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"Gangnam Style" is a 2012 single by South Korean singer PSY.

International organizationsEdit

File:Songdo style.jpg

Songdo, a ubiquitous city 40 miles (65 km) west of Gangnam, was among five cities vying for the right to host the Green Climate Fund (GCF), a project developed by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change to channel $100 billion a year from developed countries to help developing countries combat climate change.[1] During its campaign to win the right to host the GCF, the country's Presidential Committee on Green Growth produced a promotional video entitled "GCF Songdo Style by Psy" in which PSY recommends Songdo as the host city for the GCF. He announces that a "new paradigm" will begin at Songdo with the GCF and the video heralds "The beginning of Songdo Style" while "Gangnam Style" plays in the background.[2][3] On October 20, 2012, the Board of the GCF announced that Songdo had won the right to host the fund.[4]

According to Amnesty International, the British sculptor Anish Kapoor's Kapoor's film Gangnam for Freedom has won the support from various human rights organisations including Liberty, Index on Censorship and The Helen Bamber Foundation.[5]

East AsiaEdit

China Edit

In the Chinese language, "Gangnam Style" is often written as "江南style" with "Gangnam" translated into its Chinese language equivalent "江南" (Jiang Nan) and "Style" unchanged except for the first letter written lower-case.[6]

Due to the fact that the video sharing plattform YouTube was officially censored at the time of "Gangnam Style"s release in July 2012, internet users in China have accessed the music video by streaming it from Chinese video plattforms such as Tudou and Youku.[7]

Despite government authorities censoring a few "Gangnam Style" parodies such as "草泥马 style" by the Chinese dissident Ai Weiwei,[8] the song has nevertheless received a positive reception in China. On October 10, 2012, it topped the country's Baidu 500 download list[9] and was subsequently labelled by state-controlled media as a "divine melody".[10][11][12]

According to China Radio International, PSY introduced himself to his Chinese fans by uploading a video onto the online media company Sina Corp and subsequently announced the official opening of his account at Sina Weibo, the Chinese equivalent of Twitter.[13] The South China Morning Post reported that PSY will visit Hong Kong on November 30, 2012 to attend the Mnet Asian Music Awards, and estimated that the cost of hiring PSY to perform at concerts and promotional events is estimated to amount to a total of US$700,000 for about half an hour.[14]

On November 7, 2012, a video with the title "Tibetans vs China's Xi Jinping: Gangnam Style"[15] was uploaded onto YouTube by Tibetan exiles[16] from the global grassroots network Students for a Free Tibet, an activist group which supports the Tibetan independence movement. According to the video's description, the parody uses "the power of humor and theater" to highlight the "cruelty and absurdity" of the Chinese government's "colonial policies" in Tibet.[16]

Gianluca Mezzofiore from the International Business Times reported that this "Gangnam Style" parody was released after another Tibetan protestor had burned himself to death in China. Mezzofiore also quoted a statement released by the activist group, which labels Xi Jinping, the Vice President of the People's Republic of China, as a "dimwit, a big-headed oaf whose only response to Tibetans' growing resistance is to arrest, beat and torture protestors".[17] A spokesman from Students for a Free Tibet said that the purpose of the video was to inject a little humour and hope into an otherwise "terrifying" situation.[17] According to Max Fisher from The Washington Post, this parody of "Gangnam Style" was likely to be filmed in Dharamshala, the home of Tibet’s government-in-exile in the northern Indian state of Himachal Pradesh.[18]

North Korea Edit

File:Gangnam style north korea.jpg

On September 18, 2012, the North Korean government uploaded a parody with the title "I'm Yushin style!" onto the government website Uriminzokkiri.[19] It is a parody of South Korea's ruling conservative party presidential candidate Park Geun-hye, and shows a photo-shopped image of her performing the horse-riding dance, while mocking her as a devoted admirer of the Yushin system of autocratic rule set up by her father, Park Chung-hee.[20][21] At the end of the video, next to an image of Park dancing "Gangnam Style", the video declares, "Yes I love Yushin. Yushin is my hometown, my creed, my future. I'm Yushin style"[22]

According to Josh Visser from the National Post, North Korea's video cannot be compared with the original "Gangnam Style" because of its "'Scooby-Doo'-style sound effects and 1960s big band brass".[23] John Hudson from The Atlantic Wire wrote that most frames of the video are too dark to even make out the imagery, and he dismisses the parody as "Pyongyang's latest attempt at cultural appropriation".[24] Mok Yong Jae from Daily NK, an online newspaper run by opponents of the North Korean government, asserts that Uriminzokkiri is a "propaganda website" and labels the "Gangnam Style" parody as an attempt to link Park Geun Hye with her father's two decades of dictatorial rule.[22]


New ZealandEdit

In November 2012, a Maori cultural group from Rotorua visiting Seoul performed a version of the Gangnam Style dance mixed with a traditional Maori haka, celebrating 50 years of diplomatic relations between South Korea and New Zealand.[25]

Southeast AsiaEdit

Thailand Edit

In Thailand, officials from the Dan Sai municipality in Loei Province shot a video of people wearing masks and performing "Gangnam Style" during the Phi Ta Khon "ghost" festival. According to the Thai newspaper The Nation, villagers and spiritual leaders from Loei province have felt "uneasy" and also "greatly offended" about this "Gangnam Style" performance which tarnishes the image of a 400 year-old tradition.[26] Another controversial incident was sparked by a "Gangnam Style" parody by officers from the Royal Thai Navy, which was not well received by some high-ranking commanders. Although Vice Admiral Tharathorn Kajitsuwan from the Third Naval Area Command insisted that "we had no intention to insult or make fun of navy officers in uniform", some senior officers have called it "improper". Kajitsuwan claimed that his subordinates had the right to upload the video to YouTube, although he did not expect them to do so. On October 1, 2012, he issued an apology to his colleagues. Commander Surasak Rounroengrom believes an investigation is unnecessary because the video caused no damage to the Navy, but he admits that there was some impropriety about military officers doing their "fancy stepping in uniform".[27]

South Asia Edit

India Edit

"Gangnam Style" became popular in India after a West Indies batsman performed the dance on the ground during a T20 world cup match.[28]

A few Bollywood actors including Amitabh Bachchan and Shah Rukh Khan danced "Gangnam Style" during the Indian television game show Kaun Banega Crorepati.[29] In October 2012, the Indian music channel M Tunes announced that it will broadcast "Gangnam Style" on its non-Bollywood segment MTunes AlterNative.[30]

In the city of Nagpur, members of an Indian youth volunteer network celebrated their anniversary by dancing "Gangnam Style". The Times of India reported that volunteers also gave "Gangnam Style" dance lessons to the residents of the city.[31]

Pakistan Edit

During a three-day folk festival in the city of Bahawalpur, an inter-provincial wrestling competition was won by the reigning champion Sheeda Launcher, who performed "Gangnam Style" in front of thousands of spectators.[32] The Pakistani telecommunication company ZONG created a mobile phone network advertisement in which actors were seen performing Gangnam dance moves. The advertisement also loosely imitated some scenes from the original Gangnam style music video.[33][34]

Europe Edit

France Edit

The French news agency Agence France-Presse was among the first major news agencies to report about "Gangnam Style". On August 6, 2012 it published an article about "Gangnam Style" entitled "Wacky S. Korea music video goes viral" which preceded similar reports by other news agencies including Reuters[35] and the Associated Press[36] In addition, France became PSY's first promotional destination in Europe when he visited Paris to participate in a "Gangnam Style" flash mob alongside 20,000 fans at Jardins du Trocadéro in front of the Eiffel Tower on November 5, 2012.[37]

Germany Edit

File:YouTube blocked Germany GEMA de.png

In Germany, an ongoing dispute between YouTube and the GEMA (the country's performance rights organization) regarding copyright issues has led to thousands of music videos, including "Gangnam Style",[38] being blocked in the country.[39] Users trying to access the official "Gangnam Style" music video without connecting to a foreign Proxy server would encounter the following error message: "Dieses Video ist in Deutschland leider nicht verfügbar, da es möglicherweise Musik enthält, für die die erforderlichen Musikrechte von der GEMA nicht eingeräumt wurden." (English translation: Unfortunately, this video is not available in Germany, because it may contain music for which GEMA has not granted the respective music rights.)

Although "Gangnam Style" topped the Media Control Charts of Germany on October 12, 2012[40] and again on October 26, 2012,[41] it also received a negative reaction from some commentators. For example, Jan Augustiny from the magazine Stern wrote that PSY "looks like Kim Jong-Il (the former North Korean dictator) "[42] while Claudia Becker from the newspaper Die Welt labelled the dance moves of "Gangnam Style" as "eccentric".[43]

Norway Edit

In early November, a local event organizer released a press statement saying that it had successfully contacted PSY's management company to bring the singer to perform in the Norwegian city of Stavanger on November 22, 2012. However, the event was subsequently cancelled.[44] It was later revealed that the event organizer had been the subject of a fraud, and a spokesman representing the organizer told the Norwegian daily newspaper Aftenbladet that they had been "duped" by an offer coming from an agent who appeared to have the rights to distribute the song.[45] Although the event was cancelled before tickets went up for sale, the organizer reported a financial loss as a result of the incident. Nevertheless, the organizer has expressed its willingness to get PSY to perform in Norway again.[46]

United Kingdom Edit

On October 9, Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London, held a speech at the 2012 Conservative Party Conference, where he admitted that "Gangnam Style is very good".[47] He talked about the vast variety of exports that originate from London, including television aerials which the Koreans use to watch "Gangnam Style". He also told the audience that he and the British Prime Minister David Cameron have danced "Gangnam Style".[48] A few days before the conference, they performed the dance at Chequers Court in Buckinghamshire. One of the guests who witnessed the dance remarked, "It was uproarious – they [Johnson and Cameron] completely brought the house down".[49]

In October 2012, a woman was charged with one count of assault after she attacked a disc jockey in Essex who had no recording of "Gangnam Style" available.[50] In November 2012, Zara Phillips, the granddaughter of Queen Elizabeth II, performed "Gangnam Style" as part of the BBC's charity programme Children in Need.[51] On November 7, 2012, PSY held a speech at the Oxford Union to discuss about the inspiration behind "Gangnam Style" and his next album. He told the audience that because of the success of "Gangnam Style", he is now living in both a dream and in a nightmare at the same time. He added that it will be difficult for his next song to surpass the success of "Gangnam Style". He also talked about his early life and the moment he realized "Gangnam Style" became famous. According to The Independent, tickets for his speech were "in such demand they had to be assigned by ballot"[52]

Russia Edit

In the Siberian region of Kemerovo, residents dressed themselves up in costumes designed to look like the ape-like creature Bigfoot and danced "Gangnam Style" to celebrate and mark the birthday of Bigfoot.[53] The state-funded television channel Russia Today labelled the celebrations "Yeti-style", a reference to another ape-like creature similar to similar to Bigfoot.[53]

North America Edit

United States Edit

The U.S. cable news CNN was among the first to report about "Gangnam Style" when it ran a report with the title "Rapper living "Gangnam Style" goes viral".[54] PSY's first public appearance in the United States occured on August 20, 2012, when he performed "Gangnam Style" at Dodger Stadium.[55] The Colorado Democratic Party celebrated U.S. President Barack Obama's victory at the 2012 U.S. presidential election by dancing "Gangnam Style" during the Denver Democratic watch party.[56]

On Election Day, U.S. President Barack Obama revealed about possible plans to privately perform "Gangnam Style" for his spouse Michelle Obama. During an interview with the American radio statio WZID in New Hampshire, Obama remarked, "I just saw that video for the first time. I think I can do that move. But I'm not sure that the inauguration ball is the appropriate time to break that out. Maybe do it privately for Michelle".[57]

In mid-September 2012, 14 lifeguards from El Monte, California were released from official duties after they uploaded "Lifeguard Style," a parody of "Gangnam Style", using the city's swimming pool at the El Monte Aquatic Center. The part-time and seasonal employees were immediately fired for violating contracts that stipulate an employee "cannot use any city property for his/her own private benefit",[58] and "the city holds all employees to a higher standard."[59] In an interview on 97.1 AMP Radio with Carson Daly, Psy called the incident a "tragedy" and added that the city officials "were taking things too seriously".[60] On September 14, Psy appeared on MTV News and left a message for El Monte's mayor Andre Quintero: "I'm begging you to not fire please, because they were enjoying their souls with some other cultures and it was even off duty."[61] Quintero stated that, "I think it's very important that we take a very good and thorough look at what happened so that we can avoid this from happening again".[62] At a meeting on September 18, after hearing from residents the El Monte City Council called for an investigation into the firing. Hundreds attended the meeting. The meeting prompted columnist Frank C. Girardot to suggest that the lifeguards' struggle would make a great film with the title High School Musical 14: The Hollywood Lifeguards.[63] In early October 2012, Quintero indicated that he wanted to rehire the lifeguards.[64]

South America Edit

Chile Edit

In Chile, the dance moves of "Gangnam Style" were used by students during massive protests across the country[65]

Brazil Edit

Inri Cristo, a Brazilian religious leader and self-proclaimed reincarnation of Jesus Christ, had uploaded a parody of "Gangnam Style" in order to attract the public's attention.[66] Andrea Madambashi from The Christian Post quoted the video's YouTube description which says "In response to requests, the disciples of INRI CHRIST interpret 'INRI is our Father,' the mystical version of Gangnam Style – Psy, now with dance of Inrizetes (disciples of Inri)"[66]

In mid-September, the Brazilian singer Latino released the song "Despedida de solteiro" (The Bachelor's Party), which is supposed to be a cover of "Gangnam Style". Many felt offended by his disrespectful lyrics,[67] and some have called it a plagiarized copy of "Gangnam Style".[68] While PSY's original lyrics talk about the lifestyle of the Gangnam people, Latino's version is about a man that is enjoying his bachelor's party in a club, wanting (and having) sex with many women, so drunk that he says he does not know if he's really going to get married the next day.[69] Latino had stated that it was an authorized version.[70]


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