Sports Seoul, the most famous Korean sports newspaper in Japan, recently released an article on JPop’s new boom in South Korea. JPop has recently been appearing more and more on Korean charts, alongside KPop, American music, and British music. Recently in South Korea, the Japanese films “THE FIRST SLAM DUNK” and “Suzume no Tojimari” have become big hits, sparking conversation there. Alongside this, “NIGHT DANCER”, a song by new artist imase, has entered the main Korean music chart, becoming a hot topic. This is a change of course from the 2019 “No Japan” movement in the country. Japanese pop culture is now catching on with the Korean public.
Why Is JPop Popular?
The JPop boom in South Korea centers on imase. “NIGHT DANCER” was released in August 2022, and broke records in South Korea. It was the first JPop song to enter the daily overseas chart (peaking at #2) and the top 100 chart (peaking at #17) on the streaming service Melon. There have been times when Japanese music has gained popularity in the country, but those songs were theme songs or insert songs for popular anime, but this is not the case with imase, which is unusual.
“Recently, JPop’s popularity in South Korea has been extraordinary. Until recently, there has been strong popularity in terms of Japanese manga, anime, and movies, but recently JPop is booming again, mainly with young people,” says a Korean music insider.
In addition to the aforementioned Melon, JPop can also be found on Apple Music, YouTube Music, and Spotify. YOASOBI, Yorushika, Yonezu Kenshi, Hoshino Gen, and Official HIGE DANdism are favored by the Korean youth. There are countless YouTube playlists with titles such as “The JPop Boom Is Coming!” and “JPop You Can’t Help But Fall in Love with When You Hear It.”
The JPop boom among Korean youth is said to be caused by the boom in short form video content, which has led to increased opportunities to come into contact with new music. The “NIGHT DANCER” challenge has become popular on YouTube and TikTok. There are over 100,000 of these videos, with over 1.2 billion views on TikTok alone. New generation KPop acts IVE, Stray Kids, ATEEZ, and STAYC have also done the challenge. imase’s popularity is to the level where he did his first Korean showncase in Seoul on April 13.
What Is Your Favorite Genre?
An official from a music company said, “TikTok and YouTube have been positioned as platforms for discovering new music.” The official added, “Now, promoting new songs through TikTok challenges and YouTube shorts has become an essential element when planning promotions.”
Another characteristic of the JPop that Koreans love is that it is mainly limited to songs by singer-songwriters and bands. According to a source, “Until the 90s, JPop led various genres such as as ballad, rock, idols, and anime music, but when KPop grew in the 00s, it prevented JPop from showing its strengths in South Korea.” The source continued, saying, “The recent popularity of JPop is limited to young Japanese singer-songwriters. Japanese idols continue to struggle in South Korea.”
JPop, which is fragmented by taste, has emerged among the Korean MZ Generation (millennials and Gen Z combined) as a new genre on emerging platforms.