Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Rant: Japan vs. South Korea

While I was out to attend A-Kon, a co-worker of mine sent me a BBC News article. Unfortunately, I couldn't read it...but! she showed it to me when I returned to work. The article discussed "the dark side of Korean pop". I know I've said it a million times that I'm not a kpop fan, but I did know majority of the stuff that was going on in the article thanks to a friend who knows a thing or two about the Korean music industry.

I'll sum up what the article covered. The Korean music industry is a fairly weak one and artists/groups don't profit from them very well. They have to deal with the hardships of "slave contracts", working intense schedules and cutting off connections to living a normal life for little pay. With these factors against them, some artists branch off to make profit in Japan or fight the industry. In short, the Korean music industry fails hardcore and Japan is where it's at.

A couple days after I read this article, it was reposted on a LiveJournal community and Asian pop fans, specifically Japanese and Korean pop, butted heads once again. It wasn't too crazy compared to other communities, but I still find it silly to see fans tell kpop artists to go back to their own country. The silly part is most of them don't even live in Japan. Honestly, I'm waiting for kpop fans to say the same thing to jpop ones. It's still a very hypocritical statement.

Although, I have my own complaints about the kpop industry, but there's a good chance I'm not going to express my opinion on here any time soon. But I think this article not only reveals the dark side of the kpop industry, it's also showing the dark side of both fandoms through their nonsensical comments toward it. I'm really happy this article exists, although watching the video is painful, but it reveals some things that kpop (and jpop) fans don't know about the industry and the reasoning behind they always visit Japan.

I'm sure some already knew about their contract problems through stories like DBSK and KARA, but something that the article didn't mention was how the industry stretches the truth on the groups' success in Japan. Now I'm pretty sure acts like SNSD, KARA, and Big Bang are actually living up to the announcement of success, but newer groups that are hardly popular in the homeland of Korea need to cut the bs of selling out shows and whatnot in Japan.

I still have research to do on how the jpop industry functions, but I know it's far from perfect as well, like the jrock industry. They have their contract issues and whatnot, but I like how things are a little looser there. I suppose I'm a bit bias toward Japan, but at least I have valid reasons and I definitely won't be protesting that kpop needs to leave Japan. Everyone wants to make a living doing something they love and maybe leave a mark on this world.

JPop fans need to accept the music industry and the trend, kpop fans need to stop being delusional, and the kpop industry needs to fix itself or start strengthening other genres for more results.

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