[ The Location : WHERE IS KANGNAM ? ]

downtown area in the Capital of Seoul in modern Korea was bound into the four great “gates” of which only one now remain . example : DongDaeMun is East Gate and NamDaeMun, South . the rich lived smack IN the middle or picturesque Northern mountain slopes, while the poor gathered on the outer limits of West and East – now YoungDeungPo and WangSibRi, which is rather cheaper than other prime areas . South was obstructed by NamSan “South Mountain” over which the expatriate polulace formed understandably close to US military base neighborhood of YongSan, South-West of Seoul .

1970 : as the nation was recovering from its gruesome Korean War, everyone gathered onto the Capital of Seoul, where there was at least prospect or rather Hope of Life . as modest neighborhood became cluttered with wood-board housing, the city ushered to relocated them into newly built apartments, which were then a grouped couple of buildings . in the early stage one such apartment name WaWu on the hills above Hongik University – THE most prestigeous Art School – currently referred to as HongDae, whose entrance now knowned for a variety of live halls and dance clubs, crumbled down mostly due to cheap construction .

hense with apartment plans for modest class (there was no middle class back then) nulled, the government – at the time run by the notorious dictator Park, who snatched power through coup d-etat – concentrated to lure the upper class into apartments built along Southern banks of the Han River . this whole area which was then plain fields were called KangNam, literally translated from “South of the River”. but because the subject HAD to spend money to do this, they were lured-out : with propaganda on how the top movie star bought the first KangNam apartment, the ex-general-run government relocated prestigious high schools, which were considered the first doorsteps into success in a hierarch-ied society .

by 1980 the first leg of earlier apartments-for-the-rich dotted from BanPo (West) and through NonHyun and YeokSam, to YongDong in the East . these were real complexes with shopping centers in the middle . after which President Park’s successors and military alumni boosted further apartment districts onto satellite city-like neighborhoods in MokDong (far West towards the then-international Gimpo Airport), SangGaeDong (modest dwelling-turned-apartment complexes far North-East) – complete with major department stores at the center – and futher to witness today the incredible satellite cities like BunDang and ilSan, comprised of endless rows of apartments -you have to see it to believe : how man has re-invented the concept of artificial dwelling .


still in general, KangNam refers to that first development area just South of the Han River this Real Estate Boom started over 1980, and is formed by an inverted triangle between :

  • West : HyunDai Department Store at ApGuJeong,
  • East : Galleria Department Stores before YongDong,
  • South : Bang Bang four-way Street, between Seoul Subway Line 2 KangNam Subway Station to the North, and Subway Line 3 YangJae Station to the South,

briefly explained in The Avengers Movie Review .



[ The Fashion : WHAT IS KANGNAM STYLE ? ]

while the old rich from South Korea’s then-dictatorial regime lived North along SamChungDong over the Northern Mountain, as described at top,
KangNam is home to the nouveau riche who then became more rich by selling or managing booming properties here . thus they spend more on latest brand name automobiles and clothes – which are most visible .

general news media would suggest KangNam Fashion consist of European couture houses that line ChungDamDong at KangNam’s East-end, but the import-frantic Millennium would be more demanding, for you have to coordinate what you buy . thus the best place to witness REAL KangNam Style now is KarosuGil, a narrow two-way street : formally cheaper business address for dot.com start-up companies in the nineties, now lined with a wide-variety of small import shops and fusion eateries . ofcourse prices are NOT cheap but neither astronomical as brand-name boutiques far-East . *there are two twists to this :

  1. as the singer-song-writer confesses in some interviews in hinting the vanity of outer facade : with ever-extensive line of copies available especially in DongDaeMun and iTaewon, you CAN imitate this look with a clever combination of fakes .
  2. as Cable-TV Shopping up’ed consumer support of exchanges and refunds to almost States-side level over the Millennium, on-Line Shopping malls flourished a decade later, imitating snapshots from Hollywood stars and some directly run by popular local actresses . these offer much affordable cordination at bargains, in which case you would spend money instead to trim your body at a prestigeous health club – another posh meeting place for KangNamites .


but the real meaning of KangNam Style – both in Korean niche as well as the song – goes beyond fashion : to reflect how you live, spend money and as the song hints : make love .



[ The Singer : WHO IS PSY ? ]

Psy is an already-top Korean rapper who debuted a decade ago, just over the Millennium in 2001 .


he was born at the very place where Korea’s first modern real estate BOOM started – in BanPo just South of the Han River – AND at this initial, testing time of Korea’s modern development, all explained extensively on top paragraphs above . thus Mr.Spock of Star Trek fame would deduct : he KNOWS what KangNam is AND what he wears AND does, to be rightfully KangNam Style .

his is also the first generation connected with on-Line communities as well as extensive 3-D gaming with the influx of internet, which got substantially faster as new cable lines were built when building the new Korea .

another trait of those luckily borne in this area and era, is the gift to study abroad with ample family funds – which he did, studying at college and music school in the East Coast .


ofcourse choosing the very differential name of “Psy” than among a million variations would suggest the life nor song not be normal, even though fast-evolving Korean standards tend to be forgiving than the States . he does have drug mis-use, as well as foul play during mandatory military service on records .

still is actively writing songs for various Korean singers as well as recipient of many local awards .




as with Homer’s encryptic poems, it would not be just to take or even translate any song literally in face value, for the feel and rythme hypes-up much content, and some in contrast even with bi-polar meaning .

still by word-alone, the song reflects a lovely girl and suave guy by day, to Dr.Jekyll-and-Mr.Hyde by night-fall, eventually going “all-the-way” together .. may suggest nocturne club-life quite practiced in KangNam, while older businessmen do have room-salon versions where vintage liquors and adorned women are revered all the same .

thus from lyrics alone, the song is more about the lavish spending of dating than fashion alone, and in the most simple terms the singer is repeating : Hey I’m CooL with money to spend-in-style and will show you a Good Time ~


[ The Dance : HORSE RACING RAP ]

this song is best enjoyed with its rythme, dance and the much-fun video – although many versions by now – alone, then try to de-cypher and understand it, so I have tried to put it all into words for some strange to its notion, require explanation .

and with comic accent always present, the dance best NOT be actual horse-racing, but best imitated when one defaults imminent to final lap as in the Bruce Willis movie ‘Lucky Number Slevin’ 2006 .


– Brought to you as 2012 ThanksGiving Special, OK you ~ ready ? –



and now learn the moves : from a popular dance team with classes located in HongDae, Seoul-West


then after you are all hyped-out : soothe your muscle and mind with another popular dance team, making rounds around Asia