Just Missing TVXQ

I’ve been doing Dong Bang Shin Ki throwbacks lately, then realized last night that it was because 2016 marks my 10th year as a KPOP fan – most especially as a BoA and DBSK fan.

I miss those days when these two acts dominated both JPOP and KPOP and had set a standard so high, specifically in terms of live performances and language proficiency, that its hard for me to fangirl any other groups and solo artists in KPOP at present.

In a generation where more and more KPOP artists are debuting, and newer and younger fans no longer have any clue who these legends are, I will keep talking about their legacy.

BoA and DB5K forever. ❤

[K-Pop-ish] EDITORIAL: Popularity in Japan taken for granted because of Hallyu?

Thank you for writing this article. This has been what my friends and I have been ranting talking about lately. Exactly our thoughts.

Credits to my friend Leni for sharing this. 🙂

Source: http://www.koreaboo.com/index.html/_/editorial/editorial-popularity-in-japan-taken-for-grante-r10861

In the past years, the Hallyu Wave as we know it has been expanding across the whole wide world. With the success of the artists in Japan, China, Taiwan, and other Asian countries, there have also been debuts in America and sold out concerts in Europe. It all started in the middle of Asia, in the Korean pop market. When someone felt it was right to go and try to conquer another country’s music business with the release of original material in that said country, many others followed.

While it started off with the impression the drama “Winter Sonata” left, and its corresponding popularity, the Hallyu Wave has been shifting to mainly music in the past years. With the debut of TVXQ and BoA, both successfully integrating their music into the Japanese music business, the Korean music business, SM Entertainment was off to a great start. Top Korean groups like Big Bang and SS501 were also eager to take their shot at the foreign market, and were able to note down their popularity as being K-Pop’s top groups. But the success was mainly for a select amount of groups and lots of debuts went by unnoticed, some even selling as less than 1,000 copies of their singles.

With the constant releases from big groups in Japan, however, Korean pop has become more popular than ever and has managed to open up Japanese music lovers, slightly turning the whole emergence of K-Pop in Japan into a whole movement, or as it’s known now, the Hallyu Wave.

But of the hard work that the original Hallyu stars had to put into their foreign career, seems to go unnoticed these days. Currently, many well known companies are using their popularity in Korea and the force of the Hallyu Wave to break through the Japanese market while trying to do as little as possible. SHINee, Girls’ Generation, T-ara, and 2PM are just a few examples of groups that are living on their Korean popularity, and are being boasted as K-Pop’s next best thing. Their debut songs all reached the top regions of the Oricon charts pretty easily, even conquering top spots with debut releases. Back in the day, however, TVXQ and BoA didn’t have their popularity to fall back on, meaning they had to crawl from the bottom, up to the top regions themselves. BoA’s debut song, for instance, sold 14,740 copies on the first day; showing a figure at nearly half or even a third of what Korean groups sell nowadays on their first day. No, back in the day, popularity in Korea and in Japan were seen as two separate things, while today companies seem to be expecting popularity as soon as their groups have a hit in their home country.

Are companies going too easy on the whole Japanese debut? 
Fans might look at the whole thing in awe and admiration, saying that their beloved groups are doing awesomely well, but in my opinion lots of them are taking the easy route laid down before them, instead of fighting their own way in. It’s a music business; it’s a place where only the best are meant to survive and it’s fighting for a part of the spotlight. But in this day and age, and especially with the Hallyu Wave in place, there’s not so much “sweat and tears” behind a Japanese debut anymore. When groups have had a certain hit back in their home country, they are sent to Japan to rerecord it in broken Japanese because their companies don’t even bother preparing them decently and are just throwing them in because the time seems right, or maybe just because there is money to be made in Japan as well.

I’m not saying this is the fault of the groups themselves, more likely the companies behind them, but BEAST, 2NE1, Girls’ Generation, Rainbow, T-ara, and I’m sure I’m missing a lot of them, have all tried and managed in one way or another, to break into the J-Pop scene by just simply rerecording their original hits in Japanese, whether or not they actually knew anything about the language at all. BEAST’s “Shock” is a prime example of this, not only including lyrics in Japanese and English, but Korean as well. Many Japanese reworkings also suffer from a lack of flowing sentences and words, making it obvious that the song wasn’t written to be combined with Japanese lyrics to begin with.

But are all the Hallyu groups and companies like that?
Of course they are not, only the biggest chunk of them are. Every once in a while there are companies who take the alternative route, and search for their own way by preparing their group’s debut in a foreign country with care. Supernova, for instance, made their debut with a three week consecutive release in 2009, trying to get their name out. And even though their amount of sales might be lower than what some other Hallyu groups sell, they have now managed to become one of the most well-known Korean groups in Japan and have released 13 singles and 4 albums up to date.

Another example lies with The Boss’s recent debut. This five member group left for Japan shortly after the release of their first Korean mini album in July of last year, but instead of releasing something right away, the boys went into language training while their Japanese company was preparing original debut songs. After having studied Japanese for over half a year, the group released their Japanese debut single. Because of their language skills, the group is able to promote on variety shows without an interpreter and can converse with their fans by themselves, resulting in a closer bond with the fans. The Boss is slowly climbing their way up on many popularity charts in Japan. These groups, just as with SMASH, SHU-I, and F.Cuz, lack the Korean popularity to ride the Hallyu Wave, yet they are establishing a stronger core fanbase by starting from scratch, yet setting an example. Even popular Korean groups 2PM and MBLAQ are trying to get into the Japanese market by releasing original, J-Pop inspired songs, rather than reworking their older hits.

All these groups and companies are free to go and release things wherever they want, but with the Korean showbiz already having more debuts than it’s able to swallow, how long will it take for the Hallyu Wave, and especially the market in Japan, to come back at the artists and chase them back to their beloved home country? Because what strikes me the most is that people seem to be forgetting that Japan and Japanese music lovers don’t only have to be able to take on their own groups popping up everywhere, but every single K-Pop debut in Japan as well. This year alone has had the debut of Rainbow, Secret, The Boss, SHU-I, F.Cuz, T-ara, SHINee, Super Junior, 2PM, ZE:A, JUNO, MBLAQ, 2NE1, After School, and others to be added to that list in the short future including Infinite, Block B, B1A4, IU, U-Kiss, Code-V, Gummy, 2AM, f(x), and many more. Count to that list every single K-Pop debut that still has to happen, and they will most likely be shipped off to the country in no less than a year after their debut, and you’ll understand what I mean when I feel that Japan is getting flooded, and still K-Pop fans take it for granted that the Japanese music lovers won’t complain and will accept any Korean group with open arms.

With every single group heading for Japan these days, won’t the Japanese netizens get enough of the Koreans trying to invade their music market? Starting next week on Wednesday, up until the end of December, will see the release of close to 30 releases by K-Pop artists, and I’m sure the list will grow the closer we get to the end of the year.

[J-Pop] Ayumi Hamasaki went to Seoul to watch JYJ’s album showcase

During Tohoshinki’s (TVXQ) The Secret Code Tour last year, it had been reported that J-Pop Empress Ayumi Hamasaki went to one of the boys’ concerts wearing the official tour shirt while waving the tour towel. The self-confessed TVXQ fan that she is, Ayu again showed support for the members.

Jaejoong, Yoochun, Junsu (JYJ) of TVXQ had a showcase in Seoul for their debut album in that 3-member unit. A fan got a glimpse of Ayu walking in the venue of the showcase event.

Photo credits to sharingyoochun.wordpress.com:

ayuinseoul.jpg picture by laraceres

ayuinseoul2.jpg picture by laraceres

My thoughts on Korean artists invading the Japanese music scene

Way back in 2001, a 14-year old native of South Korea came to the Land of the Rising Sun to try her luck in breaking through the Japanese music scene. She studied the Japanese language for two years, lived in Japan for a number of months to be able to adjust to the culture, and eventually recorded songs in Japanese. Her debut album in Japan topped the Oricon Weekly Chart selling over a million copies. From then on, she continued to release a string of hit Japanese singles and albums, won numerous awards, broke records for a non-Japanese Asian in the charts, and even performed at the Kouhaku Utagassen for six consecutive years, solidifying the name “BoA” as one of Japan’s top idols. Because of her success in Japan, she opened the doors for her fellow Koreans to enter the Japanese pop scene.

Following in her footsteps, other Korean artists such as Ryu Siwon, Younha, John Hoon, Rain and Se7en started to release Japanese singles, as well. There were also some Koreans who gained popularity in Japan, but not in South Korea, such as Jyongri and K.

In 2005, BoA’s labelmate Tohoshinki (Dong Bang Shin Ki/DBSK/TVXQ) debuted in Japan, but unlike their sempai, the climb to success was not that easy. It took them three years before they reached the top of the Oricon Singles Chart. They also broke records for a foreign group, won awards, and performed on Kouhaku for two consecutive years.

Other Korean groups, eventually, also tried their luck. Some of these groups are Tenjochiki (TSZK The Grace) BIGBANG, SS501 and Choshinsung/Choshinsei that have singles which charted in Oricon.

The influx of Korean artists in Japan is overwhelming. Just when I thought that the J-Pop scene is already saturated with all these boygroups entering the market, a new set of artists is here.

The solo artists had their time, the boygroups had their time, and now the girlgroups are here (excluding Tenjochiki). After having a girl group boom in K-Pop last year, they are now going to Japan to release Japanese versions of their Korean hit singles.

So what do you guys think of the Korean invasion?

Personally, I am really happy with BoA and TVXQ being successful in Japan. Call me biased, I don’t care. They deserve their success.

However, this time I am not really happy anymore. They are just too many of them. Why not stay in their country to save their own music scene? I know that they are in Japan for more profit and to gain more fans, but like I said, J-Pop is now oversaturated with them.

Furthermore, some of these artists just release Japanese versions of their Korean singles. No new material at all.

[K-Pop] Shinhwa’s Andy’s Advice to TVXQ

“Leaving the company is the second trial which is harder from the debut time.”

“It will be hard, like having to debut all over again.”

Andy, member of idol group Shinhwa with the longest career, who is in the middle of his solo activities, revealed his “personal opinion” about TVXQ’s situation which is a hot issue in the K-pop world.

Andy who debuted in 1999 under the same company as TVXQ, SM Entertainment, as Shinhwa, has gained lots of popularity. But as soon as the exclusive contract was over, he and the rest of the members had to move to another entertainment company and continuously did activities with passion.

Recently,in the interview with Sports Dong-A, Andy cautiously stated “I sincerely would like TVXQ and their fans who have been with them since the beginning to get back together and continue their activities.” and “They should know that if they find another way, they have to start all over again.”

The days after leaving Shinhwa’s debut company, Andy says, “It was a great difficulty,” and stressed “They should know that when they leave their debut company, it takes more effort and it is two – three times harder than when they first debuted.”

While Shinhwa’s group activity is on hold due to its members on army service, Andy has continued with his solo activities and scouted new singers, and has turned into a CD producer. In his own company, he has assembled a casting team, and together with (the casting team) has been searching for new entertainers/trainees.

Because of this, Andy is looking at the music industry as a producer. With his experience, he added, “Idol groups that gained popularity quickly think that their efforts are what’s important, but still thinking that it is dangerous,”and “You must acknowledge the fact that the company has capabilities and talent.”

Source: donga.com
Translation: ndy @ OneTVXQ.com
Special thanks: 2MY @ OneTVXQ.com
Credits: OneTVXQ.com { One World. One Red Ocean. One TVXQ! }

[K-Drama] Filming begins on Heading to the Ground

source: Today Korea, Mk.co.kr
Translations: dramabeans

Don’t call him U-Know Yunho anymore; the DBSK idol star wants to be known under his real name, Jung Yun-ho, as he takes on the lead role — and his acting debut — in the MBC soccer drama Heading to the Ground [맨땅에 헤딩].

The drama recently began shooting; its first filming day took place in Seoul’s Kangnam district in a scene that saw Jung Yun-ho chatting with his friend since middle school, played by Lee Yoon-ji. Jung was reportedly very careful as he filmed, checking every one of his movements and lines of dialogue, and practicing in spare moments. He frequently conferred with producers to confirm that the details he’d prepared according to his image of the character were fitting in properly.

PD Park Sung-soo (Ruler of Your Own World) did praise his star for his preparation, saying, “Good job. When did you practice all that?”

Jung described filming as going comfortably, saying, “The atmosphere on the set is really great, enough to be surprising. …It’s a ton of fun expressing this character of Cha Bong-kun. The first shoot felt really good.” As the Bong-kun character is a talented soccer player, Jung also explained that he’s also got to keep in shape.

The plot draws a romantic love story between opposites: Bong-kun is passionate soccer player with a warm, positive personality who doesn’t have much in the way of worldly possessions. His love interest Hae-bin (Go Ara) has everything as the rich daughter of the team owner, who is determined to prove herself on her own merits. The two have a bickering relationship fueled by constant misunderstandings that (naturally!) turns romantic.

Heading to the Ground airs its first episode on September 9.

[K-Pop] TVXQ – This Generation’s Legend Created by Funds and Nurtured by Fans

An example of a successful Idol Group

TVXQ was the third male idol dance group that SM debuted after H.O.T. and Shinhwa. SM, who is the forerunner when it comes to the K-pop Idol culture, used any and every one of it’s producing methods when it came to created TVXQ. Different from their seniors who could not shake off the image of ‘A dance group that emphasizes looks,’ TVXQ was an idol group that emphasized the members’ vocal abilities from the start. They came with an a capella song with excellent vocalist Xiah Junsu as the main vocal. Dance skills and good looks were standard. Their debut song “HUG”(2004), that had some embarrassing lyrics such as “I want to be your bed for one day,” gave teenage girls the image of a sweet and charming boyfriend. (The members who would whisper ‘girl’ after their debut successfully evolved into a mature group who gave off their sexy masculinity in ‘Spell(MIROTIC)’)

Each member becomes a subject for Games and Stories

SM’s ability to instill a unique character in each member was the most prominent with TVXQ. ‘Visual Shock’, pretty boy YoungWoong Jaejoong who has looks that seemed to pop out of a comic book, manly leader U-Know Yunho, sweet guy Micky Yoochun with soft features who shows his honest feelings by frequently crying on stage, tall and handsome Choikang Changmin who is the youngest and cute Xiah Junsu who talks and acts like a child. These characters can be seen anywhere from tv shows to performances, to even the smallest of actions. It is almost as if they have made a kind of drama about themselves unlike other groups.

‘Xiahmori’, known by the vast majority of fans, is the members’ intentional bullying of Xiah Junsu. Not only does this bullying emphasize Xiah Junsu’s cute factor, it also shows the closeness of the members. To compare, the members of TVXQ are like the members of ‘Infinite Challenge’, each having their own unique character and part, each member created their own story of their characters early on in their singing career. Their images grew stronger as they matured. Masculine U-Know Yunho’s ‘oldest brother’ image sunk in and stayed. While Yoochun’s warm acceptance of Xiah Junsu’s childish behavior has given them a ’sweet couple’ image. The team’s youngest member Choikang Changmin, who had the weakest image at the start, became the cool, indifferent ‘Chic Chang,’ or the ‘Real Leader.’

These images and characters were the deciding factor when it came to the fans’ acceptance of TVXQ’s existence as one story. There are endless ‘activities’ to do with TVXQ as the subject. Fan-Fictions that include the idol members loving each other are prevalent in other groups, but they are not as good quality or quantity wise as they are with TVXQ as the main subjects. There is also a game that is called ‘TVXQ’s Answers for Situations’. It is a game where fans imagine what members would say about a same situation. Through these games, fans are able to become closer to the members, and the relationship between fans become stronger as they share games and laugh about their content. Not only their official fan club site ‘Cassiopeia’, but also all their tens and hundreds of fan cafes and sites have become a playground for fans.

The world’s greatest fanclub that got on the Guiness Book of World Records

The number of people in Cassiopeia is 800,000. The number of people in Daum’s fan cafe ‘Yuaerubi’ is also 800,000. SM stopped signing Cassiopeia members in 2006. Nowadays, TVXQ’s fans Cassiopeia are simply called ‘Ca-A’ or ‘Kang’. Cassiopeia, a name that derives from the five star constellation, was included in the Guiness Book of World Records for the largest fan club in the world. TVXQ’s fandom, that started off as most fandoms do with the majority of fans being in their teens or 20s, spread out to include people in their 30s and 40s, and international fans. The fan clubs have even divided based on age. ‘Xiah Soul’ is a fan site for people in their 30s who have a preference for Xiah Junsu, and ‘DongnaeBangnae’ is a fan page where many international fans participate.

The fandom’s personality has changed as well. The generation of fans who not only worship their idols, but also protect and support them, or act as spokespeople for the stars has come. The motherly guardian fandom that watches the stars grow from a young age started off with ‘the first Nation’s Idol’ GOD and has evolved and solidified with TVXQ. The fandom that considers themselves the spokespeople of the stars have served community service hours or donated money under the name of the star. ‘Match Made in Heaven’ and ‘AVC’ are some of the Cassiopeia community service groups that move around the nation helping others. Fans do these services to better their star’s image but they also become great contributors to society. As many people know, when the Mad Cow Disease crisis occurred in Korea last year, the first people to protest on the streets were the fanclubs of TVXQ.

The Internet’s groups for people with the same taste

A fanclub’s strongest cohesion comes from liking the same thing. Especially for society’s underdogs who are open to the economic aspect of life, teenage girls, it is hard to find the sharing of one’s affection without any competitiveness. The only competition amongst fans happens to be their faithfulness of their stars. In fan sites that work on a ranking system, many ask detailed questions about TVXQ for ‘level ups’. There are even essay questions such as, ‘The effect of a capella on TVXQ.’

The made-up language and ceremonies that only the fans know have also solidified this fandom. Cassiopeia decides on the type of cheer they will use at a TVXQ concert through voting. There are thousands of words and phrases that only the fans understand. The word ‘Ilko’ refers to an adult who hides the fact that he/she is a TVXQ fan and acts like a regular person. But the biggest influence of the fandom can be found in the music market. Instead of downloading illegally, fans have opened up their wallets for CDs even if TVXQ releases three versions of the same album. At the same time, TVXQ has also become a victim of an excessive fandom. Because of them, the new ‘personal life fan (A fan who follows them everywhere)’ has emerged who follows the star’s movements almost 24 hours every day.

‘Fan-Fic’, putting sexual imagination to paper

TVXQ is also at the top when it comes to Fan-Fiction, a characteristic of idol fandoms. Fan-fics refer to the romance novels written by fans that depict the idol stars engaging in homosexual relationships. Rather than going against their 소유욕 by having their ‘oppas (older brothers)’ taken by other girls, the fans have made the members gay in the stories. It can be seen as a branch off of Japan’s ‘Yaoi’ culture. After TVXQ’s debut, SM aroused the homosexual imagination aspect by linking the members as couples. Of course this does not mean that the members are actually gay, and they used this romantic imagination, that could be used for heterosexual situations, to relieve the built-up sexual tension that women in their teens and 20s have. Many of the fan-fic writers are up to par skill-wise to professional writers. The majority are free to read through the writer’s homepage, but there are some that are sold for profit.

An interesting fact is that there has been a sudden surge of fans in their 30s and 40s. This correlates to the increase of Auntie-Uncle fans that have appeared in society these days. They act as a protective guardian fandom as well as a fandom that has physical desires for people who are extremely younger than those fans are. Like adults who love teen romance such as ‘Boys Over Flowers’ or “Gossip Girls’, they have an air of people who are physically attracted to and wanting idols who are way younger.

The Idealization of ‘Me’

As most teens are limited from relationships because of their age, idols become a ’substitute lover’ for them. At the same time, fans see idols as a part of themselves, feeling the success of the idols is their own success. Also, since teens live in a highly competitive society and do not have many successes of their own, they see TVXQ’s success story with great awe (This is also why fans can be ruthless when it comes to tight competition with other groups.) If the members of TVXQ are not able to overcome this current situation, the devastating impact it will have on their fans is unimaginable.

They even have unwavering Vocal Abilities

The most important point of this TVXQ syndrome is their music. Even though they debuted as an idol group, they showed their vocal maturity and growth through their Japanese activities. Match the powerful dance skills trained through the SMP genre (SM’s unique genre of song with powerful dancing), their stage presence, their ability to sing unwaveringly even after a powerful dance, and their good looks, and it’s no wonder TVXQ started off the second Hallyu Wave. From dance to pop-ballads, the members have done them all and have used the members’ star-qualities to their fullest potential. At live concerts, especially, has their music touched many hearts and that is why they are worthy of being called ‘The Gods of the East’ by their fans all over the world.

Source: [JoongAng Sunday+ DNBN]
Translations: jeeelim5@iscreamshinki
Posted by: minsarang@wordpress