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Korean pop music, also known as Kpop, is a very popular type of music among Korean and non-korean population. Korea was a poor country because of many invasions from China and Japan, forcing the slow development of the country. Korea’s economy was unstable, until the 80s. Despite the fact that Korea was a poor country not that long ago, in recent decades, South Korea has evolved into a country with advanced culture. As for music, with the 1990’s emergence of Kpop, the genre has become greatly popular. There are three big talent agency in korea, SM, YG, and JYP Entertainment (what they do) which quickly took over the Kpop society. From the mid-2000s, a great portion of the Asian market has been filled with Kpop idol groups. Since then, Kpop has been growing at a fast pace, and was recognized as “South Korea’s Greatest Export” (“World Time”). (how about in the past statistics? I want to see the change) Kpop’s total export in 2008 was 16.5 million dollars. (“Wikipedia”). While Kpop grew at a fast pace, other genres like Japanese pop and Chinese pop has become quite famous, but compared to Kpop, it did not become popular as fast. Kpop was generally known and was advertised more than Jpop. Cpop on the other hand, has barely had any impact in the music industry. China’s government in general did not want their music to be known outside of China. As the history of Kpop slowly changes, this paper will explore how much these type of music is impacting the society in America.
Kpop is a musical genre with a variety of elements. Kpop in America became extremely popular after using Youtube, a video sharing website. As people became more familiar with Kpop through Youtube, people gained more interest. Many people would love the type of apparel they wore, and what type of choreography they would perform. There are many male and female students who obsess over the Korean idol groups because of their looks. In many cases, fans love their idol groups so much, that they sacrifice a long period of time and money worshiping them. This influenced the culture of many youth. Many fans would continuously listen to Kpop, trying to dance like them, be like them, or even change their hair similar to their idols. These obsessions led people to found fan clubs and dance groups for these idols. Many try to copy their idols, setting a unreasonable beauty standard for the society. This brings a major issue everywhere, the standard of beauty. This has been a major problem in Korea. In Korea, the standard of beauty is being skinny to the extent of starvation, and having a beautiful face. Forcing Korea to have the world’s highest rate of plastic surgery. Back to the idol group, many would think that these girl groups act like prostitutes, but many do not know what they have to go through to become an idol. To be this “Kpop idol”, singing is not even close to being good, they have to dance, sing, and be able to socialize in many different TV shows. For example, world famous kpop group like Big Bang have constant schedules, a repetitive boring life style, tiring and have no privacy. Big Bang is one of the most famous Kpop group, they have constant schedules for advertisements, concerts, and TV shows. While many would think this is a fun and exciting life, after a year or two, it gets tiring. To become a Kpop idol, they have to wake up as early as five am to practice dancing, singing, and performing. These idols often go to different countries, having to learn different languages. (“Maryberrlyn”). Thematically, some female groups in k-pop emphasize the independence for women. There are many songs created by the Kpop singers emphasizing how they do not have to depend on men to live their lives. (“Buzz Feed”). Many people enjoy Kpop for the choreography. For example, a Korean artist named Psy came up with the song “Gangnam Style”. This song did not get famous for its lyircs, but for its dance and its catchy rhythm. The dance attracted many people, because he was a chubby Korean man, dancing around like he riding an invisible horse. After the pronounced Psy’s really catchy music video, many shows copied the dance to express themselves. Some love Kpop because the choreography appears fresh, and not “slutty” like it is in many American pop music. Many American pop music therefor are about money, sex, and power, while Korean pop express different kind of feelings.
Japanese pop, also known as Jpop started in the 1970s. As Japan started their music, it is said that Japanese rock music was inspired by the beatles. From the mid 1970s, many female idol singers started their careers. From the mid 1990s, the Japanese music market started to grow, selling many copies of Japanese albums. In Japan, there was a Korean singer named BoA. She opened the Hallyu door to other Korean artists which impacted the future of Korean artists in a good way. In the late 2000s, and early 2010s, was the beginning of anime music. Many were basically voice actors, whose face were un-known. There beginning a idol group like AKB48, which were immensely popular across the country. In the 2010s, following the Kpop trend, were more Jpop girl groups. Jpop could be found in movies, TV shows, and video games, all across the world. As for games, one that went across the whole world was Kingdom Hearts, where a popular Japanese singer sung the theme song, making her quite popular, even airing in the United States. Jpop is more similar to Kpop of how it is oriented, and the type of songs the two different country plays. They are both very technological.
Cpop started in 1970s in Hong Kong, and Taiwan. Since there are so many different languaged in China, there are three different genres, which is Cantopop, Mandopop, and Hokkien pop. Before the 2000s, they were concentrated on rock, and heavy metal, and punk rock, but since the 2000s, more idol groups started to come out. The most famous one known as the S.H.E, were the female Trio, and a specific member named Hebe Trian, started a new genre of Indie-sounds music, which started a new trend in the world of Cpop. Compared to Kpop and Jpop, Cpop was a “lowkey” business. While Kpop has concerts almost every two to three weeks, Cpop had concerts on certain occasions.
There are many similarities between Cpop, Jpop, and Kpop. It first started off as American music culture transferring to Asia, then making into China and Japan and Korea. British bands like the Beatles have inspired Asian music culture. By the 1990s, Kpop started to lead the Asian music culture. As Korea started with idol groups, Japan followed along, those groups became a big impact on the American culture by the 2000s
Despite the similarities, there are also differences. While Kpop and Jpop went similar ways, Cpop went to a completely different way. Since many Chinese were not granted facebook, youtube, or social media, many Chinese people did not understand the current music culture. Addition to the restriction on social media, there are many different type of languages in China. There was a lack of Cpop during the 1900s to 2000s, but they are now slowly increasing. Kpop has a more active pop culture. Every week, Kpop has a gathering of famous artists to sing and have a small competition for seeing who is the best. Other than that, Kpop has many variety TV shows where many of the artists join together to talk, talk about their history, and even their personal stories. These TV shows let all their fans get to know the artists.
While Kpop seems like a fun, catchy tune for many, some would think that the lyrics has no meaning, and it is repetitive. Kpop truly did change the society in America, just as much as how American pop has influenced the music styles. Kpop showed many Americans, that there are new type of society out there in the world. This led Americans to try out new things, and to have the courage to go experience what happens outside of America. Korean food, for an example, has been great experiences for Americans, after they were introduced to it by their Korean friends. Broadening their experience of other country’s culture, and getting to know what is happening in other countries. People got to experience the new type of dance and fashion senses, while learning about the society of Korea. Kpop itself depicts Korea as a whole by their songs.
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