Sankei Sports shared, “Secret has changed agencies, and is now represented by Kiss Entertainment in Japan. KpopStarz Is Looking For Enthusiastic Entertainment Contributors Reach Millions On The Web. In the past few years, the culture of South Korea (from here on referred to as just “Korea” because I’m lazy) has spread worldwide. Korean singers in Japan were around before the Hallyu Wave started, with the most well-known possibly being BoA, who entered the J-Pop industry in 2001.
Next to be prepped for Japan was Dong Bang Shin Ki (DBSK), already known as Tong Vfang Xien Qi (TVXQ) in China but was given the Japanese name Tohoshinki (????); all names mean “The Rising Gods of the East” in their respective countries.
Now the crucial question, why were Korean music labels so interested in the Japanese music market?
The Japanese media was quick to give it a helping hand too, willing to have Korean artists on several prime-time television programs, and many being given advertising contracts. However in 2012, following steadily reclining CD sales and drops in viewership of Korean artist-related programs, television stations abruptly withdrew their support. All of these are good reasons for why K-Pop is becoming popular in the West, but for someone to use this to say, “Look, K-Pop is doing so much better than J-Pop” they are mistaken.
In fact, the only Korean artists to make it big in America was PSY (and by no means conventional means). Way too many members for me to even start trying to recognise people, but I like that they have a fat one. Touted as the girl version of BIGBANG (complete with the weird fashion choice that often outdoes BIGBANG), they also had some activities in Japan but also never really seemed to try. They were going to have their Japanese debut in 2012, but they are on hiatus because one of them got married.
Originally part of a Super Junior-esque group called One Day, which split into 2AM and 2PM.
Probably the most popular girl group in Japan, as they have had a lot of activities in Japan, and are often seen on Japanese TV (trying) to speak Japanese (they are getting much better). Yet another Korean group with its Japanese debut put on as an afterthought, they quickly disappeared from sight. Puretty’s debut was a bit different than normal, they debuted through an anime in Japan before their Korean debut, so it seems like they have put a lot of effort in. A rare rock band that was active in Japan, but don’t let that fool you, they are idols through and through.
Never really very famous, perhaps because they went for the bubble-gum sweetness of normal J-Pop idols, which is exactly what the Japanese did not want from K-Pop. Well known for their perfectly in-sync dances, but they never really seemed to make their mark in Japan.
This group always seems to be changing in size, as they always add new members and old ones leave. A rather young-looking group, different from the usual mature-looking K-Pop male groups that presumably makes K-Pop appealing to the Japanese, who I guess are looking from something different to the pre-pubescent Johnny’s groups. Normally, you would expect a country with much larger a population than Korea’s (50 million) to have this large a worldwide presence, but that is perhaps one of the reasons for their success. She sang and performed in Japanese, having taken time off from her Korean career to receive intensive training, and her activities in Japan increased so much that she became mostly inactive in Korea as a result. In 2005 they had their Japanese debut, and probably had the most success out of all their Korean compatriots, including the ones that followed them, having the current record for most #1’s out of all Korean artists. After all, Korea still held some grudges towards Japan after Japan’s occupation of Korea during World War 2, to the extent that all Japanese music was banned from being played on the radio, as was other forms of Japanese media and goods. Whether it is because the population of Korea is not extremely large, or possibly a mixture of some other reasons, the Korean music industry is quite small.


Korean dramas also followed, often starring members of the several groups that had made it in Japan. The dispute over the Senkaku Islands also led to a souring in international relations, which may or may not have had a hand in the decline of the Hallyu Wave. It came to light how badly the agencies were treating their own artists (“like cashcows”), and Tohoshinki weren’t the only ones.
I can understand why it is popular in Japan, it fills a niche that Japanese artists have failed to fill themselves. Some big Japanese artists have tried to make it in America and failed, but for the most part, J-Pop is made by Japanese people for Japanese people, nothing else.
Judging from the pictures available, they really don’t like standing upright in a straight line. Probably the group with the most Japanese advertising contracts as well (I have yet to see other artists have non-Korea-related advertisements).
However, their singles have done poorly, so whether they will keep trying or just focus on Korea is unknown. It took them until 2011 to become big in Japan, but before that they had their Korean debut.
I guess it doesn’t help that they have a star in the middle of their name making it a bit difficult to search for, and that they have the exact same name as a presumably more popular Indonesian boyband. I guess it also made for a starker contrast when their agency president (who was a former crime boss) was arrested for sexually abusing female trainees, and even the members of Daikoku Danji were alegedly involved. Apparently they did reasonably well on the charts in Japan, but they completely slipped under my radar (by this time they were just yet another Korean boyband with no immediately unique qualities). They seem to want to take their Japanese activities, and the large Yoshimoto Group in Japan has spent a lot of money endorsing them, but it all seems a bit too late. Achieved No.1 as a solo artist, and has returned in the duo Team H with Big Brother (right, never heard of him before).
Apparently they debuted as Bless in Korea in 2007, but were so ignored that they went for a rename and redebuted in 2010. Also a bit late to the party, but perhaps as she is a solo artist she will be able to differentiate herself early on.
They have been especially successful in Japan, going so far as to release Japanese versions of their popular singles, and even Japanese exclusive songs. When ranked with other countries’ music industries, it isn’t even in the top 20 (China also does not place).
Interestingly – even though they were popular among many demographics – just like how AKB48’s core fans were mainly men, or perhaps more relatedly Johnny’s groups’ core fans being women, middle-aged women were the core fans of the Hallyu Wave.
In addition, for unknown reasons NHK’s annual Kohaku Uta Gassen, a singing competition on New Year’s Eve for only the best-selling artists in Japan, decided not to include any Korean artists that year, despite having included Korean artists for the past two years. Many other artists had similar controversies, with many being exploited, receiving very little of the profit they made and also not getting many rest days, if any at all. It is much more similar to American pop, with many songs being written by Americans (whether this is the reason for the Hallyu Wave, or as a result of it I do not know). K-Pop on the other hand is made by Koreans for Koreans, but also for other Asian countries and for the US, because there simply aren’t enough people living in Korea to support the size of what their industry has turned into now. What made him funny in the West (fat Asian guy doing a stupid dance, being everything Justin Bieber isn’t) was precisely what made him unpopular in Japan – why wasn’t he chiselled to perfection like his fellow Koreans? Both are still active, though JYJ has been hampered with lawsuits, and Tohoshinki is not the same now.
They never seemed to try learning Japanese though, and there are too many for me to remember all of them (I will always recognise fish-face though). The guy in the middle is really good at singing, even though the cameras always point at Mr.


1 single, but I can’t stand them because each and every one of their songs is exactly the same. After still no success, they switched to Japan, but things still haven’t seemed to be working out.
I should add that even before the Hallyu Wave, K-Pop was already popular in Japan, but what led them to release Japanese K-Pop (or is it Korean J-Pop?).
Entertainment, realised how lucrative the Japanese music market was, and decided to train more of their current acts to learn Japanese.
Even so, in 2010 when one of the members of BEAST released a song titled “Udon”, even though it was highly popular, because it had a Japanese title it was banned from being played on TV. Compared with that, its neighbour Japan is placed 2nd (after the US at 1st place) and even beating the UK (at 4th place no less, having recently been overtaken by Germany). While Korean artists still remain active in Japan, it seems to have been scaled back to only the ones who were the most successful, and any new Korean artist never seems to chart well or make much of a splash (especially in the long term).
Some settlements were reached with minimal damage, such as when three members of girl group KARA filed suit against their agency but managed to still remain as a group and continue their activities.
It makes their music much easier to listen to for Westerners who are used to thee Billboard Hot 100 sound.
Famous overweight transvestite “talento” Matsuko Deluxe (I wish I was making that up) got rather heated on TV saying something similar.
They split into two groups, with the remaining two members keeping the Tohoshinki name, while the three that sued joined a different agency under the name JYJ. One of the worst off was Tohoshinki, who’s breakoff group JYJ’s activities were constantly impeded by first S.M.
Entertainment, YG Entertainment and JYP Entertainment, who got their existing artists to learn Japanese. The fact that the largest music industry in Asia (and by a long shot) being on Korea’s doorstep, and the fact that there were already fans of K-Pop in Japan, meant that even all the historical tension in the world wasn’t enough to stop them from taking advantage of their situation. Entertainment, then by Japanese label Avex, but I think Daikoku Danji takes the crown when their whole agency was accused of sexual abuse, from the president to the artists.
Their dancing is also spectacular, blowing much of the Japanese competition out of the water (WAY better level than anything Johnny’s has ever produced). However, smaller agencies wanted in on the Japanese market too, prompting many to skip straight to promoting their artists in Japan from the start, with Korean activities almost there as an afterthought. They just needed to make their artists be on the same level as other Japanese artists by speaking Japanese, so that they could win over the people who weren’t fans of the original Korean versions.
Alternatively, some released one or two singles in Japan, then never followed up with their Japanese activities, for possibly just a quick “cash-in”, or maybe because their Japanese skills were insufficient. Furthermore, many of them are visually attractive, trying to have the “ideal body” with long legs, pronounced noses and other quite Western features.
Regardless, within a few short years, the number of Korean artists (the vast majority of which were boybands or girlbands) went from 2 to around 30. As a general rule, the earlier they made their Japanese debut, the better received they were and the longer they lasted. Also, while most artists just release Japanese versions of their Korean songs, artists that release Japanese-only songs have a tendency to do better and last longer, perhaps because people see it as a sign that they are committed to their Japanese activities.



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