J-Pop is the name given to Japanese pop songs, while K-Pop is the name given to Korean pop songs. What are the differences between these Asian songs? Why is K-Pop more successful in the west?
These two categories are two completely different universes, from their genre, style, marketing and accessibility. In this article we will see a little about these popular music categories.
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K-pop origins and facts
The history of Korean folk music can be traced back to 1885, when an American missionary, Henry Appenzeller, began teaching American and British folk songs at a school.
In the beginning of the 20th century, Japan had a great influence on the creation of popular Korean music. Between 1940 and 1960, Western culture had an influence in South Korea. As early as 1970, Korea was influenced by Hippie and Folk.
In 1980 ballads had a strong influence on both music and style. It was only in the 1990s that modern K-Pop began to develop with influences from rap, rock and techno.
K-Pop currently encompasses pop, rock, jazz, hip hop, R&B, reggae, folk, country and its traditional roots. K-pop first dominated East Asia at the end of the century, then spread across the world via the internet.
The Korean music industry was slowly growing, moving less than $500,000 a year. With the popularization of media, dramas and viral bands alone, Korea was able to earn over 2 billion a year.
With a very small domestic market, Korea saw no option but to focus on the West. All the bands that emerged, always focused on conquering the western people, with the help of various media.
K-Pop greatly diversifies its access. Some bands sing songs entirely in English, I've seen Korean bands sing songs entirely in Japanese, Chinese and even mix languages.
Origin and facts about J-Pop
Although Japanese music is not as popular in the West, Japan is the second largest music market in the world, second only to the US. J-Pop plays a big part in this story.
Japanese popular music entered the mainstream in the 1990s, drawing inspiration from traditional culture and 1960s popular and rock music by artists such as the Beatles and the Beach Boys.
Before J-Pop, Japanese music between the 1920s and 1980s was referred to as kayoukyoku. The history of J-pop has reintroduced several musical instruments, previously only used to play classical music, as did Jazz.
J-Pop is very introduced in anime, stores, commercials, movies, radio shows, television and even video games. Many J-Pop songs are initially made to serve as endings and openings for anime.
Before trying to define J-Pop as just another musical style, we must remember that the market in Japan is super huge. There's absolutely everything in Japanese music, not just what's popular.
In J-Pop we find westernized music, K-pop music, cute concept, girl in love concept, hip-hop, ballad, rock, metal, Vocaloid, 80s/90s vibes, Visual Kei, etc.
The Japanese songs that usually reach the West are those OSTs from anime, dramas, movies or those bands that are trendy or impacting Westerners like BabyMetal, AKB48 and Kyary Pamyu Pamyu.
Differences between J-Pop and K-Pop
The J-Pop musical style is the result of Japanese pop culture, with a great influence from the Beatles and Beach Boys. K-Pop was influenced by American artists such as Backstreet Boys a Britney Spears.
Foreigners generally have the wrong view of K-Pop, believing that it's just idols and not appreciating the music. In fact, many K-Pop fans themselves are more interested in idols and dance than the music itself.
J-pop, on the other hand, has more influences than K-pop in terms of music. His overseas fans range from 18 to 60 years old and have been influenced by decades. K-Pop makes a lot of impression Boy Bands passengers.
The Japanese like to portray J-Pop girls as kawaii kids doing weird and lewd things, while K-Pop appeals to a more adult sensuality.
One of the things that really catches my attention in J-Pop is the mix of traditional Japanese instruments with Western style. There are several unusual instruments present in Japanese music, even some classical music.
The artigo is still half finished, but we recommend opening it to read the following later:
The most popular K-Pop and J-Pop bands
What are the most popular K-Pop and J-Pop singers, bands or groups in the world? According to a Western poll with more than 100,000 votes, we can present the following results:
Popular J-Pop Bands and Singers
- Kyary Pamyu Pamyu;
- Morning Musume;
- Sakura Gakuin;
- One OK Rock;
- Ayumi Hamasaki;
- Muto Ayami;
- Hikaru Utada;
As a fan of Japanese music, I have to say that I don't usually listen to any of the bands and singers in the list above. Despite knowing and liking some individual songs by some.
Popular K-Pop Bands and Singers
While 100,000 people voted for J-Pop bands, in the ranking below we have over 2 million votes. This shows the difference in popularity between J-Pop and K-Pop in the West.
- Bangtan Boys (BTS);
- BIG BANG;
- Super Junior;
- Red Velvet
Why is K-Pop more successful in the West than J-Pop?
The answer is kind of obvious, Korea is much smaller compared to Japan. This indicates that singers need to invest more in the foreign market than in the domestic one. Making the songs more targeted to foreigners.
The Japanese market is very developed compared to the Korean market. J-pop doesn't have a strong motivation to explore the foreign market, while Kpop necessarily needs to.
Not to mention that K-Pop has American roots and has a more sex appeal, while J-Pop focuses on cuteness and Japanese culture. If it weren't for the sex appeal, dances and appearance of the singers, possibly K-Pop wouldn't be so popular.
Japanese women have problems with their legs and height. Their legs tend not to be as straight and not as tall as Korean ones. This makes Japanese women focus more on Kawaii things than sensuality, attracting less to the West.
K-Pop has a strong presence of Rock, Hip-Hop, Jazz, R&B, Blue and Soul. While J-Pop sticks a little to unique styles that mix instrumental, classic, original and more mellow touches.
Koreans have facial and structural features that give them more advantages when having plastic surgery. This makes them more industrial and homogenous to catch fans' attention.
Although some people find K-Pop strange, J-Pop also has a lot of things that are strange to Western eyes. From its look, concept, stories and ideas, everything sounds strange to foreigners.
When going abroad, K-Pop usually collaborates with local singers and artists, greatly increasing their fan base, while J-Pop usually when going abroad, participates in specific events related to Japan. You can't grow your fan base when they are already your fans.
The Japanese entertainment industry is extremely strict and crazy about removing videos, music, websites and anything related to content that has not been authorized by them, making it difficult for them to expand and share. There are J-Pop songs that we may never be able to hear.
Is J-Pop Focusing on the West Worth It?
The reason K-pop is more popular in the West than J-pop isn't because "it's better". Thinking this way is absolutely wrong, because the music market in Japan is huge.
If you think J-pop is just groups like AKB48, let me tell you're wrong. Japan's music industry is huge and moves 3 billion dollars a year from its internal focus alone.
A few years ago, only one Japanese band was able to move more money than the entire K-Pop market. Unfortunately, this picture has reversed, as Korea has boomed in the West, entering the billions.
This shows the importance of conquering an unknown market. If Japan thinks more about the West, surely its profits could be much bigger and its songs much more famous.
In fact, Japanese music is very diverse. There are endless unknown and unpopular musical styles in Japan, which if they were properly publicized in the west, would go on a huge boom.
What do you think of J-Pop and K-Pop? Which do you prefer? What do you think needs to be done? If you liked the article, share it and leave your comments. Thank you and see you next time! Be sure to sign up!