The Korea Herald


[Video] Sound is universal language: ASMR creator Miniyu

Korean YouTuber makes videos to comfort and heal

By Choi Ji-won

Published : April 19, 2019 - 10:15

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Yu Min-jung, a YouTuber specializing in spine-tingling ASMR videos, changes her role once or twice a week. From a late-night barber to a dermatologist, then from a scalp therapist to a caring friend removing makeup from a roommate’s face -- Yu becomes a “healer” for those craving sounds of comfort.

Believed to be the first to make a Korean ASMR channel, Yu has been working as a full-time creator for almost five years now. Her channel -- Miniyu -- has 500,000 subscribers and her most watched video exceeds 4 million views.

“Sound is like a universal language,” Yu told The Korea Herald. 

(YouTuber Yu Min-jung) (YouTuber Yu Min-jung)

ASMR blooms from failed dream of acting

In 2013, Yu, who had longed to become an actor, was having a hard time after graduating with a degree totally unrelated to her initial goal.

“Realizing I couldn’t make a living on stage, I tried many different jobs, including ordinary office work, script writing and tutoring. But none of them lasted more than a month. I was low on self-esteem and confidence and came to a point where I thought I couldn’t do anything properly.”

That was when she found ASMR videos on YouTube.

“Although I didn’t understand the language, they were comforting words. I wondered why there were almost no videos in Korean, and started making them myself.”

For about a year, she created videos just as a hobby. ASMR videos were an escape from real problems for her. In her words, she was “crazy” over it, uploading five to six videos every week.

She was not even aware that the videos could be profitable on YouTube until she received her first income of 170,000 won ($150) in 2014.

“In the second month, the amount went slightly up, to 600,000 won. It was not much, but realizing I could earn an income by making ASMR videos, I was convinced this would be my full-time job. I have never felt more confident,” Yu said.

(YouTuber Yu Min-jung) (YouTuber Yu Min-jung)

Videos of stories, warmth, comfort

Yu, who is considered to have paved the way for the Korean ASMR industry, says she tries to emphasize elements of consolation for viewers in her videos.

“I think ASMR videos became popular because people are so busy and exhausted these days but barely have the time to relieve themselves of the stress. Almost everyone has a phone in hand, and ASMR is an easy source of sympathetic warmth,” Yu explained.

Perhaps this might explain why ASMR videos that portray a certain storyline, rather than those simply making noises, are more popular in Korea.

“The Western videos mostly focus on the texture of sound itself. But in Korea, role-playing videos are more common and the local viewers also tend to request them more often.”

In ASMR role-playing videos, the YouTuber takes on an act, usually providing a certain type of services, such as medical surgery, dental treatment, skin care, makeup or one of the most popular -- ear-picking.

Consequently, Yu’s past filled with what she had once considered “failures” add color and depth to her videos.

“I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for those years I had poured into acting and the short-lasting jobs,” Yu revaluated.

(YouTuber Yu Min-jung) (YouTuber Yu Min-jung)

Career to last a lifetime

Although there are now a multitude of other Korean ASMR YouTubers following her lead, and still many more trying for their slice of the pie, Yu still considers her job worth a lifetime.

She reads all the comments on her videos, and says supportive feedback from viewers keeps her going.

“I remember this one message from a pregnant viewer. She was suffering from bad insomnia that had come with the pregnancy, but she was able to endure the long nights and eventually overcome the symptoms with my videos.”

This is why, unlike many YouTubers who prefer exotic and sometimes sensual subjects, Yu tries to keep the subjects or videos focused on elements familiar to people.

“Last year, I made a video of myself standing out in the rain, getting wet. I was badly stressed out from malicious comments then and I felt like washing out my troubles with the rain,” Yu said. Surprisingly, many people left comments saying they were consoled by the video, and some even said they cried watching her in the rain.

“The work is not always easy, but I would say I am 100 percent satisfied with my work. There is almost everything that I had dreamed of doing in this job, and I hope to continue it throughout my life.” 

(Choi Ji-won/The Korea Herald)

By Choi Ji-won (