K-Pop, the Sound of Subaltern Cosmopolitanism?

Authored by: Hyunjoon Shin

Routledge Handbook of East Asian Popular Culture

Print publication date:  November  2016
Online publication date:  December  2016

Print ISBN: 9780415749428
eBook ISBN: 9781315643106
Adobe ISBN: 9781317285014


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Has Korean pop, a.k.a. K-pop, established itself as one of the popular genres in the global music industry? For those who say yes, there exists a clear piece of evidence: “The Korea K-Pop Hot 100,” launched in August 2011, is second in Asia only after “Japan Hot 100,” which was started in February 2008. Popular hits in Korea are displayed with romanized titles and artists’ names, but that is not the whole story. Around the same time as the K-pop chart started its business, two important events heralded K-pop’s “triumph” in the global market. One was the SM Town Live 2010 World Tour held in Le Zenith de Paris on June 10 and 11 that drew big crowds from all over Europe, followed by another live show in Madison Square Garden, New York on October 23. The other was the global craze of “Gangnam Style” that began in July 2012—it topped the music charts of more than thirty countries by the end of the year, reaching number 2 in the U.S. Hot 100 Billboard chart and left a record of more than 2 billion hits on YouTube.

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