Some of the most popular artists in Japan are not even Japanese. In fact, many of these top selling talents are imported from South Korea.
Teen sensation Younha skyrocketed to stardom with her song “Houki Boshi.” The catchy and clever tune was used as an ending theme for the anime Bleach. Born in South Korea, the talented Youhna started playing piano at age four and taught herself Japanese. Her interests for dorama and for singers like Utada Hikaru influenced her to join the Japanese music industry. She is the second Korean artist, after BoA, to have broken into the Oricon Top 20.
Another Hallyu star is Mink, who auditioned for Avex Trax while studying in Japan. Mink’s stage name is actuality an acronym for Made IN Korea; her real name is Mikyung Lee. She rarely performs using her native Korean tongue, and sings in English and in Japanese instead. Proudly, Mink is one of the first Asian artists to have a single reach No.1 in the U.S. charts. She did so on the U.S. Billboard Hot Dance Club Play chart with a remix version of “Glory of Life.”
Yuna Ito is more of an American import (born in L.A. and raised in Hawaii), she is very proud of her Japanese-Korean ethnic mix. Starring in the movie adaptations of Ai Yazawa’s Nana, she played songstress Reira Serizawa and sang the films’ themes. Her single “Anata ga Iru Kagiri” (A World to Believe In) gained worldwide attention after Celine Dion was featured in the track. When Dion heard Ito’s rendition of her song on a Japanese tribute album, she proposed the idea of a duet with Ms. Ito and released a version on her latest album Taking Chances.
Some other well-known Japanese hit makers are the popular Dong Bang Shin Ki and Se7en, both of which are successful artists in Japan and in Korea.