South Korean Boy Bands – Part Three

Recap of Part Two

So far we have looked into the history, popularity and characteristics of Kpop boy bands. Since Kpop aims at the international market too, some of its characteristics can be considered successful due to their “global” character.

The music style for example, is more or less similar to pop music in other countries around the world, in particular American pop music. Dancing as well is generally appreciated. Especially Kpop artists can be admired for their choreographic skills. Next to that, MVs play an important role in spreading Kpop around the world through visual media like Youtube. Therefore, a lot of money and creativity is spent on producing videos as attractive as possible.

Elements that often have to deal with critique and are sometimes difficult to pick up by foreign people are the way entertainment companies operate, the crappy lyrics full of English mistakes and the aesthetic ideal of the Korean male idol. Last but not least comes the fandom. They are as important for the artists’ popularity as they can be slighty to incredibly bothersome for other people.

We finish this topic today with examining Kpop in Japan, and the impression it leaves on people when first introduced to Korean boy bands.

Kpop Goes Global

It is very clear that Kpop is focused on foreign markets. In the first place, all songs have an English title, sometimes with the Korean transcription written after it. They are distributed through the internet, where fans abroad can pick them up very fast. Many boy bands have singles in Japanese or Chinese. These songs can be a new song in the target language or the same song with new lyrics. Companies sometimes create subgroups assigned to a specific area where they have a huge fan base, for example Super Junior-M (M stands for “mandarin”) consists of Korean and Chinese members, and bring songs in Chinese. The same for Exo, which is divided into Exo-K en Exo-M.

Kpop in a Japanese music store.

Kpop in a Japanese music store.

Big In Japan?

South Korea entered the Japanese market officially at the beginning of the 21st century, but it had already exported some of their entertainment in the early nineties. In the past, Korean entertainment products had been banned by the Japanese government, but since the end of WWII, those trade barriers were more or less eliminated. Joined by a boom in the domestic market for pop groups, South Korea launched their first artists like BoA and TVXQ (Tōhōshinki 東方神起) in the Land of the Rising Sun. That was no easy job. In the first place, Korean and Japanese people are not best friends. Many events, climaxing in WWII, led to a rather hostile relationship. Besides, by the end of the 20th century Japan had already established a strong, domestic pop culture. Far from all Korean groups introduced made name in Japan.

Japan has the world's second biggest music market. And how many Japanese songs did you hear on the radio today, you said?

Japan has the world’s second biggest music market. And how many Japanese songs did you hear on the radio today, you said?

But some succeeded. BoA reached no. 1 on the Japanese Oricon Music chart in 2002. The first Korean idol to enter Japan’s hall of musical fame, the Tokyo Dome, was Rain (or Bi 비) in 2007. A year later, TVXQ topped the Oricon chart again with their sixteenth Japanese single. During 2010-2011, total sales for Kpop artists in Japan went up to 22.3%. SM Entertainment’s profits rose to some 44 million USD in the first quarter of 2012.

Japanese magazine dedicated to Kpop.

Japanese magazine dedicated to Kpop.

Money Changes Everything

As I mentioned before, Koreans can make good money in Japan because the Japanese always download legally or buy CDs. And entertainment goods are not sold at a cheap price in Japan (other goods neither). Let us compare: for MP3 downloading of a new song, you pay 600 Won (0.40 EUR/0.53 USD) in Korea, and 250 Yen (1.9 EUR/2.5 USD) in Japan. A CD costs 13.5 USD in Korea and 23.1 USD in Japan. Regarding the fact that liking the song or band results in buying it, you can get a lot of money out of that indeed. In South Korea, more money is made with ancillary businesses like drama appearances, reality shows and advertisements than with the music itself. Japan accounts for the overseas sales of albums. But concerts are expensive in both countries as well. Kpop also proves to be 30% to 50% more expensive than Japanese or Western music events. More profits are made out of fan meetings.

“No offense, but a lot of people in Japan view kpop groups as “those groups that only come to Japan to make money” obviously, every new artist that debuts in Japan is out to make money, and it’s not like anyone is forcing them to buy the albums, but it’s kind of sad that kpop groups especially have gotten that reputation.” – comment on Seoulbeats 

Recently however (source 15 July 2013), it has been reported that SM Entertainment has to deal with losses of more than 70% compared to last year. This is due to the weakening yen. Or has it something to do with the popularity of Kpop in Japan too?

original source

original source

A Korean in Japan

It appeared that introducing their music in Japan à la Korean was too difficult, so some adaptations were needed. Sarah’s article on Tofugu mentions three changes Korean artists have to go through to gain popularity in Japan: adopting Japanese names, debuting in Japan with exclusively Japanese albums, and changing their appearance and style to something marketable in Japan. With the first one I disagree (Japanese tend to translate foreign words in Japanese as they see fit, and our Kpop idols merely went along). The second one, which includes mastering the Japanese language as well, is true for sure. The last point can be observed too. In short, Kpop artists have to act as if they were Jpop artists.

The band that deserves some respect in doing so, is TVXQ (or DBSK or Tōhōshinki, but I will stick with the name I mentioned first). While researching, I found many people who had the same opinion like me, i.e. TVXQ started as rookies in Japan, and put in an enormous effort to appeal to a Japanese public. They can speak Japanese quite well (I watched Kim Jaejoong in the Japanese drama sunao ni narnakute and was impressed). While they were popular in South Korea, they had to start all over again in Japan. But they worked their way up to the top, debuting as an a capella boy band. I brushed up my mathematical skills and made calculations of their efforts (note: as from 2012, it is about the new TVXQ, not JYJ, based on this data wiki):

rest of Asia, incl. S-Korea Japan
concerts 33 109
albums 7 7
singles 6 34

Their first Japanese concert was held in 2006 for 500 people. In 2013 (as well as in 2009 before they split), the Tokyo Dome was filled with 55,000 of their fans. They never had an audience that large outside Japan, even in Seoul. 700,000 of their “best selection” albums were sold in one month, making them the first foreign male artists to do so in Japan. No wonder most (for 90% female) Japanese fans of Kpop are fans of TVXQ. Funny is that among these fans not only teenage girls, but also many middle-aged women from the upper class can be found.

four complaints and a theory

Okay, we got it, TVXQ is popular in Japan. Whereas other Kpop boy bands are … not as popular. Now we can sit down with our head in our hands, weeping over the golden years of TVXQ and BoA and cursing those new generations of useless brats trying to conquer Japan.

“There’s no way that other music acts can reproduce TVXQ’s success in Japan, which was the result of their years of ground work in Japan. But at the time of 2011, Japanese record labels were crazy about purchasing contracts with K-pop acts that the Korean music industry was producing unrestly. Because it financially makes sense to buy already professionally trained K-pop bands at “cheap” price instead of finding domestic talents and invest a bunch of money to develop their music and presentation skills.” – article on akb48wrapup 

One of these “low-budget Kpop boy bands” is SHINee, selling around 24,000 tickets for their original home-made concert without adjusting a thing. So it seems that recently, South Korean boy bands can gain some popularity as a “pure” Kpop product in Japan. Apparently Korean boys are considered a bit more “macho” because of their slightly taller physique and their compulsory military service that gives them a more manly allure. Next to that, the boys are carefully picked because of their looks. The elaborate choreography is a plus point as well for some Japanese people. Nowadays, Kpop is not as popular as it has been (pop artists will always have to deal with hypes), but it is still a niche in Japan.


One thing that I was really fed up with while researching, was the fact that I had to read over and over again why Jpop is better than Kpop and vice versa. Music appeals to one’s personal taste, so how can your taste be better than someone else’s? If you like one of them better, that needs no explanation or theory about the other one being worse. And both of them are manufactured, mainstream popular music. I admit that there are some differences concerning music style, vocal type, image and presentation in the MV, but the borderline between the two is rather vague and depends heavily on one’s personal preference. Japan seems to cherish its own musicians and music market, and therefore their music style or concept could perhaps be described as more “original” or “unique”, which is just fine for me. South Korea tries to get their music sold around the world, and is consequently more similar to the dominating American pop, which is equally fine. As a matter of course, they will check out their neighbors first. There are some exceptions, but Kpop is not embraced wholeheartedly by the Japanese population. Still, everything is fine for me. That doesn’t seem the case for some other people out there, accusing South Korea of “invading their music charts with their manufactured music”. Honestly, I would rather be able to dance SHINee’s complete choreography than to choose between AKB48 and SNSD. Both are not my cup of tea. I have no problem with “I like this better”, I have a problem with “this is better”.

This is an example of how it should not be done: BBC comments on Kpop. Who’s accusing who of manufactured “vacuous” music? That is how the pop music industry works, after all. Don’t forget to enjoy the entertainment our capitalist world has to offer you. And some of those kids should realize pop music can actually be produced by other countries than only the English-speaking countries. Some decent anti-criticism can be found here.

Time for the theory. I found the following video on Youtube and after some replaying to understand it (the guy talks quite fast), I thought it seemed interesting enough to share this with you.

Kazuya-san discusses why Kpop is not that established in Japan. After all, compared to hugely popular AKB48, Kpop idols sing and dance better. So why do Japanese people love AKB48 more? Korean idols are “perfect” when they make their debut in Japan. And the Japanese are not very fond of that perfectness: they prefer some degree of “inexperience” (未熟). Watching the “growth” (成長) of their idols, encouraging them as dedicated fans from the sideline, is what the Japanese enjoy. That makes a possible answer on the question why TVXQ succeeded in Japan: they started with nothing. Kazuya-san points out that this theme of growth is a big thing in Japanese pop culture (“国民のテーマ”). For example, in the manga One Piece, the reader enjoys how Luffy and his fellows grow and mature with time. The same goes for Dragonball. In my opinion, this is not only a characteristic of popular culture, but also of Japanese culture in general. For example, if you only speak a bit Japanese, you will be encouraged and made compliments to all the time. But oh dear if they realize your Japanese is flawless. As you are foreigner, this kind of “perfection” is not acceptable.

In the second part, Kazuya-san informs us that especially women love Kpop, and that it doesn’t appeal to Japanese men at all. Kpop boy band members are pretty boys… with a muscular body. Again too much perfection. On which a women commented that she prefers “more natural beauty” and therefore does not admire Korean idols.

Belgian Reactions on Kpop Boy Bands

I asked my friends some questions on this topic. Most of them didn’t know a single thing about it, some of them knew what it was about but didn’t listen to it in particular, and others were Kpop fans. I showed some MVs (Lucifer – Shinee; Fantastic Baby – Big Bang; Mr. Simple – Super Junior; Warrior – B.A.P.; Mirotic – TVXQ; Baby Good Night – B1A4) and asked several questions about the things I discussed throughout these three posts. I was glad to hear diverse opinions and points of view I had not thought of myself. Of course that was part of my intention.

Thanks to Delphine, Elise, Emma, Erik, Famke, Kris, Margo, Nina, Sammie, Seppe, Sheena, Stephen and Lotte!

The Newbies

What about the music? Almost everyone agreed that Kpop is similar to Western pop music. Margo told me some melodies reminded here of the Jonas Brothers. Stephen thought it resembled American pop music. Seppe said that without lyrics the songs could be even from any other country and thought them sometimes a bit too repetitive. Lotte, though, said she was surprised it appealed to her, and couldn’t think of some resembling music style she knew. Delphine and Stephen found the music catchy and cheerful, something that gets stuck in your head very easily. Margo and Erik didn’t like it very much. Erik explained me that the total sound was as stereotypical as Western pop music in choice of chords, harmony, rhythm and melody. Nevertheless, he had the impression that Western pop music is more diversified.

kpop1322958940_1361909887Is it important to understand what they sing? I found it quite striking that male friends answered “no” and female friends “yes”. For Erik there is almost no connection between the lyrics and the music. In the case of classical music, in comparison, the music is often composed in a way it reinforces the sung text. In that case it would be disturbing if you couldn’t understand the language. But in the case of pop music, where the style of composition is more or less similar for every song, understanding Korean lyrics seems unnecessary. In Seppe’s opinion it is sometimes required to understand what is sung in order to appreciate the music, but with pop music this is not the case. Stephen, too, doesn’t think knowledge of the Korean language is necessary to enjoy the music, but if you could understand it, maybe it would be more entertaining, he said.

The girls opposed to that idea. It bothered Margo that she had not a glimmer of understanding while listening to the songs. Not that she used to sing along all the time, but for her the content is important to a certain degree. Lotte as well found it a pity she couldn’t understand it at all. She likes to know what a song is about. For Delphine it is a big disadvantage. In her opinion, the lyrics are a very important part while listening to a song. The text can give her strength and expresses often certain feelings. She thinks of it like poetry accompanied by music.

kpopfe678eeb16009680298071ab34efdda0Is the intensive choreography a plus point? “Yes, it is,” according to Margo. The music was not quite to her liking, but she kept watching the MVs because of the dance moves. Lotte and Stephen also enjoyed watching. Erik thought it impressing as well, the trendy visuals as a characteristic of today’s youth. Delphine doesn’t really care as much about the dance as she did in the past, but it is nice indeed if there are some fixed dance moves in a certain song. But, if these become too difficult to be performed by everyone, you will hesitate to try it in the first place. Seppe believes it nicely done, right the way it should be with boy bands. He questions the possibility of simultaneously singing and dancing on stage, though.

Did you like the music videos? Lotte and Stephen certainly did. Margo as well, but she discovers songs by listening to the radio, and hardly watches any MVs. Erik said that you can see the result of a lot of time and money spent on those clips. The music may be not much, but visually it attracts all attention. That it’s a commercial success, is the same what Delphine was thinking. She liked B1A4’s clip in particular. That’s funny, because Seppe found that same clip utterly ridiculous. In his opinion, Super Junior and Shinee performed in more “clean clips”, to show off their dance moves and handsome looks, while Big Bang, B.A.P. and TVXQ’s clips had a “dystopian undertone”. I guess he meant that they profiled themselves more as “cool”, the bad boy type.

What about their looks? No one denies that their appearance plays an important role. The styling, the make-up, the hair… everything is done perfectly. They can be considered handsome, albeit a bit effeminate seen from an European view. Erik and Delphine point out that Asia has a different aesthetic perception. Stephen says their styling and make-up is done sometimes quite artistic and special, but it suits the music. He compares them with female American stars like Lady Gaga and Rihanna. Margo describes the Kpop idols as stylish and manly, but with some female features. Seppe tells me that in every band different types of boys are present, as to provide a wide range of handsome boys between whom the female fans can choose. He also sees them as more androgynous than manly.

Kpop can be confusing...

Kpop can be confusing…

Do we need the mash-up of talents? Erik, Delphine and Seppe find this very important. Erik compares with the “survival of the fittest” in the world of classical musicians. Seppe believes that there are too many talentless people who are being idolized. If that’s the case, he prefers showing interest in those who have trained hard to come this far. It can be compared with Disney, where actors often bring out singles or CDs as well. For Delphine, the most important element is that boy band members know how to play an instrument. In that way, they can go back to the basics, i.e. acoustic singing. Acting and dancing are important for further steps in their career. Margo doesn’t think acting is necessary to make it in the idol world. Dancing can be a plus point, though. Lotte believes training could only make things better, but without years of working they could get on top as well.

Target group? Unanimously teenage girls, but some songs could be appreciated by a broader audience, thinks Seppe.

Can you imagine a Kpop boy band breakthrough in the West? Yes, very likely, according to Lotte. She even questions why it hasn’t happened this far. If she had to pick one group with the highest chance, it would be B1A4. Delphine too believes the latter band to be most successful here, and gives SHINee a chance as well. English lyrics would be an advantage, she adds. Margo and Erik have no clue who would be considered for a breakthrough. Erik also says that the West tends to have some kind of reluctance regarding the acceptance of other cultures. Seppe is not very sure about it, as the golden age of boy bands is long gone (but there seems to be a comeback recently). It would be difficult as well because of a different perception of aesthetic ideals. He would rather pick Super Junior and TVXQ as the most likely candidates.

The Neutrals

Why does it appeal to so many people you think?  Handsome, stylish boys, singing catchy songs, and giving lots of fan service in addition too, can be a good reason for girls around the world to idolize them, says Sheena. It is not about conveying the music, but about satisfying the public’s desires. She underlines the importance of eye candy and fan service. Sammie agrees, and declares that some competition for America’s music market wouldn’t be a bad thing. Nina was a fan some time ago, but nowadays she hardly listens to Kpop anymore. What she liked about it, was the fact that it cheered her up. She also got caught by the romantic feelings some ballads evoked. The bond she was able to build up with other fans was nice as well.

Why isn’t it your cup of tea? Nina grew tired of the similar melodies. Every band was situated in the same genre. Sheena doesn’t like the concept in general. The music, the dance, the styling… But she has to admit that sometimes the eye candy can be tempting as well. Sammie isn’t interested because they are all guys. He likes girl bands, though.

Girls generation's "Gee" was the most viewed Kpop video before Gagnam Style crushed that record.

Girls generation’s “Gee” was the most viewed Kpop video before Gangnam Style crushed that record.

Which band is ready for a Western breakthrough in your opinion? Sheena isn’t very sure if our region is ready for some more Kpop after Psy, but if it was, she would go for Super Junior. Sammie believes the breakthrough has already started. As traditional media like television and radio have become less influential, a new pop culture is spreading via the Internet. He hopes it will be an all-girl group to be the first lucky ones. Nina thinks a breakthrough to be quite difficult. We Westerners are stubborn: we are not very open towards other cultures. For that reason, other languages and nationalities could prove to be unsuccessful. But at the same time, Kpop is very similar to Western pop music, like Lady Gaga and Nicki Minaj. Maybe it will become popular, but that won’t happen overnight. That the possible breakthrough will come through the Internet, is a given for all three.

The Lovers

Why do you love it? Nice music, and you know they’ve worked hard for it, says Emma. Elise likes it because it’s so attractive. Kris doesn’t like mainstream music. She listened for a while to Jpop, but discovered Kpop and has been a fan since. The fact that she doesn’t understand the lyrics is one of the main reasons. That way, she can enjoy the music and dance along. Kpop is mostly superficial and pure entertainment, something she needs in order to relax from studying. Next to that, the boys are worth watching. She realizes that talent isn’t about looks, but when it concerns Kpop, she doesn’t mind some eye candy. The MVs are visually very attractive, says Famke, almost short films. Rhythm and melody are catchy and, although inspired by Western pop music, Kpop can maintain its originality of the combination of beats, lyrics and choreography.

Nothing but good things? Elise thinks some dance moves are a bit “gay”. Kris knows that it’s all commercialized and manufactured. Most of the time, not always, looks surpass vocal skills, and too much use of auto tune results in songs that sound all the same. Emma and Famke accuse the entertainment companies of giving their idols a hard time and pushing them sometimes too far.

What about the “idol factory”? More than one talent is useful. Nevertheless, Kris thinks that requests on the visual aspects are sometimes too much and nowadays, agencies are taking it too far, sometimes even encouraging their boys into plastic surgery. Besides that, she doesn’t think there is a problem with the training for years. After all, if you choose to become an idol, you should give it your best shot. Famke tells me the same happens with classical artists. Idols don’t live in the ideal circumstances, but they receive a training to be able to show multiple showbiz talents. Emma thinks it a plus point if the boys have many talents, but she observes that some people are not treated equally, in particular within SM Entertainment.

kpoptumblr_mcowo23k0Q1qjpa8fo1_1280Favorite boy bands? All four of them are a fan of SHINee and Big Bang. Emma has been a dedicated fan of TVXQ since long, Kris and Famke listen to a whole range of Kpop boy bands and Elise has started fangirling over Super Junior and B1A4 this holiday.

How do you describe yourself as a fan? Elise likes looking up facts and details about her idols to get to know them better. On the Internet she finds a whole bunch of variety programs to watch. She also discusses everything what covers the topic of Kpop with her friends. Often she watches drama starring favorite singers/actors. Kris describes herself as a “disloyal fan”. She is a fan as long as the band makes good songs. When the next one isn’t to her liking, she steps back for a while until they release a good song again. The exception is SHINee, the first Kpop band she discovered. Emma calls herself a “die-hard fan”, albeit a less extreme one than some years ago. She listens to Kpop everyday, and tries to keep up with the latest news. She’s a member of an unofficial TVXQ fan club and has been abroad to concerts thrice. These concerts were held in European cities like London, Paris and Barcelona. She has written fan fiction in the past.

ZE:A's Kwanghee is one of the few male Kpop idols who publicly admitted plastic surgery.

ZE:A’s Kwanghee is one of the few male Kpop idols who publicly admitted plastic surgery.

Has your European view changed because of the Korean aesthetic ideal? Kris says every band has his own image, as for every age something to choose from. But it doesn’t conform with the European perception of masculinity at all. Famke points out that there are different types. The “flower boys” resemble in her opinion Western high fashion models, who often sport an androgynous look. The trained body with “chocolate abs”, on the other hand, fits the European aesthetic ideal. Without “guyliner” and extravagant costumes, Kpop idols would be considered very attractive here. For Emma, the Korean concept of beauty has become more attractive for her and she has developed a weak spot. She thinks that there are many differences between Western and Kpop boy bands what concerns looks.

And the breakthrough award goes to… Big Bang, says Emma. Famke goes for YG and SM Entertainment boy bands, which has become rather popular in France lately. Elise gives SHINee and Super Junior a shot. Kris hopes the breakthrough will not happen, as she fears a visual change would happen to adjust to the Western standard. Emma kind of likes it that Kpop is more of a niche here. It shouldn’t become too popular. Kris too, believes it would be better for the fans at well. Listening to the same underground music creates a bond. Famke and Elise oppose that, they would like Kpop to be more generally known.

How important is the media? Kris says Kpop CDs are difficult and expensive to buy here, and she believes in the power of Youtube. She often introduces Kpop to newbies. The same goes for Elise, who is proud of her talent to “convert” her friends into Kpop fans. Emma as well thinks the spread of Kpop is due to Youtube. She uses social media like Twitter and Facebook to post about Kpop. Youtube plays a key role, thinks Famke. In the past, she posted articles on Facebook news sites.

Is there, in your opinion, a more intimate bond between idol and fan, in comparison with Western boy bands? Famke likes the variety shows very much. These show us the different sides of Kpop idols. In our country, she regrets that we know things about pop stars because it is written in gossip magazines. Kris thinks the variety shows are fun to watch too but remarks that it still remains “merchandized”. She also questions whether the boys promote their real personality or more an “easy-to-like personality”. Emma says the intimate bond between idol and fan, shown through the fan clubs’ names and colors, is certainly a plus point.

Does “What a pity I don’t understand Korean” count for you? Kris laconically says “I hope my Korean will become good enough to handle basic conversations but bad enough to understand the lyrics.” She doesn’t expect much from the texts and sighs already when she hears saranghae 사랑헤 (love). “Again a love song.” It doesn’t bother Emma, who enjoys listening to the song without understanding the text. She often looks up translations, but doesn’t remember much of it afterwards. Most of the time, it isn’t necessary, thinks Famke. Occasionally she searches for the translation, but sometimes the MV and way of singing says enough. Elise thinks some of the song texts are ridiculous. “Did you hear Super Junior boasting about themselves in Superman?”

And here we approach the end of our tripartite story. Not all is said and written yet about Kpop, and not in the least because it is a phenomenon that is fluctuating every second. Will the popularity of Gangnam Style bear crucial effect on the global recognition of Kpop? For that, we will have to wait, perhaps not for so long, but most likely it will take some time, as many of my friends suggested.

Before I conclude this post, I want to say something about my personal experiences. I chose this topic, because Kpop is a concept that has attracted the interest of so many people all around the world. I could have written about something traditional and culturally “safe”, the hanbok perhaps, or Korean shamanism, but why ignoring a topic so intensely actual among (mainly) teenagers these days, and preferring subject matters that could only occasionally attract the attention of our surfing audience? The next thing I want to point out is, although my favorite music is situated somewhere between classical music, jazz and eighties rock, I really enjoyed digging into the Kpop world. If the objective of pop music is to give the listener a happy feeling and the fancy to dance around, I think its mission has succeeded.

Facts for Fun

As I focused solely on Kpop (boy bands) in Japan, here are some examples of Kpop elsewhere I came across while researching.

– Bigbang was awarded the 2011 MTV Europe Music Award  for Best Worldwide Act.

– The first time SM Entertainment held SM Town in Paris in 2011, the show was sold out in 15 minutes. Discontented fans without tickets organised a street mob event in front of the Louvre, in order to get a second concert. They got what they wanted. This time, 6000 seats were sold in less than 10 minutes. And they caused a temporary breakdown shutdown on the ticket selling sites.

– “It’s no wonder so many people around the world have caught the Korean Wave, Hallyu.” Not my words, but those of president Obama.

– My (Kpop fan) little sister went to the movies last week. As she likes dance movies, she picked the Hollywood movie “Make your move”. How she was surprised when the SM Entertainment logo flickered on the screen, and Kpop idols like BoA and Yunho made their appearance! Soundtracks from SNSD and TVXQ completed the Kpop feeling.


– Krista Mahr. “South Korea’s Greatest Export: How K-Pop’s Rocking the World.” Time, n.d.
– “Has Japan’s K-pop Bubble Burst? Weakening Yen Hits Major Korean Record Label Hard.” Japan Today, n.d.
– “Dream Machine.” The Sydney Morning Herald, n.d.
– “K-pop and AKB48: Why K-pop Is Playing a Losing Game Against AKB48 in Japan”, n.d.
– JKJK-Pop: We’re Actually Korean”n.d.
– “The  ‘K POP’ Floodgates Open.” Nagoya-info, n.d.
– “Exploring the ‘Japan Brand’: K-pop Won’t Live Up to the Hype Forever – Seoulbeats.” Seoulbeats, n.d.
– “Perspectives: K-pop in Japan (And a Bit About the World) – Seoulbeats.” Seoulbeats, n.d.
– “SB Exchange #28: K-pop in Japan – Seoulbeats.” Seoulbeats, n.d.
– A.Messerlin, Patrick, and Wonkyu Shin. “The K-pop Wave: An Economic Analysis.” Groupe D’économie Mondiale (July 1, 2013).
– “The Unsung And The Unsaid In Kpop”, n.d.
– “Second Concert of ‘SM Town Live in Paris’ Sells Out in 10 Minutes – Soompi.” Soompi, n.d.
-Delphine, Elise, Emma, Erik, Famke, Kris, Margo, Nina, Sammie, Seppe, Sheena, Stephen, Lotte
– Special thanks to Jana for proofreading!


4 thoughts on “South Korean Boy Bands – Part Three

  1. Uhm.. I gotta clear up something.. Before some people might feel insulted.. haha.
    I wouldn’t really compare K-pop with Nicki Minaj. What I meant was that many people accept her style, but K-pop would be too crazy?? It was more of an example of how “narrow minded” some people are.
    Anyway.. I’m not sure of how I wrote it down when I gave my opinion to you, so I’m sorry if it was unclear. >.< (I do kinda compare Lady Gaga with K-pop, though.. As for music, I mean.)
    Appart from that: Thank you for the big effort you made to write all these blogs about K-pop. I learnt a lot. 🙂

  2. Pingback: South Korean Boy Bands – Part Two | nippaku

  3. korean boy/girl bands are really going international and they are going strong. but of all the ones i have heard, i really enjoyed the japanese songs of the group Tohoshinki. too bad they have parted ways and became 2 separate groups. haven’t heard any of their songs since then.

  4. Pingback: K-pop: One of Many Empires of the Technological Age – empirecore

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