What Is a Personal Essay (Personal Statement)?

Glossary of grammatical and rhetorical terms.

  • An Introduction to Punctuation
  • Ph.D., Rhetoric and English, University of Georgia
  • M.A., Modern English and American Literature, University of Leicester
  • B.A., English, State University of New York

A personal essay is a short work of autobiographical nonfiction characterized by a sense of intimacy and a conversational manner. Also called a personal statement . 

A type of creative nonfiction , the personal essay is "all over the map," according to Annie Dillard. "There's nothing you can't do with it. No subject matter is forbidden, no structure is prescribed. You get to make up your own form every time." ("To Fashion a Text," 1998) .

Examples of Personal Essays


Theresa Werner, "Personal Essay."  Encyclopedia of the Essay , ed. by Tracy Chevalier. Fitzroy Dearborn, 1997

E.B. White , Foreword to  Essays of E.B. White . Harper and Row, 1977

Cristina Kirklighter,  Traversing the Democratic Borders of the Essay . SUNY Press, 2002

Nancy Sommers, "Between the Drafts."  College Composition and Communication , February 1992

Richard F. Nordquist, "Voices of the Modern Essay." Dissertation University of Georgia, 1991

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I went to a gigantic virtual K-pop convention, and I saw the future

Andy Boxall

The feeling of watching your favorite singers perform live on stage in front of you is fantastic, and the excitement of a meet-and-greet event afterward is something fans remember for years.

What is KCON:TACT?

Making the virtual feel real, getting closer, virtually, comparison to a real-life concert, adapt and survive, is it the future.

Sadly, events like these have been canceled all over the world due to the coronavirus pandemic , but resourceful organizers have swapped these real-world events to a virtual format, so even though we can’t be there in person, we still have a chance to support and meet our idols.

Unable to hold its planned real-world events in 2020, Korean culture festival KCON went online in June as KCON:TACT 2020 SUMMER , a music-focused virtual event. Among the dozens of artists performing, a personal favorite was playing, so I wanted to know, could a virtual “con” really bring me and other fans closer to our idols?

I discovered that not only can it work, but in some ways it can be even better than the real thing.

Originally set to be held in various cities around the world this year, including Los Angeles and New York, the in-person KCON event had been held several times previously, but its rebirth as the online event KCON:TACT transformed it into a trendsetter.

“KCON:TACT was the first of its kind in terms of scale and length of the event,” Ki Hyun Kim, head of tech creation at CJ ENM , the entertainment company behind the Mnet brand in charge of KCON, told me in an email.

KCON:TACT celebrates Korean pop music, or K-pop, and streamed 24-hours a day for a full week. Iteaturing daily four-hour live performances from dozens of popular K-pop artists, virtual meet-and-greet sessions, special audience participation events, and behind-the-scenes shows, all resulting in 600 total videos by its end.

And in case you think this is a bit of a niche event, KCON:TACT welcomed 4.81 million viewers from 152 countries, and the videos have been watched more than 15 million times.

Despite having no other similar prior online events to learn from, Kim told me KCON:TACT all went according to plan, and more surprisingly, the technology to make it all happen was the easy part.

“There was no special or new equipment used in producing the show. All the streaming equipment and cameras are the same exact ones you would expect to see at any livestreamed concert or event,” Kim said. “Our secret weapon was the people, not the equipment. We had a strong roster of creative directors and technicians who have extensive experience in this area. As with all of our productions, there is nonstop discussion and testing to find the best solution we could rely on, and it paid off when it was finally showtime. Everything ran smoothly.”

Putting on a live show of this scale is still packed full of challenges though, Kim explained.

“The biggest challenge is always the trade-off between creative innovation and a flawless broadcast,” Kim said. “Trying something new and innovative comes with inevitable instability such as technical glitches and hiccups. But with a flawless show being one of the top priorities as a show producer, we have to pull it off on our first try like it is our 10th, while continuously taking on new challenges. This outweighs any technical challenges … .”

Visually, KCON:TACT went far beyond the production values of even the most lavish real-life events, with the live performances taking place on incredible stages. These were created using multiple LED screens on the walls and even the floors, and then extending out beyond the stage itself to create a seemingly endless virtual environment.

It was all very striking and highly polished, but that’s almost a given in these high-tech times. Re-creating the energy and atmosphere present during any live music performance and meet-and-greet session was always going to be much harder. However. I discovered there’s still a surprising amount of energy in a virtual con like this, along with several benefits an in-person event can’t offer at all.

Like what? You were guaranteed the best seat in the house, of course, there were no schedule clashes, and you were instantly able to understand what the performers (many of whom did not speak English) were saying thanks to live subtitles. There was no queuing, no squeezing together for the best spot, no need to watch anything on the screen of someone else’s phone, and no chance of a very tall person suddenly obscuring your otherwise perfect view.

Arguably, there’s nothing here you wouldn’t expect to find at any livestreamed event, so what about the interactive elements?

“During the production process, we spent the most amount of time brainstorming and planning how to make virtual meet and greets feel as real and close as possible to traditional, physical ones. Our focus was on the creative ideas that would increase interactivity,” Kim said.

To find out how successful these were, I spoke to KCON:TACT attendees who won the chance to be a part of their favorite group’s performance. The KCON team utilized Zoom for this element, and had the clever idea of surrounding the virtual stage with individual Zoom screens to make it feel like you were actually there with the performers. Some fans even got the chance to ask questions live.

Miggy, an attendee from the U.S., had a great experience cheering on the Korean/Japanese group Iz*One during the live element of their performance.

“If I compare it to a concert experience, I think it’s pretty close, if not better,” Miggy told me in a Twitter message. “It’s easier to get noticed by the artist since there’s fewer people, and the screen was big. Seeing a screenshot where I was on the screen in front of Iz*One made me happy! Seeing myself on broadcast feels good since it becomes a tangible memory. It was my first K-pop concert ever, so it’s something that I will always remember.”

Saku from South Korea also joined in on Zoom, and felt similarly. “Since our idol can see us on the screen, I felt closer to them, and that made it special,” Saku told me via Twitter messaging.

Those lucky enough to be selected for the live show were asked to submit messages to the group ahead of the show, and this turned out to be very memorable, as Saku’s message appeared on the main screen and was noticed by one of the group’s members. It sounds like a small thing, but this is a crucial part of a live show, and it’s great to see it translate into a virtual event thanks to creative use of videoconferencing.

Like Miggy and Saku, I “attended” KCON:TACT mostly for Iz*One. The moments when the fans who Zoom-called in added to the atmosphere. Just like a real-life event, I saw many happy people who held custom signs like Saku’s, waved light sticks, made heart signs with their hands, and genuinely looked like they were having a fantastic time. The group’s members, too, seemed to enjoy being able to interact with people this way, and when the group has more fun and can see fans enjoying themselves, it adds more life to the performance.

Fel, a fan from Indonesia, had previously seen Iz*One perform in person during KCON 2019 in Los Angeles, and therefore had a slightly different KCON:TACT experience.

“It’s great that I could see my face on the big screen, but it still couldn’t replace the feeling of physically going to an actual concert to watch Iz*One. It’s just a whole different experience and vibe. After seeing them live, it’s pretty hard to feel as much excitement for the online live,” Fel explained to me over Twitter.

There were other problems too. Domi from Germany talked to me about the organizational issues around using an online conferencing system like Zoom during a live concert. Iz*One’s performance came at the end of the four-hour live show, and live attendees were not informed of the time, simply having to wait on the Zoom call until that point. Domi was also disappointed with the live and meet-and-greet aspects:

“The meet and greet itself was really uneventful, since no one got do anything. We were just there,” Domi explained. “The concert was the most fun, since we actually got to cheer the group on.”

Despite this, Domi still enjoyed the show, adding, “It was an experience I would do again, but I somehow expected a bit more.”

It’s early days, and obviously there’s still work to be done. It’s unclear how much negotiation and organization was needed between the KCON team, management, and the groups, but it was likely extensive, and rather last-minute. KCON:TACT will help future events have a better grasp of the logistics surrounding the interactive elements. Despite the downsides, the meet-and-greet sessions still seemed to please most attendees.

In the wake of the canceled real-world KCON shows, KCON:TACT not only helped the company continue its business, but also gave a unique opportunity to K-pop fans around the world to watch and enjoy a live performance, when perhaps they may never have had the chance otherwise. It’s not specific to the fandom-focused con circuit either. Going virtual is a way for the entire live entertainment industry to continue working during the coronavirus pandemic.

Digital streaming and virtual performances are something the industry has been averse to in the past, but that’s changing. In an interview with the Los Angeles Times , Bonnie Comley, the founder of on-demand theater streaming service BroadwayHD , said: “Producers used to say, ‘We’re not doing it,’ but now they’re saying, ‘When should we do it?’ That’s a 180-degree change from when we launched 4-and-a-half years ago.”

Audiences are also keen. A survey in the U.K. showed 20% of adults now watch music, dance, and theatrical content digitally, and for 27% of them, it was the first time doing so. A massive 51% said they were watching more digital theatrical content than they had before theaters closed. The demand is there from both sides, apparently.

Like Kim said, the technology to carry out this kind of event is there already. With the advent of 5G and ever-faster Wi-Fi, shows are not only going to become more accessible, but the all-important participation options will become more varied in the near future too . KCON:TACT has led the way for other massive fan-focused con events to convert to an online format, including the exciting San Diego Comic-Con at Home event happening between July 22 and 25.

Thanks to KCON:TACT, I saw a group that I love perform live — and that might be the only time I’ll ever do so. While not as memorably all-encompassing as actually attending a stadium and being part of an audience, I still felt closer to not just the group performing, but also other fans through social media and live chat during it. There is a lot I’ll remember, and I’m sure I’m not the only one to feel this way.

On a technical level, the industry is up to speed, but coming up with more inventive ways to involve the audience, as well as greater opportunities for us to connect with groups and stars on a personal level without signature sessions or handshake events, will be crucial to people paying out for the chance to get involved.

There’s still plenty to learn about what works and what doesn’t, but as the first of its kind, KCON:TACT makes me excited for the future of virtual events, where meeting our idols is as important as seeing them perform. They can obviously never entirely replace the electric atmosphere we love about actual live events; but in the absence of such things taking place, it’s refreshing to know virtual alternatives can work.

essay kpop

Editors' Recommendations

Ryan Waniata

With this year’s CEDIA Expo ramping up, Anthem has unveiled an update to its vaunted MRX series A/V receivers. Each brings a host of new features, from Dolby Atmos and DTS:X surround sound, to top-tier 4K UHD passthrough, for a future-proof home theater system ready for the next era of sight and sound. MRX 520 5.1-channel ($1,399) Replacing the MRX 310 at the entry to Anthem’s new lineup, the new MRX 520 offers a simple-yet-powerful set of features, including 5.1-channel surround output with pre-amp outputs for each channel, and seven HDMI inputs to link up your entire home theater system. The device also offers dual parallel HDMI outputs, including one with ARC, which allows audio from your TV to be passed back to the receiver to your surround system over a single HDMI cable.

Like all of the new MRX receivers, the 520 also adds conversion 4K UHD passthrough via HDMI 2.0a, which allows for top-tier 4K resolution at 60fps, along with support for HDR in preparation for the new generation of 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray players coming down the pike. It’s a nice bit of future-proofing that makes the 520 a great starter component. But hardcore home theater enthusiasts looking to take part in the latest surround sound formats, Dolby Atmos and DTS:X, will want to move up to the MRX 720 -- that’s where the real action starts. MRX 720 7.1-channel ($2,499) While its price jump of $1,100 from Anthem's base model is certainly substantial, the 720 delivers on your home theater devotion with a bevy of new features. That starts with the aforementioned DTS:X (via a “future software update”) and Dolby Atmos object-based surround sound decoding, allowing users to add overhead speakers to their system for a hemispheric explosion of surround sound awesomeness. Users can leverage two of the amp's seven channels for overhead speakers in a 5.1.2 surround setup, or add a separate amp for a total of four overheads in a 7.1.4 channel configuration.

Mike Mettler

“You gotta be aware of everything that’s happening now, but not throw away everything you’ve learnt.” Modern music is often at its most exciting when it’s a melting pot of genres and sonic flavors. Canadian rapper k-os has followed that mix-and-match maxim ever since his 2002 debut Exit and its 2004 follow-up Joyful Rebellion, which went platinum north of the border and snagged a score of Juno Awards to boot. His new album Can’t Fly Without Gravity, out now on various formats from Dine Alone Records, soars with his expert sense of capturing that cross-genre energy, from the East Coast meets West Coast thrust of Wild 4 the Night to the “tongue kung-fu” lashing and mashing of Crucify, to the hard-rock splatter of Turn Me Loose.

“The reason this record sounds like it does is because I’m OK with coming from the vinyl era. I’m an albums guy. Fortunately, it’s making a comeback now, so it doesn’t seem that weird,” k-os says. “I know it’s delusional because we live in a singles era, but my whole concept of my musical life comes from vinyl and B-sides. It’s always going to be that way for me. I’ve tried changing to get with the times and get with the format, but whenever I’ve done that, it’s sort of gone astray.”

DTS has been wowing trade show attendees for years with Headphone:X, the company's strikingly-real virtual surround sound technology. But it's been virtually (no pun intended) impossible for most consumers to get their ears on the tech -- until now. DTS today announced that Headphone:X is now available on a host of 2015 Samsung TVs, turning any pair of Bluetooth headphones into a virtual surround sound adventure for one.

Loaded into Samsung's 2015 "7 series" TVs and above, Headphone:X is primed to deliver 5.1 surround sound content from anything you feed into your TV -- be it a video game console, Blu-ray player, or locally-streamed content from services like Netflix and Amazon -- and send a Bluetooth virtual surround sound stream to your wireless stereo headphones.

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Essays on Kpop

The role of looks and talents in the success of a korean idol, the impact of korean pop music in america, korean pop – a genre that is catching the world by storm.

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Development of K-pop Industry in a Globalized World

K-pop: breaking down cultural barriers in the usa, my reflection on k-pop, unveiling the evil behind unfair contracts in k-pop music, millennials’ fandom to k-pop group: reasons and effect, korean music: bts group review, analysis of why k-pop music deserves further recognition, analysis of k-pop transformation in the 1990s to the present, the presence of intellectualism in k-pop music, corruption in the music industry worldwide, park jaesang’s (psy) popularity and international recognition as a result of his song, gangnam style, analysis of super junior's strengths and weaknesses, feeling stressed about your essay.

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K-pop, short for Korean popular music, is a form of popular music originating in South Korea as part of South Korean culture.

The genre started with The Kim Sisters in the 1950s. In the early days K-pop was represented by H.O.T, and it was mostly fanatical, flashy, and showed the rebellious psychology of young people in the emotional aspects. In the last two decades, the K-pop industry has become a cultural sensation, continuing to grow in popularity.

BTS, iKon, Seventeen, Twice, Blackpink, Got7, NCT, MONSTAX, Stray Kids, Red Velvet, etc.

K-pop is a fusion of synthesized music, sharp dance routines and fashionable, colorful outfits. Songs typically consist of one or a mixture of genres such as pop, hip hop, R&B, experimental, rock, jazz, gospel, reggae, electronic dance, folk, country, disco, and classical on top of its traditional Korean music roots.

K-pop’s History can be traced back to an American missionary. The cost of training a Korean idol averages $3 million. Jackie Chan manages a K-pop boy band. Over 100 groups debut in South Korea annually. BTS was the first K-pop act to perform as a musical guest Saturday Night Live.

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Korean Pop (K-POP)

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K-Pop And The Globalization Of Music History In Contemporary Korean Culture

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Korean Pop means Famous Music

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The scantron glared menacingly from the table. Others might have seen a harmless sheet of paper, but I knew better. I saw the rows upon rows of crisp circles in military formation, turned out in their dress whites. I understood the power that lay behind the innocent exterior. As I approached the table my eyes darted uncertainly around the room. I wanted nothing more than to avoid the military parade that looked to me like a firing squad. Looking around the room brought little relief. The fingers

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Entertainment contracts require young, aspiring entertainers to often spend multiple sleepless nights training to become what seems to be the impossible: A global pop icon. In the entertainment industry, it is very common for an artist or entertainer to be under a contract with a company. Being under a contract means a set amount of time the artist has to stay under the company. As long as the contract is in play, the artist has to comply with whatever their companies say. The company is in charge

The Pros And Cons Of Slave Contract

fame. One way that this can be stop is to either write a petition or stand up to the company and take down the CEO. SM entertainment one of the worst company of South Korea, is an independent record label, talent agency, producer, and publisher of pop. It is also known to be a slave home because of the way that artist are being treated, which most people don 't know about the CEO Kim Youngmin, is the one who is in charge even

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Kpop Essay Examples and Topics

The reasons why kpop is so popular among teenagers.

The world has many cultures trending nowadays, most of them help on shaping “the world”, what I mean is that many of these culture flow in our lives and bring impacts to our society, maybe also economic markets. One in that many cultures are becoming…

The Rise of Korean Wave and Kpop in The West

Introduction You’re ordering a cup of bubble milk tea in Taiwan as K-pop girl group Twice’s newest album blares from the speakers overhead. Your Russian friend uploads a video on YouTube of her joining a K-pop Random Dance Challenge in Public held in Vietnam. In…

The Development of K-Pop and Its Influence on Other Countries

Introduction Kpop has developed to be the South Korean government’s showcase to the world. Stating that Kpop is one of its many “perfect” examples. However, Kpop is not all it has been made out to be, with labor abuse, past government censorship, and maldistribution of…

The Reasons of the Popularity of K-Pop

South Korea is well-known for beautiful places, delicious foods and modern technology. However when people talk about South Korea, they will mention about K-pop as well. K-pop is an abbreviation of Korean pop, according from an encyclopedia, K-pop “is a genre of popular music originating…

Bts, One of the Most Famous K-Pop Groups

BTS, also known as bangtan sonyeondan or bulletproof boy scouts, is currently the biggest boy group in the world. They are a kpop group that has had a breakthrough all over the world. The band consists of seven members: Leader and rapper:Kim Namjoon, commonly known…

Factors that Influence the Success of K-Pop Industry

Recently K-pop -Korean pop- has been dominating western music charts. It’s only natural that people have started comparing K-pop with western pop. Though these two genres fall under the pop category, they are completely different. I will be discussing the similarities and differences between the…

The Way that Bts Managed to Change the Music Industry

From a rookie boy group struggling to have a spot in broadcasts and variety shows, to international superstars selling millions of copies of their albums worldwide, BTS (also known as Beyond the Scene) captured the world’s attention with their heart wrenching struggles to achieve their…

Loss of a Friendship as Described in Bts' Song Spring Day

BTS, an abbreviation for ‘Bangtan Sonyeondan’, also known as Bangtan Boys, is a seven-member Korean boy-band that debuted in 2013. BTS is highly known to be very versatile in the sense that they are capable of indulging in many different genres of music, ranging from…

The Influence of Korean Wave and K Pop on Culture of Thailand

Introduction In 2018, I went back to Thailand for a couple of months. It had been five years since I had been back, and during my time there, I noticed how much Bangkok has evolved and changed. Previous trips to Thailand were filled with memories…

Impacts of K Pop Wave to Young Generation in Vietnam

Despite being second only to US-UK pop, Korean Pop or Kpop is sill the leading force of Hallyu in Vietnam. It was initially imported into Vietnam in 1990s and started booming and spreading in 2000s with outstanding boyband groups namely TVXQ, Super Junior, BigBang,…Owing to…

Business Characteristic of Korean Pop-Music

The growing visible presence of Korean businesses in Latin America meant a need for better trade relations, which resulted in the strengthening of the Korea–Latin America relationship in the 1990s and into the 2000s.One of the many ways that Korea can increase its relation with…

Kpop: the Billion Dollar Industry

It may come as a surprise to know that the ever growing Korean music industry is estimated to be worth $5 billion, so how exactly has the kpop industry grown so big. In the 1990s, the korean music scene wasn’t how we know it now….

Parasocial Interaction and Fandom in Korea

Regardless of age, there are more and more people attracted to consuming media, which has affected their behaviors and mental processes. Parasocial interaction and fandom of Korean wave has been extremely famous and popular among teenagers and even middle-aged people. K-pop has been influencing the…

Best topics on Kpop

1. The Way That BTS Managed to Change the Music Industry

2. Loss of a Friendship as Described in BTS’ Song Spring Day

3. Kpop: The Billion Dollar Industry 

4. The Reasons Why Kpop Is So Popular Among Teenagers

5. The Rise of Korean Wave and Kpop in the West

6. The Influence of Korean Wave and K Pop on Culture of Thailand

7. College Essay about BTS

8. The Development of K-Pop and Its Influence on Other Countries

9. The Reasons of the Popularity of K-Pop

10. Impacts of K Pop Wave to Young Generation in Vietnam

11. Factors that Influence the Success of K-Pop Industry

12. Parasocial Interaction And Fandom in Korea

13. Business characteristic of Korean pop-music

Excellent Ideas for K-Pop Topics to Write About

1. K-Pop Music and the Influence It Has in the USA

2. Gangam Style by Park Jaesang: The International Recognition and Impact of the Song

3. Development of the K-Pop Music Genre in the Modern World

4. Korean Pop Music in the World: Starting from the s to the Present

5. Intellectualism and Its Presence in K-Pop Music Today

6. All About K-Pop: Unraveling the Genre’s History

7. What are the Musical Influences Contained in K-Pop Music

8. The Popularity of K-Pop Explained: How K-Pop Music Became a Global Sensation

9. Extensive Choreography and Dance Routines of K-Pop Groups

10. K-Pop’s Signature Sound: Understanding the Korean Pop Music

11. X Popular K-Pop Artists and How They Made the Genre an International Sensation

12. The Hallyu Wave and Its Relation to K-Pop Music

13. K-Pop and Mandpop: How These Two Korean Pop Genres Differ

14. How It All Started: The First K-Pop Groups and Their Songs

15. The Biggest Debates in the K-Pop Music Community Today

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Nao Niitsu practices dancing to K-pop.

The K-pop wannabes – a photo essay

An estimated 1 million wannabe stars of K-pop, from South Korea, Japan and beyond, are hoping to get a taste of fame by competing in auditions for talent agencies, which take on a select few as trainees

Photography by Kim Hong-Ji and Kim Kyung-Hoon / Reuters. Reporting by Ju-min Park

Y uuka Hasumi put high school in Japan on hold and flew to South Korea in February to try to become a K-pop star, even if that meant long hours of vocal and dance training, no privacy, no boyfriend, and no phone. Hasumi, 17, joined Acopia school, a prep school in Seoul offering young people from Japan a shot at K-pop stardom, teaching them the dance moves, the songs and the language.

Yuuka Hasumi attends a Korean language class in Seoul, South Korea

Yuuka Hasumi attends a Korean language class in Seoul, South Korea

She is one of an estimated 1 million K-pop star wannabes, from South Korea and beyond, hoping to succeed at highly competitive auditions held by major talent agencies, which will take on a select few as “trainees”.

“It is tough,” Hasumi says in Japanese, drenched in sweat from a dance lesson she attended with her 15-year-old friend Yuho Wakamatsu, also from Japan .

Yuuka Hasumi and Ibuki Ito, who want to become K-pop stars, perform at an Acopia School party in Seoul, South Korea.

Yuuka Hasumi and Ibuki Ito perform at an Acopia school party in Seoul. Below: Hasumi shops after class

Hasumi shops after class

A microphone and speakers at a street performance in the Hongdae area of Seoul; Hasumi promotes her Instagram account during the performance

Yuho Wakamatsu who also wants to become a K-pop star, takes photographs of Hasumi during a training session in Seoul

Yuho Wakamatsu takes photographs of Hasumi during a training session

“Going through strict training and taking my skill to a higher level to a perfect stage, I think that’s when it is good to make a debut,” she says.

Paying up to $3,000 a month for training and board, 500 or so young Japanese people join Acopia each year. The school also fixes auditions for its candidates with talent management companies, which have been the driving force behind the “Korean-wave” pop culture that exploded on to the world stage in the past decade with acts such as the boyband BTS .

An influx of Japanese talent is reshaping the K-pop industry at a time of increasingly bitter political acrimony between the two countries, which has damaged diplomatic ties. Tensions rooted in Japan’s 1910-45 colonisation of Korea have risen again after South Korean court rulings against Japanese companies for forced labour, and amid a perception in Korea that Japan’s leadership has not adequately atoned for its colonial past.

Yuho Wakamatsu adjusts her makeup during a training session in Seoul

Wakamatsu adjusts her makeup

But the popularity of Korean culture and K-pop music is on the rise in Japan, with many fans and artists saying they are not bothered by diplomatic tensions. The willingness of Korean agencies to take on Japanese talent speaks to the strength of the ties between the two, according to one long-time observer. K-pop groups, and veteran Korean musicians, are selling out concert halls throughout Japan.

For schools and agencies, Japan’s music market – the second largest after the US’s – is a big prize and many have been on a campaign to recruit Japanese talent.

“It will be good if Japan and South Korea will get along through music,” Hasumi told Reuters during a break from a Korean language class.

A K-pop applicant performs at an audition in Tokyo

A K-pop applicant performs at an audition in Tokyo

Some Japanese transplants have already made it big. The three Japanese members of the girl band Twice helped make the group the second most popular act in Japan, after BTS. Their success has prompted JYP Entertainment, the South Korean agency behind Twice, to plan a group that will comprise only Japanese girls.

Agency officials are reluctant to discuss their success in Japan and the infusion of Japanese talent, wary of fuelling a politically charged backlash, according to industry sources.

There is no shortage of Japanese hopefuls willing to train under the watchful eye of the agencies, some having left successful careers at home to go in search of K-pop fame.

Nao Niitsu, a college freshman from Tokyo, who wants to be a K-pop star, and other Japanese children warm up for an audition at a park in Seoul

Nao Niitsu, from Tokyo, and other Japanese young people warm up for an audition at a park in Seoul

Nao Niitsu studies Korean in her room in Tokyo

Nao Niitsu studies Korean in her room in Tokyo; she looks at a BTS photobook

Nao Niitsu chooses her profile picture before an audition in Seoul

Choosing a profile picture before her audition in Seoul

“I’ve heard stories about no free time or not being able to do what I want. But, I think all of K-pop stars who are now performing have gone down the same road,” says Nao Niitsu, a 19-year-old college fresher from Tokyo.

During a visit to Seoul paid for by her mother, a diehard BTS fan Niitsu auditioned for 10 agencies and was accepted by five.

Nao Niitsu walks through Shin-Okubo district, known as Tokyo’s Korea Town

Niitsu walks through Shin-Ōkubo district, known as Tokyo’s Korea-town

Miyu Takeuchi says it was not a difficult decision to leave a 10-year career with the top Japanese idol band AKB48 to sign with the K-pop agency Mystic Entertainment in March as a trainee. Even with her experience, she has seven hours of vocal training a day and two-hour dance lessons twice a week, plus early-morning Korean lessons. She is not allowed to have a boyfriend but says she has no regrets, despite the fact there is no guarantee she will make it.

Miyu Takeuchi sings during a training session in Seoul, South Korea,

Miyu Takeuchi sings during a training session in Seoul

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The Best K-Pop Group

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Now day’s Korean wave struck the world, including Malaysia. Whether their cloth, drama, food, variety show, and the music. What can I say is all items from korea will get response from people all over the world. it is a symptom of Korean wave. But did you know why all of this happens and why from day to day it is more spread? Actually the leader of Korean wave is their idol group or better known as k-pop group. They have so many groups in Korea but the best group for me is Shine, Big Bang, and Girl Generation.

The first group is Big Bang. . It is a South Korean male band under the management of YG Entertainment. Formed in 2006, Big Bang has grown to become one of the most successful Asian acts in the world. The group consists of G. Dragon, T. O. P, Taeyang, Daesung and Seungri. Big Bang is known for their unique urban-originated music and fashion style.


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The members’ involvement in composing and producing their own music. In 2011 BigBang come back with Big Show concert and the album Tonight.

The album also became the very first K-pop album to reach the Top 10 on US iTunes chart and is the only non-English language album in the Top 100. The most memorable for this group is when their won the 2011 MTV EMA’s “Best Worldwide Act” award as representatives of the Asia-Pacific region with over 58 million votes. Since their release of Alive in 2012, Big Bang has received recognition from notable sites such as Rolling Stone, Ebony Magazine, Time Magazine, and a photo was featured on the Grammy Awards homepage.

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Their first world tour Big Bang Alive Galaxy Tour is directed by choreographer Laurieann Gibson and will be stopping on 5 continents, 16 countries, and 25 cities including in Malaysia this October. Their Concert footage from Big Show was broadcasted in 160 countries through MTV World Stage, which pushed the promotion for their world tour. The second group is Shinee. There are a South Korean contemporary R&B boy group formed by SM Entertainment in 2008, one of the largest entertainment companies in Asia.

The group consists of Onew, Jonghyun,Key, Minho, and Taemin. They made their debut in 2008 with their single, “Replay”. They have also won many awards, held a concert tour and starred in their own reality shows. Shinee is considered to be a fashion icon having started the “SHINee Trend” and is known for their highly synchronized and complicated dancing. They made their Japanese debut on 2011.

Their promotional activities for the second studio album, and the group also participated in the SMTown Live World Tour alongside their label-mates. On 2010, they performed in a concert at Seoul Olympic Stadium in Seoul. They also performed at a concert at Staples Center in Los Angeles. Shinee also participated in a concert at Hongkou Stadium in Shanghai and then they started their first concert tour, “Shinee World” by holding their concert in Tokyo japan and the stadium was filled by the fans.

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My Life Of K Pop Music

Partynextdoor media analysis.

As consumers in today’s entertainment business, we don’t really think and evaluate about how a person or item captures our attention. Critics use media literacy to effectively evaluate how a celebrity can take hold of a consumer's time and energy. PartyNextDoor is one of many celebrities who manage to take some of the music business’ audience for himself. In order for a consumer to understand how he has done this, they must use the five tools of media literacy which is description, analysis, interpretation, evaluation, and engagement.

The Effects of MTV on American Culture Essay

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Music Industry And Its Influence On Modern Society

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Artist Music Should Be Used For Advertising

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How K-pop became a global phenomenon

No country takes its fluffy pop music more seriously than South Korea.

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They call it Hallyu, the Korean wave: the idea that South Korean pop culture has grown in prominence to become a major driver of global culture, seen in everything from Korean dramas on Netflix to Korean skincare regimens dominating the cosmetics industry to delicious Korean tacos on your favorite local menu. And at the heart of Hallyu is the ever-growing popularity of K-pop — short, of course, for Korean pop music.

K-pop has become a truly global phenomenon thanks to its distinctive blend of addictive melodies, slick choreography and production values, and an endless parade of attractive South Korean performers who spend years in grueling studio systems learning to sing and dance in synchronized perfection.

Hallyu has been building for two decades , but K-pop in particular has become increasingly visible to global audiences in the past five to 10 years. South Korean artists have hit the Billboard Hot 100 chart at least eight times since the Wonder Girls first cracked it in 2009 with their crossover hit “Nobody” — released in four different languages, including English — and the export of K-pop has ballooned South Korea’s music industry to an impressive $5 billion industry .

Now, with South Korea hosting the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang at a moment of extremely heightened geopolitical tensions , K-pop has taken on a whole new kind of sociopolitical significance, as South Korea proudly displays its best-known export before the world.

How did K-pop become a $5 billion global industry?

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What the Winter Olympics’ opening and closing ceremonies told us about K-pop (and vice versa)

During the Olympic opening ceremonies on February 9, 2018, athletes marched in the Parade of Nations to the accompaniment of a select group of K-pop hits , each playing into the image South Korea wants to present right now: one of a country that’s a fully integrated part of the global culture.

The Parade of Nations songs all have significant international and digital presences, and each advertises the cross-cultural fluency of K-pop. Twice’s “Likey” is a huge recent hit for the group, and recently made it to 100 million views on YouTube faster than any other song by a K-pop girl group. (The video prominently features the girls on a fun field trip to Vancouver, marketing the idea that they’re at home all over the world.) Big Bang’s “Fantastic Baby” was one of the first K-pop hits to make inroads in American culture and was featured on Glee’ s K-pop episode along with “Gangnam Style,” which also played during the Parade of Nations.

Psy’s ubiquitous 2012 hit is part doofy comedy and part clear-eyed satire, made by a musician who’s part of a wave of South Korean musicians who’ve studied at American music schools. “Gangnam Style” spent five years racking up more than 3 billion views on YouTube, reigning as the most-viewed video in the platform’s history before being dethroned in 2017.

As a whole, these songs and performers show us that K-pop stars can excel at everything from singing to comedy to rap to dance to social commentary. And their fun, singable melodies make it clear that the South Korean music industry has perfected the pop production machine into an effervescent assembly line of ridiculously catchy tunes sung by ridiculously talented people in ridiculously splashy videos. When Red Velvet sing, “Bet you wanna (bet you wanna) dance like this” in their single “Red Flavor,” they’re sending a message to the world that South Korea is modern but wholesome, colorful, inviting, and fun.

And at the Olympics closing ceremonies, we saw live performances from two more K-pop icons: solo artist CL, formerly a member of the powerhouse girl group 2NE1, and multi-national band Exo. CL’s appearance was a testament to her success in achieving one of the holy grails for K-Pop — a crossover into US fame, or at least onto the Billboard Hot 100. CL has landed on the list twice since 2015.

Exo, meanwhile, is arguably one of the two or three biggest K-Pop successes going right now. The band was a perfect fit for the Olympics — they’re multilingual and were formed with the intention of performing in Mandarin and Japanese as well as South Korea. And for several years, Exo was split into two subgroups, one performing mainly in Korea and one mainly in China. All of this made them a great choice to serve as a symbolic transition between nations, as Tokyo gets ready to host the 2020 Summer Olympics, followed by Beijing hosting the Winter Olympics in 2022.

Prominently missing from the live performance roster at the Olympics was the most popular K-pop band in the universe at the moment: BTS. BTS became an uncontested US phenomenon in 2017, with two songs hitting the Billboard Hot 100, a huge performance at the American Music Awards, a New Year’s Eve performance in Times Square, and a remix of their latest single, “Mic Drop,” done by Steve Aoki. If it’s possible to ascribe a tipping point to a “wave” that seems to be endless, BTS might be it; it certainly seems that the all-boy group has gone as far as a South Korean band can go in terms of making inroads into American culture — they recently graced the cover of American Billboard magazine. But while the band was missing from the Olympics, their song “DNA” — the other of their pair of 2017 hits — did at least play during the opening ceremonies, much to the delight of fans.

None of this is accidental. K-pop has become the international face of South Korea thanks to an extremely regimented, coordinated production system. More than any other international music industry, K-pop has been strategically designed to earworm its way into your brain — and to elevate South Korea and its culture onto the world stage.

How did we get here? Through a combination of global political changes, savvy corporatization and media management, and a heck of a lot of raw talent being ground through a very powerful stardom mill.

K-pop began in 1992 with one electric hip-hop performance

K-pop as we know it wouldn’t exist without democracy and television — specifically, South Korea’s reformation of its democratic government in 1987, with its accompanying modernization and lightening of censorship, and the effect this change had on television.

Prior to the establishment of the nation’s Sixth Republic , there were only two broadcast networks in the country, and they largely controlled what music South Koreans listened to; singers and musicians weren’t much more than tools of the networks. Networks introduced the public to musical stars primarily through weekend music talent shows. Radio existed but, like the TV networks, was under tight state control. Independent music production didn’t really exist, and rock music was controversial and subject to banning ; musicians and songs were primarily introduced to the public through the medium of the televised talent show, and radio served as little more than a subsidiary platform for entertainers who succeeded on those weekend TV competitions.

Before the liberalization of South Korean media in the late ‘80s, the music produced by broadcast networks was primarily either slow ballads or “trot,” a Lawrence Welk-ish fusion of traditional music with old pop standards. After 1987, though, the country’s radio broadcasting expanded rapidly, and South Koreans became more regularly exposed to more varieties of music from outside the country, including contemporary American music.

But TV was still the country’s dominant, centralized form of media: As of 1992, national TV networks had penetrated above 99 percent of South Korean homes, and viewership was highest on the weekends, when the talent shows took place. These televised talent shows were crucial in introducing music groups to South Korean audiences; they still have an enormous cultural impact and remain the single biggest factor in a South Korean band’s success.

As Moonrok editor Hannah Waitt points out in her excellent series on the history of K-pop, K-pop is unusual as a genre because it has a definitive start date, thanks to a band called Seo Taiji and Boys. Seo Taiji had previously been a member of the South Korean heavy metal band Sinawe , which was itself a brief but hugely influential part of the development of Korean rock music in the late ‘80s. After the band broke up, he turned to hip-hop and recruited two stellar South Korean dancers, Yang Hyun-suk and Lee Juno, to join him as backups in a group dubbed Seo Taiji and Boys. On April 11, 1992, they performed their single “Nan Arayo (I Know)” on a talent show:

Not only did the Boys not win the talent show, but the judges gave the band the lowest score of the evening. But immediately after the song debuted, “I Know” went on to top South Korea’s singles charts for a record-smashing 17 weeks, which would stand for more than 15 years as the longest No. 1 streak in the country’s history.

“I Know” represented the first time modern American-style pop music had been fused with South Korean culture. Seo Taiji and Boys were innovators who challenged norms around musical styles, song topics, fashion, and censorship. They sang about teen angst and the social pressure to succeed within a grueling education system, and insisted on creating their own music and writing their own songs outside of the manufactured network environment.

By the time Seo Taiji and Boys officially disbanded in 1996, they had changed South Korea’s musical and performance landscape, paving the way for other artists to be even more experimental and break even more boundaries — and for music studios to quickly step in and take over, forming an entire new studio system from the remnants of the broadcast-centered system.

Between 1995 and 1998, three powerhouse music studios appeared: SM Entertainment (often referred to as SM Town) in 1995; JYP Entertainment in 1997; and YG Entertainment in 1998, created by one of the members of Seo Taiji and Boys, Yang Hyun-suk. Together, these studios began deliberately cultivating what would become known as idol groups.

The first idol group in South Korea appeared on the scene in 1996, when SM founder Lee Soo-man created a group called H.O.T. by assembling five singers and dancers who represented what he believed teens wanted to see from a modern pop group.

H.O.T. shared traits with today’s idol groups: a combination of singing, dancing, and rapping, and disparate personalities united through music. In 1999, the band was chosen to perform in a major benefit concert with Michael Jackson, in part because of their potential to become international pop stars — an indication that even in the ’90s, the industry was attuned to K-pop’s potential for global success.

That potential can be seen in the studios’ eager promotion of multilingual artists like BoA , who made her public debut at the age of 13 in 2000 and in the ensuing years has become one of South Korea’s best-known exports thanks to a brand built on raw talent and multicultural positivity.

All the while, K-pop as a whole was building its own brand, one based on flash, style, and a whole lot of quality.

Don’t ask what makes a K-pop song. Ask what makes a K-pop performer.

There are three things that make K-pop such a visible and unique contributor to the realm of pop music: exceptionally high-quality performance (especially dancing), an extremely polished aesthetic, and an “in-house” method of studio production that churns out musical hits the way assembly lines churn out cars.

No song more perfectly embodies these characteristics than Girls’ Generation’s 2009 hit “Gee,” a breakout success that came at a moment when K-pop was starting to turn heads internationally due to a number of recent milestone hits — notably Big Bang’s “Haru, Haru,” Wonder Girls’ “Nobody,” and Brown Eyed Girls’ “Abracadabra.” “Gee” was a viral internet earworm , breaking out of typical K-pop fan spaces and putting Girls’ Generation within striking distance of US fame.

The combination of cheeky, colorful concept, clever choreography, cute girls, and catchy songwriting makes “Gee” the quintessential K-pop song: It’s fun, infectious, and memorable — and it was all but algorithmically produced by a studio machine responsible for delivering perfect singing, perfect dancing, perfect videos, and perfect entertainment. The then-nine members of Girls’ Generation were factory-assembled into the picture-perfect, male-gaze-ready dolls you see in the song’s music video via extreme studio oversight and years of hard work from each woman — a combined 52 years of training in total, beginning in their childhoods.

Through highly competitive auditions, starting around ages 10 to 12, music studios induct talented children into the K-pop regimen. The children attend special schools where they take specialized singing and dancing lessons ; they learn how to moderate their public behavior and prepare for life as a pop star; they spend hours in daily rehearsals and perform in weekend music shows as well as special group performances. Through these performances, lucky kids can gain fan followings before they even officially “debut.” And when they’re old enough, if they’re really one of the lucky few, the studios will place them into an idol group or even, occasionally, launch them as a solo artist.

Once an idol group has been trained to perfection, the studios generate pop songs for them, market them, put them on TV, send them on tour, and determine when they’ll next make their “comeback” — a term that usually signals a band’s latest album release, generally accompanied by huge fanfare, special TV appearances, and a totally new thematic concept.

Because of the control they exert over their artists, South Korean music studios are directly responsible for shaping the global image of K-pop as a genre. But the industry is notoriously exploitative , and studio life is grueling to the point that it can easily cross over to abusive ; performers are regularly signed to long-term contracts, known as “slave contracts,” when they are still children, which closely dictate their private behavior, dating life, and public conduct.

The studios are also a breeding ground for predatory behavior and harassment from studio executives. In recent years, increasing public attention to these problems has given rise to change; in 2017, multiple studios agreed to significant contract reform . Still, as the recent suicide of Shinee artist Kim Jong-hyun revealed, the pressures of studio culture are rarely made public and can take a serious toll on those who grow up within the system.

Despite all this, the cloistered life of a K-pop star is coveted by thousands of South Korean teens and preteens — so much so that walk-in auditions to scout kids for the studio programs are frequently held in South Korea and New York.

In addition to studio auditions, a wave of new TV audition shows have sprung up in the past few years, giving unknowns a chance to be discovered and build a fan base. Often called idol shows or survival shows, these audition shows are comparable to American Idol and X-Factor. Competitors on these shows can make it big on their own or be grouped up — like the recently debuted group JBJ (short for the fan-dubbed moniker “Just Be Joyful”), consisting of boys who competed in the talent show Produce 101 Season 2 last year and then got put in a temporary group after fans started making composite Instagram photos of them all together. The band only has a seven-month contract; enjoy it while it lasts!

essay kpop

These TV-sponsored idol shows have caused pushback from the studios, which see them as producing immature talent — and, of course, cutting into studio profits. That’s because a K-pop group’s success is directly tied to its live TV performances. Today there are numerous talent shows, along with many more variety shows and well-known chart TV countdown shows like Inkigayo and M Countdown, which factor into how successful — and therefore bankable — a K-pop idol or idol group is seen to be. Winning a weekend music show or weekly chart countdown remains one of the highest honors an artist or musical group can attain in the South Korean music industry.

Because of this dependence on live performance shows, a song’s performance elements — how easy it is to sing live, how easy it is for an audience to pick up and sing along with, the impact of its choreography, its costuming — are all crucial to its success. Groups routinely go all-out for their performances: Witness After-School learning to perform an entire drumline sequence for live performances of their single “Bang!” as well as pretty much every live performance mentioned here .

All of this emphasis on live performances make fans an extremely active part of the experience. K-pop fans have perfected the art of the fan chant , in which fans in live studio audiences and live performances will shout alternate fan chants over the musical intros to songs, and sometimes as a counterpoint to choruses, as a show of unity and support.

This collectivity has helped ensure that K-pop fan bases both at home and abroad are absolutely massive, and intense to a degree that’s hard to overstate. Fans intensely support their favorite group members, and many fans go out of their way to make sure their favorite idols look and dress the part of world-class performers . K-Con, the largest US K-pop convention, has grown exponentially over the years and now includes both Los Angeles and New York.

(There are also anti-fans who target band members — most notoriously an anti who attempted to poison a member of DBSK in 2006. But the less said about them, the better.)

You might expect that in the face of all this external pressure, K-pop groups would be largely dysfunctional messes. Instead, modern-day K-pop appears to be a seamless, gorgeous, well-oiled machine — complete with a few glaring contradictions that make it all the more fascinating.

Modern K-pop is a bundle of colorful contradictions

Though government censorship of South Korean music has relaxed over time, it still exists, as does industry self-censorship in response to a range of controversial topics. South Korean social mores stigmatize everything from sexual references and innuendo to references to drugs and alcohol — as well as actual illicit behavior by idols — and addressing any of these subjects can cause a song to be arbitrarily banned from radio play and broadcast. Songs dealing with serious themes or thorny issues are largely off limits, queer identity is generally only addressed as subtext, and lyrics are usually scrubbed down to fluffy platitudes. Thematically, it’s often charming and innocent, bordering on adolescent.

Despite these limitations, K-pop has grown over time in its nuance and sophistication thanks to artists and studios who have often either risked censorship or relied on visual cues and subtext to fill in the gaps.

Case in point: the 2000 hit “Adult Ceremony” from singer and actor Park Ji-yoon, which marked the first time a K-pop hit successfully injected adult sexuality into fairly innocuous lyrics, representing a notable challenge to existing depictions of femininity in South Korean pop culture.

The women of K-pop are typically depicted as traditional versions of femininity. This usually manifests in one of several themes: adorable, shy schoolgirls who sing about giddy crushes; knowing, empowered women who need an “oppa” (a strong older male figure) to fulfill their fantasies; or knowing, empowered women who reject male validation , even as the studio tailors the group’s members for adult male consumption.

essay kpop

An idol group’s image often changes from one album to the next, undergoing a total visual and tonal overhaul to introduce a new concept. However, there are a few girl groups — 2NE1 and f(x) spring most readily to mind — that have been marketed as breaking away from this gender-centric mode of performance; they’re packaged as rebels and mavericks regardless of what their album is about, even while they operate within the studio culture.

Yet the women of K-pop are also increasingly producing self-aware videos that navigate their own relationships to these rigid impositions. Witness Sunmi, a former member of Wonder Girls, tearing down her own carefully cultivated public image in her recent single “Heroine,” a song about a woman surviving a failed relationship. In the video, Sunmi transforms physically , growing more empowered and defiant as she faces the camera and finally confronts a billboard of herself.

If songs for women in K-pop break down along the “virgin/mature woman” divide, songs for men tend to break down along a “bad boy/sophisticated man” line. Occasionally they even break down in the same song — like Block B’s “Jackpot,” the video for which sees the band posing as wildly varied members of a renegade circus, uniting to kidnap actress Kim Sae-ron into a life of cheerful hedonism.

Male performance groups are generally permitted a broader range of topics than K-pop’s women: BTS notably sings about serious issues like teen social pressures, while many other boy bands feature a wide range of narrative concepts. But male entertainers get held to arguably even more exacting physical and technical standards than their female counterparts, with precision choreography — like Speed’s all-Heely dance routine below — being a huge part of the draw for male idol groups:

If you’re wondering whether co-ed bands coexist in these studio cultures, the answer is, not really. Most of the time , co-ed groups tend to be one-off pairings of members from different bands for one or two singles, or novelty acts that are quickly split into gendered subgroups. The most famous actual co-ed band is probably the brother-sister duo Akdong Musician, a pair of cute kids who made it big on an audition show; and even they get split up a lot to pair with other singers. (See the “Hi Suhyun” clip above, which features Lee Hi and the sisterly half of AM, Lee Su-hyun.)

It probably goes without saying that this traditional gender divide isn’t exactly fertile ground for queer idols to thrive. Despite a number of K-pop stars openly supporting LGBTQ rights, the industry aggressively markets homoeroticism in its videos but remains generally homophobic. But progress is happening here, too: South Korea’s first openly gay idol just appeared on the scene in early 2018. His name is Holland, and his first single debuted to a respectable 6.5 million views.

Hip-hop tends to be a dominant part of the K-pop sound, particularly among male groups, a trend that has opened up the genre to criticism for appropriation. South Korea grapples with a high degree of cultural racism, and recent popular groups have come under fire for donning blackface , appropriating Native American iconography , and much more . Still, K-pop has increasingly embraced diversity in recent years, with black members joining K-pop groups and duo Coco Avenue putting out a bilingual single in 2017.

Last but not least, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention South Korea’s emergent indie music scene , which includes a thriving crop of independent rap, hip-hop, and, increasingly, R&B artists , as well as a host of grassroots artists who’ve made waves on SoundCloud .

Taking stock of all these changes and paradoxes, we might be able to extrapolate a bit about what the future of K-pop looks like: even more diverse, with an ever-increasing number of independent artists shaking up the studio scene, even though most of them will still have to play within the system’s rigid standards.

This gradual evolution suggests that part of the reason K-pop has been able to make international inroads in recent years is that it’s been able to push against its own rigid norms, through the use of modern themes and sophisticated subtexts, without sacrificing the incredibly polished packaging that makes it so innately compelling. That would seem to be a formula for continued global success — especially now that South Korea and its culture has the world’s attention. Hallyu may swell or subside, but the K-pop production machine goes ever on. And from here, the future looks fantastic, baby .

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