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.