This is the Director of the Sapphire Sky Project speaking. After much toil and an endless amount of impossible conflicts I took it upon myself to meditate on the bigger picture of things in regards to this project.
Two nights of absolutely no sleep at all, a definite connection between problems at work and problems with lifestyle, one 10 hour long phone call, and a Friday evening spent expressing my troubles to a Korean pastor at a coffee shop in downtown Seoul, I was able to view things from a entirely new perspective. Since its beginnings, SSP has been through a lot of work that was publicized to you, and behind the scenes. You see, although I pride myself in dreaming larger than life, rationality is what we needed most. Through my nearly half a year of experience living in Korea and the input of a Korean on our recent dilemmas with SSP, I realized that we are dealing with a much larger issue than we had originally thought.
We made SSP because we wanted to do something for the international fans, by international fans, and we were tired of the ridiculous irrational treatment Super Junior received doing activities overseas. Our idea was based off of the sell that our project would open huge windows of opportunity for kpop to advance in a new radical unique direction that would most certainly bring international attention to Korean pop culture. However, now that I more fully understand a few unfortunate yet crucial aspects of Korean culture, I realize that our idea, though brilliant, is really designed for a culture that 1) Is already culturally diverse or 2) Wants to become culturally diverse; none of which Korea falls under at present. In fact… everything about SSP is everything that Korea rejects: A company created and run by young, foreign, women, who are proposing a radical change in the norm with a unique and revolutionary idea.
Young. Foreign. Woman. Unique. Change. The top five taboos of Korean Business culture.
I realized that even with the proper resources, money, and experience, we would still run into political issues that venture way deeper into the heart of “The Almighty Han Race” than we ever intended to go. Hosting a series of concerts for a boy band is a simple unpolitical matter to us, which is why we never really thought of it at first, but K-POP is Korea’s face. Idols represent everything Korea wishes it was and tries to make the world believe that it is. Poetically speaking: here we have SSP which is like the emancipation proclamation of Korean entertainment— and the industry, especially the notoriously traditional SM Entertainment, is not ready and cannot yet understand why it is necessary and beneficial to free the slaves.
In order for SSP to be successful, Korea would have to do radical reforms on business policy, international affairs, human rights, women’s rights, racism, nationalism, and all of their numerous phobias and complexes. After seeing this side of things I did some extra research on the matter— and did you know, the United Nations has been hounding South Korea for years with charges of international racial, sexual, and antisemitic prejudice and prosecution in the workplace? The corruption in Korea runs deep within its roots, we know that, we complain about it often in regards to SM. My pastor said to me, “Korean people don’t like change. Even wise advice and innocent suggestions are seen as an invasion. They are met with extreme defensive responses and rejection.”
The culture difference is too large and they do not want help from us. It is sad and difficult to accept but their unwillingness to evolve will lead to their own downfall and there is nothing we can do about it. It is beyond our control. They will have to implement change in themselves before a business venture like SSP can ever be made and executed. It could take decades, and it is not a cause I believe we should be taking responsibility for. When I look at SJ, I see such amazing and great potential. It is almost painful to know that they will never reach their full capacity because of a huge cultural setback, but I believe it is wise to leg it go.
One day the idea of SSP can successfully take hold, but that is not today. It is the wrong time and the wrong place. We worked hard but it was not in vain. The experiences we can all walk away with from this will help us in the future. Entrepreneurship is no easy task and we made it damn far if I do say so myself. I hope you will all understand. It was wonderful working with you. By far you are the best team I’ve ever had on a project, even if this one was not completed. Through every late hour writing proposals, filling out legal documents, making endless phone calls, filling out online surveys, and setbacks from higher up industry folk, you guys stuck it out still believing in the dream. You still supported and I genuinely thank you.
Here is to us making it as far as we did. A few cultural roadblocks away and SSP could’ve made it. We were that close and I’m proud of us. We started in a conference room of the library at UNLV and ended up spread on all sections of the globe. I will be placing SSP as ‘INACTIVE’ legally.
If you were a kind soul who donated money, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org along with the receipt from paypal with the amount donated and we will reimburse you immediately. Your donations gave us hope and kept us motivated, but it is time to return them to you, as we could not fulfill out promise.
Farewell everyone. I hope SM will find it in them to send Super Junior your way. Russian ELF, Tunisian ELF, German ELF, Australian, Canadian, American, and Latin American ELF— your day will come. The industry knows a lot more about you now than they ever did before.
Sapphire Sky Project Director