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How K-pop is appealing to young people in Japan Updated: 2021-10-01 09:40:41 KST

Minako Kobayashi's love of Korean pop music led her to teach at the K-pop entertainment department at SHOW, the International College of Music, Dance and Entertainment.
SHOW is the only university in Japan where K-pop has its own separate department.

"I worked in a totally different industry before coming here. But I came because I love K-pop so much.
I especially really like BTS. You could say I'm the oldest fan in the BTS ARMY in Japan."

As well as dance and vocal courses for aspiring K-pop stars, the department provides business courses to those who want to work at a K-pop entertainment agency.
Learning Korean is a must, and assignments range from making music videos to launching a K-pop concert at the school's end of the year festival.

"It's great that we can make up our own K-pop groups and experience what it's like performing on stage as students."

One cultural expert pointed out that even when Japan had a diplomatic row with South Korea, the demand for K-pop remained high among Japan's millennials and Generation Z.
In 2019, when Tokyo had removed South Korea from its so called "whitelist" of favored trading partners, BTS were still topping Japan's main music charts.

"Research says millennials and Gen Z in Japan, who are teens or in their early twenties, really respect Korea.
They aren't swayed by any political or historical disputes between the two countries."

The expert said another reason behind K-pop's success in Japan is because of the two countries' cultural similarities.

"K-pop idols were more welcomed in Japan thanks to the low cultural discount referring to Japan's familiarity with the idol system."

Japan enjoyed a golden age of J-pop idols in the 80s, and countries like Korea sent over their artists to learn the secrets behind their success.
Thirty years later, the tables have turned.

"Almost all dance academies in Japan try to provide K-pop courses because of the growing demand."

It's not only universities and dance academies that are teaching K-pop,
even international schools in Japan are making K-pop courses to attract students.

"Though K-pop started in Korea, it's not just Korea's culture. Instead of being a short term trend, K-pop has developed as a new culture in Japan, Asia and even across the world."

Shin Ye-eun, Arirang News.
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