Run for your lives! Are you one of those crazily obsessed KPOP fans who had originally started off as a JPOP fan? I am guilty of that myself. What is it that makes KPOP so fascinating? Why drop one for the other? JPOP had dominated Asia for the longest of time, but not with the current Hallyu Wave growing and expanding (and exploding particularly this year) outside of Korea. Does this mean the death of JPOP?
Note: No bashing intended! Nor is this condemning any group, nor am I trying to start a fandom war.
Before we start, let’s get some basic origin info down:
JPOP has roots from 1960s music (ie: The Beatles). The term was first used only for Western-style Japanese musicians, but soon became a common term. You might be surprised to know that in 2010, it was recorded that Japan has the second largest market for recorded music in the world. Guess who came in first? The United States.
KPOP consists of electronic, hip hop, pop, rock, and R&B music, all of which originated in South Korea. It grew into a subculture for people of many ages, in which they were entranced by artists’ style and fashion.
One huge reason why KPOP is getting so much more popular is because of the musical tastes of the younger generations today. The KPOP music and entertainment industries obviously paid much attention to that, thus why their artists are SO popular. Also, the constant battle of each group to be the best in the charts and win awards gathers a lot of attention from fans supporting them. Publicity is a huge factor, as I do in general hear a lot more about mainstream KPop than all JPop over here where I live (in the part of the States where Asian culture is kinda lacking all around me, boo)…which brings me to another point.
Anime. I hear much, much, more about anime and manga than Japanese music. The Koreans can take over the music award–just kidding. They have popular Korean dramas too, so never mind about the equal fairness in dividing up the booty. Truth be told though, I only became interested in JPOP through all the short openings and endings of the animes I watched! (cough cough, Naruto, big-time) Doing so, I could link a song to a favorite show. The reasoning is kinda poor, but yet so true. After that, I decided to delve deeper and discover more JPOP music, coming across NEWS, Arashi, KAT-TUN, etc. Notice I started listing solely male groups, as a lot of the girl groups seemed overwhelmingly huge and therefore uninteresting to me (ie: AKB48).
The Internet is one of the fastest ways to reach people internationally and the KPOP industry understands that. Constant CFs, photoshoots, dramas starring artists, endorsements, advertisements, variety shows that you can watch on Youtube in high quality (kidding about the last part, maybe), videos of daily group member life and dorm life, self cams, selcas posted constantly on Twitter and other sites, some KPOP artists having official Facebook fan pages — these are some of the many activities that Korean artists have been part of to appeal to the public.
Cultural Influence. I hear Japanese female fans really look up to Korean girl group SNSD these days, known to be able to capture the cutie style AND the bold and sexy. Kim Young Min, a CEO of SM Entertainment said, “Japanese girls who’ve had enough of Japanese girl bands that strictly appeal to men’s protective instincts seem to take bolder Korean girl groups as a role model.” This year, I’ve seen really girly concepts from a lot of Japanese female groups. In fact, I’ve been seeing a lot of “little girl” and innocent concepts for a while.
Training. It is often emphasized that rookie KPOP groups and soloists are trained for years before they even make it into the scene with their existence known to the public as a talent. Not to mention, tons of money are spent on them. There are vocals to tie down, dancing and choreography training, all of the while attending school instead of dropping out. The ability for KPop artists to speak and understand Japanese and other languages due to strenuous work as an apprentice can be admired. They even sing in Japanese, English and some in Chinese (are there other languages too?). Gotta give them credit for their efforts to reach people who may not understand Korean. Some songs sung in Japanese have gained lots of popularity. Take DBSK’s “Doushite Kimi Wo Suki Ni Natte Shimattandarou,” for instance. They sang it in Japanese. How often do you hear a Japanese artist/group sing in Korean or another language…compared to the Koreans? Korean artists have signed contracts with Japanese labels to further their career in another country besides their own.
Last but not least, the insane number of KPOP group debuts in Japan in 2011 is overwhelming, though due to the earthquake, most (wait, was it ALL) were postponed: 2PM, The Boss, B2ST, MBLAQ. In the past: SNSD (2010), DBSK (2005), SS501 (2007), Big Bang (2004), ZE:A (2010) and others. Oh, don’t forget some more groups who will/might be debuting in Japan, such as Rainbow (September), Secret (August), 2NE1 (September), U-Kiss, SHINee (well they revealed the PV but their single won’t be released until June 22nd), and Super Junior (they haven’t officially joined yet). Some of the groups have/had more success potential than others, also it was harder to debut in Japan back then compared to now. It depends how they are accepted and how they present themselves. Most have gotten very favorable responses from the fans. I do think that some the newer groups could have stayed and built up their image in Korea more before moving on to another whole country.
All in all, I do agree that KPOP might be taking over the world, but JPOP will not completely die out, as they have accomplished so much. If anything, they should view this Hallyu Wave growth as a challenge. Well, even if they don’t, there are always the classics such as Ayumi Hamasaki, Utada Hikaru, and more. One thing I especially like about JPop is the ability for groups to stay together for so long, reaching 20th year anniversaries and such, whereas Korean groups have a shorter life-span on average. There is the mandatory military service for males in Korea to consider, though.
Do you think JPOP is dying and/or KPOP is going to invade and snatch away the hearts of Japanese and international fans? What is your view and reasoning on the big question?
Show All Reactions