80% of Japanese polled believe hallyu will end in 4 years
On the 15th, the Korean newspaper “Seoul Economics” published a survey polling over 3600 people from 9 countries, including Japan, China, the United States, and France. The newspaper reported that over 60% of those polled believe hallyu would end in 4 years. By country, those in Japan who believed it would end in 4 years answered by 80%, Taiwan by 77%, China by 73%, and France by 64%.
According to the same article, 20.5% of those polled cited the reason hallyu would not continue to last long was that “The contents are standard and easy to get tired of.” Furthermore, in terms of K-POP, groups having the same dance and looks, and in terms of drama having the same birth, immorality, revenge, and similar storylines, all were identified as reasons.
Korean netizens have also responded to the article, with one side bearing optimistic views: “I believe we can solve the problem.” “If there’s a problem let’s fix it.” However, critical views were also shared: “You guys finally get it? No one watches dramas except old ladies.” “The guys who show contempt for the Japanese and South East Asians are the problem.” “Koreans don’t have enough creativity. Let’s reflect on it.”
80% of K-Pop’s sales come from Japan
In Korea, a problem has arisen regarding the business of hallyu. Although the country’s reach has has expanded across the globe, profits of the Korean Wave still remain 99% in Asia, and profits even in Korea do not reach high to that extent. Already, there are estimates that the influence of hallyu will end in roughly 5 years, and currently Korea’s “national prestige” is standing at a crossroad.
“3 Times the Olympics”
In March, Korea’s Economic newspaper published a report about how Korea’s hallyu wave effects it’s economy. Factoring in exports like music and dramas, in 2003 profits were 86 million dollars, but jumped to a staggering 220 million dollars in 2008. For K-Pop between 2007 and 2010, it has risen from 189 million dollars to 313 million dollars.
This has had a ripple effect on all of Korea’s industries, crossing over entertainment and culture. In 2012, it’s estimated the car industry brought a result of a 2.7 trillion won increase (about 190 billion yen), and broad industries like games, food, tourism, consumer electronics are seeing an increase in about 12 trillion won. At this rate, it’s estimated that all these industries will rise to 19.8 trillion won in 2015, and 57 trillion won in 2020.
On that note, the problem arises with the high degree of dependence the Korean Wave has on Japan. Although K-Pop has mainlined to the point where concerts are now held in the West, Asia accounts for 99% of K-Pop’s sales, with Japan taking up 80% of it.
According to the Korean Economic Newspaper, when calculating the revenue of the 5-member idol group KARA’s activity in Japan, including character goods and performances, 84% of it is given to the Japanese distributors, a remaining 8% left to Japanese promoters. The final left-over profits for KARA’s entertainment agency is only an 8%, an amount said not be close to enough money.
Oingyu, head of the Hallyu Research Center in Daejeon, Korea points out the main problem hallyu holds is that it is “attaching too much onto Japan” and it’s ongoing “revenue imbalance”. Regarding that circumstance, although Japan is K-Pop’s biggest market in the world, Korean industry cannot directly sell in Japan due to “licensing agreements”.
In Korea, recognition of the revenue imbalance is gaining strength, and although Korea is directly tied up with Japan in the telecommunications industry, and are attempting to find a way around online music selling, the view that it’s “impossible to operate in Japan but ignore Japan’s entertainment distribution network,” as stated by Korean company promoters, has become a popular view.
The final blow to all of this is a poll taken in by a economic newspaper. This February, the paper asked 1,200 people made up of Chinese, Japanese, and Taiwanese people questions regarding hallyu. 62% of people believed hallyu would end within 5 years, and 18% believed hallyu is already ending. Combined, 80% already have negative outlooks on the future of hallyu.
Although Korea wants to break away from Japan’s market as being K-Pop’s singular dependence, if it leaves business will almost cease to exist. It seems even hallyu itself is bringing about a dilemma in Korea.
K-Pop star bashed in Korea after wearing Japan T-Shirt
On the 2nd, K-Pop star Hyeri of the Korean idol group Girl’s Day apologized after she received criticism from Korean fans for wearing a T-Shirt embroiled with the Japanese naval flag.
Hyeri apologized formally through her agency, “I bow my head and apologize for not being more cautious.”
“Because I caused a lot of trouble to many people I am truly sorry, and I will be careful to make sure this won’t happen again.”
Hyeri continued, “When I saw the shirt I was only thinking of the message of helping Japan, I didn’t pay attention to the print. Whatever I say it’s a mistake that I can’t excuse.”
Hyeri received shirts from Japanese fans at certain event rehearsals and wore these shirts onto the stage, where she was taped by fans who published these pictures onto the internet.
In Korea, the Japanese naval flag symbolizes Japanese militarism and the Japanese occupation of Korea. K-Pop stars active in Japan must take precaution when it comes to topics on Japan related topics and words, as it is easy to take criticism from their home country.
Korean media called out Hyeri for the print of the clothing. The Dong-a Illbo, a Korean newspaper, criticized Hyeri, “Recklessly wearing clothes from fans is dangerous.”
Hankook Ilbo, another Korean newspaper, also had words for Hyeri after specifying the flag’s connotations with Japanese militarism, “In this case, ‘I didn’t know’ won’t work at all.” They also stressed K-Pop stars who are active in other countries should practice their love for Korea.
Girl’s Day, who debuted in 2010, is currently active in Japan, holding solo concerts on the 2nd and the 6th.