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.