|Revised Romanization||Meongneun bangsong|
Mukbang, muk-bang or meokbang (/
The mukbang Internet culture began on AfreecaTV in 2009. The phenomenon of mukbang became more global interest after American entertainment duo "The Fine Brothers" created a video which shows the reaction of Western people to mukbang eating contests.
In Korean society, eating behavior goes beyond just survival, but it is closely related to life and culture. Korea has formed a food culture based on traditional health discussions and strict etiquette. Recently, however, the emergence of the dominant food culture in Korea and an Internet eating culture(Mukbang) that deviates from the traditional identity has drawn attention. First introduced on real-time Internet TV, <Afreeca TV>, now has become a trend in cable channels as well as terrestrial broadcasting. Foreign media are even interested in Korean eating show culture. Another feature of the recent eating show is that it focuses on the attractiveness of the person who makes food and the man who cooks. It is called 'Cookbang'. The reason why eating shows and cooking shows are so popular is that they are based on food that stimulates the basic instincts of humans. Eating and cooking shows are becoming effective programs for broadcasting companies as production costs are lower than reality entertainment programs. In each broadcast, a host will often interact with their viewers through online chatrooms. With the rising popularity of these eating shows, hosts have found lucrative ways of benefiting from the online show. Many hosts generate revenue through mukbang, by accepting donations or partnering with advertising networks. The popularity of mukbang streams has spread outside of Korea with online streamers doing their own mukbang streams in other countries. Platforms like Twitch even introduced new categories like Social Eating to spotlight them.
The British magazine, The Economist, once said that Korean eating shows are popular because of their widespread anxiety and unhappiness in Koreans due to the long-term economic slump. Such popularity has also been introduced in <Huffingtonpost> and <The Wall Street Journal>. Recently, there have been many eating shows through ASMR that can satisfy all viewers. As this type of broadcasting became popular worldwide through platforms such as YouTube, the Korean word for eating show "Mukbang" was reproduced as contents of YouTube worldwide.
Reasons for popularity
There are several explanations given by various scholars. Jeff Yang, an Asian-American cultural critic and senior vice president of the global research firm Kantar Futures, said that mukbang had its origins in "the loneliness of unmarried or uncoupled South Koreans, in addition to the inherently social aspect of eating in South Korea" during the interview with Quartz.
Kim-Hae Jin, Ph.D candidate from Chosun University, argued that one can vicariously satisfy the desire for the food. The hosts, who call themselves BJs (Broadcast Jockeys), interact with the people who are watching the broadcast through chatting. BJs sometimes claim to be the audience's "avatar" and will exactly follow what people ask them to do.
Adema contends in her article: "food television incorporates the vicarious pleasures of watching someone else cook and eat; the emulsion of entertainment and cooking; the jumbling of traditional gender roles; and ambivalence toward cultural standards of body, consumption, and health. ... simultaneously perpetuates the stress of social expectations. "
Other genres of mukbang include "cook-bang" (cooking and eating) shows. 
South Korean video game players have sometimes broadcast mukbang as breaks during their overall streams. The popularity of this practice among local users led the video game streaming service Twitch.tv to begin trialling a dedicated "Social eating" category in July 2016; a representative of the service stated that this category is not necessarily specific to mukbang, but would leave the concept open to interpretation by streamers within its guidelines.
Afreeca TV was established on April 22, 1996 as the Korea's one-man broadcasting platform company. Afreeca TV, which is based on 'Any Free Casting TV,' is a one-man media outlet that can be easily broadcast live anytime, anywhere, anytime. The typical eating show BJ on Afreeca TV are Bumfrica, Shuki, Mbro, Changhyun, Wangju, etc.
Twitch, which was first introduced in 2011, is a live game company that broadcasts live contents related to games like a live TV sports broadcast. It has 100 million viewers, 1.7 million broadcasting stations and 12,000 broadcasting partners worldwide, and was acquired by Amazon in 2014. Twitch added a new “Social Eating” (Social Eating) item to its channel list in July 2016. Famous streamers include ImAllexx, Ameliabrador, and Simple Life on Air.
YouTube was founded on February 14, 2005 by former PayPal employees Chad Hurley, Steve Chen and Jawed Karim on Valentine’s Day. Currently, YouTube is the largest video platform online. YouTube was acquired by Google in October 2006 for a ransom of $1.65 billion (approximately 1.8 trillion won). Typical streamers include Benz, Shuki, Dorothy, Yang Soo Bin, and Fran.
On February 18, 2017, Kakao TV was created by unifying the service name into 'Kakao TV' by integrating the platform of 'Daum TV Pot' and 'Kakao TV'. It is linked to KakaoTalk, the largest messenger app in Korea. Kakao TV PDs produce and manage videos through 'video station' connected to kakao TV. Typical mukbang kakao TV PDs include Benz, Furmir, Mukdong, and Nado.
Currently, it has 2,980,000 YouTube subscribers and holds the number one spot in the mukbang streamer, which is the number of Korean YouTube subscribers in the top 10. Bantz is a typical icon of mukbang. Benz has been active in Afreeca TV, including the 2016 Afreeca Grand Prix, but has turned to YouTube for a complete platform after the trouble with Afreeca TV. He has also made a big penalty for breaking contracts with Afreeca TV, and has recently appeared on JTBC's program Lanseon Life, not on the online platform, to demonstrate his popularity. He is famous for eating a huge amount of mukbang, but he still shows a muscular figure in the video, saying he exercises an average of eight hours a day for health. Typical mukbang show include Hongdae monster Jajangmyeon, 10 hamburgers fast-eating, and Jajangmyeon mukbang.
MBRO, stands for Monster Borthers, and is working as a mukbang BJ on African TV and YouTube under the name of Mbro. It was April 2015 that Mbro started broadcasting, and it broadcasts twice a week on Wednesdays and Fridays through African TV and YouTube. The number of YouTube subscribers is now over 900,000, ranking second in the BJ popularity ranking in Africa a year after it started broadcasting, and it has emerged as a star of the mukbang industry with the African TV newcomer award.
If other BJs eat a large amount of food, they tend to eat a small amount of it deliciously. She started broadcasting in May 2014 and won the Afreeca TV BJ Festival Rookie of the Year award. Since then, she has won all of the BJ's awards from 2015 to 2017 and is currently No. 1 in the rankings of Afreeca TV eating shows.
He is a BJ with 2.89 million subscribers to YouTube. Two brothers, DK and KD, will be on an eating show. It is especially famous for ASMR broadcasting 'Real Sound'. In general, the food is done by BJ eating food while chatting with viewers in real time. But the real sound is said to be a good thing to eat in a short video of about 20 minutes, especially when you eat food. It is also famous for eating foods that are not common at tables such as sugarcane, aloe, and honey as well as Korean general foods such as chicken, tteokbokki.
Yuuka Kinoshita is a YouTuber who works in Japan. The main content is Muk-bang. She made her debut in the 2009 Japan Eating Contest, and since 2014 she has started her own Muk-bang on the YouTube channel. She is a Japanese, but when she publishes a video on YouTube, she uses the Korean pronunciation of the Muk-bang in the title.
In July 2018, the government announced that it would create and regulate the "mukbang" guidelines by launching the "National Obesity Management Comprehensive Measures". It was to establish guidelines for mukbang because 'mukbang' could cause binge eating and harm the public health. As the 'mukbang' has become explosively popular on the broadcasting and the Internet, the news of the establishment of the guideline has been announced. The Ministry of Health and Welfare, which announced the measures, was protesting, and the public opinion on the Blue house petition board was also raised. There were about 40 petitions against mukbang regulations, such as 'there is no connection between mukbang and binge eating' and 'why the government infringes on individual freedom'. In particular, 'Mukbang' has become a 'Korean wave' sold abroad, and it has been pointed out that the government is blocking the export route.
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