AKB48 and Girls’ Generation
John Lie
University of California, Berkeley
June 2014
AKB 48 ヘビーローテーショ
ン
少女時代 MR.TAXI
Nationality
Group structure
Musical genre / influence
Dancing routine
Hair color/style
Height
Ability
Et cetera….
Obvious ...
AKB48=Japanese culture; GG=S Korean
Complexity and hybridity
Diversity of taste in each culture
Popularity is not represen...
One commonality:
the predominance of teenagers
for the music industry
http://www.nikkei.com/article/DGXNAS
FK2902T_Z20C13A...
The birth of popular culture
cf. traditional, elite, popular
The birth of popular music
in 1914 in the case of Japan
Cultu...
In Korea, 1926
윤심덕 사의 찬미
Why commodity?
Anti-Romantic aesthetics
Lack of autonomy
The primacy of the market
Popular Music ...
Reaction to the classics
innovation / tradition
Stress on autonomy
"l'art pour l'art"
Romantic ideology
Akimoto Yasushi (1958-)
おニャン子クラブ (1985-87)
The Mind Behind AKB48
Before Onyanko
Lee Soo Man (1952-)
Folk-rock
Anti-government
Hip hop
J-pop
Before K-pop
The rise of “idols”
the coming of leisure society /
teenagers
the age of television
voice + looks
in Japan, c. 1970
花の中三トリ...
Generational transition
generational rift
the end of ‘tradition’
Shifting focus of consumptionk
Rapid turnover of stars
Id...
Classical idols
Sort of perfection/semi-sacred
Postmodern versions
iconoclasts, secularization, cynicism
Constant Change
Real-ness
amateur, therefore ‘real’
Democratic
Grassroots politics
though in fact capitalist
Narrativity
“reality” TV
soci...
Perfectionism
Division of labor/outsourcing
training system
Transcending borders
Localization as export
multilingualism
Th...
The collapse of the Romantic ideology
embrace of commodification
the profit motive
Thus, the fundamental
difference as com...
Divergent political economy
Post-Bubble Japanese economy (1991-)
stagflation and introversion
“a world of lukewarm bath”
G...
A major turning point: 1997
intensification of competition
renewed faith in export
Differential reactions to
globalization...
homogenization, localization,
differentiation
Bipolarization
global citizens and Globish
cosmopolitan
Local citizens
patri...
The golden age of J-pop
安全地帯、安室奈美恵
Why the decline?
resistance to export
transformation of global music
genre/technology c...
amazon.co.jp: ¥ 2,980 ¥ 2,760 CD
amazon.com: $7.63 Audio CD
Music Business in the Internet Age
YouTube, spotify, google mu...
e.g. color TV
why did Samsung beat Sony?
the digial revolution
the case of popular music
mp3 player (late 1990s)
YouTube (...
Disjuncture with global trends
宇多田ヒカル、嵐
Conversely
ハルキ・ムラカミ
宮崎駿
Aesthetic adaptability
Exemplifies these trends
Local (Japanese) knowledge
Insular ethnocentrism
To be sure, possible to export as
concept (and a...
Romanticism and meritocracy
extreme diversity
Far East Movement, "Like a G6"
US?
"Gangnam Style"
六本木スタイル
坂本九
『上を向いて歩こう」
The Paradox of Popularity
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AKB48 and SNSD by John Lie

  1. 1. AKB48 and Girls’ Generation John Lie University of California, Berkeley June 2014
  2. 2. AKB 48 ヘビーローテーショ ン
  3. 3. 少女時代 MR.TAXI
  4. 4. Nationality Group structure Musical genre / influence Dancing routine Hair color/style Height Ability Et cetera…. Obvious differences
  5. 5. AKB48=Japanese culture; GG=S Korean Complexity and hybridity Diversity of taste in each culture Popularity is not representativeness certainly, not essential expression Comparison?
  6. 6. One commonality: the predominance of teenagers for the music industry http://www.nikkei.com/article/DGXNAS FK2902T_Z20C13A1000000/ http://en.korea.com/bigbang/board/ne ws-big-bang-ranks-on-korea-gallups-poll- most-popular-k-pop-stars-in-2012/ Why compare then?
  7. 7. The birth of popular culture cf. traditional, elite, popular The birth of popular music in 1914 in the case of Japan Culture Industry
  8. 8. In Korea, 1926 윤심덕 사의 찬미 Why commodity? Anti-Romantic aesthetics Lack of autonomy The primacy of the market Popular Music as Commodity
  9. 9. Reaction to the classics innovation / tradition Stress on autonomy "l'art pour l'art" Romantic ideology
  10. 10. Akimoto Yasushi (1958-) おニャン子クラブ (1985-87) The Mind Behind AKB48
  11. 11. Before Onyanko
  12. 12. Lee Soo Man (1952-)
  13. 13. Folk-rock Anti-government Hip hop J-pop Before K-pop
  14. 14. The rise of “idols” the coming of leisure society / teenagers the age of television voice + looks in Japan, c. 1970 花の中三トリオ・新御 三家 in S Korea, mid 1980s 김완선、소방차 A Common Endpoint
  15. 15. Generational transition generational rift the end of ‘tradition’ Shifting focus of consumptionk Rapid turnover of stars Idols as Consumption Goods
  16. 16. Classical idols Sort of perfection/semi-sacred Postmodern versions iconoclasts, secularization, cynicism Constant Change
  17. 17. Real-ness amateur, therefore ‘real’ Democratic Grassroots politics though in fact capitalist Narrativity “reality” TV social life: conversation piece / focus AKB48 as Innovation
  18. 18. Perfectionism Division of labor/outsourcing training system Transcending borders Localization as export multilingualism The embrace of the social media Post-thing economy / culture GG as Innovation
  19. 19. The collapse of the Romantic ideology embrace of commodification the profit motive Thus, the fundamental difference as commercial strategy Akimoto: Inward Lee: Outward Innovation in Pop Music
  20. 20. Divergent political economy Post-Bubble Japanese economy (1991-) stagflation and introversion “a world of lukewarm bath” Galapagos Syndrome e.g. decline in students abroad
  21. 21. A major turning point: 1997 intensification of competition renewed faith in export Differential reactions to globalization e.g. university reforms Post-IMF Crisis S Korea
  22. 22. homogenization, localization, differentiation Bipolarization global citizens and Globish cosmopolitan Local citizens patriotism / parochialism intensified by the decline of the welfare state and traditional social support e.g. vitriolic territorial disputes Dialectics of Globalization
  23. 23. The golden age of J-pop 安全地帯、安室奈美恵 Why the decline? resistance to export transformation of global music genre/technology change Global J-pop?
  24. 24. amazon.co.jp: ¥ 2,980 ¥ 2,760 CD amazon.com: $7.63 Audio CD Music Business in the Internet Age YouTube, spotify, google music etc. Traditional Marketing
  25. 25. e.g. color TV why did Samsung beat Sony? the digial revolution the case of popular music mp3 player (late 1990s) YouTube (2005-) Technological transformations
  26. 26. Disjuncture with global trends 宇多田ヒカル、嵐 Conversely ハルキ・ムラカミ 宮崎駿 Aesthetic adaptability
  27. 27. Exemplifies these trends Local (Japanese) knowledge Insular ethnocentrism To be sure, possible to export as concept (and attempts to do so) Unfortunately, the ubiquity of “ordinary” girls peculiarity of cross-gender relations AKB48
  28. 28. Romanticism and meritocracy extreme diversity Far East Movement, "Like a G6" US?
  29. 29. "Gangnam Style" 六本木スタイル 坂本九 『上を向いて歩こう」 The Paradox of Popularity

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