Japanese Music by Korean Artists: An Important Part of Hallyu Wave

Mehak Sharma, New Delhi

Music is not restricted to languages or boundaries. Over the past few years, K-Pop has grown remarkably by not only capturing the Asian markets, but has also established its recognition in the West as well. K-Pop has never restricted itself to the Korean language either since many K-Pop groups release multiple versions of their songs in different languages as well, such as in Chinese, Japanese, and English. Looking deeper into this, Japanese releases have by far captured significant spotlight being one of the biggest music markets in the world, accompanied by an interesting Korean-Japanese history.

Majority of the K-Pop groups have come up with the Japanese versions of their songs, or release new Japanese songs and Japanese albums to cater to their Japanese audience and fans as well. It is not a recent trend; rather has been an integral part of K-Pop for a very long time now. Japanese debut used to be a dream come true moment for K-Pop artists, and even today, it has become a standard for K-Pop groups to have Japanese releases in their discography.

A brief history of Korean-Japanese relationship

Let’s take a brief look at the history of Korean-Japanese relationship. Korean peninsula was colonialized by the Japanese from 1910 to 1945 and this was a period when the Korean government put an official ban on Japanese culture, keeping little to no scope for any cultural exchange between the two nations. In 1965, the situation seemed to improve a bit when Japan and South Korea established diplomatic relations under the Treaty on Basic Relations between Japan and the Republic of Korea, and South Korea was recognized as the only true government of the whole Korean peninsula however, the ban on Japanese culture was maintained.

Picture Credits: Wikipedia (Treaty on Basic Relations)

Moreover, other East and South-east Asian countries like Thailand, Philippines, Singapore etc., faced financial crises, also known as the 1997 Asian Financial Crises where Thailand, South Korea and Indonesia were among the worst-hit countries. This crisis had millions of Koreans losing their jobs and locals going out of business. To recover from this damage, more cultural-focused strategies were implemented by the government. Finally, in 1998 South Korea president, Kim Dae-jung, lifted the 53-years-old ban on Japanese culture, opening the door to the imports of J-Pop in the country. The government removed the ban in many stages between the years 1998 and 2004, and side by side started working on its own music and TV industry which slowly and gradually gained attention of Japanese audience.

Picture Credits: Wikipedia

The Japan-Korea relations became fierce when in 1996, it was declared that the two countries will host the FIFA World Cup of 2002. After lot of discussions, it was decided that both countries were to co-host the event, and finally coming together as one, both of the nations invested billions to provide the best infrastructure and built several stadiums. For Korea, some thought that it may hamper the relation between the two countries but, many thought it could be a great opportunity to revive itself from the past damage that Korea went through.

The Spread of Hallyu-wave in Japan

The first Korean drama to gain extensive popularity in Japan was Winter Sonata in 2003. The program was aired twice in the same year due to high demand from viewers. SM Entertainment, which is now the part of Big-3 entertainment companies, sent their 2-years trained artist – BoA (has been credited as queen of K-Pop), to an unknown market of Japan. BoA debuted at the age of 13 in Korea and was an immediate success followed by her Japanese debut in 2001 along with some TV commercials.

Picture Credits: Wikipedia

Surrounded by the hype of FIFA World Cup, her album, Listen to My Heart went straight to #1 on Oricon charts which showed the possibility of expansion of the Hallyu-wave in Japan. It also helped in lifting up the barriers that had restricted the import and export of entertainment between the countries. After BoA’s remarkable success, SM sent their boy group – TVXQ, and were successfully able to attract the Japanese audience. They were the first K-Pop group to perform at Tokyo Dome, which is one of the biggest stadiums in Japan.

Picture Credits: Wikipedia

After TVXQ, various other K-pop groups, including Super Junior, SHINee, Kara, Big Bang, Girls’ Generation, etc., made their debuts in Japan and magnificently contributed to the rebirth of the Hallyu-Wave in Japan in its very initial years. At present, Japan is the second largest music market after the US in the world and it is significantly bigger than the Korean music market. That means being successful in Japan would really help a group to gain more recognition and boost their income. Japanese people are known for having great taste in music. They accept a variety of music genres which can be easily seen by analyzing the charts. Just like Gaon charts in Korea, Japan has Oricon charts where the songs of different genres are seen on #1 making it easier for a group or solo artist to enter into the J-Pop market.

Picture Credits: Wikipedia

Artists like BoA and TVXQ have helped in bridging the gap between the two nations by keeping the initial step of Hallyu-wave in Japan. Still holding a major part of their fandom in Japan, they are one of the most respected artists of all the time. Currently, groups like BTS, Twice, Seventeen, and Astro are among the Third generation groups that have shown praiseworthy performances on the Oricon charts. Even though groups like TXT, Enhypen, and Treasure are new Korean acts, yet they have successfully captured the Japanese market. All of these groups are of one of the best-selling Korean acts in the Japanese music market so far.

Picture Credits: Bighit Twitter

What is your favorite Japanese track by a Korean group or artist? Tell us about it in the comments below!

51 Comments Add yours

  1. saumya7897 says:

    Well written amazing article.πŸ‘Œ

    1. mehaksharma2803 says:

      Thank you πŸ’™

  2. I have to say that Japanese songs of K-pop artists have a completely different vibe to it😌With BoA stepping into Japanese industry k-pop industry is breaking records on Japan charts. I love many Japanese songs some of them would be Drama, Everlasting Shine by TXT, Hitori Janai, 24 Hours,Fallin Flower by Seventeen, Hanasake Mirai by Astro, Slump, TOP by Stray Kids, For You, Stay Gold by BTS, Don’t worry ’bout me by Pentagon, Flag by The Boyz and many more….. the list will go onπŸ˜ŒπŸ˜‚β€οΈ well written πŸ‘ will definitely share with fellow k-pop lovers❀️

    1. mehaksharma2803 says:

      Thank you πŸ’™β€οΈ

  3. It’s so good to see two cultures uniting to give amazing masterpieces πŸ’– Music truly has no language barriers. Very well written article πŸ‘πŸ‘

    1. mehaksharma2803 says:

      Thank you:) πŸ’œ

  4. Mehak Di, I loved reading this article. Wow *suga style* πŸ€©πŸŽ‰πŸ’œπŸ‘ŒπŸ˜Œ

    1. mehaksharma2803 says:

      Thank you πŸ’™πŸ˜

  5. Ashley Kumar says:

    Cue Mirotic Japanese Version by TVXQ πŸ˜­πŸ’•

    1. mehaksharma2803 says:

      Chef’s kiss πŸ’―

  6. K-Pop Artists gave their uniqueness to emerge in the pop music in Japan and all around the world. This article is quite insightful about it. If i talk about my favorite Japanese song by a K-Pop singer then I’ll list down few names such as SHINee’s Taemin – Sayonara Hitori, Super Junior’s- A Cha, TVXQ’s – Mirotic Jap. ver, ATEEZ’s – Utopic & Answer Jap. ver.

    1. mehaksharma2803 says:

      Sayonara hitori ❀️πŸ”₯

  7. tahooracharfare says:

    I am in love with BTS’ all japanese covers and album’s. Also their latest OST for the film “Your Eyes Tell”, is just amazing.

    1. mehaksharma2803 says:


  8. Anonymous says:


    1. mehaksharma2803 says:

      Bruh πŸ˜‚

  9. rupalikujur says:

    Japanese tracks that are on my Repeat List!
    (G)I-DLE – Tung-Tung
    BTS – Film Out ,Your Eyes Tell, Lights, Stay Gold
    TREASURE – Beautiful
    MONSTA X – Wish On The Same Sky
    I can remember only these πŸ™ˆ

    1. mehaksharma2803 says:

      Taste πŸ’― ❀️

  10. Anushka Gupta says:

    Music is the best therapy….and I’m glad I came across this article.❀️❀️

    1. mehaksharma2803 says:


  11. suhasini17 says:

    Really enjoyed the article!!! Am really enjoying the Japanese tracks !!

    1. mehaksharma2803 says:

      Thank you πŸ’™β€οΈ

  12. Muskan says:

    Very informative and well written article.
    Keep up the good work β™₯️

    1. mehaksharma2803 says:

      Thanks bro 🌼🌼

  13. It’s so rare to see where people talk about Japanese tracks by Korean artists. The article is so beautifully written as it talk about the artists who spread Hallyu wave in Japan and also how Japanese albums and Japanese tracks are integral part of Kpop. My favorite Japanese tracks are Film Out, Your Eyes Tell, Let Go, lights, stay gold, TOP, Fallin Flower, and many more..

    1. mehaksharma2803 says:

      Thanks for the recommendations πŸ’™

  14. kylemyoxin78 says:

    I never really used to understand why Koreans also sing Japanese tracks, but when I went deep into the history, I realized these facts. Today, after reading this article, my knowledge really got replenished.

    1. mehaksharma2803 says:

      Thank you πŸ’™!

  15. Smriti. L says:

    I was always curious about why songs by K-pop bands are on Oricon chart, now I know why. Great article πŸ‘

    1. mehaksharma2803 says:

      Thank you πŸ™‚ !πŸ’œ

  16. Madhavi says:

    nice article..

    1. mehaksharma2803 says:


  17. mehaksharma2803 says:

    Cheers to hallyu fam ❀️
    Thank you for letting me share my knowledge on this ❀️

  18. shwets007 says:

    Japanese songs by Korean artists hits differently than their Korean songs and I’m here for that!

    1. mehaksharma2803 says:

      You are absolutely right πŸ’―

  19. anishanath says:

    Mainly after knowing the korean culture,I found articles only talking about Korean stuffs but Hallyuism is the first website which published an article on Koreans singing Japanese song which is very rare. This article is very rare and awesome, really the Japanese songs sang by the Koreans are awesome. I loved this article.

    1. mehaksharma2803 says:

      Means a lot, thank you πŸ’™

  20. Preeti says:

    Great article guys!!!Didn’t know this much about the Japanese tracks also the Oricon Chart, really amazing…..

    1. mehaksharma2803 says:

      Thank you πŸ’™

  21. hallyufan135 says:

    Before knowing the history , I had already listened many Japanese songs. Some are from our Favourite kpop groups like EXO, SHINEE, BTS, ASTRO, ENHYPEN. But when I get to know about the relationship between Korea and Japan because of 36 years colonization of Japan, Korean government demolished all the Buildings made by Japan to remove the single mark of them, I was very much curious that even after that in Japan there is BTS Japan Official fanbase and almost every korean Artists or kpop group make songs in Japanese. This article helped me to get my all answers together. Nice article Mehak leadernim. ❀️❀️❀️

    1. mehaksharma2803 says:

      Thank you so much ❀️❀️

  22. Anonymous says:

    i’m looking forward for more jpop to came on the korean stage, especially rookie/newcomer musicians! I’d also love to see miura daichi on stage tho

    1. mehaksharma2803 says:

      I hope we get to witness the same.🌼

  23. Kim Jisoo of Blackpink Sang “Yuki no hana” at thier Japan tour . It’s been 2 years ig and the song lives in my mind rent free. Besides, Yuki no hana , i really like Your Eyes Tell by BTS and Crush jp.ver by 2ne1. And ngl every track whether it’s Title Track or B-sides , Blackpink always owns it in Japanese theme .

    1. mehaksharma2803 says:

      Thank you for the recommendations πŸ’™

  24. ekta1927 says:

    Love the article. I really get to know so much why kpop artists sing japanese songs.

    1. mehaksharma2803 says:

      Thank you πŸ’™

  25. khiroda06 says:

    My personal fav is Yuki no Hana cover by Jisoo of BLACKPINK πŸ’™πŸ’™πŸ’™ beside that songs like Sayonara hitori by Taemin, Beautiful by TREASURE, Film out and Your eyes tell by BTS, and Dreamcatcher’s All the Japanese tracks and BLACKPINK’s JP albums are my soul πŸ™ŒπŸ½πŸ’™ thanks for giving us a detailed information from Korean-Japanese relations to Begining of Hallyu wave in Japan πŸ™ŒπŸ½πŸ’™πŸ’™πŸ’™

    1. mehaksharma2803 says:

      Thank you so much ❀️

  26. Anonymous says:

    Superb Article..

    1. mehaksharma2803 says:

      Thank you !! 🌺

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