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Why Japan doesn’t give a Gangnam about PSY

136 Comments
By Steven Simonitch

I remember showing “Gangnam Style” to my Japanese friends and coworkers only a few weeks after it was uploaded to YouTube in July. While, like millions of other viewers, I thought the video was best thing to come out of YouTube since Charlie the Unicorn, I was surprised to find that most Japanese people I showed it to would just stare at the screen and mumble a disinterested “hmmmm.”

Were they seeing the same video I was? Did they not notice the horse-riding dance and the rhythmic pelvic thrusting in the elevator? Were they deaf to the addictive melody and blind to the tongue-in-cheek sexual innuendos? I mean, come on people: he’s screaming at her butt.

At the time, I thought maybe I just had dull friends. But after over 400,000,000 views, numerous international media appearances, an American record deal and still only minimal sign of interest from Japan, I’m compelled to think that there is something about PSY and Gangnam Style that the Japanese are simply unable to accept.

But what could that “something” be? It’s not like Japan has traditionally rejected K-pop—just the opposite, actually: Korean artists like TVXQ and Girls’ Generation have ranked high in Japanese music charts numerous times over the past few years, and many Japanese websites and magazines have even been following PSY during his international rise to fame. It would seem strange, then, that PSY has yet to debut in the Japanese market.

As it turns out, he tried. Back in August, PSY’s Japanese record label, YGEX, announced that PSY would release a slightly-modified Japanese version of “Gangnam Style” called “Roppongi Style” in late September. After the original song exploded in popularity overseas, YGEX decided to stick with the original Korean “Gangnam Style,” but still aim for a September Japanese release.

However, a few weeks before the scheduled release, an announcement was posted to the YGEX official site stating that the September release was “mistaken information” and PSY’s Japanese debut was indefinitely postponed.

While it’s likely the major reason behind this was PSY’s decision to sign to successful American record label Schoolboy Records, anti-Korean sentiment over the Takeshima/Dokdo Islands dispute, which had reached a high in late-August, may have also played a part.

A Japanese television industry representative offers his insight while speaking with Japanese entertainment publication Cyzo:

“PSY had already begun to be featured on Japanese morning variety news programs back in July, but the reaction from viewers was horrible. This was right around the time when Japanese media were under fire for over-promoting K-pop while attitudes toward Korea were souring, and the reason K-Pop became so popular in Japan in the first place is because Korean artists are known for being beautiful, so PSY looked completely out of place on screen. Even if he debuted in Japan, I don’t think he would have sold very much.”

So, political tensions aside, Japan doesn’t like PSY because he’s not beautiful enough? But isn’t that what makes “Gangnam Style” and the whole craze it’s inspired so refreshingly great? PSY’s humble appearance and goofy performance have succeeded where all the perfect proportions and tiny skirts have failed, and the world adored him for it.

A glance at the comments on Yahoo! Japan, where the Cyzo article was reposted, suggests that’s not how the Japanese Internet masses see it.

“Oh, he doesn’t have to come to Japan. We don’t want him here,” reads the most voted-up comment, in response to YGEX’s decision to postpone PSY’s Japanese album release.

Others confirm the theory that PSY just doesn’t meet Japan’s beauty standards, writing: “Watching an ugly middle-aged man desperately wave his hips around is sad,” and, “I’m glad he’s not coming to Japan. I’d get sick from seeing that on TV.”

Most people, however, just seem to be in denial: “The only reason his video has become this popular is because Koreans are sitting at their computer pressing F5 to refresh the page and add to the view count,” charges one commenter. “The sight of a chubby Asian wearing sunglasses and surrounded by beautiful girls was probably funny to Westerners. That’s why he’s popular,” posits another.

Yet another user throws down the gauntlet for PSY, saying, “I’ll recognize he’s the real thing when he starts playing to sold-out shows at huge venues in America.”

Actions speak louder than words; are you up to the challenge, America?

Source: cyzo.com, via Yahoo! Japan

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136 Comments
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The video's message is irony, and the guy doesn't take himself seriously, in fact, he makes himself out to be a loser. The Japanese, who worship their squeaky clean celebs, don't connect with those ideas. The Japanese view cynicism in a negative light, as the song has a social message too.

Japanese resentment is also a big factor. Whenever the Koreans have success, the Japanese cringe, not just the nationalist ones, but the society as a whole.The Japanese have long assumed that they should be Asia's leaders in pop and culture. However, they're in decline while the Koreans are on the rise.

12 ( +25 / -13 )

Others confirm the theory that PSY just doesn’t meet Japan’s beauty standards, writing: “Watching an ugly middle-aged man desperately wave his hips around is sad,” and, “I’m glad he’s not coming to Japan. I’d get sick from seeing that on TV.”

Yeah, right... it's not like Japanese "comedians" ever do stuff like that.

37 ( +39 / -4 )

Not sure if the disinterested "hmmmm" was because his friends are Japanese. I'm Caribbean and that's my reaction. The Gangnam Style video is cute in a Spice Girls kind of way but not enough to keep my interest.

7 ( +10 / -2 )

Sour grapes.

4 ( +11 / -7 )

its a jealousy issue, because Japan has never had a pop star become popular overseas.

-5 ( +19 / -25 )

Why would they? That MV sucks big time IMO. It's not even considered K-pop, FYI.

6 ( +13 / -7 )

I'm not Japanese, I think this gangnam stuff around the world is idiotic, it reminds me of the MACARENA back in the 1990s, and I hated that too. How many of these stupid parodies are they going to come up with? It's getting old fast.

16 ( +24 / -8 )

it reminds me of the MACARENA back in the 1990s, and I hated that too

Macarena was way better than this idiotic MV

1 ( +10 / -9 )

I am going to go out on a limb here and say most of these posters don't do the dance club scene. The words don't matter one bit. A good DJ on the table will turn the beats in this song to pure magic. I have probably heard at least 20 songs mix with this.

If Psy actually wrote the music to this song he will probably see a lot of success in countries that have dance music that charts top 40. While the image sells well now, most pop tart artists need someone with talent to write the music for them. We may be looking at an Asian Timbaland.

2 ( +8 / -6 )

I'd have to side with most of the people above. Seen it once, don't really need to see or hear of it again.

16 ( +17 / -1 )

It is nice to see an Asian pop band that doesn't take themselves so seriously. I have honestly had enough of the "cool", "Kawaii", "sexy" Asian pop artist and the mediocre music that most produce.

Psy is seems to be making fun of the whole thing and that is why it is fun to see. Maybe Japan's real problem is not having a wide enough scope to the national sense of humor. Or being too obsessed with plastic doll like idols that are as interesting as a sidewalk.

3 ( +11 / -8 )

Bunch of bitter people i say......

-2 ( +10 / -12 )

TokyoGasOCT. 14, 2012 - 07:46AM JST Sour grapes.

Yep.

It's better than anything J-pop could produce. Most K-pop can be, at least in the minds of Japanese, thought to be a copy of J-pop, so it validates Japan's brainless sugary music / entertainment industry.

Something that's actually creative, BETTER and made by KOREANS?

instant hate

-2 ( +12 / -14 )

Maybe I'm getting old, but I struggled to watch the whole thing one time through.

16 ( +17 / -1 )

I think it's more of a cultural difference. Maybe the tune of Gangnam style doesn't jive with the Japanese tune of music. Other groups like Kara and Girls Generations, sound Japanese to me.and I think that's the reason why. Also many young Japanese are not so into dancing. They prefer the idol style dancing for some reason I don't know why.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

“Watching an ugly middle-aged man desperately wave his hips around is sad,”

An ugly middle-aged man wearing a schoolgirls uniform however.... now thats entertainment!

11 ( +13 / -2 )

@Jeff

I agree, while I'm not a big fan of J-K pop, I have to admit the tune is catchy and the dude is funny. I heard he sometimes smokes the good herb. I saw an interview with him, yes, he doesn't take himself so seriously and is a bit humble. But yes, Japan wants to think of itself as a culture of Asian musical talents as the UK, US or Aus. and that is just simply not the case. Japan focuses too, too much on cuteness and seriousness, always positive and mostly about being happy.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Maybe i am lucky to not know anything about this matter.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Lets get some things heard before I launch my attack. I'm married to a Japanese woman...so my support pours out for Japan as I will be becoming a national here soon....but I have to turn to defend S.Korea on this one...

Attack: "Watching an ugly middle-aged man desperately wave his hips around is sad" Defence: Um....What's sad is AKB48. Lots of desperate ugly old men and young men doing more than waving hips around over under aged girls wearing revealing mini-skirts....

Attack: "Probably just a bunch of Koreans pressing F5" Defence: This is obviously a pure racist attack.... saying that this song sucks and its only supported by S.Korea...

Sure this song can turn some people off....but nothing else is different from other songs these days... He is not desperate he is being a idiot and having some fun. I am sure he gets a lot of action.... haha.

At least he is not serious like many Western songs that sing about worse things.

I say Gangnam is a fun and good song to dance to in a club or at a party!

-3 ( +10 / -13 )

Hey North--ball in your court!

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Because Japanese TV didn't tell them it was popular and because Psy has signed no management deals in Japan there is no reason for anyone to promote him. It is the same reason Japan only promotes and talks about 6 F1 drivers because they have signed management deals and the others have not.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Yet another user throws down the gauntlet for PSY, saying, “I’ll recognize he’s the real thing when he starts playing to sold-out shows at huge venues in America.”

With just one song?

Back in the 80's, we called people/groups like PSY "one hit wonders". And we had a BUNCH of them back then. I would be surprised if anybody heard from PSY after they get tired of this song/video.

It's a funny video. I laughed when he was screaming at the girl's butt. But I've only seen the video twice, a couple of months apart (couldn't remember it from the first time, so I had to watch it again when a friend brought it up). There is nothing about it that indicates it has staying power. It's not a symbol of K-Pop, nor is it a symbol of Japanese nationalism. In all likelihood, it's just a flash in the pan. PSY probably won't last as long as Ramon Razor HG.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Its funny that a non-Japanese should PSYchoanalyze why- it seems to him- the Japanese aren't going gaga over Gangnam Style. Must there be an answer? Must there be a political, cultural, or sociological answer? Just because one doesn't find Japanese versions of the dance craze on YT doesn't mean one needs to find an 'answer'.

10 ( +11 / -1 )

It's all the rage with the college crowd, like this from the University of Oregon:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mDpgzn7KuzE

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

If you look at most J-Pop videos, they are about looking serious and being stylish and feeling proud about it, and .... I would say most music video watchers in Japan would not appreciate the crazy fun of a Gangnum style video. I am not a big fan of it either but I could have a few laughs about it the first and second time I watched it. For a Japanese this video may simply be considered a cheap and indelicate dance that makes fun of the delicate artistic dancers. This way of thinking is part of the boredom I experience with J-Pop.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

The Japanese aren't bothered because Gangnam is a load of you know what. It's just a load of idiots jumping around, much like para para and Macarena. That stuff is also rubbish. This Gangnam stuff is just a silly trend that has been passed round BEACUSE of the Internet and for no other reason. If people really stopped to think instead of simply saying that it's good because everyone else has followed like sheep, and actually looked at it, they'd see what I do - idiots jumping about to noise.

6 ( +11 / -5 )

Raymond Mccormack

If Psy actually wrote the music to this song he will probably see a lot of success in countries that have dance music that charts top 40.

He does write his own songs and he, along with somebody else did the choreography to the song too.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@JeffLee

Japanese resentment is also a big factor. Whenever the Koreans have success, the Japanese cringe, not just the nationalist ones, but the society as a whole.

So why are K-Pop and K-Dramas so popular in Japan?

10 ( +10 / -0 )

@nedinjapan JPOP is broad, and in fact there are also comedy-type artist like PSY. In japan there are a lot of comedian pop singer/s. Like for example "Yazima". http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1sjy3coYyUg . I find PSY's Gangnam style funny and the song itself is catchy, but it's a little bit annoying.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I live in Korea (and spent 3 years living in the district of Gangnam -basically Kabukicho + Harajuku but with less chartacter) and tired of saturation coverage of this new Korean hero. Perhaps the Japanese (for all their own awful modern pop outpourings) are right to not tow the line dictated by youtube rankings and online downloads.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Japan is the black sheep of asia. Too cool for skool.

-8 ( +3 / -11 )

We may be Galapagos. But we had already seen likes of it in late 80's. Had enough of Oyaji-gag. It's fun but you feel a tinge of sadness after seeing it. Ungratified middle aged men laughing off the seemingly rich prosperous society reminds us of the lost decades.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Psy is a fat, little man in shades bouncing around. He looks like Kim Jong Un.

9 ( +12 / -3 )

are right to not tow the line dictated by youtube rankings and online downloads.

Exactly! Ever remembered Justin Bieber's "Baby" ????? The song was "SOOO CATCH" and reached hundred millions of views from youtube.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

And yet despite all the hate coming from the few commentators on this board, or some talk shows with no real sense of humor, PSY has hit Number 1 in 20 other countries' music charts. Japanese debut on the chart for PSY this week? #20.

Goes to show you that someone is just a wee bit late to the party. Don't take yourself so friggin' seriously. He sure doesn't. Lighten up.

1 ( +8 / -7 )

Most people, however, just seem to be in denial: “The only reason his video has become this popular is because Koreans are sitting at their computer pressing F5 to refresh the page and add to the view count,” charges one commenter.

Yep, I can imagine most Japanese saying this for sure. A lot of them really hate it if anything from Korea or China is more popular than what they have.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

Something being popular doesn't automatically equal it being good.

11 ( +12 / -1 )

If it was a Japanese guy they would be raving about it constantly saying it was hilarious and amazing.

-3 ( +6 / -9 )

Why should Japanese people like it? I would predict a "Mmmhh" response from the average Japanese to a novelty act like this. Personally I find it better than the Macarana, which I found gut wrenching, but that is probably because I am British and dancing in synch with a lot of other people is best left to yochien-sei doing "Heads-Shoulders-Knees-and-Toes" with a visiting ALTs.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

I remember showing “Gangnam Style” to my Japanese friends and coworkers ....I was surprised to find that most Japanese people I showed it to would just stare at the screen and mumble a disinterested

I share your pain brother. Same reaction when I showed the genial hit of the talented Helmut to my American friends, gathered in some creepy bar near their army base in Seoul :

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4mNDYWhRSaw

They said meh, but there was a little chubby Korean pimp that was stalking me, saying he was a millionaire, etc, and I gave me the youtube link of Helmut saying "this is my boyfriend, call me when you're a star like him". 3 years later, I see that guy again, self-styled as PSY. NOOOOOOO ! Sorry whole world, I didn't mean that...

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

Japanese are just extremely jealous of success by any Korean. Lets see, if the song and video is so bad why have there been over 450 million views?

-10 ( +4 / -14 )

I have to agree with the japanese point of view, the reason y it become famous is probably because the singer is making a fool of himself doing crazy things. I forced myself to watch till the end out of curiosity y it become famous lol. probably not my cup of tea...

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Well, I think the main reason why it's not that popular is that there's already enough similar type of gags on daily television that people are just simply feeling indifferent about it.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

I was also a hmmmmm. I heard it in a club in Thailand and thought it was LMFAO until I saw it on the video screen. So the guy completely rips off the basic beat, melody and goofiness of a western club group and gets famous. Pretty much par for the course in this part of the world. Just surprises me how widely this spread in the west.

I like the message he has of ripping on the Gangnam-area wannabe posers. I dig the hot girl he dances with. And I like a guy who doesn't take himself seriously. But it seems like too much of a rip-off of LMFAO to me.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Just my thoughts. K-Pop bands do very well in the Japanese music charts so that means the Japanese aren't anti to K-Pop music. So Gangnam Style hasn't kicked off in Japan like elsewhere in the world but wheres the issue? Does it really matter if a song hasn't done well in a certain country? Why should it even be a issue? This song is aimed at the younger generation which I'm sure wouldn't let the islands dispute get in the way of something they find 'trendy'

9 ( +10 / -1 )

Lets see, if the song and video is so bad why have there been over 450 million views?

And Jennifer Lopez's 'On the Floor' for 477 million...like I said, just because it gets a lot of views....

5 ( +5 / -0 )

As a Taiwanese-American who lived both in the US and Taiwan and visited Japan as well as Korea. I listens to POP, jazz, electronic music and dance music, however, I was not excited or impressed by PSY or this over-rated single/ video. In fact, I was disgust by its tackiness and cheesiness. If anything, it was a copy-cat of LMFAO' s Party-Rock. Except it was filmed in a high-budget modern setting with good looking Korean woman and over-priced lighting effect.

The dance "move" is a joke. The creativity are low. The tones and beats are wack. The "science" behind it are just over-analyzed Bull. The presentation like many other typical K-Pop are all about its flashiness. I Couldn't finish the video when I first saw it.

And quit playing the Anti-Korean political card to Japanese' people's face. Japanese have better taste than this.

9 ( +13 / -4 )

That's obvious.....

op op op opp op oppai gangnam style LOL...

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

If it were a Japanese oyaji that did it and it got 400 million views overseas, he'd be a national hero, kids would be singing it and doing the actions in kindergartens, and people on wide shows would be discussing why the world comes Japan so much.

Maybe Tamori San should put on weight and do something similar.

-4 ( +4 / -8 )

Japanese have better taste than this.

All said beautifully and then you went and blew it on the last line.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

I'm not Japanese, but I really dislike this song too. It's overrating like any other thing that becomes viral for some weird reason. Also, how can you say is it "original"? I saw that kind of sarcasm in tons of other stuff. In Italy last summer's most successful song was "Il pulcino Pio". It's idiot as hell, I hated it. If you want to see it...err. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YNwjkEdBpOk There are things that become viral just because many people act like a bunch of sheeps.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Maybe Japan's real problem is not having a wide enough scope to the national sense of humor. Or being too obsessed with plastic doll like idols that are as interesting as a sidewalk.

I guess you don't know Japanese are doing this Psy-style of trashy stuff for a long time. Example: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hpP5lh6Pl6c

2 ( +3 / -1 )

It's like fireworks, explodes then falls to the grounds and fizzles out. I can't wait for the fizzle to begin.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Why the Japanese ignore the success of psyang and gangnam style? Well. Simply because they dont have the talent when it comes to music and dancing. Koreans are more talented than they are and they are jealous. They love watching this corney dancing dolls.

-10 ( +3 / -13 )

I think I would much rather watch hours and hours of North Korean propaganda than this!

7 ( +9 / -2 )

This was a late 90s Italian hit song and video. In the MV, Piotta is exactly like Psy...he represents a guy who wants to get success, money and women, even if like Psy, he is far from the model of person who he would like to be. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pxwXMweboi0

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I am Mexican and I do not find any attractive that video...I don't give a Gangnam about it, IT'S A HORRIBLE VIDEO!!! HAHAHA.

9 ( +11 / -2 )

I though only in Latin America it was possible to watch those horrible videos, but now I see that Asians can also do horrible "art".

6 ( +8 / -2 )

Seriously, people who are saying that if you dislike Psy, well it means you are jealous of Koreans because they have someone like him, sound pretty childish. In Japan Kpop is popular, after all. In Italy we had Luciano Pavarotti, but I guess he was nothing compared to Psy, so we should be jealous about this guy, yeah.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

im a filipino, i admit it i was funny and very catchy when i first saw/hear it! but its kinda couple of days or a week before it passes on me! i dont understand why this is so big of a deal? tbh "nobody" by wondergirls is by far better than this...

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

“Roppongi Style” Wow! I pray for PSY to continuing succeed his music career in future even though I didn't watch fully because it's not my type. Non one should criticize someone who doesn't like something because of it's not his or her taste.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

lol i heard this song today, n i was like whaaa? Gundam style?? they had a style lol, then i realized it wasnt gundam when i watched the video on you tube :( they should add like a dubb remix to it in the middle of the song, wouldve been cooler.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Irony is lost in Japan

1 ( +5 / -4 )

I am not a fan of Gangnam Style, but that is beside the point, and I feel I am able to still comment.

The Japanese are consciously ignoring it. Why? Because there is not a hope in hell of anything this spontaneous and ironic coming out of Japan's pathetic music industry ever. Sure, they churn out a lot of stuff and it sells, but on the world scale, it is utter throwaway trash. They are creatively anaemic and this is rubbing their noses in it, by the one nation they wish would not.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

I like it. I like the way that the "invisible horse" dance goes into turbo crab, gallop mode. The singer reminds me of Song Kang-ho who wins by the power of his presentation, the depths of his desire, rather than his chubby looks. I was thinking of rendering the lyrics as "Oh, oh, oh, (o)niisan Ginza Style" (Oppan is similar in meaning to "Oniisan")

There is a lot of Japanese comedy and even commercials (e.g. softbank) that derides men and their desire in Japan but I have not seen it much in pop. The video Ulfuls remake of Kyuu's "Ashita ga Aru" featured a fat middle aged man, but the lead singer still came out as cool.

So may be Japanese do not like going this far? Or maybe they take it more calmly, ust how it is, a fat man wanting to be rich, cool and popular, and see nothing redeeming about this guy at all.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

It's funny to see many non-Japanese people saying a typically Japanese thing to say: everyone else likes it, so why not you?

Japanese are usually keen on foreign stuff, Korean or otherwise, but they are sometimes incredibly indifferent to what they see as utter nonsense.

Are you sure this is "best thing to come out of YouTube" though???

4 ( +6 / -2 )

I was pretty surprised to hear it on mainstream Australian radio, and even though the song is a bit tacky/repetitive, it is a good sign of the times that young people listen to it without raising an eyebrow- I've even heard little kids running around in shops singing it (in what to them sounds Korean; and I'm pretty sure more than a few are yelling "wop wop Gundam style!). There's been many one-hit wonder songs in European languages in the past, and it would be good to hear more out of Asia in the future. When it comes to Japan, I think the people here are quick to condemn something you see on any "variety" show: balding, fat old losers dancing around in diapers or skirts while everyone roars in laughter. Waaaay to many double standards in Japan!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Im not japanese but like what the author said may be i am one of the japanese that , i dont have any special reactions about that psy , gangnam dance ... yaah its cool but after watching one time , i dont see any reason to watch it again...

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Japanese really loves K POP music and korean drama... but not getting crazy for this gangnam dance...

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Just watched it for the first time. 460 million views for that?

6 ( +7 / -1 )

I read the comments, I dont think it can be mass bitterness/jealousy etc. Ive been profoundly astonished sometimes by the non existance of any kind of double speak, in Japan. What you 'say' is what you get. Cynicism/irony/double entendre etcetc - anything that hints at 'something else' but doesnt express the 'something else' clearly - will be misunderstood. In gay comedy, the 'doublespeak' is more obvious and transparent. A middle aged man in a frock - well no one has any big problems with that, it isnt confusing, 'you know whats happening'. Psy and Gangnam style; however, has to be explained to half the world, but nevertheless, its clear to almost everyone outside of Japan, that he isnt serious, he isnt expecting people to say - hey that guy doing his suggestive bouncy contortion, is so very hip and coool. Ridicule is its keynote, and self ridicule is popular humour around the world. I just havnt seen any Japanese ridiculing themselves. All the double speak in the dance; that might make it funny and entertaining, is lost, in JP. After that, I think Psy is a reincarnation of Chubby Checker.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

This may be a repeat but I cant be harsed to read the entire thread so...400 something million views doesnt mean that 400 something million people like it. I'm in that count and I think its total borrocks. So what if the Japanese dont know anything about it or dislike it or not...he hasn't been on the idiots lantern so he will remain an unknown here. The japanese dont search out new/exciting/different things unless they are presented with it. They simply dont give a sheeit.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

You know why this is not popular in Japan?

Not many people know this yet.

Frankly speaking, I don't understand people semi-accusing the Japanese of not liking or knowing this song, putting it down to their jealousy or nationalism. Do the Japanese have no right not to know a popular song or not to like it?

1 ( +5 / -4 )

He looks older than his age. He is not ugly. He is funny and entertaining. However his art was also not much impressive. I do not understand why did he become another Michale Jackson? He could not perform the moon walk. He could not write lyrics and make the song like " Heal the World"?

I remember about watching Tora San Japanese movie. That actor was uglier than him. However Tora San was more natural, talented and not ridiculing other in his movies.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

So, am I to understand that the butt ugly UN-comedic duo Ninety-Nine gets their own primetime network TV show in Japanese while this talented Korean man with wit and genuine humor gets nothing?

Welcome to Japan

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

The japanese dont search out new/exciting/different things unless they are presented with it. They simply dont give a sheeit.

Not true, I have plenty of Japanese friend who like indie rock. They happen to be elitists.. but that's not the point!

1 ( +2 / -1 )

After watching the video (and adding one more to the 400 million + - so don't imagine anywhere near all 400 million are fans) it seems to me the question is not why Psy isn't popular in Japan, it's why on earth would he be more than fleetingly popular anywhere else. A rather tacky, repetitive tune, with frankly tacky choreography....leaves me cold.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

The fact Japanese community fail to see the humour in 'taking the piss' out of 'wanabees' is no revelation. Because Japan are a nation of 'wanabee',' 'try hards' that PSY is mocking. 'Very few in Japan could possibly be evolved enough yet to see the self depreciating humour. 'taking the piss' http://goo.gl/Bsxza wanabee; http://goo.gl/PAsj8 Try hards; http://goo.gl/V1Bhd

-7 ( +2 / -9 )

i saw this video once, it wasnt so bad but dont feel like to see it again. i admire this psy who finally achieved to make google decide to change their algorthm to prevent F5 counting. good job psy.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Oh there you go again.

"This is universally funny. It has to be. It's subtle as well. If you have a sense of humour, you MUST be able to understand it, as we do. If not, you're boring. We know what's funny. The Japanese don't. Cultural differences don't matter. If we say it's funny it's funny."

Great Western imperialism for which many Westerners are disliked. Just give the Japanese a break.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

I think many comments here and from Japanese viewers show how shallow the worlds of J-Pop and K-Pop truly are. Folks here are always complaining how awful AKB, SMAP and a host of J-idol groups sound with their untrained voices, but hey, they look cute and sweet and hot , etc. Conversely, Psy has done pretty much everything on his own, without the help of the traditional K-Pop machine, because he doesn't look like Y2K or Yon Bin.

Most Westerners can appreciate an entertaining music video with exotic hooks, as they have not been exposed to Asian music on a regular basis. Psy came up with a clever marketing package, sound, and video, so much so that US music producers are on the record as being very impressed with his presentation. The song is still on a LOT of local Top-10 request lists around the US and Psy has been on numerous news and TV shows in the US. I see kids around SoCal singing the words even though they don't speak Korean. This has gone far beyond silly Macarena.

K-Pop is supposedly trying to imitate the US music machine in recent years and is making a easier transition to the US than any Japanese group. Girls Generation sold out Madison Square Garden last year and other groups are likely on the way. K-Haters better deal with it.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Because they have enough fat, talentless blokes playing awful music and crummy scripted dance moves of their own.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Japan has never had a pop star become popular overseas.

Kyu Sakamoto's Sukiyaki was a big hit in the US back in the early 60s, and Pink Lady had their weekly TV show there briefly.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

....or maybe its because Japan has more than its fair share of homegrown rubbish that it doesnt need to import more. Its gone insane in the UK (just an example) because Brit younglings like to dance like prarts around their handbags or in a line to monotonous rubbish. Anybody remember The Macarena in any British club on any given student or otherwise night?? Nothing new. The japanese like to spin towels over their heads en-masse..equally ridiculous but not conducive to copying a horse type behaviour stuff thingy.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I heard the song before I saw the video and I liked it, very catchy. When I saw the video it was so stupid it made me laugh so yeah I like it. I very much agree with OldHawk though, I saw Psy on concert on TV and I must say his other songs are pretty boring. This has all the signs of One Hit Wonder. I will enjoy it till I find another song that entertains me.

I also must somewhat agree with other posters that its just Japan being jealous. Japanese artists (ex. Hikaru Utada) have been trying to break into the US music scene but fail miserably and for a Korean to pull it off even if just a One Hit. Honestly I was surprised how popular Gangnam became in US especially for being in another language and not English.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

"it seems to me the question is not why Psy isn't popular in Japan, it's why on earth would he be more than fleetingly popular anywhere else."

Yep, that's definitely a good question. But I have to admit that i've added 3 to the count. One to see what the fuss was all about, one to show my wife "Hey, do you want to see the most popular youtube of all time", and once more to try and figure out why it's been seen hundreds of millions of times. And I'll probably click on it again to try and figure out why Japanese don't like it....

I still maintain that if it were a Japanese performer, Japanese would like it - only for the fact that if Japanese knew that hundreds of millions of people liked something Japanese, they couldn't help watching it.

It's like Japanese movies that nobody watches until it gets an award -then people line around the block.

For all the people that hate it, is it really much worse than a Justin Bieber or AKB48 video?

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

ummm how about the Japanese have been pushing out the same kind of crap for years and this is kind of normal, if not a bit boring. Anyway it's virtually a copy of the Yellow Hat commercials http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VbEljB1mXrk

2 ( +3 / -1 )

"Back in the 80's, we called people/groups like PSY "one hit wonders".

Yeah, but this guy could spend a few months riding the wave and then retire probably. I think there's worse things you can be.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

or they both just copied the older Korean CM http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eLK7PGFndXg

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Personally, I like dancing to the song with the Waveya girl group choreo (i.e. 5 Korean girls who did a sexy/slutty version of Gangnam style). To each her own.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Maybe if KARA or Girls Generation are his back up dancers,then he'll be a hit here!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Not my taste... It seems to smack of someone shouting out "I'm zany!" Trying too hard.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Its been Number 1 for a while in the UK and even the Prime Minister and Lord Mayor of London have been dancing to it. I think the Japanese cannot see that it has elements of parody,self mocking and irony in it which they probably dont understand.PSY has been on US TV and his English is very good which is also probably annoying to the Japanese. The song is about an area of Seoul called Gangnam and the rappers/dudes who come from that area of which Psy is one.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

It's because a Korean guy made it (by mistake) to the mainstream music scene in America. That's when the JEALOUSY took over.

Hundreds upon hundreds of Japanese performers tried tried tried their best to make it in America. Psy did it by accident, that's the funny part of his whole success.

I don't like Japanese comedians their not that funny. But Psy, he's funny !!!!

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

I am Japanese and I love Gangnam style. My two-year-old daughter loves it, too. I dont remember how many times I have seen it with her. I like his voice. I love it especially because it makes me forget something that is weighing on me. Religious conflict, economic crisis, island disputes, many part of the world is stressed out. I guess that's why lots of people are attracted to his video. (okay, now I feel sorry that I cited island disputes here. This might be incomparable to other two. But I am stressd out because of this.)

I think the Japanese cannot see that it has elements of parody,self mocking and irony in it which they probably dont understand.

I believe many can understand that because we do that, too. But the song is in Korean and you wouldnt know about this if you are interested in PSY.

PSY has been on US TV and his English is very good which is also probably annoying to the Japanese.

Many Japanese dont even know he is fluent English speaker because we dont have much information about him. I didn't know that, either.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

At least he did something AKB48, SMAP and other J pop music that couldn't failed to do.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

At 460 million views, that means that even if each "view" lasted only a second, the world wasted a collective 14.5 years watching this video.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Is that really so popular? I didn't know...

1 ( +2 / -1 )

i never liked charlie the unicorn, charlie the unicorn is an annoying bastard, ill kick him in the nuts when i meet him, that many views means pop means nothing special in my silly world

0 ( +1 / -1 )

The song has rhythm, it's catchy, he's funny, he breaks up with "cuteness" standards. At least while this hit is on, I like him!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

most of Japanese are really sick of k-pop. I think it is too pushy and self-congratulation, and also believe in "Koreans F5 attack";-p

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Japanese or not, there are many people out there that dislike Psy's Gangam Style song. Oh to joy, watched it once and will never ever set eyes on it again. Not interesting and it's lame. Boring. Yay, it got on 20 different Billboard charts at #1. So what?!? It totally reminds us of LMFAO's Party Rock Anthem song/dance and others of theirs! Get real! Too many MV artists out there that are not "Original" enough to be consider "exciting" or "worthwhile" to consider. Definitely not a Japanese "hate Kpop" thing. It's a worldwide "saddest" thing to exist. Once the "hype/fad" is up...he'll be forgotten. Quit saying "Japanese" are jealous! They are not and will never be! What are YOU people thinking of?!? Lame and sad to criticize the Japanese that way. Shame of yourself! Racist, demeaning others, lack of respect! Just because the Japanese has no interest in Psy's "stuff/works" doesn't mean their JEALOUS! shakes head

2 ( +4 / -2 )

@TokyoLurker

op op op opp op oppai gangnam style LOL...

Yes! That is the main reason why! It sounds like " OPPAI" meaning nipples in Japanese. and "GUNDAM".

OPPAI GUNDAM STYLE!!!! (nipple robot style)

Before the video ever marked 10M hits. There was a parody version of it making same attention. It was "GUNDAM STYLE" . The people's faces was replaced with Gundam mecha heads. Because the parody was also gaining a rapid popularity on youtube (and the last time I saw it, It got 3M views) , the record company asked you tube to remove it. And we all know Gundam is Japanese.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

You could find interesting the fact that also in Italy, basically we are "giving a Gangnam" about this song, even if they are trying to force on us, for example put it in a popular Italian show. This article is in Italian, but it is saying this. http://www.lastampa.it/2012/10/15/spettacoli/musica/gangnam-style-tormentone-planetario-3tcXTOEdphZua3tdv5GLgP/pagina.html Are we jealous? Meh. Not everyone must like the same stuff at all cost.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Yet another user throws down the gauntlet for PSY, saying, “I’ll recognize he’s the real thing when he starts playing to sold-out shows at huge venues in America.”

By that definition, essentially NONE of the Japanese pop stars are "the real thing", with possibly the exception of Ayumi Hamasaki

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I think K-Pop stars have an easier time in the west because of the language skills. First, when they weave English language into the songs it sounds like English. That's often not the case with J-Pop. Furthermore, if they actually speak English (like Psy) they can go on shows and do promotion.

Moreover, the Japanese Music Industry is highly dysfunctional. If you don't sign your life away to one of the established talent agencies you'll have a very difficult time getting play or promotion. I feel bad for the younger girls that get kicked to the curbs by their agencies if they deviate one millimeter from what's expected of a J-Idol.

I'm sure Psy wouldn't mind being popular in Japan, but realistically it's likely a lot less hassle promoting and touring in the west.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Not that AKB48 or other Jpop acts are any different, but this Psy guy's video is at best slightly offensive and at worst sexist as all get out.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I dont like PSY's music... but i do like the video. No reason to not like the video in my opinion.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

It's popular because it's simply a fun video/dance, and guys/girls just want to have fun.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Why wouldn't they like it? The genojin on Japanese tv are 500 time more ridiculous than this video.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

In my opinion the reason is that the Japanese are jealous when the Koreans are doing better than them. Oppa Gangnam Style video is simply hilarious and very entertaining ... that's why so many people worldwide loves it. PS: I am neither Korean nor Japanese.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

Normally, I would look forward to the Weird Al Yankovic version, but I think PSY has already "Yankovic'd" himself. Enjoy your fifteen minutes, sir, and don't spend your money M.C. Hammer-style.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I think its nice that so many millions, perhaps billions, of people around the world - want to do a silly dance together. Very few people seem to be able to get it 'right', Psy's own horsey 'bounce' has none of the side to side 'twist' that almost everyone else puts into it. Id like everyone to keep practising, till they get it right. (And remember UKs Miranda Hart thought of it first.)

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Great video production, good beat, easy to dance to, better than most of the rubbish out there. Need more of these entertaining videos. I feel for those that don't like it, they seem to be lacking...

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Enjoy your fifteen minutes, sir, and don't spend your money M.C. Hammer-style.

Exactly. I wish I would have thought of doing the same thing instead of playing the Loto 6 twice a week.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Whether your like this or not is irrelevant its good or bad it does not matter. We have people all over the world that loves this and that hates it. That is what it means to be global. Now for the Japanese to say they hate this instinctively is to be question, your telling me that the Japanese all hate this video... I know that there are parts of Asia that really needs to grow up where one side instinctively hates the other just be cause, but that is small minded and has not place in a modern global world. Japan music has become very limited but it stems from their culture where most of the music is girls showing off there skin or only cute people are worthy of our time or people that look and act like ourselves is flawed but we say that is okay cause it is the Japanese way. There are very few bands in japan that loves the music and rand make music for the sake and they have fans all over for it cause they are not trying to dress it up to sell it as this is Japanese . Music is music and no one culture controls it; we all share ideas in a instance so for one group of people to say that this solely theirs is not correct any longer. So for the Japanese to say that they hate it is flawed cause i have never met anyone or any group that saw the same thing the exact same way all of the time.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

the word gangnam in itself sounds repulsive to me, as are his looks. I could care less about the stupid american hype over this performance. This just goes to show how K-pop and korean culture in general has trying too hard to be popular in order to raise their poor global reputation. I don't buy into it and only the shallow will.

@JeffLee, you think what you want, but it has nothing to do with jealousy. No pop singer in Japan would want to be world famous for the act that he puts on. It's a values thing. The Japanese simply have no taste for such things. You would never understand.

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

Give the man a break! With all the troubles in this world, the world deserves this video! I think it's great! My Okinawan students (about 30% know the song) love it. As for Japanese entertainment...I don't even want to get started. Japan's idea of entertainment is cutsie girls with voices as though they've been inhaling helium and who can't sing at all. If it's not cute or a man dressed up like a woman, it's not popular in Japan. Oppa Gangnam Style!!!

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

America loves a good dance song. Much like the Macarena of days of old, or more recently Party Rock. While it is indeed very popular among the mainstream, this is not a "Korea Boom" in America. It's the dance song of the month that everyone likes to make a parody of to post online.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Even Justin Bieber is not so famous in Japan. Why do you think this guy must be famous in Japan?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Japanese are just extremely jealous of success by any Korean. Lets see, if the song and video is so bad why have there been over 450 million views?>

Ya'll need to get over yourselves thinking that America's HIT must be famous in Japan. Is Super Junior as famous in the U.S as Psy is? At least Japan gives a gangnam in other K-pop and K-drama for much longer then most parts of the world(esp the west).

0 ( +0 / -0 )

So, by the article's logic since I'm from the States where this is a big hit I should like this music? Bad logic, worse song.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

This is actually a good thing. This video is absolutely idiotic and sounds like a typical pop song. Nothing special here. Japanese have much better things to do than pay attention to nonsense like this.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Because it's Japan, if the artist had any other nationality than Korean things would have been different.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Too sad to read those comment, as they sound so ignorant and biased. Japan is jealous of Korean's success? Some maybe, some not. Japan has no sense of humor or irony to understand this video? Yeah, some may be, but some may not. Think about how many people living in Japan. Some people likes something, others won't. Too much generalization here is itself proof of idiocy. I am a Japanese and personally like the video and watched it three times. But then, I would say how this video could become that international sensation as it does seem to be just a catchy & comical music video. Probably most of Japanese are fed up with this kind as they have watched similar types of gag on TV too many times.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

This just shows how far japan has fallen out of touch with the rest of the world. Gangnam style will soon exceed a billion views on YouTube and the japanese still don't get it, just like they didn't get Apple and Samsung. No wonder japanese companies can't sell anything outside of japan and are going bankrupt.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Its popularity is forced in the UK. I am indifferent to the phenomenon itself, but judging Japan for not latching onto the latest trend is like persecuting the quiet kid at a party for not caving into peer pressure to take drugs. Sometimes it's wise to abstain.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Korea I believe is probably the most connected (Internet) nation on the planet...I'll go with the Koreans all hitting F5 to get the numbers up to 450m hits. I did not even manage to get through the whole vid before I lost interest but that sort of thing has never tickled me.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

The Indian and the Pakistanis are the crunch rivals but they really appreciate each others stars and admire them, culture and sport should not be mixed up with politics.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Back in the 80's, we called people/groups like PSY "one hit wonders".

PSY didn't just do Gangnam Style. He did at least 3 other songs. Look them up on YouTube.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Japan would rather listen to pubescent AKB48 or Pikachu sounding K-Pop groups then something more adult oriented. Or maybe perverts lack a sense of humour.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Its not popular because Japanese TV didn't tell them it is good.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

I think that main reason Japanese people don't like this, is because of the dance. You don't see middle-aged man dancing like that here, not even on TV. Middle-aged men sometimes do stupid things here on TV but they are comedian, and they are suppossed to act stupid. Like LMFAO's Sexy and I know it, those sexual moves or videos of grown-up men disgust people here. and even worse, PSY is Korean. If it was LMFAO, the way they look is "foreign" and they are something different from them, so some people can accept it. But PSY is Asian and he doesn't really look something different from them or foreign culture, that makes it harder to accept it. Also, dance music is not really mainstream thing in Japan. Maybe if he was Japanese, he might be popular in Japan. But it would be because people have chance to know about him more, like what kind of person he is and how he talks and stuff, and people will find it funny. But like others said he doesn't show up on TV or magazines in Japan. So for Japanese this is just a random ugly chobby guy (excuse me) dancing in disgusting way.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

and also, the horse-riding-dance thing is not really new for Japanese, so that's one thing.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Japanese jealous of Korean international success,end of story

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

This article is two years old, did you dig it up so that you could take a dig at Japan? Seriously, why?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

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