K-Pop in Japan

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With Japan so close to Korea, it’s impossible for the hallyu (flow of Korea) wave not to spread here! Even on the train, you can see advertisements of Korean boy bands or girl groups like CNBLUE or 2NE1. But for some reason, while I realized the chances of them coming to Japan are better than them coming to America, it didn’t even cross my mind to try to see Korean acts here in Japan!

I was super bummed because Big Bang, a 5-member boy band from YG Entertainment in Korea, had gone to America for their MADE world tour, but I’d just missed it by 2 weeks. But my aunt, who knows that my little cousin and I both love Big Bang, signed up for a lottery for Big Bang tickets… AND WE GOT IT!!!!!!!!!! I don’t know how to express this online, but this is SERIOUSLY CRAZY because Big Bang’s tickets usually sell out and they’re not cheap either.

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3 hours outside Tokyo Dome before the Big Bang concert

Our seats were pretty high up on the 3rd balcony, but I didn’t care!!! Big Bang was so good live, and it was my first time actively being a part of the fandom. I really grew up with this group, as they got really popular in 2008 (my junior high years). So they mean so much to me!! Getting to see them live definitely made my life feel more complete. I can go on and on about how important K-Pop is to me, but I’ll just stop here…

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Tokyo Dome before the concert

When the concert started, Tokyo Dome completely changed! All the lights went out and the fans turned on their lightsticks and started moving them to the beat, making the audience look like a waving mass of stars. Fans call these “oceans,” and usually the group has their own color. Big Bang’s was yellow and red.

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If you can spot the Big Bang lightstick at the bottom, there’s a bright yellow crown on top of a red “B”

Unfortunately, I was not so lucky for the next act I wanted to see here in Japan. Apparently, you have to be super prompt right when the ticket sales open… which I was not… because I thought this band was not very well known in Japan yet. I guess I need to step up my game if I want to call myself a fan here!

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Tickets were sold out for hyukoh, an indie-rock Korean band…

If you’re planning on seeing any artists/musicians while you’re here, you might want to brush up on the ticketing systems before you get here. You’ll probably either buy them at your local conbini (convenience stores like Sunkus, 7-Eleven, Lawson, etc.), but you’ll need to be able to at least read/write basic Hiragana and Katakana. Or, if you want to skip all that, you can choose to buy tickets through outside services, like JapanConcertTickets, which will navigate through all the foreign machines to buy the tickets for you (if you can beat out the rush of fans who are waiting for the moment the pre-sale opens), but usually at a much higher price. But regardless, you should definitely check out some concerts here in Japan! The music scene here is really diverse, and there are a lot more foreign artists than you might expect. Who knows, maybe you might find your new favorite band here?

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