Recently in Japan, the main keyword/stars for Hallyu (Korean Wave) is the 5 member Idol group TVXQ. Last week, TVXQ swept away 2 #1’s in 2 categories on the Oricon Chart, which can also express Japan’s popular artist’s popularity most accurately. It is clear that TVXQ’s a top star in the J-Pop industry.
Recently (30th of last month), the news of their release of the ‘4th Live Tour 2009 ~ The Secret Code FINAL in TOKYO DOME ~’ DVD, which sold about 171,000 copies ranked #1 on Oricon Weekly DVD Ranking became a huge topic. It was because it was the first time a Foreigner who is Asian had ranked top in the DVD/Video category.
On the same day, TVXQ’s member Hero Jaejoong & Micky Yoochun who formed a special unit ‘JEJUNG & YUCHUN ’ with their single ‘ Colors ~ Melody & Harmony ~ / Shelter ’ ranked #1 as well, with 149,363 sales in just the first week. To accomplish this much with just 2 members, is proof of TVXQ’s Popularity in Japan.
TVXQ/THSK, Korean Idol group is grabbing lots of attention in Japan. As a foreigners, who overcame language barrier and culture differences, what was their secret to rising to the top in J-Pop.
● The difference & attraction between THSK & JE Idol
It is not an overstatement when you say that groups from Johnny’s (focuses on male idol groups) have a tight grip on Japan’s male idol market. For many years, Johnny’s have specialized and focused on male idol groups by debuting many groups fitting Japanese women’s tastes.
Johnny’s group Arashi, Smap, NEWS, Kinki Kids, Tokio, V6 etc, who are also known in Korea, have been on top of music charts, movies, shows etc(in Japan). Because of this, in 2005 with their debut single “Stay with me Tonight”, many people did not think or expect THSK to get results like they have today.
However, THSK showed a different charm to those females who have been so used/accustomed to Johnny’s boy idols. It was that they were a group with both singing and dancing talents. This is also similar to when BoA caused a big stir in the Japanese female idol market earlier in 2000.
Instead of vocal skills, Johnny’s Idol groups are focused more on performance and image making, and have captured female fans with their looks. You can notice that many of them have/use a nasal sound and aren’t vocally skilled, but with their image, made from their appearances in a variety of programs, drama, movies etc, they have captured many fans and is why they are at top in the music industry.
Since their debut in Korea, TVXQ has been known as an “Acapella Dance Group” and have proved so with their harmony, and excellent live performances. Also, another big part of an Idol’s popularity is dance, (such as hip hop, jazz dance, etc.) which U-Know Yunho(also TVXQ) are skilled in. TVXQ’s performances overpower Johnny’s Artists performances because of the diverse/variety of performances they perform.
Unlike Johnny’s Group, who are elegant, skinny, and the pretty faced type, which Japanese women like, TVXQ was more focused on bringing out each members individuality/personality and at the same time, with their tall heights, their fit bodies through exercise etc. they emphasized on manliness.
● One step at a time… continuous challenge to the top
In less than a year, BoA became a top star in Japan. In 2002 with her first album “Listen to my Heart” which sold nearly 1 million copies, ranked #1 on the Oricon Weekly ranking which was a big topic in both Korea & Japan.
The biggest success achieved for a Korean singer that debuted in the J-POP industry, would be BoA. From the start, it was solid that BoA was to debut in Japan. Because of this, she was able to understand the Japanese culture as well learn the language and was able to guest on variety of programs without giving a feel of a foreigner. This was one of key factors that gained BoA’s big popularity amongst the people.
But, THSK was different from BoA. They were not proficient in the language, and nor did they mainly focus on their Japanese activities, which took longer for them to rise to the top. Their first #1 on Oricon Daily Single chart was in 2008 with their 16th single “Purple Line”.
“Purple Line” did rank #1, but did not receive much attention due to low sales.
“Only Japanese woman(ahjumma) who are into the Korean wave likes them” “Korean fans bought CD’s in Japan as a whole to rank them #1 on Oricon Chart” was what came out.
TVXQ did not think too much with results. Depending on the results (of their activities, sales, and what was said etc.), they did not let that bring them down, nor did they let it get to their heads, but instead they continued with their activities in both Korea & Japan and step by step adapted to the culture. As singers, they have gained Japanese fans with their talent through stages big and small. Avex, Japan’s leading record label and company has supported/brought up BoA, and is also highly praising TVXQ’s potential/talent and is actively supporting them.
Due to their constant efforts and challenge, they were able to achieve 2 Oricon’s in 2 different categories last week and their sales have increased compared to the past. In one week, over 170,000 copies of their DVD’s sold, and at the same time, sold about 150,000 copies of their single. TVXQ has grown into a talented group who you can call J-Pop’s top Idol group.
Translations: 2MY @ OneTVXQ.com