Media Mix, Feb. 13, 2011

Here’s this week’s Media Mix, which is about K-pop, specifically the TV Tokyo drama series Urakara starring the Korean girl band Kara. Though I don’t discuss the quality of the show in any detail, readers should be warned that it’s pretty awful; which, of course, is neither here nor there. The need to get Kara intense exposure on Japanese television was the obvious motivation for the program, even if that doesn’t necessarily justify its lack of coherence and crappy production values. Against all available evidence, I had actually hoped it might offer mindless silliness along the line of The Monkees; and when I first heard of the show I mistook it for a reality series, which might have been truly transgressive: Kara members seducing Japanese guys and then breaking their hearts. But no. In fact, it doesn’t even have the girls performing their music, at least not yet, so I’m not entirely sure what it’s supposed to be promoting except, maybe, Kara as possible fodder for TV talent. That, I would say, is a stretch. Even BoA, who is totally fluent in Japanese, has had limited success as a talent along the lines of Yoon Son-ha, the only South Korean who gets regular work on Japanese variety shows.

Also, I seem to be getting a lot of flack in the comments section from JYJ fans regarding my reference to the trio as “traitors.” I apologize for the term, which was meant ironically, so I probably should have placed it in quotes. My point was that bolting from one’s talent agency, whether in Japan or Korea, is considered a serious breach of show biz protocol regardless of the reasons, and as far as I know the group still hasn’t been forgiven by the industry in South Korea. The fans, of course, are quite a different matter. Their album is selling very, very well.

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33 Responses to Media Mix, Feb. 13, 2011

  1. xXMzSmilesXx says:

    You should have said “Also, I seem to be getting a lot of flack in the comments section from JYJ fans regarding my reference to the trio as “traitors.” I apologize for the term, which was meant ironically, so I probably should have placed it in quotes. My point was that bolting from one’s talent agency, whether in Japan or Korea, is considered a serious breach of show biz protocol regardless of the reasons, and as far as I know the group still hasn’t been forgiven by the industry in South Korea. The fans, of course, are quite a different matter. Their album is selling very, very well.”
    Publicly. It would have been much better.

  2. Re: JYJ says:

    Your apology is taken. But I would like you to know that the Korean society does not condone such a slave contract just because it has been a customary practice in entertainment industry. The Commission of Fair Trade in Korea ordered SME, the problematic management company, to rectify unfair terms of contracts with its artists including the TVXQ contract. Also, the general public does not take a slave contract for granted on the ground that it was out there for a long time. It is a turning point to move toward an advanced and fair relationship between artists and management companies in Korea. The existing management companies, of course, are quite a different matter. They are suspected to use their powerful networks to eliminate the three members as an example of “traitors-as-in-PB’s-article” defying the hyper-paternalistic entertainment industry system.

  3. iwantjyjsmile says:

    has not forgiven?fighting for their life?their own future?for their human right? they will destroyed their future if still in that “slave contract”!!!!

  4. Sei says:

    at least these “traitors-” are brave and leave that company
    many korean artists just commit Suicide and after people just wonder why ?
    but these 3 boys are fighting for fair rights ..even when his ex-company is
    trying to close the doors to them in his own country

    JYJ dont deserve to be called traitors

  5. jyjfan says:

    I dont think it’s not the industry haven’t been “forgiven ” our JYJ, it’s like SM still couldn’t let them go peacefully.
    Sm is not a good company since H.O.T or Shinwa , so we dont care about them.

    And something about ” daddy ” ? I’m sorry but Korea is not like Japan . Why you have to compare them. Did the company in Japan make their singers sign a 13 years contract ? SIGN a contract like JYJ ‘s ? NO , they DID NOT.

    As a reporter, shouldn’t you be more careful in what you write ?

    • Odylett Mor says:

      I agree with you as a journalist must first be a researcher and objective then not post things just to feel that way…

      This is not be a good journalist… Least comparing two very different cultures, but it is very true and can not cover is how Korea is the contracts of idols and this must change.

      • charles says:

        This was published in an opinion column, he is doesn’t have to be objective in it – that would be what a reporter does. He is a columnist.

  6. iwantjyjsmile says:

    thank you for your kindness,mister?,and would you please visit the jyjfiles.wordpress.com and jyj3.wordpress.com for more credible info,arigato godaimasssh??????^___^

  7. Eliza says:

    Thank you for acknowledging the fans. We have heard the term “traitors” used without irony often enough that rising to JYJ’s defence is an instinctive reaction.

    JYJ hasn’t been forgiven by the industry, and the industry–in both Korea and Japan–hasn’t been forgiven by the fans. Each time a beloved artist is exiled, this group of angry fans grows.

  8. mailyn says:

    “as far as I know the group still hasn’t been forgiven by the industry in South Korea.”

    SM Entertainment has been trying to block JYJ from promoting in Korea by threatening to pull their artists out and etc. You can chose to believe it or disregard it, your choice, but sm ent did the same thing with artists that had left their company in the past. Of course, the company would try to cover it.

    • mailyn says:

      Disregard my previous comment. Ive calmed down now . Please be careful of your articles from now on by making clear statements.

  9. haphuong91 says:

    “Also, I seem to be getting a lot of flack in the comments section from JYJ fans regarding my reference to the trio as “traitors.” I apologize for the term, which was meant ironically, so I probably should have placed it in quotes. My point was that bolting from one’s talent agency, whether in Japan or Korea, is considered a serious breach of show biz protocol regardless of the reasons, and as far as I know the group still hasn’t been forgiven by the industry in South Korea. The fans, of course, are quite a different matter. Their album is selling very, very well. ”

    THANK YOU FOR AT LEAST CLARIFYING THE MATTER.

    However, Can you please make your explanation publicly. NOT EVERYONE visits your blog, hence people may have a different interpretation of the word that you used. The damage has been done. There are people who have read your article and have had a negative thought regarding this matter.

    Therefore, can you please CLARIFY this in the article. Thank you.

    • Re: JYJ says:

      Agreed. Also, I believe Mr. Brasor should have written this apology as a separate post, instead of placing it in the middle of an article cut out for Kara. Mr. Brasor, I would appreciate it if you make your apology more noticeable to readers by writing it as a news article or at least as a new post. Personally, I was excruciatingly hurt by your offhand comment about JYJ. And I am not alone there. Thank you in advance for your consideration.

  10. anan says:

    I, and I suspect many other other JYJ fans, am taken aback by Philip Brasor’s callousness toward an important social justice–the working conditions of young musicians and their bleak future after being overexposed and bled dry w/ exploitative contracts–and economic–the anti-competitive structure of the K-ent industry in need of regulation & deep structural reform–issue in his labeling of JYJ as “the three Tohoshinki traitors.”

    Perhaps the author’s tone was meant to be ironic but it is deeply disappointing that he chose to trivialize the real psychological & physical suffering these artists endure while fighting for their personal and professional rights.

  11. Diana says:

    Making your apology in your blog does not really make a difference since not everyone visits your blog. Editing it into your article on http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/fd20110213pb.html for people to see would be better.

    Thank you.

  12. asdfghjkl says:

    “Also, I seem to be getting a lot of flack in the comments section from JYJ fans regarding my reference to the trio as “traitors.” I apologize for the term, which was meant ironically, so I probably should have placed it in quotes. My point was that bolting from one’s talent agency, whether in Japan or Korea, is considered a serious breach of show biz protocol regardless of the reasons, and as far as I know the group still hasn’t been forgiven by the industry in South Korea. The fans, of course, are quite a different matter. Their album is selling very, very well.”

    ahh~ i see. so, the fans are quite a different matter? let me tell something, i don;t care if u don’t even bother to read or think about this. well~ at least this is my thought. have you ever thought what is the most thing for a group to succeed? it’s FANS/ SUPPORTERS/ whatever you want to call it. it’s not the company who buy all the albums, it’s FANS. the company only gain more and more money of the album sales which are bought by FANS. don’t ever look down on us, FANS.

  13. imnotalone says:

    If you’re really sorry then you should make this ‘apology’ public not just to your little known blog…. And i find it convenient how you referred to kara as ‘rebels’ but again forgotten to add in the quotation marks there as well… Is it a mistake???? Smells fishy! You are a journalist after all. You should double check.. You have editors dont you?? I will continously complain to ‘japantimes’ until you make a public apology there! Please do so! These boys dont deserve this….

  14. chocogurl9 says:

    thank you for clarify it, i’m sorry that if any jyj fans messages to you were harsh and offensive but i would appreciate if u would change the article because it’s very misleading. please and thank you. =)

  15. Astropteri says:

    Please make an official apologize statement, at least on Japan Times website about JYJ issue. You blamed them as “traitors”, which damaged their reputations. Once again, I wait for your apologize, not just on your twitter or this non-reader-blog.

  16. milisante says:

    Hi there^^ I never care about such articles, but lately people tend to trust words more than facts.
    This apologizing doesn’t count, because the article was not changed. So I guess you wrote it ironically here, no?

  17. Brynja says:

    I’m sorry. I wrote a rather harsh comment about your article. Thank you for clarifying the situation and apologizes for the misunderstanding.

  18. septembre says:

    あまりに偏った意見で唖然としました。
    それから、彼らのセールスは純粋に世界中のファンの力です。
    お間違いのないように。

  19. dkopsunintended says:

    “as far as I know the group still hasn’t been forgiven by the industry in South Korea.”

    I am sorry, but for me, they don’t even need forgiveness. It is not their fault. Is it so wrong to file a lawsuit against the company? As much as I know, they did try different approaches before finally decided to take this case to the court due to the company who did not even react on those approaches. They do not even deserve those banning.

    And by the way, I think you should correct the use of the word traitor in the original article than just apologizing to the fans through your blog. People who did not even care about JYJ before will eternally stuck with the word traitor=JYJ and they will not even bother to check your blog for your clarification of the statement. And the last thing that JYJ fans need right now is the public eyes who see JYJ as traitors.

    And also, before you write another article in the future, please have some respect to the subject ( not just artists ) by doing some thorough researches as to avoid this kind of complication afterwards. Thank you and sorry if I am using harsh words.

  20. Cris says:

    Mr.Philip i totally understand that everybody is entitled to express their opinion but don’t you think you’ve been too harsh?
    You make some good points in your art but you don’t need to be a genius to see what it is k-industry strategy in J-market,not trying to offend anybody but everybody knew already that jap like them cute with a sexy side.What k-indust is trying to do is no diff than what j-indust has been doing since years,and there is nothing to be ashamed of,it’s the way the industry works,give the consumer what they want.Just like here in the west the trend is sexy self assured futuristic girls and the market is working on giving us artists who roll that way.As i said i respect your opinion specially cause you pointed out not only K faults but also J, but this art could have been done better,there are ways to express irony and sarcasm without being rude and seems you have’t found about them yet.
    I specially hated the part in which u talked about JYJ,it’s true their unit was created in J after the lawsuit with SM but the poularity they gained worldwide is thanks to their old FANS and the new ones they conquered with their NEW albums released with c-jes.They were dropped out of Avex on basless mafia rumors(i called them basless cause it was Avex who introduced them to c-jes just check the ceo 2009 tweets so if there was anything really fishy about them they wouldn’t have,Junsu’s “Intoxication” was produced/distributed a collaboration between C-JeS and Avex now if what Avex claimed was true,that the members wanted to work with a mafia ties agency that’s why they dropped them why the hell did they introduce them in the first place and if C-JES was so damn bad why Avex worked with them?)and they made it until now thanks to the fans who worldwide even without seeing them on tv are keeping supporting them by buying their products.If you were being sarcastic in calling them “the three Tohoshinki traitors” i didn’t get it,and if you really think so then this makes me wonder about the sanity of anybody who reads their contract and affirm it was a fair contract specially if that somebody is from western origins where the respect of humant rights is not under discussion.
    *comment sent to JTO

    I’ve seen that you made an apology and that’s nice,but i’d like to remind you that most of us are not some hormonal teenagers who are ok with such light apology most of us given the fandom age are grown up fans with jobs and careers,concerned consumers who want to read a real apology and explanation on the same place you’ve made your mistake,”The Japan Times Online”.You may think that you are just a little fish and nothing that you say may count in the world and this could be true but the fact is that you write on an online newspaper seen everyday by millions of viewers and those words unless edited will remain forever on net,and anyone reading them will think that one of the writers of JTO thinks that JYJ are traitors and because of the status of JTO people will assume that what you are saying is the truth.And nope i don’t think am exaggerating this the way media works,if info comes from a respected source people will automatically assume that info is the truth.
    If you are really sorry and really meant it in a sarcastic way then you should clear things cause 6 and 1/2 lines under a general post on your own unknown blog is definitely not enough.

  21. Kat says:

    It’s good that you apologised for saying JYJ as traitors but I think you have also made incorrect statement by saying they are not forgiven in Korea. They have not had any crimes against the country to be unforgiven. All they have done is to ask for justice. So is in Japan.

  22. ian says:

    Really interesting article. One thing that I’d like to add, if it’s safe to do so with all these sensitive souls fluttering around here, is where you make the point about how Kara’s “debut album is the biggest-selling CD by a foreign female act since the last Destiny’s Child record — and without any help from Japanese males”, there is a little bit more to this.

    According to Japanese journalists I’ve spoken to, in order to get Kara into all the right magazines, on all the right TV shows, and promoted in all the right places, their Korean management had to make a deal with an equivalently powerful Japanese production/management company who could greenlight their entry into the Japanese pop production factory. This basically meant making nice with Ikuo Suhou of Burning Production, who still seems to control everything that matters Japan-side, so I’d say at least one Japanese male was quite instrumental in getting them into their current position.

    Whether the Kara girls attempted to seduce Suhou and then through a series of comic and dramatic misadventures ended up coming to some cross-cultural understanding in a heartwarming emotional climax, or whether the whole thing was just a seedy deal made in a dark, smoky room between two money-grubbing record execs, I’ll leave to your imagination.

    On another note, for what it’s worth, I think the main reason the Japanese pop industry is having trouble competing with these new Korean groups is that advertising companies like Dentsu control way too much of how the artists are produced and the men behind the groups just don’t know anything about music anymore. Go back to the 70s and every hit was backed up by cold, hard musical talent — I’ll be expanding on this in my own JT thing late next month, I expect.

  23. tsikomango says:

    Mr. Brasor,
    Be careful on the usage of irony in your writings. Cultural perspectives of it vary widely and even if you put the the word JYJ traitor in qoutes I still would find it offending.
    Do your research more before writing on something and choose your words well so you won’t get a lot of “flack” for writing.
    If you are sincere with your apology post it on JTO .

  24. Neko-san says:

    Thank you for your apologize. You were probably surprised at the response by JYJ fans, but media report is very important.
    The media plays a huge role in their case, and even thou it wasn’t mean to insult them, the words you wrote are already a powerful weapon. More so, as there is already public campaign to tarnish their image, media playing a big role.
    Your article that could be “harmless” in your opinion, is already one that joins the public campaign to make sure their image is damaged beyond repair.

  25. Hyejin Hwang says:

    THIS is just not enough to make people to see your mistake, your apology should be made in JAPAN times not personal blog !!!
    HOW could you be so irresponsible to your action !!!
    STILL we will expect you to do the RIGHT thing and make formal correction in JAPAPN times !! still it won’t even clear up DAMAge you cause to SO many and JYJ* themselves. Reputation should not be treated lightly and you be responsible to this in more serious matter could only save your reputation and JAPAN times.
    WE will make formal action, if you don’t follow suit with journalist norm.

  26. Hannah says:

    “My point was that bolting from one’s talent agency, whether in Japan or Korea, is considered a serious breach of show biz protocol regardless of the reasons…”

    Thank you for acknowledging this fact :) I hope the JYJ fans who got extremely angry didn’t give you too bad of an impression on all kpop fans.

  27. ian says:

    To people still complaining that Philip should make his clarification in the JT itself rather than simply on his blog, please read the article; the clarification was added to the original piece yesterday.

  28. Cris says:

    Thank you 4 clearings things up^_^
    Happy V-day!

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