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NiziU takes Japan by storm

Posted December. 08, 2020 07:44,   

Updated December. 08, 2020 07:44


NiziU, a nine-member Japanese girl group formed by JYP Entertainment and Japan’s Sony Music, is becoming a sensation in Japan right after its debut. Although all the members are Japanese, the group is thought to be the outcome of localization of Hallyu as they were selected and trained in the K-pop way.

The girl group’s debut single “Step and a Step” is expected to top the Oricon single chart, which will be announced on Dec. 8, with its first week sales exceeding 300,000 after its release on Dec. 2. It is the second highest album sales ever for a debut single of a girl band in Japan’s pop music history.

It is not only music charts that show the popularity of this all-girl band. Last week, the Tokyo Skytree, a famous tourist destination in Tokyo, changed lighting in rainbow colors, which is the group’s symbolic color, for three days in order to celebrate their debut. The inside of Shinjuku Station, which is located in downtown Tokyo, was covered with the posters of NiziU.

Japan’s popular New Year’s Eve “Kohaku Utagassen” music show, which boasts an average viewership of over 40 percent, has made an unusual decision to invite NiziU although they just made their debut. In a recent column on Korea-Japan relations, former deputy foreign minister Hitoshi Tanaka depicted NiziU as a symbol of improving bilateral relations.

After winning the audition held in Japan by JYP, the nine members of NiziU were trained in the Korean way, making their hardware J-pop and their software K-pop. They are the third generation of Hallyu following the first wave of Hallyu, where Korean artists advanced into the overseas market, and the second wave, where foreign members were included in K-pop groups. Industry experts say that the K-pop training system, which puts emphasis on exercising intense group dance performances and creating perfect pop idols, has been introduced in Japan.

Some are benchmarking K-pop artists. Japanese all-male rookie boy band “Snow Man” recently released a song written by a Korean composer and performs K-pop style dance performances on stage. Their agency Johnny & Associates followed in Korean agencies’ footsteps, showcasing their music videos and performance videos on YouTube.

“K-pop nowadays doesn’t stop at being just K-pop,” said Toshiya Nabata, executive vice president at Oricon, during an interview with The Dong-A Ilbo. “It has already become globalized as the members of K-pop groups come from different countries and it actively accepts American pop music, thereby drawing attention (not just in Japan but) in the global market.”