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Impact Marketing of K-Pop Idols on Japan's Economic Growth

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The boom of South Korean pop (K-pop) originally expanded to few Asian countries in mid-1990s; however, in early twenty first century, it has gained global popularity in the twinkling of an eye. The latest BTS – a Korean idol group which consists seven boys – got the first place on America’s Billboard album chart (Dal and Lee, 2019). It was also for the first time to get that record as Asian music stars. The announce means BTS got international fame not only in Asian countries, but also in Western countries. Even if Japanese pop music gains popularities in other countries, it doesn’t achieve such a historical record. This report will be branched three main topics. Firstly, a literature review will be written about how K-pop idols succeeded in foreign countries, especially Japan. It could be helpful to find their marketing strategies. Secondly, it will be about how did Japanese economy change because of the influence of them. Finally, it will mention about how did political relationship between both countries influence to their economic effect. It is to identify whether the growth of their economic phenomenon is affected by political issue or not.

The Marketing Strategy

This part will talk about how K-pop idols has succeed globally to find their main marketing strategy. K-pop idols succeed by using social media marketing strategy. In 1990s when the K-pop boom started Korea paid more attention to domestic music than foreign music. Even though foreign music accounted less than domestic music in the market, it influenced K-pop into global (Fuhr, 2016) K-pop idols affected positive impact to Korea. The recent study says that the effect to the Korean domestic economy and it the export rate increased tenfold in four years (Jeong, 2014). It tells us the K-pop industry advanced rapidly. Seo (2012) comments there are four factors which make K-pop idols succeed internationally: preparation, delivery, content and consumer. The biggest factor could be delivery which means K-pop companies use SNS to share their idols. According to International Federation of the Phonogram and Videogram Producers (IFPI), Japan is the second largest markets for music industries in the world (IFPI, 2019) It means Japan is one of the biggest marketing places for K-pop industry. The differences of idols between Korean and Japanese are regulations. Fans of K-pop idols could share videos or photos of their favorite idols on SNS such as YouTube and Twitter (Ahn et al., 2013). On the other hand, Japanese music companies make regulations for sharing on SNS. Nowadays social media is one of the biggest tools to get and share information. Letting people share idols connects to increasing popularities and reputations. According to this part, K-pop idols succeed by using social media.

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The Influence on Japanese Economy

This part will mention about how K-pop idols effect to the economy of Japan. The boom of Korean drama trend peaked the early 2000s. In particular, ‘Winter Sonata’ was immensely supported by middle and elderly aged Japanese women in late 2004. It also became a social phenomenon. Kim et al. (2007) highlight the drama attracted more than 700,000 people to visit Japan, whose expenditure was US$21.7 million. This situation is like the current Japanese K-pop trend. Seo (2016) mentions Japan Travel Bureau (JTB) organized a package tour which is included K-pop idol’s concert tickets and shopping for K-pop fans and around 2000 people participated the tour. It means K-pop effects to Japanese economy through tourisms industry. According to the report by the World Travel and Tourism Council, travel/tourism industry accounts for large percentage for world economic activity. In other words, tourism is generally one of the most effective industries of the economy. The industry is related to music as well. It could be the representative example that people, who like The Beatles, have visited Liverpool. Gibson and Connel (2008) comments that The Beatles brought multi-million pound to the United Kingdom. Moreover, Social Media marketing could be connected to the tourism industry. Kolb (2017) mentions it might be said that more and more travelers organize their itineraries by themselves by using social media. It is included to post their photos after the trip. It is common that other people see their posts and want to visit there. It means that travelers are receiver who get information of trips as well as advocates who share their experiences. As for these perspectives, the influences of K-pop to the tourism industry by using fans through social media is bigger than package tours of travel agencies. Currently, many K-pop idols hold their concerts in Japan. They might affect to lots of places such as hotels which located near the concert halls and Korean towns in central cities in Japan.

The Influence of Political Relations

This part will be talk about how the historical relationship between Japan and Korea effect to the economic phenomenon of K-pop. Korean Times (2014) mentions Japan and Korea are “close in distance but far in mind”, even though the two countries are geographically close. In the history, Japan invaded Korea countless times. At that time, Korea was prohibited to share Korean identities and traditions (Kim et al., 2007). This fact is not specified in Japanese textbooks, so both countries have argued about that. Following the history, protest demonstrations happened that some Korean people chopped their fingers to argue what Japan did (Ching, 2019). Mas media reports that these protest demonstrations have occurred in Japan. According to Akimoto (2019), Korean tourists accounted for the second largest number of whole foreign tourists visiting Japan, but the number has reducing. It means the relationship could affect tourism industry. However, the market of K-pop has been expanding in Japan. Asahi weekly (2019) reports that BTS’s latest album has turned over 620 thousand in the first week when it has come out in Japan. Additionally, K-pop idols appear on Japanese TV programs and collaborate with Japanese cosmetic companies. If those companies are afraid of making profit because of the relationship, they would not do that. Overall, the tension of the relationship could affect to whole Japanese economy, but it would not be connected too much the influence of K-pop market.


As a conclusion, the literature review gives three main ideas: prime strategy of K-pop idols, effect to Japanese economy and effect of Japanese and Korean relationship. To summarize, the main marketing strategy is using social media marketing. They share their idols by using it to spread the popularity and reputation all over the world. Then the strategy could connect to the influence of Japanese economy especially tourism industry. Additionally, the relationship of both countries might not affect strongly to influence of K-pop.

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Impact Marketing of K-Pop Idols on Japan’s Economic Growth. (2023, January 31). Edubirdie. Retrieved September 30, 2023, from
“Impact Marketing of K-Pop Idols on Japan’s Economic Growth.” Edubirdie, 31 Jan. 2023,
Impact Marketing of K-Pop Idols on Japan’s Economic Growth. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 30 Sept. 2023].
Impact Marketing of K-Pop Idols on Japan’s Economic Growth [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2023 Jan 31 [cited 2023 Sept 30]. Available from:
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