Posts Tagged ‘K-pop’

Pulsations (11.08.12)

Thursday, November 8th, 2012

Here are the latest Pulsations, links to fresh stories and visuals about Japan, shout-outs to fellow bloggers, and highly clickable stuff that we think you might enjoy.

In no particular order, they are . . .

  • School Lunch for October 25th, 2012 (from Lunch Break Japan): Does a lunch of nikujaga, rice and natto with miso soup appeal? But what if it’s locally made or comes in a clever package? No? OK …  then how about a KitKat?
  • おたより Exhibition (from Hello Sandwich): Does a visual feast of crafty things make you happy? If you missed the exhibition of envelopes designed by school kids and adults in Ginza, Hello Sandwich gives a big taste of what was on display.
  • Akaoni Design (from Japanese Design): Pay detailed attention to the packaging of food products? Check out some of these by Akaoni Design, a creative studio that was honored with the Yamagata Excellent Design Award twice last year.

Visual Pulse

On a diet but can’t get off chips completely? This ad is featuring Korean pop group KARA spells out the low calorie snack Soy Carat is the way to go.

2011 trends: Korean boom spreads to a new generation

Friday, December 23rd, 2011

The news that Korean girl group Kara will be performing on “Kohaku Uta Gassen,” a widely watched New Year’s TV show that features Japan’s top artists, is further proof that the Korean boom is here to stay. As K-pop continues to dominate the charts, it’s now an irrefutable fact that the craze for all things Korean has crossed over to the younger generation and officially become cool.

Ginza K Place, opened in September this year features handsome young Korean artists

Though an older generation of Japanese women have been swooning over handsome Korean actors for years, now the younger generation is hooked on the upfront sexiness of acts like Girls’ Generation and Kara. Along with getting into the music, many fans have developed a curiosity about all things Korean, which has lead to growing numbers of young Japanese hitting the streets of Shin-Okubo, Tokyo’s Korea town.

Aside from the spicy cuisine, one of the biggest draws in Shin-Okubo is K-pop music hall Seichi, which opened in April this year. Performances by young Korean musicians are held three times a day and groups of fans can be seen waiting outside for performances on the streets. Also opening in April this year was the K Theatre, located in the slightly more upmarket Ebisu area. Further uptown a third venue opened in September. Rather more pricey, Ginza K Place caters to the older diehard fans who come to swoon over attractive male Korean singers.

But don’t let this lead you to believe all Japanese are enamored with Korean entertainment. This year Japan witnessed a rather ugly backlash against the trend for airing Korean dramas on Japanese TV. Five-hundred protesters gathered outside of Fuji TV headquarters to protest against the channel’s programming policy. The protest was sparked off by a tweet from disgruntled actor Sousuke Takaoka. Takaoka wrote: “I’ll never watch Channel 8 (Fuji TV) again. I often think it’s Korean TV. Japanese people want traditional Japanese programs.” Predictably, the nationalist far right rallied around his whine and mobilized the 2chan forces.

The summer’s skirmish aside, the Korean phenomena is likely to continue apace in 2012. Nikkei Women is predicting that Japanese women will be embracing the latest Korean cosmetic trend: a beauty cream called Prestige cream d’escargot made from snail entrails that is all the rage in Seoul.

Entrepreneurs make Korean ikemen the dish du jour

Friday, October 28th, 2011

Handsome young Korean men seem to the dish du jour for many Japanese women, and eateries offering just that appear to be popping up all over the place, according to Nikkei Women Online. As the hanryu (Korean pop culture boom) continues apace, many ladies want to get an actual taste of spicy Korean delights  . . . and they’d also like to sample the food too!

The latest such establishment is Ginza K-Place, a restaurant that opened in September and doubles as a live venue on weekends. The lunch course costs a rather pricey ¥8,000, but diners also get extra eye candy thrown in, in the form of handsome Korean artists. A journalist from Nikkei Women Online who caught a performance by Korean star Pianoman LEN was extremely moved by the floor show. “He’s very manly, and before I knew it, I had become entranced,” the journalist gushed. After the show, she writes, it’s even possible to shake hands with the artist and have your photo taken with him! “There were stars in all of the customers’ eyes. Regardless of their age they were transformed into a bunch of young girls in love.”

Continue reading about capitalizing on the Korean boom →

Leggy K-pop girls stand tall on J-pop scene

Friday, October 8th, 2010

Following in the footsteps of their male counterparts, long-legged South Korean beauties are taking the Japanese pop scene by storm this year. When all-girl K-pop act Kara released their debut single “Mister (ミスター)” in August, it went straight to No. 5 in the Oricon weekly singles chart, and Shojo Jidai (known as SNSD in South Korea), who also debuted recently (on Sept. 8), sold a whopping 75,000 copies of their first single “Genie.”

The bands are about to go head to head in what the Japanese media are dubbing a “hot pants war”: all five members of Kara appear in teeny tiny black hot pants on the cover of their new album while Shojo Jidai’s new single, out later this month, has the nine-member unit sporting short shorts, while showing off their amazingly long legs.

Other female K-pop acts to debut in Japan this year were Brown Eyed Girls, who released their first album on Aug. 26, 4Minute, who released their first single in Japan on May 5 and most recently K-pop indie solo artist Tensi Love, who made her debut performance on Sept. 24 at a private show for industry types at Star Lounge in Shibuya.

The girls are following the lead of Korean boy bands such as Big Bang and TVXQ, who have already become big hits over here. Big Bang were awarded the “Best New Artist” award at the 51st Japan Records Awards in December 2009 and TVXQ, who debuted here in 2005, broke the Oricon record for foreign artists who have the largest amount of sales of a single in its first week of release.

Unlike Japanese bands, Korean bands are groomed for overseas success, so that along with taking singing and dance classes, members often study a foreign language in order to communicate with overseas fans. Shojo Jidai not only have a Japanese speaking member but even went so far as to release a Japanese version of their single “Genie” (see video above). Whether this will be enough to outsell Japan’s homegrown J-pop acts remains to be seen.

How to make a Big Bang in show business

Friday, March 12th, 2010

bigbang

Big Bang: Big in South Korea, yes, but they want a bigger bang

In Japan, the mainstream music industry, and Johnny’s Jimusho in particular, is infamous for unyielding, top-down control of its artists, most notably how and where their images are displayed. Naturally, the explosion of fan Web sites, blogs and social networking sites has threatened to erode that control. In many cases, the industry’s response is to flex its muscles even more. Johnny’s has long forbidden digital photos of their pop idols to be uploaded to even major media sites. We’re talking about official photos that promote a movie or TV show in which the agency’s artist stars.

This set-up works in Japan because, as a rule, the media is beholden to the big talent agencies and labels. But what if, one day, Johnnys’ decides to sell its boy bands to a global market – could it keep the overseas media on a similarly tight leash? When that day comes, the agency would do well to study the track record of Big Bang, a South Korean hip-hop boy-band sensation that has obviously figured out a way to make the series of tubes work to its advantage.

Formed in 2006, Big Bang is determined to milk the Web for all it is worth in its aggressive attempts to market the band’s brand beyond South Korea. While the band has the requisite official sites in both Korean and Japanese, several of the band members have me2day pages where they post tweet-like messages in Korean with attached pictures and video. The band also has an extremely open attitude when it comes to fan sites. Fans around the world run a cavalcade of sites devoted to the band and gather on “VIP” (the self-applied name for Big Bang fans) forums whose theme is to promote friendly fandom and prevent “claim wars.” A Tokyo-based fan group named Team.Bigbang has made the band particularly visible via a Twitter account, Flickr account, Facebook page and Blogspot blog. These sites and forums traffic in high-quality photos, snapshots of the band from what appear to be personal mobile phones and even bootleg concert video filmed by fans.

Continue reading about J-pop, K-pop and social media →

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