If you ever find yourself confused between K-pop and J-pop, here’s a detailed blog about K-pop Vs J-pop.
Music is what brings people together. With the ever changing trends in the music industry, one gets to witness different genres. In this article, we will be discussing the differences between K-pop and J-pop.
K-pop stands for Korean Pop, whereas J-pop stands for Japanese Pop. But only one of them is gaining popularity in the West, i.e., K-pop. Although both of them belong to Asian pop music, there are differences in various factors.
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From influence, style, marketing, and even dressing sense are different. Let us dive deeper into how the two industries are different from each other and how they influence the audience.
K-pop Vs J-pop
History of K-pop and J-pop
The history of K-pop dates back to 1885. When an American missionary started teaching American and British folk songs at a school.
Throughout the 20th century, a lot of cultures had an impact on K-pop. In the early days, Japan had a huge influence, followed by Western culture in the 1940s and 1960s. In the 1970s, it was influenced by hippies and folk. Lastly, in the 1990s, rap, rock, and techno took over K-pop.
All the K-pop bands are in fact inspired by the first boy’s bands called Seo Taiji and Boys. They played a major role in shaping the industry.
They merged American elements with South Korean pop music to create something the audience had never seen before. Moreover, the choreography was also similar to hip-hop.
Not only this, the music industry worked on attractive members, perfect public image, and complex choreography to bring the K-pop bands to stardom. Such standards benefited groups like S.E.S. and Fin. K.L. They are known as the pioneers of the genre.
In the 2000s, JYP Entertainment laid the blueprint for a new generation of K-pop bands. Since then, groups like Super Junior, BIG BANG, and many more have come into existence.
This industry came into existence in the 1960s. One of the first J-pop artists was a Japanese version of The Beatles. Although this genre isn’t as popular as K-pop in the West, the music industry is the second largest in the world.
The Yellow Magic Orchestra in the 1970s were the first ones to use electronic music. Since then, they have laid the foundation for the Japanese music industry. Ever since, the industry has been evolving and new genres are pouring in.
Not only this, J-pop is also famously used in anime, commercials, radio, TV shows and more.
BabyMetal, AKB48, and Kyary Pamyu Pamyu were some of the bands that took over the industry. They brought techno, hip-hop to the industry.
Difference Between K-pop and J-pop
Now that you know the history of both industries, it is time to learn more about how they are different from each other. There are various factors in which J-pop and K-pop differ. The target audience reacts differently to both of them. Let us understand more about it.
Difference in Stage presence and performance between K-pop and J-pop artists
Every music band has a different stage presence. They try to make their fans happy through their performances.
When it comes to J-pop, the bands focus more on having fun on stage. They would interact with their fans and not mainly prioritize synchronized choreography. For them, it is important that the concert is fun and that the fans enjoy it.
On the other hand, K-pop focuses more on fan service. It means that they will have a proper dance routine and interact a little with the fans.
In a K-pop concert, you will notice more extravagant dance performances than regular fan interactions.
J-pop Vs K-pop: Music Style
As we mentioned above, the Japanese music industry is the second largest in the world, which is why J-pop doesn’t get influenced by Western music. It means that they stick to their traditional roots.
They also tend to change some chords or deliver high-pitched music that resembles traditional Japanese music.
On the other hand, you will notice that K-pop has a hint of Western music. They are diverse and experiment with other western music. If you have noticed that the band’s comebacks usually include EDM type beats and are also influenced by Latin music. It also includes rap and hip-hop!
Public image of J-pop vs K-pop
Every artist has a certain public image that they have to maintain. When it comes to the Asian music industry, there is more to it than just maintaining it. You will be amazed to know that public image is very important to idols and that they take it very seriously.
When it comes to J-pop, they are expected to be cute, innocent, and also have a pure image in front of their fans. The only purpose for which they exist in the industry is to entertain the fans and also maintain a close relationship with them through concerts and social media.
On the other hand, K-pop is a whole different world. Here, the idols have to maintain a strict public image. They go through a vigorous process from a young age to understand how to behave in front of the audience and camera.
They learn everything about dance, entertainment, singing, and how to talk. More or less, all these skills require training, which is why the fans of K-pop idols are very protective of them.
Difference in Music Videos Between J-pop Vs K-pop
When it comes to music videos, the whole industry has a different perspective. They do cater to the fans, but remain grounded in their values.
J-pop music videos are all about the cuteness of the idols. You will notice that the idols are highlighted while they are wearing amazing outfits and perfect makeup.
K-pop music videos focus more on catering to the audience. They have a storyline, amazing choreography that baffles the minds of their fans. Not only this, they also have different versions of the same song just so the international fans can relate to them.
Promotion of Songs and Videos as well as fandom
Whenever an artist works hard for songs and music videos, it is necessary that they reach the target audience. For that, they need to promote them. When it comes to J-pop, they gain very little advantage when they promote it internationally. If you are one of the international fans, it might get difficult to meet your idols. Their songs are available on CD.
On the other hand, the K-pop industry tries to reach every fan all around the world. This is the reason you will find them collaborating with international streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music.
When it comes to fandom, J-pop fans are diverse as they are divided into groups like – rock, hip-hop etc. but are limited to Japan. K-pop fans are all over the world and are not limited to Korea only.
The only downside for fans is that it is more expensive in Japan to meet the idols than in South Korea.
K-Pop Vs J-pop: Lifestyle and Social Media
It is common for artists to connect with their fans through social media. They also tend to share their day to day affairs to keep them updated. It is very common in the West for the idols/singers to go live on social media platforms to interact with the fans.
When it comes to J-pop, the idols have a very private lifestyle. They don’t share much about their whereabouts with the fans on social media. They like to keep everything related to their personal lives away from the public eye. They try to stay out of the spotlight.
On the other hand, K-pop idols are very active on social media. They share information about their lives with the fans to connect with them on a personal level.
While they do so, they are also very careful about their posts to avoid any controversy. You will often find them on platforms that allow direct interaction with the fans as well.
Popular K-pop and J-pop bands
- Bangtan Boys (BTS)
- BIG BANG
- Super Junior
- Kyary Pamyu Pamyu
Why is K-pop more popular than J-pop in the West?
The answer to this question is very simple. Given that Korea is much smaller than Japan, they need to target the international market. They need to invest in the West given their domestic fans are fewer in number. You need to remember that K-pop has American influence, whereas J-pop focuses more on traditional ways.
J-pop and K-pop belong to the Asian music industry. Even though they are from the same industry, they are quite different from each other.
The former has a fanbase in Japan, and they focus on making music in and around their own traditions, whereas the latter is more inclined towards the West and has great American influence.
It is completely up to the fans to decide which one they prefer. In this article, we explored everything about both the industries and the reason why K-pop has a huge fanbase.
Hiya! I’m the main author of Japan Truly. I love everything Japan and love testing out Japanese products, be it skincare and makeup or gadgets! You’ll find reviews of some of the best selling Japanese products (tried and tested) right here!