Sunday, September 19, 2010

Japanese Men Resist Sex Appeal of Girls' Generation For Now

Arguably the most successful Korean pop music group of the last two years has been Girls' Generation (AKA SNSD 소녀시대).  Continuing the growing trend of KPOP successes such as Wonder Girls and Rain, they are trying to expand their influence to foreign markets beyond Korea.

Girl's Generation has successfully landed in Japan:
Korea's top pop group Girls' Generation has been welcomed enthusiastically in Japan. 
The girl band's debut single "Genie" released Wednesday topped the music video chart of Japan's iTunes on the day of its release as well as the video clip and ring tone charts on Japan's largest music site and largest mobile site Recochoku. 
The number of pre-orders for "Genie" has exceeded 80,000, and there is still a rush of additional orders after the release. 
Their plan was simple.  Drop in these nine clones of the same gorgeous Korean woman, dress them in skimpy sailor outfits, and let the men of Japan wet themselves with excitement.  Only, that is not what has happened.  Young Japanese women appear to be going crazy for SNSD and not the young men as was planned.
Korean girl groups are attracting more fervent admirers among their own sex in Japan than from the young men they are ostensibly manufactured to appeal to. About 80 percent of the audience at the debut showcase of Girls' Generation at the Ariake Coliseum in Tokyo on Aug. 25 were female, from teenagers to women in their 30s. Plenty of them even sported Girls' Generation outfits.
Things are much the same with other Korean girl groups like 4 Minute, Kara and Brown Eyed Girls. Management agencies admit that even though the bands were meant to target male fans, more than half of the fans are young girls. In Korea, girl bands have traditionally been popular among men of all ages, from teens to those in their 50s.
Why are the girls of Japan going for Korean popstars?  The Chosun Ilbo gave some analysis.
AKB 48 and Morning Musume are the leading Japanese girl bands this year. Dressed in frilly princess dresses and much given to winsome smiles, they dance and sing to routines mainly choreographed with dainty movements of hands and feet. But Korean girl groups have a bolder, more dynamic image. They wear angular uniforms or tight skinny jeans, and dance to choreography that uses the whole body. On stage, they appear confident and charismatic.
Kim Young-min of agency SM Entertainment said, "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."
I know absolutely nothing about JPOP.  But I already thought Korean women were kind of "dainty" compared to Western pop stars.  I guess when compared to China or Japan, the women of Korea do appear more confident and dynamic.  Never thought of that before...
Thanks to their notoriously grueling training, Korean girl groups tend to be better at dancing and singing than Japanese ones. Members of Korean girl bands go through an average of three to six years of training, while Japanese girls get just six months to a year. 
Japanese management agencies recently shifted from quality to quantity, on the assumption that anyone can become an "idol" with the right marketing support. AKB 48, as the name suggests, has 48 members who perform a daily gig for fans in a small theatre in Tokyo's Akihabara. Often members are launched straight off the street and then learn on the job due to these schedules.
Wow!  All subjective analysis!  I love it!  I keep hearing about KPOP stars who trained for six years... and I just do not buy it.  A year sounds about right, but they have got to stop telling people that they have been training for six years, it is not fooling anyone.
Oricon, the Japanese equivalent to charts provider Billboard, recently said Japanese girls in their teens and 20s are taking to Korean girl bands during a lull for Korean boy bands.  Bands such as TVXQ, Big Bang and SHINee turned Japanese girls on to K-pop, with the number of Japanese TVXQ fans estimated at over 300,000.
Apparently sexy Korean men have already opened the door in Japan for girl KPOP groups.  Young Japanese girls first watched clips of groups like TVXQ, Big Bang, and SHINee, and now they want to be like confident and sexy Korean women.  Hmmm... maybe... it's a theory in the works...

They released a Japanese version of their song, "Genie" and are promoting it now in Japan.  

Here it is:

4 comments: said...

Wow, that's pretty hot.

Leon H said...

Interesting analysis on why the girls would like Korea girl groups. But why don't the men seem interested at all?

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