AEGYO – What is the origin of Korea’s popular cute gestures?

If you are a Kpop fan you surely know what an aegyo, a finger heart or oppaya means? However, do you know when they started?

Kpop idols are always using cute gestures called aegyo to play around and today I am going to tell you when they started and who created those.

The aegyo in KPOP is a form of entertainment and fanservice for k-idols fans. And yes, most famous aegyos have an inventor and often, who invented it is not the same person who popularized it. So, today we’ll tell you where some of the most famous aegyos from KPOP came from!




The first time the heart made with fingers was recorded among the famous, was in 2010, by actress  Kim Hye Soo. But the gesture only became popular in the middle of 2015.


G-Dragon however, wanted to claim the title of “inventor” of the finger heart, as it has a picture of when he was a child making the gesture


The Gwiyomi was invented by rapper Ilhoon , from the BTOB group. He called the movement “Gwiyomi Player” . The Weekly Idol program started using the gesture in one of the pictures of the program, called “The Aegyo Battle” . The framework was defined in the program after Ilhoon’s participation in 2012. Check the original version below:

Then in 2013, the singer Hari released the “Kwiyomi Song” inspired by Ilhon himself! The online portal  Korean Media Outlet Sports Seoul released a video of the singer dancing and interpreting the music in a very cute way, and then the game became popular among Internet users, who started to post gestures on their social networks. The joke continued to be made on Weekly Idol with the music upgrade.

Check out this video with a compilation of several idols doing Gwiyomi:



Resultado de imagem para OPPAYA

OPPAYA was created in 2015 by the indie duo  Seenroot . But the music was not known after its release. Meanwhile, Weekly Idol (the biggest pop trend launcher in South Korea, by the way) decided to innovate the painting  “The Aegyo Battle”, and switched to “Kiyomi Song” by “Oppaya . ” Who definitively turned the gesture form in “Oppaya” was the Kei, of the group Lovelyz, whose video became popular on the internet. Weekly Idol, which is no fool or anything, started using Kei’s video as an example during episodes of the shows so that other idols could do exactly the same thing as her. 


Image results for jeojang gif

“Nae maeum seoge jeojang” (Translation: You’re saved inside my heart ). It was created and sold by Jihoon , member of WANNA-ONE, when he was still a trainee of Produce101 Season2. The young man, already acclaimed for his beauty, drew attention to himself and captured the eyes of the spectators of the program with the creation of the aegyo “jeojang” . Initially, only he made the gesture. But it became so popular among the Koreans that other fandoms asked their favorite idols to reproduce the aegyo. 

Check out this compilation of Jihoon and several other idols doing jeojang :



To speak like a baby or to make infantile sounds is the basis of all aegyo’s cuteness. This one has no way of talking when it came up but it makes an idol really cute.


It is a popular children’s song about a family of sharks, which has been used in Korean schools since the mid-1990s. Many children’s brands created videos over the years using music, but the most popular version was released in 2014, for an educational brand, called Pinkfong. In 2017, for some unknown reason, an absurd number of online videos of adults and children burst into song in Indonesia, and fashion soon spread throughout Asia. The dance became popular in kpop mainly because of SNSD and Monsta X. Check out a compilation of idols playing with the song:



That Twice’s Sana is Korea’s largest breeder of aegyo, no one doubts. The expression began with the MV “Cheer Up” , fans began to repeat the dance gesture in their social networks and quickly SHY SHY SHY became viral. Fans also asked idols from other groups to play aegyo. The fairy still has on her list of aegyos: “Cheese Kimbap”, “Knock Knock” and “TT”.



This one is old, and it’s a lot like SHY SHY SHY. Who created this aegyo was the actor Lee Jong Suk , in Dorama  High Kick . He explained that it was written in the script “bbuing bbuing” , he made some interpretations and Krystal from the group F (x) helped him to define what moves would be made for the filming. And so it viralized the bbuing bbuing among the idols!

Krystal became BBUING BBUING’s “official ambassador” because they asked her to do it anywhere!



“In the kkung-kko-tto gi-shing-kkung-kko-tto” ( I had a dream, and it was a ghost dream ). This came about in mid-2015, with the video of a little girl telling her scary dream about a ghost:

The video turned up among the Koreans because of the mispronunciation of some words, and the cute little way the little girl talks. There is no way to know who started it, since, at the time, a group started frantically posting on their social networks imitating the little girl. At least we know who this child icon was who created the aegyo. Check out idols by doing this aegyo:



This song is one of the most popular aegyos of KPOP. It became viral after Yoona (SNSD) did it during Weekly Idol. As you guys can see Weekly Idol is a great program to create trends.

The song is actually called “Hey I got something to say” , and it’s the first digital single from CXBX . Honestly, we can not find more information about CXBX, to say if it’s a duo, solo, group, band, dj, etc. For now, we will remain in this unknown.



This aegyo is not Korean, but Japanese. It is the staff of the Yazawa Niko character of the anime  Love Live! School Idol Project. Yazawa is sooooo brave, but in front of the cameras she “walks into a cute character,  to be gentle as an idol should be, and so she uses “Niko Niko Nii” to look cute, making it her personal ageyo. Check out the remix they did at the time the expression viralized:

This aegyo has taken great proportions among the anime fans, UNTIL … Our wonderful Kim HeeChul began to imitate Yazawa during the shows of the Japanese tour of Super Junior. Then all idols that went to Japan, or that are Japanese inserted in K-POP, began to play the NIKO NIKO NII! And it was a great idea since the fans love it. One of the most famous is MOMO, a Japanese member of TWICE, making the expression for HeeChul.

If you want to know more meanings to Korean words check the following post:

Basic Vocabulary for new Kpop fans


Are you a Kpop fan? Which of those stories you already knew? Tell me in the comments below and do not forget to follow the Korean Cultural Centre & the Korea-Canada Blog on the other social medias: InstagramYoutube and Facebook

Image result for InstagramNicole Regiane (Nica)
Lifestyle Brazilian blogger in Canada and owner of the Kpop Union Brasil.
📷 Instagram

Categories: KOREA-CANADA BLOG 2018

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