The word “Groupies” refers to people who devotedly follow stars around, often with the vain hope of meeting them. The past few years have seen a surging phenomena of middle-aged women going gaga over some handsome-looking Korean stars, ignited by the drama “Winter Sonata” starring Bae Yong Joon. However the recent trend seems to indicate that the “Yon-sama” fans have been replaced with a somewhat different type of groupie; middle-aged or older women captivated by teenage stars young enough to be their sons or grandsons, which has been clearly developing into a social phenomenon.
Last year saw many mature women flocking to ball parks just to capture a sight of Saitou Yuki, a handsome high school baseball player, who became a national hero with the nick name of the “Handkerchief Prince.” The simple action of taking from his pocket the blue handkerchief given to him by his mother made many of the auntie fans rush to department stores just to find the same handkerchiefs used by Saitou. The emergence of Saitou seems to have triggered the craze for teenage princes, exemplified by Ryou Ishikawa, the youngest golfer ever to win a national men’s professional golf tournament, or other young stage actors.
What is common with these young stars is that they are all extremely polite, focused and hard-working. The “Prince Groupies” are most likely to see in these stars the chance to relive their youth, their unfulfilled dreams, or find the embodiment of their ideal sons. Whatever prompts them to flock to ball parks, theaters or golf courses, it seems certain that this behavior offers these women an exciting means to relieve their stress and enjoy their lives.