their bu-kae would be turning into a Youtuber or influencer after work.

As there are many cases where celebrities have gained unexpected popularity through their alternate characters, the craze about bu-kae is still ongoing within the Korean society.



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