2010 may be remembered by some as the year that Korean girl groups made some significant headway into the Japanese music industry. Although, I’ve seen several articles address this topic, one from a video game blog (of all places) summarized the phenomenon pretty well. Over at Kotaku there was an interesting piece on their sudden rise in popularity in the neighboring East Asian nation:
In the early part of the last decade, Korean popstar BoA made a big splash in Japan with her poppy tunes and power ballads…. But in 2010, Kpop truly exploded in Japan with groups like Kara, 4Minute and Girls’ Generation releasing chart topping tracks. Not all the singers have a strong command of Japanese, even if they recorded entire albums in the lingo.
Apparently, Kara has been especially popular given their comparatively decent command of the Japanese language. Regardless of what one may think, at least at this point in time Korean girl groups in Japan are popular and selling a lot of music.
With the rising popularity of girl bands both domestically and abroad, the Chosun Ilbo regretfully asks if girl groups are the best Korea can do to represent their pop culture:
The popularity of Girls’ Generation may be a passing fad, but the fact that young manufactured bands are sweeping the popularity stakes is a sign that popular Korean culture is becoming shallower by the minute. We need to do something about that before it’s too late.
Japan’s enthusiastic reception of Korean girl bands seems to be reciprocated. Kara will be in a Japanese reality show that will chronicle their search for “love” on the island nation.
Another thing that’s interesting is that back in their homeland these girl bands have often been criticized for being too “sexy” by many in government and society. Japan is a nation that is more, how shall we say, “tolerant” and “open” of young gals gyrating their bodies in skimpy and/or suggestive outfits in music videos and concert arenas. Seems like a good fit to me.