3 years ago5,000+ Views

In Japan and Korea, idols are a huge deal.

The fandoms surrounding idols and idol groups are massive, with a ton of merch, lingo, events, etc surrounding the entertainers.
So why isn't that happening in America?
The UK tried it out with One Direction and we have a few girl groups like Fifth Harmony and Little Mix, but for the most part the classic pop group ensemble faded away in the early 2000s.

Here are a few reasons why it might not work:

I'm not saying either opinion is correct - just stating how the general public views celebrities in America vs Korea/Japan. I'm not an expert on either so please share your opinions as well!

1. The Concept of Being An Idol

Sure, celebrities in the US know that they are role models, but do they really take this as their job?!
In Japan and Korea, a single slip up can mean public humiliation (such as when an AKB48 member had a boyfriend - she had to shave her head as an apology) while in America celebrities insist on their personal rights to do whatever they want.
In their opinion, just because you're a celebrity doesn't mean you aren't allowed a personal life. They should be able to be in the lime light but also have a lot of personal life that shouldn't be judged by the public,
In Japan/Korea, every aspect of an entertainers life is analyzed and people know that is just part of the job. You must be a model citizen at all times and any bad behaviour (whether its on or off camera) is bad for your company, your career, and your fans.

2. Company Loyalty

In America, we know the big companies like Warner, Sony, etc, but we rarely pay attention to what label each artist is on. And even if they're on the same label they don't really work together so its hard for fans to be loyal to one company.
The closest I think we can get to that is waaay back with Motown Records or more recently the bands that came out on Fueled By Ramen. Smaller hip hop labels still keep this group style too! We could actually see the connection the artists had on those labels and could support the label as well as the artists.
Now in Korea, we all know that companies are a big deal. YG Family, JYP, Cube, SM, etc. They do things together like concerts, Christmas songs, etc. We are able to anticipate the company's new project or collaboration. It's easier for the fans to get hyped over multiple groups at once.

3. Pre-Packaged

In America, bands are usually put together by the band members. Whether they start in a garage or they put up flyers to find members, it is the band that forms first, then the label that signs them.
In Korea and Japan however, we have a TON of trainees all hoping to be perfectly placed in a group. Think of the show Produce! Perfect example of prepackaging :) One Direction is an example of that happening where the boys were somewhat put together by a label, but musical and personality differences got in the way :/

4. Training

Idols train a LOT. Sure, in America entertainers practice, train, get vocal lessons, learn new instruments, get prepped for interviews etc but they are not forced to practice for 12 hours a day.
Living in dorms without cell phones or internet, being forced to learn languages, dances, public speaking, etc - its totally normal in the idol world. Because of this, idols should be pretty prepared for anything. I'm not so sure American entertainers would be up for this style of training.

Can you think of other reasons why the "idol" style of the music industry doesn't work in America?

There really are just so many cultural differences between the US and many countries in Asia. I am so used to the way our idols live that it is normal to me, but I can definitely see how those from the outside looking in here could not understand it. Sure US celebrities here have freedom, and that is what this country is about, but a lot of them end up going crazy because of this. Ex: Lindsey, Britney, Miley, you know the bunch.... I wonder how they would have turned out if their labels did indeed put at least some restrictions on them. But then again we all know how heartbreaking it is to see our idols suffering because of restrictions. It brings about a mindset there in which idols get hate for the littlest things! (EX: KAI!!!! Stop the hate please... 😡)
Because they wouldn't be taken seriously. They'd be stuck with fans that were 12 because anyone older thinks boy/girl groups are immature. Because a lot of people find it artificial. Because some would be bound to call themselves a band when none of them play instruments, or at least not on stage or in songs. Because they would be seen as really shallow. Nsync was the end. And as usual they broke up after a short amount of time. They don't last long. So many lip sync. They're usually really cheesy. Basically they're a fucking joke. that's some Disney shit and they can't make anything aimed at older fans. It just doesn't work. The closest things are rap groups and they still pick who they want to work with most the time. They generally feel that just because they're famous doesn't mean they can be bought and made to record a track with some asshole they don't like, respect, or doesn't have the skill or sound they look for. Which I totally agree with that. I'd be damned if I'd be put on a track with Pitbull. He's famous but he can kick rocks. It wouldn't work. Rap groups and legit bands are all that are going to work. American groups are just cheesy as fuck.
The US is also very accepting of different body types, while many of our idols barely eat every day just so their weight can stay in the double-digits. I cannot see citizens here accepting that aspect of the idol lifestyle.
I agree with everything on the list plus the language difference. Everyone who watches the Kpop I show them always say "That was super awesome! I would watch more but it's in Korean. " If they took the time to look up the lyrics they would see the songs have beautiful lyrics! I don't understand why the language has to be a barrier in the first place, it should be about the music and the message and the presentation too, not just the language. If we only held importance for the lyrics in American songs, then the most important things to us would be twerking, drinking, and partying.
To be all honest, I think another reason would be because of fans. I mean, everyone on here, loves both their music and the music played here, but not everyone. I'm pretty sure an idols popularity would it be the same as in Korea or Japan. I mean, I pretty sure we all heard someone say something bad about KPOP. Like, they all look like girls when there boys, or the girls all are fake and have fake everything, so do you really think that's going to help an idol out? I mean, not everyone is going to love KPOP here, and most people in the US don't even know what it is or like it, so it's going to be pretty hard on an idol if they were in the US. We all love them and think their amazing, but not everyone does and that is most likely going to bring them down or hurt them, even through they have fans here. And let's face it, they have more support in Korea or Japan than here in the US. 😑😑😑
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