Sunday, January 30, 2011

Korean Artists Really ARE Getting Popular in Japan and It's a Good Thing!

I have been saying for years that one has to be careful with what they hear or see on TV or radio as most of it is fake. I think Ninety percent of everything on TV is a lie or fake. The rest is advertising.


Actually, both TV and radio are 24/7 ads. The so-called "programming" is always made with consideration towards sponsors and the rest of TV is made to fit around advertising time.


You never know if anything is real.


Over these last few years, there has been a "Korean Boom" in Japan. Is it real or fake?


I remember many years ago, I was a regular on a TV program for kids, and they had a Yo-Yo company come on the show and tell us that there was a "Yo-yo boom happening in Japan." 


I thought that was absolute poppy-cock. I had two daughters in elementary school and asked them about this so-called Yo-yo boom. They didn't know anything about it.


It figured. This boom was manufactured by the toy company sponsor who made Yo-yo's and wanted the TV station to help them sell product. The toy company bought advertising on the TV station, they got together to figure out how to sell more product, and, Boom! Er, I mean, Whammo! A Yo-yo  "boom" was born. 


Yes, it was a boom. A manufactured boom, but a boom nonetheless. These types of booms are repeated over and over on the mass media. That's why you can't believe anything you see/hear.


People are lead by the nose by the mass media and people, for the most part, are not educated enough to know that they are being brainwashed.


Now, in Japan, we have a Korean Pop star boom.


As Metropolis magazine reports:


"..the past couple of years have seen Korean pop culture make inroads into demographics that Yon-sama could never reach. Although TV dramas still enjoy a strong following here, it’s now pop music that’s leading the charge, and winning over hordes of younger female fans in the process."


Big Bang

I used to think this was totally BS, but now, have softened my thinking. I know that the media helped create and report this boom. I know  that they - as the media is wont to do - sensationalized it. 

Of course, if this wasn't a big business proposition between Korean and Japanese companies and cooperation, then this boom would have would never happened in Japan. If this wasn't big business with massive amounts of money changing hands, then this boom would have never happened.

But just because this came about through massive spending and promotion, does that mean it is bad? In this case, I don't think so.  

My opinion on this Korean boom became more sympathetic when I took my 16-year-old daughter to a beautiful shrine in Narita (see photos here). Near the shrine, there was a small booth that sold merchandise that featured famous pop stars and singing idols. My daughter yelled, "Stop Daddy! I want to look!" when she saw a photo of her favorite new stars. They are a group named "Big Bang."

The mere fact that there was a booth near a Japanese shrine out in the country selling these types of goods, shows me their mass audience appeal.

I'd never heard of Big Bang. My daughter loved them. She started telling me all about them. I figured they were the newest Japanese boy group, but no! They were a new Korean boy group! I was so surprised that my daughter was such a big fan of Korean pop stars. I inquired and she told me that all her friends at school loved this group.

I asked her if they sang in Japanese or Korean and she said, "Japanese!" I also asked her if their pronunciation was funny and she replied, "A little bit. But that is what makes them so cute!"

Wow! OK. If my 16-year-old daughter - who goes to regular Japanese public school - and likes this Korean pop group - and all her Japanese friends do too, then there is something special there - even if it is a mass media manufactured boom. 

I had always skeptically thought that this Korean boom was a big-business manufactured boom. Now, I am convinced it is. But, in this case, for once, I am not skeptical. For once, I give my total and complete blessing and think this is a good thing.

Why? Japan and Korea has had enough trouble through their long histories and there are many older Japanese who hate Koreans and vice versa. There's probably no way to make these people friends.

But music is a special thing. Music brings people together. Young people don't remember the wars. Young people like music.

Imperial Japanese troops in 1900..
Replace the above with...
This! 
(Korean Girl Pop "Kara" in front of Japanese fans)

If we can use music to make the young Japanese and the young Koreans to become friendly to each other, to create harmony, understanding and to eliminate hate, then I'm all for it....

It's OK that someone makes a ton of money doing this. It is the best way. The free market is showing us a better way and if someone can foster peace and better understanding amongst people, while making a good living doing it, then I'm all for it.

Heck, I wish I managed a Korean pop group.

It is a great thing that the free market can bring peace and understanding and people together... 100's of years of hate, war and death show us what the government's efforts have brought us over the years.

Cheers for the Korean pop boom in Japan. Cheers for the free market.

I wonder if it's too late for a Frank Sinatra-type crooner (me) in Korea?

7 comments:

Ira Hata said...

Mike, you should know how entrenched the yakuza are in business. Most, if not all, yazuka have their roots in Korea. Korean pop culture does ABSOLUTELY NOTHING for Japan-Korea relations. It simply makes those promoting it richer.

Soccer is global phenomenon and, after Japan beat Korea at the recent Asia Cup 2011 (which they took the championship), a Korean soccer player mocked the Japanese by imitating a monkey. That simply goes to show you how much the friggin' Koreans feel about the Japanese.

You might seriously consider passing the pipe you're smoking so the rest of us can hallucinate an ideal world the same as you...

"i"

mikeintokyorogers said...

Ira, Yes. I know better than most. The Yakuza are entrenched in all areas of Japanese and Korean pop in Japan. The fact that 16-year-old Japanese girls find Korean pop (a new phenomenon) fun and attractive shows how much better it is at bringing peace to the world's people over something like, say, professional soccer that appeals to nationalism and the neanderthal savage spirit of humans.

You'll never get me to say anything about idiot professional sports fans (especially like those who exhibit behavior as you have reported). This sort of thing happens because professional sports fans are so immature and barbarous that they get a vicarious thrill and pride at seeing "their" team defeat another team as if that makes them - or their "tribe" - superior in some way.

My argument stands. You'll never see any kids at any of these concerts making racist mockery towards each other. You saw it at your sports game. You have proven me correct by your example.

Thanks.

mikeintokyorogers said...

PS: The Yakuza do not have nearly as much control over the music market as they did even 30 years ago.

1/2 Korean, 1/2 Japanese said...

Dear Ira Hata, sports fan,

All you can comment is a childish critique of a well-intended article commending at least(and a good start) a cultural thaw between the two countries? Don't forget why some(not all) Koreans hate some(not all) Japanese like you and some(not all) of your ancestors. Geez, what short memory you have. Mike is right -- racism has no place at those concerts. And judging from your comments, you have no place at them either.

Scott said...

Lived in Korea for 12 years, and not much has changed here as far as Korean's views on Japan. They REALLY get off on any degree of success Korea movies, songs, etc. achieve in Japan, and broadcast it regularly. Yet the same media all but boycotts Japanese entertainment. For most (not some) Koreans, it's a nationalistic thing. There are exceptions, but they are very few.

Is the 'Korean wave' in Japan a good thing? Perhaps it softens Japanese views on Koreans, but that love is not being returned. As a matter of fact, it's just twisted by ultra-nationalism to make themselves feel superior.

Jan said...

Um some that claim they know Koreans or lived there seem rather dubious. I'm not sure why it is that pro-Japanese posters seem to want to promote the notion that Koreans hate Japan. I would think they'd want to try to help warm relations if anything.

I've taught in South Korea for about a year now, and visited many parts of the country. I will say that, at least with anyone under 30, they generally have more positive things to say about Japan than not; whether it's about fashion, animation, music, or cars.

Perhaps I have a biased opinion but this survey also reiterates that the majority of Koreans, despite instances of nationalism, have warming and favourable views of Japan.

http://www.worldpublicopinion.org/pipa/pdf/mar11/BBCEvalsUS_Mar11_rpt.pdf

I think it's nice that two nations that have a bitter history can warm up so.

mikeintokyorogers said...

Thanks Jan!!!!!!!