This is an interesting article that says that Korean girl groups are finding greater success in Japan than the Japanese girl groups because they are of a better quality.
Really? Really, Article?
To put it simply, I don’t quite wholly agree to this article. But here’s what the article says:
Apparently, the training and preparation before the Korean groups’ debut factors in a lot to why they are so successful and causing a “Korean Invasion” similar to that of the “British Invasion” that came to America with The Beatles and Rolling Stones. The strict choreography of SNSD‘s dances and the amount of practice involved impressed the Japanese, because their groups don’t undergo that.
The Japanese girl groups make their debut before they’re “polished” stars and so they are constantly improving. Also, their popular girl group AKB48, which is a 48-member girl group (trying to beat SNSD and Super Junior much?), is constantly changing based on popularity votes from the fans. Wow – high school will never end for these poor girls. Some also “graduate” when they get too “old” for the group.
The article also says that Japanese girl groups show off a “cute” image (I can hear the “ka-wa-iiiiiiii” in my head right now), while the Korean girl groups have a more sexy, charismatic stage presence and thus are more popular. (Are they interviewing old single men in this article!?)
The article finishes up by saying that the Korean girl groups prove they have talent, and are not just about the image.
Now, let’s sum up how many hot Korean girl groups are working in Japan right now: SNSD, KARA, Brown Eyed Girls, and 4Minute.
The reason why I’m not in complete agreement with this article is because of the “quality” it’s referring to. I don’t deny that Korean girl groups are trained harder and are prepared better for their debut. I think Japanese boy groups undergo the same training that Korean girl groups go through, but not the Japanese girls (and I wonder why…). But I also think that Korean girl groups must go through the same “factory” as they all end up being quite similar to each other.
When one group goes for the dark, sexy look, the rest follow. When one goes for a thematic image, the others find their own thematic image too (i.e. SNSD has their navy uniforms, After School has their marching band uniform, Wonder Girls has their 50′s jazz girl look). It’s a constant competition between all of them, which also makes them all imitate each other instead of developing their own unique image that they will keep upholding from album to album to establish a consistency, and a brand for themselves.
Most importantly, they all SOUND THE SAME! Well, SNSD sounds like Wonder Girls, KARA and T-ARA, 4Minute and 2NE1 and Brown Eyed Girls. Etc. They may have their own distinctive voices, but collectively, they sound the same. Let’s pick at SNSD for a moment: out of the nine members, I’d say half or less than half are actually talented singers. The rest are just pretty dolls and backup singers. I call them the Lance Bass-Lites. (No offense Lance – you were my favorite N’Sync-er until I realized that you only sang back up and looked pretty.) So their quality, though better, is controlled. Their training makes them all pretty much the same. The Korean music industry is just making untalented pretty people into somewhat talented pretty people. Yes, you may need to know how to sing, but if you’re not that great at it, they can train you to become a better singer. After all, after you debut, the next step is for you to act, and since acting may become your full time job after your prime years as an idol are over, it’s more important that you are good looking and charismatic.
Now, it is entirely possible that the Korean system is still better than the Japanese system, and that the Korean quality standard is higher. However, I beg to differ if one says that K-pop groups have high quality music. The J-pop groups would be just the same if they worked harder on their choreography. Simple as that.
The fact that I saw a couple of versions of this article on the Korean side also raises a question in me. The subheadline in the original article is this:
‘Japanese have a tough time understanding how we put artists through 12-hour training sessions’
The article pretty much bashes at Japanese music industry; at the core of it, it’s saying that the Japanese don’t know how to create successful girl groups. Nationalistic much?
source: joongang daily