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Tuesday, July 26, 2011

New K-pop craze in Shinokubo draws in young


Tokyo's Shinokubo district has a new South Korean pop presence pulling in young Japanese fans, mainly female.

News photo
K-pop: South Korean pop group Once performs at Seichi music hall in the Shinokubo area of Tokyo's Shinjuku Ward in June. KYODO PHOTO

The fans can be seen waiting outside the Shinjuku Ward K-pop music hall Seichi, which has been offering three shows a day of young South Korean musicians since it opened in April.

"I think this place is a culture base to sustain the Korean boom," said Chu Kwang Ho, 56, manager of Seichi.

When Roti, a Korean quintet that debuted in Japan, and Once, from South Korea, took the stage, cheers in Korean erupted.

A decade ago, "Winter Sonata," starring Bae Yong Joon, or "Yon-sama," and other South Korean dramas won over mainly middle-aged Japanese women.

K-pop culture fans are younger, said Lee Kun Haeng, 45, manager of a shop selling goods related to K-pop stars, including Kara, Girls' Generation and Tohoshinki. "The main customers were in their 50s or older in the past. An increasing number of women in their teens to 30s are visiting our shop," he said.

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