K-pop is still enjoying high popularity in Japan despite soured relations between South Korea and Japan. According to Oricon, Japan’s prestigious music chart, South Korean boyband BTS’ Japanese single “Lights/Boy With Luv” has been certified as a million seller by the Recording Industry Association of Japan (RIAJ) only one month after its release on July 3.
BTS has become the first foreign male artist to achieve this feat since record keeping began in 1968. The same feat was last achieved by a Japanese male artist in 2007, when tenor singer Masafumi Akikawa sold a million copies of his single “A Thousand Winds.” As many as 620,000 copies of BTS’ new Japanese single were sold in the first week of its release. Accordingly, BTS became a foreign artist who has the highest first-week sales on the Oricon chart. Meanwhile, a BTS copycat group called “Ballistik Boyz” made their debut in Japan, imitating the name, dance, and fashion of the Korean boyband.
South Korean girl band “TWICE” released two singles in Japan, “Happy Happy” and “Breakthrough” on July 17 and July 24, respectively. Both singles were sold 240,000 and 220,000 copies, respectively, proving the girl band’s popularity in Japan.
Young Japanese are showing much interest in overall Korean culture. The Mainichi Shimbun ran a special article titled, “Korean culture boom inside Japan” on Friday. A reporter named Motomi Kusakabe visited Shin Okubo, Korean Town in Tokyo, to cover the latest trends from Korea, including fashion and food spreading to Japanese teenagers and those in their 20s. The reporter said the streets of Shin Okubo were filled with young Japanese even on a weekday as if the place was a famous tourist destination.