Within the Hanyang International Summer School Program, Hanyang University allows students to choose up to three fun activities to go on. One of the activities I chose to participate in was going to SM Town.
SM Town is a place to experience all K-pop related-things from SM Entertainment. SM Entertainment is an entertainment company that houses K-pop artists such as Red Velvet, Girls’ Generation, SHINee, and Exo. They sell merchandise from all of their groups, offer dance tutorials, photo opportunities, a hologram performance, a café, and a museum.
I am not a super fan of K-pop music, knowing every birthdate and blood type of each member, but I do enjoy K-pop music and am a fan of some of SM Entertainment’s groups. I learned about K-pop at a time when I really needed to see some Asian representation in the media, so it will always hold a special place in my heart. Therefore, I thought it would be a good opportunity to go there and potentially meet some other K-pop fans (and purchase merchandise). Obviously, it depends on the crowd you hang out with, but most of the people I have met through Hanyang University are not fans of K-pop, perhaps just casual listeners and know the older, OG groups (Big Bang, Girls’ Generation, etc.).
At SM Town, we saw the hologram musical, School of Oz. It was an interesting concept with holograms and I liked to listen to the different idols cover well known SM songs, but I felt like I was not the target market for the show. The overall plot and characters were quite weak and corny.
(Theater for the musical)
There is also a museum that we went to in the building. The museum included many CDs, posters, costumes, and props from the different musical groups. It was interesting to see, as I was familiar with the groups, but to someone not interested in such groups, I am not sure how exciting it would be.
(Costume from Girls’ Generation’s song “Lion Heart”)
Outside of the main building, there are handprints of different idols at SM Entertainment (and some of their actors). I think this was my favorite part of going to SM Town. It was just really cool to see and compare hand sizes. It was a real reminder that yes, these are actual people in real life, they are not just on my screen. Also, Seulgi from Red Velvet’s hand is really small.
Overall, unless you really like K-pop, I do not think this is the activity for you. As much as I enjoy SM’s groups, I did not think there was very much to do here. I probably would not have paid to see the musical or museum if it were not free with the summer school program. However, I am still grateful that Hanyang offered this opportunity to visit. It was really cool to be surrounded by so much music that I actually recognize, especially since K-pop holds such a personal meaning to me.