Big In Japan
J-Pop, K-Pop, and other Asian sensations you may not know about.
Web2Carz Senior Writer
Published: June 1st, 2012
While musical acts like Perfume are huge in other parts of the world (they are slated to host the MTV Video Awards Japan), they’re virtually unknown here.
hen we ran our piece on Swedish J-Pop sensation Yohio, we were unprepared for the torrent of comments we received. Most of the comments were from committed J-Pop fans who took offense to our characterization of the genre as “bad” and nitpicked about the difference between “Harajuku” and “Lolita” styles, and between the subgenres of J-Pop and J-Rock (we’re guessing one is poppier and one rocks harder).
But we were writing our piece from a Western perspective, and if you’ve only been exposed to American media, there’s a fair chance you might be unfamiliar with Japanese pop music, commonly referred to as J-Pop.
While musical acts like Perfume are huge in other parts of the world (they are slated to host the MTV Video Awards Japan), they’re virtually unknown here. Perfume’s albums are available through Amazon.com, but only as pricey imports.
Likewise Girls’ Generation, a South Korean girl group, has a massive following and has even appeared on American TV in 2011, on the Late Show with David Letterman and Live! With Kelly. Their latest album, despite ranking #38 on Amazon’s world music best sellers list, only ranks #4,373 on their overall best sellers list for music.
In our piece on Yohio, we stated that part of the reason for the lack of mass appeal for J-Pop artists in the USA was the language barrier. Many readers took issue with this, but despite their protestations, sales figures do not back up their claim that bands that are hugely popular in Asia are also very popular here. In fact, Girls’ Generation found their moderate success in America in part because their album was released in three languages: Korean, Japanese, and English.
This was the formula pioneered by disco superstars ABBA, who released records not only in English, but in Spanish, German, Swedish, and French, to help break into international markets.
So the next time someone mentions J-Pop, K-Pop, Pinoy-Pop, or C-Pop, just remember those genres are to American audiences what soccer is to American sports fans. Huge everywhere in the world, but mostly shrugged off here.
Check out Perfume:
Check out Girls' Generation: