It’s no secret that both j-pop and k-pop (Korean pop music) are forging a path to success around the world, but does either one of these genres have a definite advantage in conquering more fans?

This well-written piece from Reuters discusses just that. Steve McClure, editor of McClure’s Asia Music News, says that it’s probably more likely for k-pop artists to make it big than j-pop artists, worldwide:

It is a pain for a lot of these Japanese bands to make the effort to try and penetrate overseas markets…time spent doing that is time not spent here and it’s a really fast-paced market and you have to work at it,” he told Reuters, speaking from Japan.

The article goes on to discuss why this could be the case, explaining that many k-pop artists/groups are manufactured for a specific target audience, which in turn makes their impact that much more effective. Girls’ Generation, a k-pop group (that to the untrained American eye seems like the Korean version of the Japanese group AKB48), sold nearly 500,000 copies of their debut album in Japan, indicating their popularity in the country.

The article discusses many more issues related to the k-pop vs. j-pop debate, and it’s well worth your time if you’re into this sort of thing and especially if you are a fan of one of these musical styles over the other.

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  1. I’ve not commented here before, but Kpop is defyinitely already more global. Music aside, the fashion is better, and the girls are not stick thin so they are easier to relate to. There are Korean artists that make even MORE money in Japan than their own country.

  2. I’m not a fan of Jpop or Kpop, but there is a fast increase of Kpop fandom outside of Asia. Back in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s, Jpop was more known globally (not on a large scale, but more than Kpop). Now Kpop is taking Jpop’s place. I don’t agree with the comment above that Kpop girls are not stick thin (they seem pretty thin to me)…and I don’t think that is a major factor for why Kpop is popular. From what I have listened to, Kpop idol music does sound very similar to Western mainstream music, but you have the additional Korean (maybe cutesy) appeal. Kpop artists and management seem to put more effort to adapt themselves to non-Korean and Western markets whereas Jpop doesn’t. I think the youth really enjoy Kpop since they do comprise of a lot of young attractive girl or boy bands they can relate to (which we don’t see too many in Western music nowadays..especially American music where many idol groups grow up or disband to form solo careers). I don’t know, but the Kpop PR and marketing people are genius to know how to bring so much hype to Kpop.
    A lot of Kpop fans scare me…they’re a little too zealous and over-defensive….hahaha. Debate can get ugly: Kpop fans start bashing Japanese culture and Jpop fans start bashing Korean culture. I just hope all this popularity doesn’t encourage new and existing Asian stereotypes.

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