Amid the ever-worsening diplomatic relationship between Korea and Japan, a throng of Japanese singers, mostly female artists, have an eye to making inroads into the Korean pop music market.
Japanese female singer Ruann released a debut single album “Beep Beep” on Wednesday, promoting it across Korea. The album is available in Korean and Japanese versions in both countries. She is a singer-songwriter who once belonged to Toy’s Factory, one of leading entertainment agencies in Japan. She has garnered much attention with her cover versions of songs by BTS, BLACKPINK, TWICE and other K-pop artists.
Yukika has promoted “Cherries Jubiles” in Korea since she made a debut in February. She played a member on fictitious group “Real Girls Project” in “THE iDOLM@STER.KR,” a soap opera produced jointly by Korea and Japan. She has been a model and a voice actor in Japan.
Korean mid-sized entertainment agency Woollim Entertainment, where LOVELYZ belongs, releases a rookie group named “Rocket Punch” on Wednesday. The last member has been reported to be a Japanese girl named Juri Takahashi. Girl group “Honey Popcorn,” which consists of five Japanese members, released a new album in Korea last month.
K-Pop experts analyze that a growing number of Japanese female singers make a debut in the Korean market as TWICE and IZ*ONE, both of which have Japanese members, have garnered huge popularity in Korea and Japan. Meanwhile, many more Japanese artists have admired K-pop’s worldwide success. “Produce 48,” the audition program produced by Mnet last year, has served as a bridge between entertainment agencies of both countries with many Japanese artists rushing to Korea.
Producers who assist Japanese artists in entering the K-pop market stay vigilant amid the tensions between Korea and Japan even though they see there will be little ramification on pop culture markets for some time. “We decided to release her album as scheduled because it was planned for earlier this year and Ruann’s debut song goes well with summer vibes,” said Kim Min-seok, CEO of Spotlight who is in charge of managing Ruann’s promotion in Korea. “Ever since she learned Korean by watching Korean variety shows and grew up singing Korean songs, Ruann has finally made her dreams come true with a new song for which she worked with Korean staff. Please support this potential 16-year-old singer.”
“Japanese female idol singers have been more successful in the Korean market compared to their male counterparts as they are full of charms and cuteness,” said Mimyo, editor-in-chief of webzine Idology. “But now it is unpredictable how far anti-Japanese sentiment and related boycott campaigns can go. It is concerning given that international politics also affect the cultural arena.