How ‘Gangnam Style’ Saved My Life
Growing Up in Seoul's Iconic Neighborhood in the ’90s, K-Pop Fantasies Were My Alternate Universe
I grew up in the section of Seoul known as Gangnam, long before Psy’s “Gangnam Style” became a worldwide K-pop hit by touting the neighborhood, its affluence, and the rise of Korea’s pop culture. Yet the seeds of Gangnam’s eventual cultural influence were present even then, and I was there to witness the transformation.
My family lived in a modest, if not crammed, apartment unit tucked away in a far corner of the neighborhood. We moved there in 1987—the same year South Korea had its first democratic elections—and just in time …