Photo: YouTube/Mnet K-POP
entertainment

AKB48 and S Korean idol groups perform hits at music awards; turns out to be a disaster

75 Comments
By Koh Ruide, SoraNews24

Japanese idol group AKB48’s popularity is so phenomenal that it even has politicians lobbying for concerts in their country. The mega group isn’t so hot in South Korea though, where their own idol group brands have gained international acclaim.

The two distinct pop culture styles came to a head during the recent Mnet Asian Music Awards (MAMA) held in Japan, when AKB48 teamed up with five Korean idol groups and delivered a less-than-stellar performance.

▼ Lots of dynamic and stylish dance moves from the South Koreans...

lots.jpg
Photo: YouTube/Mnet K-POP

▼ …and much lukewarm fluttering around by AKB48.

lukewarn.jpg
Photo: YouTube/Mnet K-POP

AKB48 generally portrays a cute image, while Korean groups tend to lean towards mature sexiness. But what set them apart in that event was that the Korean side outshone AKB48 with energetic movements and superior choreography.

Some South Korean fans couldn’t help but notice the stark contrast and voiced their unbiased opinions:

“South Korean idols are prettier and have better dance moves.”

“I finally understand why Korean groups are so popular overseas.”

“Our South Korean idols have to pick up the slack in the performance. It doesn’t seem like there’s any decent Japanese idols out there.”

“AKB48’s costumes made it look like they’re going to a kid’s party.”

“Those were AKB48 songs, yet why is the choreography better on the Koreans’ side? Those AKB48 members were hardly dancing at all!”

Nevertheless AKB48 picked up their spirit and showed they could keep pace with their South Korean counterparts in the next collaboration song, "Pick Me."

▼ Both sides made sure they were not to be outdone this time.

The harshest critiques came from Japanese netizens:

“There’s no comparison at all. AKB48’s level is just way too low.”

“We lost again. There’s no way we can beat big brother Korea.”

“All AKB48 is good for is handshaking events. Let’s not even talk about music and dance.”

“It’s common knowledge that AKB48 is garbage.”

“Some people just love to defend AKB48’s amateur choreography and terrible singing. It’s really disgusting.”

To be fair, the vast majority of the audience enjoyed the show, and that’s all that matters really. Such differences in performance could be attributed to culture and a bazillion other factors, none of which would change the mindset of fans willing to spend unimaginable sums of money to buy their favorite AKB48 CDs.

Source: YouTube/Mnet K-POP via My Game News Flash

Read more stories from SoraNews24.

-- GMO’s pretty employees rival AKB48 with big smiles and short skirts

-- AKB48 not just popular in Japan – Belgian politician lobbying for first European concert

-- South Korea’s “Idol School” proves Korean idols are more than just pretty faces【Pics & Vids】

© SoraNews24

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

75 Comments
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Without meaning to nitpick but this event was held in Japan not South Korea. Its a Korean event but MAMA held 3 separate shows in Vietnam, Japan and Hong Kong.

I agree with the comments left though. They know the reason why AKB48 haven't enjoyed worldwide popularity that Korean girl groups such as Girls' Generation, 2NE1, Blackpink, 4Minute etc have enjoyed.

Moderator: Thank you. That error has been corrected.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Finally someone said it and they listened. Japanese cute is not based on sexy but "trying" and crying a lot. Hope they realize from this mistake before 2020 where they have been booked.

15 ( +22 / -7 )

gogogoToday  07:18 am JST

Japanese cute is not based on sexy but "trying" and crying a lot

Or in other words, childishness and weakness.

18 ( +23 / -5 )

I disagree with the commentators cited in the article. Both sides were equally awful.

16 ( +19 / -3 )

I watched the video, they were all cringey and terrible

12 ( +13 / -1 )

While I don't mind AKB48, the group is not as good since almost ALL of the original members have graduated. Also, AKB48 is more of a bootcamp/ Idol training school for idols who want to venture onto bigger and better things later.

The South Korean idols on the other hand, are more professional about what they do. Like, this is their job to entertain and take it to the next level. It's are career for them, not just a training school. I think that maybe AKB48 could learn a thing or too from international acts that make them popular internationally, not just on the national level.

8 ( +12 / -4 )

AKB48 generally portrays a cute image, while Korean groups tend to lean towards mature sexiness.

This says it all really. The organizer made a mistake to mix totally different style groups. But please don't say that the Korean groups are more talented. Yes perhaps in dance-choreography but SK just understood that sexiness sells. If AKB would wear and dance the same as the Korean groups, their ratings would be MUCH higher.

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

People outside Japan want women acting like women, not acting like an 11 -year old. That will explain the start contrast.

19 ( +24 / -5 )

I always thought E-Girls were a better matchup for Korean girl groups. AKB is for little girls and Otaku.

12 ( +13 / -1 )

“AKB48’s costumes made it look like they’re going to a kid’s party.”

Made to sound and move like that too.

Just when they get off the lolikom-paradise island that people notice that it is time to grow up.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Childish gestures or mature sexiness(?), and who's better or not aside, the show looked pretty cool. That's coming from someone who doesn't enjoy j-idols at all. The stage was amazingly big and putting all that people together looked like something their fans enjoyed.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

This is "pop" music. Whether it is K or J, it's still just popularized, homogenized, and for mass consumption.  Take it for what it is - light entertainment from modestly talented entertainers.

7 ( +10 / -3 )

@Kiera Hohne

Thank you for that perspective.

Koh Ruide seems to have a flair for criticising without perspective the talent in the Japanese music industry.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The Korean language just sounds more suited to pop music. It's really catchy.♪Uri bun pumi pumi sonyame♪. How can you compete with that? It's going to be stuck in my head all day.

-3 ( +5 / -8 )

The Korean groups are going to have a serious lumbar problems later in life cuz mostly they just swivel their hips and stick out their buts. AK is for a wider audience, not just gazing men/boz.

Just gimmie that old time rock-n-roll!

-5 ( +7 / -12 )

Being in the entertainment business, the problem in Japan is the Idol groups are controlled by a bunch of old men satiating their egos. They are not contemporary and prefer enka to J-pop. On the other hand, K-pop idol groups are controlled by more youthful and contemporary companies that allow young creative professional musicians to write, record, produce and choreograph their sound.

12 ( +15 / -3 )

Come on, it's idol groups we're talking about !

How can you choose the "best" of songs that all sound the same, and choreographies a very intelligent monkey could learn ?

An idol who performs better just means she's hot.

1 ( +8 / -7 )

I don’t agree about AKB being bad. They’re more to cute because of of the members are below 18, which actually better than SK who force their below 18 idol to act like 20, plus their make up. And AKB is more like a training program that are broadcast, but SK idol are more professional and already when through long training before debut. The concept is different. And the AKB now is not the original singer of both songs, so it’s not as good as it’s used too. Also the camera work is horrible, making it looks bad for most part

-4 ( +3 / -7 )

What am i looking at @ 3.01? anyone?

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Arent girl and boybands suppossed to be silly immature music for teens?

I love it when people analyze it and try to decide what is cool and what isn’t.

There is music being played. They aren’t singers. They aren’t artists displaying their art.

Its just commercialism for the masses.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

I always found embarrassing how pretending to be a 10 year old it's consider attractive in Japan. Most disturbing yet it's how grown up men seem to be the biggest hard-dying fans for groups like AKB58.

11 ( +13 / -2 )

@Kobe White Bar Owner

What am i looking at @ 3.01? anyone?

Looks like someone lost their rhythm for a few seconds there!

3 ( +3 / -0 )

The biggest cheers were for those feminine looking boy band members whenever they were shown, both idol groups lost out to them.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

The Korean girl bands I've seen sing in multi-part harmonies and swivel their hips to the beat. These are talents that AK48 and most other Japanese idols lack.

If Japan features its no-talent talents at the Olympics opening ceremony, as has been discussed, it will be a national embarrassment.

1 ( +6 / -5 )

More people on the stage than in the seats.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

This article doesn't make any sense. I was curious so I read a bit of things around the web to understand what MAMA is.

First: This "MAMA" is a weird thing in the first place, indeed they call it "Asian music awards", but it's only a Korean show for only Korean artists.

Second: AKB48 doesn't represent J-pop scene. There's plenty of other kinds of Jpop artists, and if you want a Japanese girlband who can actually sing and dance, you can look at E-girls, since they are professional artists, not "idols".

Third: there's a reason why the Koreans wanted to host AKB48 in their show, and it's the fact in 2018 they will co-produce with AKB48 brand a show in Korea based on AKB48 concept, called "Produce48". So, if the Koreans really despised AKB48, they wouldn't do a collaboration with them. They are businesses men and they know that AKB48 = money.

Fourth: this article looks highly biased against AKB48 and jpop in general, not only because it doesn't explain what I explained at the point 3, that shows like Korea is actually interested in AKB48 format, but also because I don't see "any disaster" on the stage. All the girls are dancing the same coreography, and it's not absolutely true that the Korean girls are dancing better. They are dancing the same damn thing. All these girls (both Japanese and Koreans) lack real and genuine talent, they are treated by their agencies like livestock. There's nothing really good in this genre of girlbands, no matter if the concept is cute or sexy (I find funny how some people think "sexy" = more quality). These groups are highly manufactured groups, really, REALLY homogeneous (as a European myself, I can't say the difference between the girls, especially the Korean ones, because of their similar make up and probably plastic surgery), and I don't think this genre of thing can work here in Europe.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

J&K pop both fall into the "caterwauling racket" genre. Dreadful.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Japanese have Japanese pop culture and also have a domestic market big enough. AKB's main target is guys who is attracted to young, cute, school girl like chicks. You can call them lolicons if you want to. If their, performers, choreography and singing is perfect it would rather discourage those loyal fans since it is not what they want from those idol girls. In other words those girls might look superior to them who doesn't need any care. Again, you don't need to understand Japanese or their culture.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@Nerakai: men being attracted to young girls is an old story, bro. You don't need to be Japanese to understand this concept (I am a woman, tho). Britney Spears, with her school uniform, was loved both by teenagers and older men. Anyway, I think it's important to consider like sexual exploitation of young women happens both if you make them childish and innocent, or "sexy". Music isn't about moving your butt. Music should be more than that. Music should be about MUSIC in the first place. Sexy moves are made both for horny teenagers AND old men. And it's also more disgusting when you think that there are tons of Asian little girls who think being like that is "great".

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

About Asian music, Japan have had some true artists, at least. It's the case of X-Japan. Did Korea ever produce something like that, besides hordes of manufactured boybands and girlbands, that can be appreciated mainly by 13 years old kids?

-8 ( +1 / -9 )

J-Music was quiet popular when I was younger Ryuichi Sakamoto, Kitaro, Tomita Isao, etc.

Much of most popular music(any country) is just not worth listening too, plus moves like twerking, etc turn my stomach.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

@pacint: yeah, I find disgusting like apparently the concept of "sexy" moves, means "good quality music" to some people. I guess by this kind of standard Nicki Minaj is the greatest artist ever, and I didn't know it, uh!!! Sexualization of young women has nothing to do with quality music.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

I could have told you all that stuff in the article 10 years ago. AKB has absolutely no rhythm to their act. They are like children because Japanese geeks like 'cute.'

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

@oderworldly: Your post is so wrong on many levels. Originality in K-pop? Everyone knows like that industry works, as a factory of clones. It's not true the singers are "free to express themselves", they are trained by their agencies like slaves since they are 11/12, they must make also plastic surgery to fit the "perfect beauty standard", and they debut after some years of this massacre.

Plus, you bash Enka artists, uh? Such a pity most of Enka artists have better singing skills than most of Kpop and Jpop artists.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

Alex80: Music isn't about moving your butt. Music should be more than that. Music should be about MUSIC in the first place.

But what we're encountering here is a chicken-or-egg question. Are audiences to blame for the cheapening of music by patronizing more attractive artists, or artists who are better at moving their butts? Or are the musicians and labels themselves doing it in a race to sell more tickets and merchandise than the competition?

2 ( +3 / -1 )

@The Original Wing: sex sells. This is a well known fact. It's way more difficult to find real talents rather than training a bunch of random kids for years to move their butts, sing all similar songs, and changing their face by plastic surgery. It's such a pity music industry is so awful worldwide, today. The Beatles weren't handsome. They weren't dancers. They were true, creative and revolutionary musicians. I don't know why we can't come back to that concept.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

It's an interesting case study.

As usual a Japanese product aimed at the Japanese market can succeed but will be obliterated when faced with a more competitive rival from an external country, with no serious effort made to counter the competition.

Japanese economy 1985-present in a nutshell.

AKB ought to focus more on promoting its interesting, funny or talented members rather than trying to just cash in on the cutesy and stupid image it has relied on so much up to this point.

Other more organic idol groups such as keyakizaka have seriously eclipsed AKB. Perhaps it is time to just retire the brand entirely, or put it on the backburner like Morning Musume was in the mid 2000's.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Thought the article author hit the nail on the head! These were my thoughts exactly, KPop just seems to go for a bit more mature type content! They use classical singing training, and insert it into their general pop music. (this is something I have training in as well...but still suck at, but I sure appreciate when it is done right! ) And Kpop dance is bolder and more mature! Either way, in the end, it comes down to personal preference! JPop is very much a part of Japanese Culture, as is Chinese Pop. Neither is to my taste. Can't say one is better than the other, but can understand why Kpop has more international appeal.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

This is not supposed to be great music.  It is pap.  And this type of rubbish (but tailored for a different time) has been around for a long time.  Shirley Temple?  The Osmonds?  Bay City Rollers?  Bananarama?  SClub 7? Pan's People?  ET^c.  and those are just a few of the Anglo versions.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

People outside Japan want women acting like women, not acting like an 11 -year old. That will explain the start contrast.

True. Most outside of Japan do not find infantalised women attractive, in fact they think it's rather creepy.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

@paradoxbox: It's like you are living in your own bubble. I already explained how Korea will co-produce a Korean project with AKB48 brand, called Produce48, and this is why AKB48 were hosted at MAMA. AKB48 is anything, except "dead". It's a very successful format, a huge source of cash, and now also Korea wants part of that cake. Probably AKB48 makes more money than most of kpop bands put together. And, I am not speaking about music quality, here...

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

Arent girl and boybands suppossed to be silly immature music for teens?

Take That and Bananarama wrote pop songs with mature lyrics in their younger days.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Music isn't about moving your butt

I would say it is, and always has been about moving your butt, figuratively speaking of course. Where did you come from?

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Wow, if all the people who are supporting Kpop girlbands are adult, I feel embarrassed for them. I am happy here in Europe the girlband (but also boyband) concept is basically dead. Asia stuck in the 90s.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

I am happy here in Europe the girlband (but also boyband) concept is basically dead.

So One Direction never existed?

2 ( +3 / -1 )

What am i looking at @ 3.01? anyone? thats a group of ladyboys, while Korean women look sexy the men seem to want to copy that image and it turns into what you see, I swear they wear more makeup than the women

1 ( +4 / -3 )

fizzbit:

The Korean groups are going to have a serious lumbar problems later in life cuz mostly they just swivel their hips and stick out their buts.

They're just swivelling their hips. That's nothing in East Asia which doesn't have an obesity problem like USA. You must feel envious when you see people touch their feet without bending their legs.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Don’t blame the AKB girls though. Korean men are more masculine than their Japanese counterparts. Japanese “men” prefer childlike innocence and Lolita types who won’t emasculate them compared to Korean men who prefer sexy women. A typical 40 year old Japanese guy will still do double takes on junior high short skirts. This is why AKB48 is so childish, it’s what their fans want.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

@Pukey2: one boyband in more than 20 years.

-6 ( +0 / -6 )

ID say Korean girl groups outsell J girl groups outside their own countries, apart from E girls , Japanese girl groups are immature and adolescent in their image. Girl generation is a good example of young sexy women group that doest make you feel like a pedophile after you've watched it. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fzr2Nv8NTEE

1 ( +3 / -2 )

@wtfjapan: boyband and girlband concepts are childish concepts in music, the worse kind of thing in music ever, made to appeal little kids (they like also to old perverts, of course). If you like those girls just because they make sexy moves rather than act innocent, you aren't better, since they are still very young girls, and there's NOTHING mature in their music and performance, just because they are sexually appealing to you, when you are probably ignoring the age gap between you and them. Your music taste is at Take That or Backstreet Boys fangirl level, except those fangirls were usually 13 years old kids, and if you are an adult man, well...Congratulations.

-6 ( +0 / -6 )

Just look at the pictures, yeah, the AKB48 is way too loli for my taste.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

I meant to say about girlbands "they are liked also by old perverts", in my latest post.

Remember: if she wears slu*ty outfits or childish outfits, and she is a young girl, she is always and only a sexualized young girl. It's alarming like some people feel better just because the girls outfits are sexy. It's like you are missing completely the point.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

You must feel envious when you see people touch their feet without bending their legs.

Myself and none of my friends are obese. Why get personal? Redirecting maybe?

2 ( +3 / -1 )

People outside Japan want women acting like women, not acting like an 11 -year old. That will explain the start contrast.

As a woman myself, I feel really disgusted by this post. I guess you got a lot of thumbs up mainly by men. Indeed, if you think women feel better if they are represented by Kpop girlbands, with their "sexy" outfits and gross dancing, rather than by AKB48 childish innocence, you are so WRONG. True women don't want to be represented by neither of these two disgusting stereotypes, they are only stupid fake fetish for you men.

If there's something I like about Italy, my Country, it's our way to deal with our singers. Unlike what you could see in good part of Italian tv, where women are often oversexualized, our singers, both males and females, are simply singers, without any kind of sexualization. You know, this one, for example, is a "woman acting like a woman":

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Q-TkT3RwJw

Not your Kpop sexy dolls.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

All this JPop versus KPop means nothing really.Those same keyboard warriors will be attacking their own AKB groups the next day about who gets center position in the next song,why their favorite didn't make the video,or is in the back row.

Those fans follow the girls from first auditions,through their time in the groups,till graduation.They invest lots of time and money,so I can see why they get vocal.

I still don't really get the anti's,like 90% of the posters here who only post negative comments.For me,my main hate is Country music.But I simply avoid it,have never posted any derogatory comments on any country forum.If you enjoy music of any type,good for you.

My favorite Japanese girl group is BiSH,so make of that what you want..

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=--ombqA70cI

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@supercross1985: Fun fact is that many of them are saying that AKB48 = Jpop

Naturally, this is stupid, since there's plenty of Japanese girlbands with different styles, that embrace a "sexy style". Just a random example:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oBSt2ehzkm0

Plus, the "cute concept" has been adopted also by Kpop, just a random example:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1VQ-OJ3vCn0

So, it's just your usual Japan bashing that you find on JT, but this article was so biased and without any sense in the first place. What makes me "mad" is the fact some people see, in general, the sexy girlbands as "mature", and they think their music is "quality music", when it's trash as much as the "cute music". I hope they are just trolling.

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

What a garbage article. Koreans are far beyond Japan when it comes to pop music peddled to teens and weeaboos. The real Japan vs Korea event is the East Asian Football Championships coming up shortly.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

The Korean have better plastic surgeons - that's for sure!

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

LOL what a butthurt comment

0 ( +3 / -3 )

And Kpop dance is bolder and more mature! 

I just watched a few random female K-pop videos on YouTube. Was like spending my lunch hour at a gentleman’s club. Bold and mature- yes indeed.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

The impression I get from the huge girl groups is that the management just think "if we throw enough crap at a wall some of it will stick" but.... if the crap isn't fresh but all dry and older than it should be, it will just bounce off.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

since they are still very young girls, and there's NOTHING mature in their music and performance, No theyre adult women that dress like theyre adult women, not adult women dressed like theyre underage teenage girls. Its sad that many of AKB48 fans are middle aged men.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Naturally, this is stupid, since there's plenty of Japanese girlbands with different styles, that embrace a "sexy style". Just a random example: then why arent Egirls performing at the Olympic instead of AKB48?because AKB48 is far more popular in Japan, while sexy women groups dressed like sexy women are far more popular in Korea, big difference

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

That or Backstreet Boys fangirl level, except those fangirls were usually 13 years old kids, and if you are an adult man, well...Congratulations. theres a big difference between finding a adult women dressed like an adult women sexy , compared to finding a girlgroup like AKB48 sexy. If your an adult male and find AKB48 sexy then you need to see a psychiatrist and check your sexual tenancies

1 ( +4 / -3 )

And it's also more disgusting when you think that there are tons of Asian little girls who think being like that is "great".

Indeed. One of the saddest things I ever saw was when my younger son attended his graduation ceremony (!) from nursery. Each child had to go up to the head teacher, receive their certificate, and say what they wanted to be when they grew up. About half the girls wanted to be 'idols'.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@wtfjapan those ladyboys you were calling is popular af. Finished a worldwide tour and from a hella small company who works hard. They create and produce their own music. They received the loudest scream and cheer whenever the camera focuses on them. They are so popular in Japan without Japanese debut and yes they are PRETTY! PRETTIER THAN A REAL WOMAN. Thay use make up like all idols but without make up they look extremely goodlooking.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Alex80

I think you WANT men outside Japan to hate AKB, but most guys between 10-60 probably think they are pretty cute.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

but most guys between 10-60 probably think they are pretty cute.

Is this the benchmark for musical excellence these days?

I weep.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

LOL what a butthurt comment

Ironic comment in ironic thread does not get irony shocker.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Sorry to say, but South Korean bands ARE a lot better in general, in terms of "idol groups" at least. Bands with real talent? That's another story. But the Korean bands can seriously dance, and actually sing. Compare that with their Japanese counterparts, who are often off-tune, horrid singers who can't dance or move worth a damn, and you can see a stark contrast. As to the "beautiful" part, I don't think you can definitively say, as beauty is in the eye of the beholder. The only advantage Japanese bands have, and why they are emulated, is money and slightly more lenient contracts. Korean agencies are far more strict than Johnny's.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

It's tough to be a fan of both K-pop and J-pop. Like being caught between two squabbling parents during a bitter divorce. I love the music, though. K-pop is fun to listen to, but J-pop has some rock 'n roll in it, which I also appreciate. Nice to see them all onstage at one show.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

What do you expect from AKB48; of course they have little in the way of talent when the only way you can audition for a spot in the group is with a futon strapped to your back...

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Appalling isn't it? But when you have a youth which is so lacking in curiousity and originality, so insipid and dull and unchallenged, minds numbed by an authoritarian system and bland consumerism...the dominant youth culture is bound to reflect that.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@wtfjapan: it's useless, you missed completely my point, as expected by a man. First, I am a woman, and I don't find other women attractive. Second, my main point was that, in my personal opinion, in general in Kpop young girls are sexualized as much as in AKB48, the girls have basically the same age, and it's not like if a woman wears slut*y outfits, and you, as a man, feel more legitimate to be attracted to her, well she is more respected than if she is wearing a more innocent outfit. But I guess this conversation is totally useless with a man. Bye!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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