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The Solo Regiment (솔로부대 / a.k.a “The Soloist Party”) is a modern Korean slang playfully referring to an anonymous, ad-hoc group of single bachelors and bachelorettes on the web. The term was initially used on South Korean image-sharing community DCinside to humorize the lonely, loveless lives of twenty and thirtysomethings and quickly spread across other forums in 2003.
According to the Korean news daily Hankyure, the term “Solo Regiment” was coined in late 2003 by single-status users of Korean imageboard site DCInside. It is a portmanteau of “Solo (솔로),” an English loanword commonly used to describe singles, and the military unit term “Regiment (부대).” The colloquial use of “Regiment” to describe any specific demographic (ex: Madam Kim regiment and “Necktie Regiment” as in salarymen) can be attributed to a strange lingo culture bred through South Korea’s all-male mandatory military service.
The concept quickly spread onto BBS community portal Daum Cafe, where groups like “The Invincible Solo Regiment” and “The Soloist Party” were launched. By December 2003, an action plan detailing how to sabotage couples’ Christmas day was published by the Daum Cafe group The Invincible Solo Regiment. In addition, numerous parodies of vintage posters featuring references to fapping were posted online.
The Solo Regiment campaign spawned a series of parody World War II posters under the tongue-in-cheek slogan “We Are the Invincible Solo Regiment.” The images were modified to signify over-glorified images of lonely, loveless single across the country. As an anonymous online collective, those identifying themselves with the Solo Regiment conducted mass pranks and raids on popular websites, especially on couple-oriented holidays like Valentine’s Day and Christmas Eve. Eventually, a military rank system of the Solo Regiment was introduced.
Propaganda Poster Parodies
Derivative: The Soloist Party
As the Regiment’s popularity continued to grow, a small group of the Solo Regiment reportedly split and started another ad-hoc organizaiton called “The Soloist Party” as an obvious parody of the Communist Party. The purpose of the party is detailed in their “Soloist Manifesto,” which calls on single bros to unite and “overcome the oppression of the Couple-geoise.” In China, there is a similar phenomenon dubbed The Loneliness Party.
In tongue-in-cheek response to the anti-couple sentiments, some Korean netizens launched a countermovement by forming “pro-couple” groups on Daum Cafe. The group became equally well known for publishing “pro-couple” propaganda posters which called on the Soloists to “seek asylum” by dating other people. The group also spread false news stories about the Solo Regiment’s plots to assassinate Santa, similar to the popular Christmas Cancellation Announcement copypasta on Japan’s textboard site 2channel.
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“Where’s Solo?” is a series of textbookish watercolor images featuring a lonely single hidden amongst merry couples, illustrated in the style of Where’s Waldo? series. Originally uploaded by a Korean children’s book illustrator on her Cyworld page, the images first became popular through sharing in the network and later surfaced on popular image boards and BBS sites.
Celebration of Black Day
Black Day is a South Korean informal tradition for single people to get together and eat Jajangmyeon (white noodles with black bean sauce) on April 14th, following the observance of Valentine’s Day and White Day on March 14th. In Japan and Korea, most men receive gifts on Valentine’s Day and return the favors a month later on White Day. “Black Day” has been since unofficially adopted by Korean singles as a second-chance day and a dating event to dine with other eligibles. In the West, there is an equivalent holiday called Singles Awareness Day, which is celebrated by singles on Valentine’s Day.
Google Insights queries for “Solo Reigment” (shown in blue) yields incomplete results with the earliest spike in search interest registered circa November 2008:
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