Arama They Didn't

10:55 am - 10/12/2012

Why Japan Doesn’t Give a Gangnam Sh** About PSY


I remember showing “Gangnam Style” to my Japanese friends and coworkers only a few weeks after it was uploaded to YouTube in July. While, like millions of other viewers, I thought the video was best thing to come out of YouTube since Charlie the Unicorn, I was surprised to find that most Japanese people I showed it to would just stare at the screen and mumble a disinterested “hmmmm.”

Were they seeing the same video I was? Did they not notice the horse-riding dance and the rhythmic pelvic thrusting in the elevator? Were they deaf to the addictive melody and blind to the tongue-in-cheek sexual innuendos? I mean, come on people: he’s screaming at her butt.

At the time, I thought maybe I just had dull friends. But after over 400,000,000 views, numerous international media appearances, an American record deal and still only minimal sign of interest from Japan, I’m compelled to think that there is something about PSY and Gangnam Style that the Japanese are simply unable to accept.

But what could that “something” be? It’s not like Japan has traditionally rejected K-pop—just the opposite, actually: Korean artists like TVXQ and Girls’ Generation have ranked high in Japanese music charts numerous times over the past few years, and many Japanese websites and magazines have even been following PSY during his international rise to fame. It would seem strange, then, that PSY has yet to debut in the Japanese market.

As it turns out, he tried. Back in August, PSY’s Japanese record label, YGEX, announced that PSY would release a slightly-modified Japanese version of “Gangnam Style” called “Roppongi Style” in late September. After the original song exploded in popularity overseas, YGEX decided to stick with the original Korean “Gangnam Style,” but still aim for a September Japanese release.

However, a few weeks before the scheduled release, an announcement was posted to the YGEX official site stating that the September release was “mistaken information” and PSY’s Japanese debut was indefinitely postponed.

While it’s likely the major reason behind this was PSY’s decision to sign to successful American record label Schoolboy Records, anti-Korean sentiment over the Takeshima/Dokdo Islands dispute, which had reached a high in late-August, may have also played a part.

A Japanese television industry representative offers his insight while speaking with Yahoo! Japan:

“PSY had already begun to be featured on Japanese morning variety news programs back in July, but the reaction from viewers was horrible. This was right around the time when Japanese media were under fire for over-promoting K-pop while attitudes toward Korea were souring, and the reason K-Pop became so popular in Japan in the first place is because Korean artists are known for being beautiful, so PSY looked completely out of place on screen. Even if he debuted in Japan, I don’t think he would have sold very much.”

So, political tensions aside, Japan doesn’t like PSY because he’s not beautiful enough? But isn’t that what makes “Gangnam Style” and the whole craze it’s inspired so refreshingly great? PSY’s humble appearance and goofy performance have succeeded where all the perfect proportions and tiny skirts have failed, and the world adored him for it.

A glance at the comments in the same Yahoo! article suggests that’s not how the Japanese Internet masses see it.

“Oh, he doesn’t have to come to Japan. We don’t want him here,” reads the most voted-up comment, in response to YGEX’s decision to postpone PSY’s Japanese album release.

Others confirm the theory that PSY just doesn’t meet Japan’s beauty standards, writing: “Watching an ugly middle-aged man desperately wave his hips around is sad,” and, “I’m glad he’s not coming to Japan. I’d get sick from seeing that on TV.”

That can’t be the whole side of the story; after all, Japan had no problems with Susan Boyle. But then again, she’s not Korean.

Most people, however, just seem to be in denial: “The only reason his video has become this popular is because Koreans are sitting at their computer pressing F5 to refresh the page and add to the view count,” charges one commenter. “The sight of a chubby Asian wearing sunglasses and surrounded by beautiful girls was probably funny to Westerners. That’s why he’s popular,” posits another.

Yet another user throws down the gauntlet for PSY, saying, “I’ll recognize he’s the real thing when he starts playing to sold-out shows at huge venues in America.”

Actions speak louder than words; are you up to the challenge, America?


Page 1 of 6
<<[1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] >>
neo_valkyrie 12th-Oct-2012 03:35 am (UTC)
wow bitter much?
bumie 12th-Oct-2012 08:09 am (UTC)
my thought exactly
fangirlingspazz 12th-Oct-2012 03:38 am (UTC)
I'm not Japanese but I also don't give a shit about Gangnam Style, after all, it has the makings of a "one hit wonder"... Just like those days when people went gaga over "Macarena".
ocha_suki 12th-Oct-2012 04:16 am (UTC)
this..i don't get it either why people love it.
the first time i knew about it from yahoo news where some hotmales were doing that gangnam style on a site landmark of my city which was attracting people, and there's a link to the PV on YT. i clicked the link and then being confused wth that the song is so famous?!?! @__@
and no, not bcoz psy doesn't meet the beauty standard of mine but the song itself is suck! *shrug*
(no subject) - Anonymous
yakiseop 12th-Oct-2012 03:40 am (UTC)
Gangnam Style isn't batshit crazy enough to be a hit in The Homeland Of Batshit Crazy
kyun_spark 12th-Oct-2012 03:49 am (UTC)
ohprecioustime 12th-Oct-2012 03:40 am (UTC)
"K-Pop became so popular in Japan in the first place is because Korean artists are known for being beautiful"

explains why 2ne1 are such flops
avex_girl 12th-Oct-2012 04:28 am (UTC)
Lol k
Or it could be because the one original Japanese single they have sounds like crap and the rest are poorly made remakes of their past songs. They don't have enough of a handle on the language to succeed. THAT'S why.
(no subject) - Anonymous - Expand
(no subject) - Anonymous - Expand
(no subject) - Anonymous - Expand
senshicalico 12th-Oct-2012 03:40 am (UTC)
t33ra 12th-Oct-2012 03:44 am (UTC)
this gangnam style craze is boring, am tired hearing all the radio station keep on playing the songs :/
(no subject) - Anonymous - Expand
aoisoranohikari 12th-Oct-2012 05:02 am (UTC)
glider 12th-Oct-2012 03:51 am (UTC)
I'm so tired of this trend already, idek. it's not beneficial or promoting the integration/acceptance of East Asian cultures into global media, it's just another case of the U.S. laughing at something they can easily understand and people liking it because the media has told them it's okay to enjoy it.

as for Japan, I think a lot of it has to do with what they expect or want out of K-pop. PSY made waves in the K-pop fandom (at least the overseas one, from what I gather) because he's basically one of the only artists being comedic and fun in the midst of like 154215646 similar groups. he's refreshing but basically the anti-example of what K-pop generally is.
whited_79 12th-Oct-2012 03:03 pm (UTC)
and don't forget, Japan itself has artists who are more comedic and funnier than he is...
vampyrrep 12th-Oct-2012 03:58 am (UTC)
Must be a slow news day for this to even be 'news worthy'..
I listen to kpop but this is an annoying and pointless song..
asth77 12th-Oct-2012 11:16 am (UTC)
It's not a pointless song it's you being unable to understand the social message behind it.
mikarocker 12th-Oct-2012 04:01 am (UTC)
I'll be honest though, most American friends I have that aren't interested in Asian music only like Gangnam Style because they find it funny, not because they take the music or the song seriously...
radisu 12th-Oct-2012 04:54 am (UTC)
yeah. even though I'm interested in Asian music, I still don't give a fuck about this. plus it's just downright obnoxious to see.
nhbsakakude 12th-Oct-2012 04:05 am (UTC)
... so if you do not like the song? it means u have something against him?

what are we still living in elementary sch?
dramajewels 12th-Oct-2012 04:11 am (UTC)
I was never apart of this PSY thing. I am American living in America and watching my co-workers laugh at that video is my whole experience with this song. I don't think he will do well in the American market unless he plans on being a comedic performer. That's what will be expected of him here. Don't get me wrong it is possible for that to happen but if his next work in not "Gangnam Style" part 2, it most likely won't work. He will fall into the one-hit-wonder category like other many other foreign artists, some of whom are fantastic, who broke through with a catchy beat but couldn't or didn't want to keep making the same thing. It is hard to switch up once people put you in a box. I am a fan of some K-Pop artists and I really wish it was another group that had broke through other than PSY maybe they would have had a chance at longevity.
(no subject) - Anonymous - Expand
mintcappucino 12th-Oct-2012 04:19 am (UTC)
well i thought i'm the only one who gave "hmmmmmmm" to gangnam style. still can't find the reason why it went viral.
choiseungjin 12th-Oct-2012 04:26 am (UTC)
I was like Gangnam style but now that's so annoying since TV stations and radios in my country plays that song everyday.. And so what, if Japan doesn't like Gangnam Style? They have their own taste I think
greenxspice 12th-Oct-2012 04:33 am (UTC)
LMAO* - Even my 7 year old niece is cursing that song. She said that she'd rather listen to ARASHI's " One Love " over and over again than to hear just a single line from that Gangnam Style. --
kouchi 12th-Oct-2012 04:40 am (UTC)
I can understand your 7 year old niece. /pats/ XD I can go along with Gangnam Style at first because it was kinda catchy and all but it's just plain annoying now. Everybody sings it to me every single day. ugh
Page 1 of 6
<<[1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] >>
This page was loaded Mar 23rd 2023, 11:34 pm GMT.