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Why are Japanese teens embracing Kpop? 40 replies to this topic Started by eri , Dec 12 2010 09:18 PM · 

#1 eri

eri
  • aka eri, the Alpha and the Omega

Posted 12 December 2010 - 09:18 PM

http://neojaponisme....ols-vs-j-idols/

This article is hilarious and pretty spot on. My choice quotes:

...The new dominance of idol collective AKB48 on the music market suggests that the Japanese male music consumer has been infected with a quite different disease. This giant 48-girl group, formed in 2005 but reaching peak popularity this year, is the latest brainchild of pop Svengali Akimoto Yasushi. This is the man who brought you the ’80s spectacle of mass girl group The Onyanko Club — a huge number of wholly uncharismatic young women whom he had sing unabashedly dirty lyrics for a snickering male audience. So Onyanko started the “idol collective” trend, but we didn’t hear much from the concept until Morning Musume and all its various spinoffs in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Yet Musume’s producer Tsunku’s spin on it was to take out the direct sexuality and make it infantile and creepy, theoretically to make it marketable to a young female audience. The idea of very average looking girls, however, stayed core.

...The end result is that there is not very much content in the AKB48 oeuvre beyond the super-deformed sexuality. In order for the otaku to not get too confused, the songs had to stay close to the highly-synthesized and bouncy anime theme song genre. And the girls had to fit the stereotypical “little sister” mold of modern day moé.

...The Chosun Ilbo took note of the J-idols vs. K-idols battle in its September article “Why Japanese Girls Go Mad for Korean Girl Bands”. No one can resist explaining the entire thing through the widening gulf between Japanese men and women’s sexual idealization.

Girls Generation’s all-powerful management company SM Entertainment suggests, “Japanese girls who’ve had enough of Japanese girl bands that strictly appeal to men’s protective instincts seem to take bolder Korean girl groups as a role model.”


And later:
There should be no debate that AKB48′s fanbase extends far beyond its original core otaku target. This is clearly true. My points are that (1) they rose to fame by starting with otaku aesthetics and (2) the videos and visuals still target the otaku libido despite the fact the group has become mainstream. There is not a good parallel to the beginning to “Ponytail and Shushu” in other low-teen female culture in Japan (or even in the directly-marketing to young girls group of Up Front).



Most interesting comments:

That your reading of J-Idols aesthetics seems to reduce everything to an ultimate factor (sex) to explain behaviours, doesn’t mean that there are other possible lectures for them appealing to other audiences...

The impact of the pedo otaku market gets exaggerated because fans of more legitimately interesting stuff and the huge number female otaku (who may well be pervs of a very different kind) gets lumped together in a category ...
Having said that, I’ll also say that I think Marxy is getting too much crap over his speculation about the AKB48 fanbase. I walked by a line for an Akihabara performance the other day and it was 95% men in their 20s with that Moe Otaku look about them. The place was thick with hooded sweatshirts and stares at the feet. The “37 year-old nerd” thing is just a rhetorical flourish. AKB48 have indeed gotten some mainstream cred based on a convenience store and TV push that sells them nationwide. It won’t last. Most of the people who comment on Arama don’t know where a Japanese cross media marketing blitz comes from, perhaps assuming that it follows the popularity or talent of the artists, and how that kind of thing can even move Koda Kumi albums.


Discuss!

#2 Cyrene

Cyrene
  • Kohawho?

Posted 12 December 2010 - 10:32 PM

All I could think of when reading that article is that he's a huge SNSD fanboy and really needs to stop trying to say that they're "real music". Yeah, they have some catchy beats, but they're robots. They don't make their own music, they dance really well for sure, but not all of them are the best singers. AKN48 is branching out now more than ever (girls like idols too, what?). SNSD is going to end up being a flash in the pan fad, sure they're selling well now but what about a year from now? Their bad Japanese singles (they can't sing in Japanese to save their life) can only take them so far.

Meh, the point I'm trying to make is that this guy is just another fanboy and nothing more. If AKB48 was just for otaku, they'd still be selling 20-30k like Morning Musume.

#3 strawberryjam

strawberryjam
  • 士多啤梨 bunny ? ♡ (・x・)

Posted 12 December 2010 - 10:36 PM

From my experience (on pigg at least.. so note, it's pretty limited), AKB48's fanbase is really across the whole spectrum including Japanese girl teens. There are some Kpopfans too and from what I have noticed, it's mostly girls. But there is really a whole lot less of them.

People that make it to the theatre are gonna be older fans. 13 year old girls can't necessarily go to Tokyo....

There should be no debate that AKB48′s fanbase extends far beyond its original core otaku target. This is clearly true. My points are that (1) they rose to fame by starting with otaku aesthetics

That's true. But you don't really need to be an otaku to be really happy for your favorite girl to remember you. That's what makes AKB different to me.

#4 eri

eri
  • aka eri, the Alpha and the Omega

Posted 12 December 2010 - 11:10 PM

Meh, the point I'm trying to make is that this guy is just another fanboy and nothing more.


Um, no he's not. This is definitely not a fan board whatsoever and a quick look at the blog would explain as much.

Last I remember (when he ran his older blog), he was getting an MA at Keio for marketing and consumer behavior, so he wrote a bunch of pop culture articles online. The most famous one was the expose on the slander case brought on a small time reporter by Johnny's -- part of a larger problem with the way print media and tv studies catered to the big media congloms, leading to a cultural stand still (cause everyone just lapped up whatever, like, Johnny's put out). He has a persistent interest in women's print media and this sort of bleeds into a few article on idol stuff. His older blog is neomarxisme. I get that many people disagree with his position, and I find his blog really problematic. But anyway, he's not some stupid 14 year old commenter on arama.

Also, whining that he's just an SNDS "fanboy" doesn't explain the phenomenon at issue: why are Kpop girl groups popular right now in Japan? Who are their fans? What explains the seeming gender and age gap in fan groups between Kgroups and Jgroups?

#5 Ap2000

Ap2000
  • Chosen UndeAp

Posted 12 December 2010 - 11:21 PM

All I could think of when reading that article is that he's a huge SNSD fanboy and really needs to stop trying to say that they're "real music". Yeah, they have some catchy beats, but they're robots. They don't make their own music, they dance really well for sure, but not all of them are the best singers.


What you wrote until here is just as "thoughtful" as what that guy on his blog wrote...
I'm not sure what makes you think SNSD are androids and not making their own music has to do with this, since I'm pretty sure none of the AKB48 songs are written and compes by the members. One could also say about AKB48 (or most jpop idols) members that they are the robots, always being in idol-mode.

Note: I have absolutely no problem with AKB48 of course, I just wanted to counter your post.

@eri; that sounds like a great idea for an university paper. I'm pretty sure this has not been studied enough, since the rise in kpop in the last few years is quite new. (at least to me)

#6 Plum

Plum
  • I love you guys. Fruit Love.

Posted 13 December 2010 - 12:31 AM

While I can't pretend to speak for Japanese teens (as I have no experiences that make me any sort of expert on Japanese or Korean culture), I can speak for why I personally "made the switch" in my focus from Japanese to Korean pop. I might also note that I'm not into boy bands from either country, so this is basically going to be entirely about girl groups.

Let me start off by saying that AKB48 creeps me out, and not in any small way. I literally feel physically revolted looking at their recent videos, and have often felt that I see some sort of underlying abusive and almost rape-centered vibe that no one else does. Everything from school uniforms and keyhole peeping appearing in the same video to a PV composed almost entirely of the girls being hurt in some way (including the infamous screaming in the uncensored version of Beginner)... it just makes me feel as if the sole purpose is to make these girls seem like you could just have your way with them, as if they are powerless and harmless and almost subhuman. It's objectification in a way that really hits a bad personal note with me, and I despise everything PV AKB has released recently. Don't even get me started on their video game.

I am not remotely a person that searches or is on the lookout for sexist issues. In fact, I often feel like I'm blind to a fault about discrimination and subtle problems regarding treatment of women. AKB, however, makes me want to set their production company on fire.

H!P is much better. They do have moments that rub me the wrong way and make me feel as if I am watching something that shouldn't be happening. However, they are relatively far and few between. It hasn't really been an issue. The girls are somewhat older now and that certainly helps. The primary reason I quit focusing on Morning Musume was that their music just got boring to me and their PV's were just embarrassing. For the record, I checked out at Pepper Keibu. Berryz became consistently bad, and C-ute was nice but not nice enough to keep me engaged. Buono rocked, but disappeared. I've seen glimpses that tell me some later singles and albums have really been a lot better, particularly from MM, but I have yet to really get back into it. I haven't listened to a single s/mileage song, they just... they're so young. I'm not EmEl, I can't handle pre-teens dancing around in miniskirts anymore. :cryalot:

So... Korean pop. The big current groups in K-pop are catchy, well produced, and do not make me feel like a creeper. The girls are typically not overtly sexual. This is partially due to the censorship restrictions on clothing and dances, but frankly I'm grateful for those. I may get a Pussycat Dolls song stuck in my head, but I just cannot sit through a video of them humping a floor in a bikini for 5 minutes. K-pop women also come across as being stronger and more in control of themselves. Certainly there is still the whole aegyo aspect of things, but it doesn't cross over into awkward territory as much. The music and videos also tend to have higher production values, especially for my favorite group (2NE1 what what).

I have gone so far as to suggest that 2NE1 in particular is almost targeted pretty much entirely at women. Their image focuses on attitude much more than it does on sexuality, and their songs tend to have themes of being wronged by men or being in control in romantic situations. There are times they really go over the top with the girl power thing, but all in all I really love their concept.

SNSD is a whole other animal. I don't even know if I can tackle exactly how I feel about the image they portray, but I think it's safe to say they walk the line. SNSD's whole idea is to appeal to the widest possible range of fans. They're cute, but not sickeningly so... sexy, but not over-the-top (not that Korean censorship would allow that anyway). The members have a wide variety of personalities, much like Morning Musume. The music is pleasant without being very hip hop or very bubblegum. It's all walking the middle without being poorly produced or awkward, and that's pretty impressive in and of itself. Their singing ranges from acceptable to very great, but is never bad. They're all very, very unrealistically pretty.

Also, the training for korean groups across the board is INSANE. Those people are well-polished machines, man.

I am sure I could keep talking about this, but I've already vomited out more text than my last 2 pages of posts combined. Plus, this is all too serious for my posting style. Anytime now my brain is going t--

hey guys look at this gif

Posted Image

#7 eri

eri
  • aka eri, the Alpha and the Omega

Posted 13 December 2010 - 12:35 AM

Anyway, I thought it was pretty interesting to see this article since it is written from an outsider's pov. I find myself somewhat agreeing with him on the whole "maybe Japanese girl consumers are sick of their own idols acting like 12 year olds." But I also think his assessment is really limited and unfair because he blurs and mixes large scale corporate marketing and social sexual codes with personal fandom.

I don't know enough about Kpop to gauge how different it is from Jpop. I see the basic differences in style that the article mentions but those things are all superficial. Are there any genuine differences other than slick dancing?

Edit: oohh posted before I saw Plums. Will read now....

K-pop women also come across as being stronger and more in control of themselves. Certainly there is still the whole aegyo aspect of things, but it doesn't cross over into awkward territory as much. The music and videos also tend to have higher production values, especially for my favorite group (2NE1 what what).

I have gone so far as to suggest that 2NE1 in particular is almost targeted pretty much entirely at women. Their image focuses on attitude much more than it does on sexuality, and their songs tend to have themes of being wronged by men or being in control in romantic situations. There are times they really go over the top with the girl power thing, but all in all I really love their concept.


As a female, I agree with this too and can see how this might play out in Japan...but I still really like S/mileage :cryalot: What's aegyo?

#8 JPope

JPope
  • Dick

Posted 13 December 2010 - 12:44 AM

All I could think of when reading that article is that he's a huge SNSD fanboy and really needs to stop trying to say that they're "real music". Yeah, they have some catchy beats, but they're robots. They don't make their own music, they dance really well for sure, but not all of them are the best singers. AKN48 is branching out now more than ever (girls like idols too, what?). SNSD is going to end up being a flash in the pan fad, sure they're selling well now but what about a year from now? Their bad Japanese singles (they can't sing in Japanese to save their life) can only take them so far.

Wow, I didn't realize that the girls of AKB48 wrote their own songs. That's pretty impressive.

That article is interesting. I have no idea how accurate his conclusions are, sitting here on my couch in Ypsilanti, but I do love the sarcasm: "In Korea, Girls Generation were originally marketed to men. This may seem unbelievable, but Korean males have evidently have fallen pray to the weird fetish of enjoying attractive, slender, and sexy women in contemporary outfits and chic haircuts." Imagine that! I can't speak to why Japanese teens are embracing KPOP, but for me it boils down to better music. If it's a fad, so be it. But at this moment in time, KPOP artists are, by and large, putting out a higher quality of music than are JPOP artists. Really, other than Perfume, I can't think of any current JPOP girl group that can hang with SNSD. In my opinion, of course.

#9 Plum

Plum
  • I love you guys. Fruit Love.

Posted 13 December 2010 - 12:44 AM

Aegyo is the Korean term for over the top cuteness... so stereotypical idol-y poses, higher pitched voices, etc.

Here is an oddball clip of MAH GURL Sunny doing a really extreme version of it. Here is a lame compilation of less ridiculous instances.

With Sunny it always feels like it's done on purpose with the implied goal of of being funny (a la, "hardy har getting guys to do stuff for you"), rather than being remotely sincere. Sunny catches chickens with her bare hands, man, girl don't neeeed you to do anythiiiiing oppaaaaaa. :cryalot:

As an aside, Sooyoung is a gem of a woman. God bless her.

#10 JPope

JPope
  • Dick

Posted 13 December 2010 - 12:54 AM

Sunny is my Asian idol of the moment. She's the best.

#11 Plum

Plum
  • I love you guys. Fruit Love.

Posted 13 December 2010 - 01:19 AM

Sunny is my Asian idol of the moment. She's the best.

Posted Image

This is my makeup station. She is the first idol I have ever put a poster up of.

Also, if you can't tell-- I rasterbated. 8o

#12 eri

eri
  • aka eri, the Alpha and the Omega

Posted 13 December 2010 - 01:56 PM

In terms of aspirational, the same would apply for the K groups: girls want to be like them too. Maybe it is that Jidols aren't as intimidating to try and emulate? But there is also a degree of pure escapism here too -- like, wow flashy music videos! super pretty girls! foreigners! Kind of how Americans like H!P - it doesn't always just boil down to sex (for men) and emulation (for women), right? It is hard for me to say because my interest in pop groups is based on so many different things. Plus, I haven't caught the K-fever and don't find the groups to be all that different in the end.

I just think the article is so mean-funny :wub:

Also:
Posted Image

#13 freezingkiss

freezingkiss
  • まあさ is well ❤

Posted 13 December 2010 - 03:53 PM

Sunny is my Asian idol of the moment. She's the best.


This is my makeup station. She is the first idol I have ever put a poster up of.


THAT is so awesome. Sunny is my favourite too. She reminds me of Ogawa for some reason. She's absolutely gorgeous. :wub:

#14 Petit Melon

Petit Melon
  • Fruit Unity

Posted 13 December 2010 - 05:53 PM

Sorry to interrupt your intellectual circle-jerk, but the fact that you're attempting to analyze things without any sort of evidence other than whatever preconceived notions you possess about the industry and its fans is utterly ridiculous. There's about three different ideas going on here so I'm going to jump back and forth between them because tackling each one individually would lead to a tl;dr post ShinUkyo could only dream of.

AKB48 fetishizes erotic elements and innocent elements. WHAT, you mean erokawaii (Hey Kumi s'up!) never went away?! The concept of "lady on the streets, tiger in the sheets" is universal? no wai

I cannot understand how this article is proving anything groundbreaking and/or interesting. If I want to read an article that relates to this, I'll read one about sexuality in Japan and Korea. Verbose BS is still BS.

In order for girls to start idolizing female musical groups two things have to happen-
1. The girls like the music.
2. The girls like the image.

If you want to get into "3. The girls would like to emulate said image." you are treading into different territory that has nothing to do with the music industry. If you want to go into another topic, "Why are these groups popular" you cannot ignore one and two(just make it males and females) and you cannot say that sexuality is a direct factor of one and two.

You cannot use the industry as some sort of barometer for sexuality/identity issues. There are too many other factors at play. To even try and do it is laughable! I might as well connect prostitution to the idol business because both involve being indentured to a rich somebody and required to perform at any moment!

Posted Image
Example: An image portraying how I feel as I type this out.

I want to sing along like an idiot, I want to dance along like an idiot, and plain have fun. I think enough everywhere else I go, I don't want to start analyzing the one thing that gives me an escapism from normality i.e. MINDLESS FUN. I HATE YOU ERI FOR MAKING THIS TOPIC! :wub: Just kidding, you're the best~

BTW: Gotta jump on the Sunny lovetrain we got going here. Sunny grabbing the chickens like a boss made me an instant fan. Hell, she isn't like a boss, she is the boss. Everything else she does just makes her more lovable!

#15 Petit Melon

Petit Melon
  • Fruit Unity

Posted 13 December 2010 - 10:47 PM

I would like to say the the circle jerk is directed at Dark Ridley. Only because Tsuki said I should bring my original post back! XDDDD

#16 Ap2000

Ap2000
  • Chosen UndeAp

Posted 13 December 2010 - 10:55 PM

2. The girls like the image.


What exactly do you mean with this ?

#17 eri

eri
  • aka eri, the Alpha and the Omega

Posted 14 December 2010 - 01:20 AM

I don't want to start analyzing the one thing that gives me an escapism from normality i.e. MINDLESS FUN. I HATE YOU ERI FOR MAKING THIS TOPIC! :wub: Just kidding, you're the best~

:puppyeyes: Sorry Melon. Here is a surfing sheep: http://www.gifbin.com/984147

And, this isn't really analysis - just a conversation. It isn't much more critical to talk about the new type of idols in Japan in snarky text than in visual form. Plus, its funny. I've never read such a cold assessment of the idol scene before haha.

#18 Petit Melon

Petit Melon
  • Fruit Unity

Posted 14 December 2010 - 01:29 AM

what is this i don't even

No, really, I'm kind of lost.


You're lost because I deleted my post that argued with yours, left the shell there, added a picture of herpderp and went off to listen to my sweet idols.

Your entire argument is based around idols being fuels for fetishes. It's not.

The sexualization of the girls is dependent on the perception of the watcher.


To Ap: The image is the package that a group comes in. The PVs, the personalities of the girls, the style, ect ect. Basically everything you see that is not music. To use as singular, an image is the personality the girl wishes to show for the cameras.

eri, you truly are the best. I laughed!

#19 Ap2000

Ap2000
  • Chosen UndeAp

Posted 14 December 2010 - 02:21 AM

To Ap: The image is the package that a group comes in. The PVs, the personalities of the girls, the style, ect ect. Basically everything you see that is not music. To use as singular, an image is the personality the girl wishes to show for the cameras.


In that case; I don't think your #2 and #3 are that different. #3 sounds just like somebody who is #2, but some more.

#20 ///

///
  • ¯\(°_o)/¯

Posted 14 December 2010 - 04:18 AM

I'm too late to add anything new to this discussion, but I'll say that AKB48 creeps me out despite many attempts to enjoy them, and Sunny is the best. I'm glad other people round here like her (the cool part of the internet, amirite?), she doesn't seem to be too popular in Korea from what I could tell (at least before IY, anyway, lol). Also, the article was (seemingly) written tongue-in-cheek, and I got a good laugh out of it:

This may seem unbelievable, but Korean males have evidently have fallen pray to the weird fetish of enjoying attractive, slender, and sexy women in contemporary outfits and chic haircuts.


Sunny's "aegyo" calls for a punch, just in case anyone thought it was meant to be serious. Then again, that's what other girls would call it. :3

Love that wall thing, Plum! Though, I thought they were ceramic tiles at first and I was like "that's a bit... much..." :puppyeyes: Still, if I wanted to have a ceramic tile mosaic of any idol, it'd be Sunny. Or IU. Hmm...

#21 aine

aine
  • 名無しさん‮

Posted 14 December 2010 - 08:28 PM

1. Drop by the K-pop forum.
2. Interesting sociological article about K-pop perception in Japan
3. ???????
[5 posts later]
4. AKB48 vs H!P flamewar
5. facepalm.jpg

#22 eri

eri
  • aka eri, the Alpha and the Omega

Posted 14 December 2010 - 08:45 PM

Oh jesus, this isn't a flame war. Is comparison NEVER ALLOWED anymore??

Also, talking about H!P and AKB as the two major idol companies is highly relevant to the topic at hand: what do Kpop girl groups presumably offer to people in Japan?

#23 Plum

Plum
  • I love you guys. Fruit Love.

Posted 14 December 2010 - 08:58 PM

I agree. The discussion was not H!P fans vs. AKB48 fans, but rather the marketing of the most successful Japanese group vs. the successful Korean groups. Sure, it got off track in regards to sexuality in media. Sure, DarkRidley and I weren't exactly holding hands and frolicking through a meadow together... but it was hardly a "flamewar." I think we kept it intelligent and civil despite touching on some sensitive topics.

I would like to note that I rarely get into long-winded, serious discussions on this board, nor do I often voice anything other than praise for the moderation of this BBS. Bearing that in mind, I have to say that I'm very disappointed with this treatment of the situation. My .gif posting is too silly, but my serious posts are too serious? These conversations are things that contribute to the unique feel of this board: we're smart, we have a sense of humor about ourselves, and it's supposed to be OK for us to delve into these topics.

#24 ///

///
  • ¯\(°_o)/¯

Posted 14 December 2010 - 10:17 PM

Sure, DarkRidley and I weren't exactly holding hands and frolicking through a meadow together...

Sorry? What was that? I can't hear you over the sound of me frantically typing a Plum-tsundere/DarkRidley-uke fanfic.

I also didn't think it went too far out of hand as far as ANGRYRAGE goes, but the discussion did veer quite a bit out of the scope of Kpop idols vs. Jpop idols (though, we did already have a topic about that as well, and there's only so much you can really say about it). Splitting a topic once it drifts in subject matter was unusual for this BBS when it was very busy, but then again we had giant 50-page meandering threads that you had no idea what they were about unless you followed them from start to finish... Good ol' days? :)

#25 Plum

Plum
  • I love you guys. Fruit Love.

Posted 14 December 2010 - 10:22 PM

Sorry? What was that? I can't hear you over the sound of me frantically typing a Plum-tsundere/DarkRidley-uke fanfic.


I am touched to see you continuing this beautiful BBS tradition, even if I had to look up what "uke" was. All my efforts have been worthwhile. :)

To clarify, I did not take issue with aine splitting the thread; we had clearly drifted into a different (albeit related) topic of discussion. It was labeling it as an AKB vs. H!P flamewar that got to me.

#26 ///

///
  • ¯\(°_o)/¯

Posted 14 December 2010 - 10:31 PM

I think that was meant to be kind of a tongue-in-cheek joke, honestly. I giggled at it anyway, so I hope it wasn't meant to be serious! :)

#27 The☆AEUGNewtype

The☆AEUGNewtype
  • ♥ まいぷる ♥

Posted 14 December 2010 - 10:37 PM

So... Korean pop. The big current groups in K-pop are catchy, well produced, and do not make me feel like a creeper. The girls are typically not overtly sexual. This is partially due to the censorship restrictions on clothing and dances, but frankly I'm grateful for those. I may get a Pussycat Dolls song stuck in my head, but I just cannot sit through a video of them humping a floor in a bikini for 5 minutes. K-pop women also come across as being stronger and more in control of themselves. Certainly there is still the whole aegyo aspect of things, but it doesn't cross over into awkward territory as much. The music and videos also tend to have higher production values, especially for my favorite group (2NE1 what what).

I have gone so far as to suggest that 2NE1 in particular is almost targeted pretty much entirely at women. Their image focuses on attitude much more than it does on sexuality, and their songs tend to have themes of being wronged by men or being in control in romantic situations. There are times they really go over the top with the girl power thing, but all in all I really love their concept.

SNSD is a whole other animal. I don't even know if I can tackle exactly how I feel about the image they portray, but I think it's safe to say they walk the line. SNSD's whole idea is to appeal to the widest possible range of fans. They're cute, but not sickeningly so... sexy, but not over-the-top (not that Korean censorship would allow that anyway). The members have a wide variety of personalities, much like Morning Musume. The music is pleasant without being very hip hop or very bubblegum. It's all walking the middle without being poorly produced or awkward, and that's pretty impressive in and of itself. Their singing ranges from acceptable to very great, but is never bad. They're all very, very unrealistically pretty.

Also, the training for korean groups across the board is INSANE. Those people are well-polished machines, man.

I hate to sound rude, but it astonishes me how so many people use the same false arguments to defend or support Kpop every time it comes up. I really don't think they're catchy, well-produced, or have any kind of drawing factor at all, anymore. I just can't see how trying to emulate popular American music means "well-produced," when most of the stuff that comes out in those kinds of genres nowadays could be produced in someone's basement with a keyboard, some auto-tune and a music editing program.

And on the subject of image, it seems Korean pop groups now do go for more of a "fashion sexy" for lack of a better term, instead of "cutesy sexy" or "slutty sexy" but it comes off as a little bit more lame than both of the alternatives because it feels like they just can't find any truly unique identity, and just have the most generic, overused kind of style in the world today. Most of them look like they just walked out of some trashy American nightclub after a night of cocaine and flashing lights, yet they're just young Korean girls who we know don't actually do these things, so it just comes off as fake as hell, in a different way than say, H!P or AKB. The way AKB or H!P does "fake" feels very different to me because they don't take it so seriously. It feels like they know they're there to screw around, to some extent, and the management companies let that show in a lot of PVs, events, pictures, etc. Kpop takes itself far too seriously nowadays and is always trying to make every artist out to feel like a set of haughty, high-brow fashion models with their heads up their asses instead of some young girls who want to mess around and have fun. And eri mentioned in this thread, the reason a large majority of us like this kind of music/industry is because it is FUN. I see no fun in the way a majority of Kpop is presented.

Also, everyone always says THESE GIRLS ARE SO TRAINED ITS RIDICULOUS HOW GOOD THEY ARE. Yeah, they usually train to dance their asses off and that's all fine and good, but honestly, pretty much every Kpop song I've listened to in the last 3 years or so has so much FUCKING AUTO-TUNE that you can't even really hear what their voices sound like most of the time. Sometimes they're less obvious about it but you can still tell its there and other times they just try to emulate popular American artists and make it so their voices sound about 80% robot, and its really fucking annoying. Just throwing it out there that I don't think you could judge their vocal talent to any kind of degree of accuracy since you really never hear them sing often enough without it going through a machine first.

In terms of aspirational, the same would apply for the K groups: girls want to be like them too. Maybe it is that Jidols aren't as intimidating to try and emulate? But there is also a degree of pure escapism here too -- like, wow flashy music videos! super pretty girls! foreigners! Kind of how Americans like H!P - it doesn't always just boil down to sex (for men) and emulation (for women), right? It is hard for me to say because my interest in pop groups is based on so many different things. Plus, I haven't caught the K-fever and don't find the groups to be all that different in the end.

This is one of the most agreeable posts you've ever made! You would probably think its a bad thing that I agree with you though, :) I agree with pretty much everything you said here.

But to elaborate, the idea of it being less intimidating to emulate a lot of J-idols seems very valid to me, because as I mentioned earlier, most J-idols have this sense of somewhat "natural" kind of cuteness or prettiness, whereas Kpop is all like OH OH LOOK AT ALL OUR FLASHY AND FANCY EXPENSIVE CLOTHES AND ALL THIS HEAVY MAKEUP AREN'T WE TOTALLY AWESOME AND PRETTY? It feels like even though some of the J-idol costumes and such can get pretty silly sometimes, they don't have that sassy, "mature" kind of image going on, it feels more like a Jpop girl fan could say something like "oh, if I found some of those clothes and did my hair this way, I could be like her!" Yes, its hard to explain what I'm trying to say through actual statements, I have to come up with fake quotes, but I hope that makes some sense.

I agree. The discussion was not H!P fans vs. AKB48 fans, but rather the marketing of the most successful Japanese group vs. the successful Korean groups. Sure, it got off track in regards to sexuality in media. Sure, DarkRidley and I weren't exactly holding hands and frolicking through a meadow together... but it was hardly a "flamewar." I think we kept it intelligent and civil despite touching on some sensitive topics.

I would like to note that I rarely get into long-winded, serious discussions on this board, nor do I often voice anything other than praise for the moderation of this BBS. Bearing that in mind, I have to say that I'm very disappointed with this treatment of the situation. My .gif posting is too silly, but my serious posts are too serious? These conversations are things that contribute to the unique feel of this board: we're smart, we have a sense of humor about ourselves, and it's supposed to be OK for us to delve into these topics.

I definitely agree that this is the reason I've still stuck around this board as I have the last few years, is I still remember when we used to have these kinds of discussions once every week or two, but it seems like less and less people are willing to get into these kinds of discussions now because they get too afraid people are going to get mad or something, but really, if you can't have a discussion and disagree with someone without getting pissed off, you need to learn a bit about debate before you post. It should be OK to delve into these topics, but it seems no one really does anymore.

Unfortunately, I don't have much to contribute to the original intent of the thread, in attempting to answer the question of "why is Kpop so popular in Japan" since I really don't follow Kpop or its fandom at all, so I don't really have any evidence or anything to contribute here, but like a LOT of things in Japan, it could just be a fad. Whenever something shows up and gets marketed inside Japan that's different from what the Japanese are used to seeing, they usually latch on to it for a while before they get bored and move on to the next thing. That's the only kind of speculation I can add that seems like it might make sense, given when I know of Japanese pop culture in general.

Keep it comin'

Also, Plum, did you used to have another BBS name? It seems like you might be someone who just changed their name recently..Sorry if you aren't, it just seems like it.

#28 Plum

Plum
  • I love you guys. Fruit Love.

Posted 14 December 2010 - 10:41 PM

I'm Pflaume. I just translated my username into English because I was recently reminded that all of Germany now uses "Pflaume" as a euphamism for "vagina." :)

You can look up previous usernames of anyone on their profile.

Also your entire post comes down to "I am into a more natural, less plastic version of pop rather than an overly polished and manufactured incarnation, and to me current Kpop is too much of the latter" which is completely fine by me, since opinions are opinions and vary and all that. I couldn't even come up with another long winded post about it if I wanted to. =3=

I will say, though, that if you look there are some really great K-pop songs that aren't loaded up with autotune. It's all a matter of what you've been exposed to, like anything. Water is wet, sky is blue.

#29 Al Kusanagi

Al Kusanagi
  • Iä! Iä! Sayumi Fhtagn!

Posted 14 December 2010 - 10:51 PM

Remember 10 years ago when Korean stuff was HUGE in Japan? Everyone was loving them some BoA and Winter Sonata had every housewife wet for that old Harry Potter looking motherfucker. It's all cycles and in another year it'll be something else.

#30 The☆AEUGNewtype

The☆AEUGNewtype
  • ♥ まいぷる ♥

Posted 14 December 2010 - 11:03 PM

You can look up previous usernames of anyone on their profile.

Ah, you learn something new every day!

Funny you mention that as well, since that just made me notice that you have quite an interesting username history as well =3= What the hell happened in January? :)

Remember 10 years ago when Korean stuff was HUGE in Japan? Everyone was loving them some BoA and Winter Sonata had every housewife wet for that old Harry Potter looking motherfucker. It's all cycles and in another year it'll be something else.

Yep, that's pretty much what I was getting at in that last post. Though, that was probably only about...5 years ago? 10 years ago BoA and Winter Sonata weren't even around.