Learning languages is challenging, especially if you’re trying to learn one at an older age when you’re unfamiliar with it. And yet, that’s what many foreign idols have to do in order to debut in the K-Pop scene if Korean isn’t their native language! Sometimes, however, K-Pop groups will go to the effort to learn other languages — such as English, Chinese, or in this case, Japanese — in order to promote their music in other countries. Here are 8 groups that are especially known for their Japanese skills.
TVXQ has a very established discography in Japanese, and are highly popular over in Japan. They’re even called Tohoshinki in Japan, and have released 8 studio albums and 43 singles in Japanese. The members are completely fluent in the language, and fans even joke that they’re “surprised” when they release Korean music!
All of the members of SHINee are fluent in Japanese, which makes sense, given how many Japanese albums and singles they have. Key was originally their most fluent in the language, but the other members have caught up since then. Taemin now spends much of his time in Japan!
TWICE have three Japanese members – Sana, Momo, and Mina – so they have a bit of an unfair advantage. But the other members have worked hard to learn Japanese as well, so that they can keep releasing music in Japan — where they are very successful and very loved!
Despite having no Japanese members, SEVENTEEN has released several Japanese singles, as well as Japanese versions of their songs, both of which do very well. They’re also very popular in Japan!
BoA is extremely popular in Japan, and has even sang some anime OSTs. She debuted in the country in her mid-teens with very little support and pushed herself to learn the language better (after taking Japanese lessons for a short period beforehand) and promote on her own, which led to huge success.
Dreamcatcher has released Japanese albums and singles, despite, like SEVENTEEN, not having any Japanese members. Their songs already have a sort of J-Rock sound to them, which has helped them be successful in Japan.
Like TWICE, IZ*ONE has the advantage of having Japanese members — Sakura, Nako, and Hitomi — which has helped them succeed with their music career in Japan, with several Japanese singles. Early on, since the group was made knowing that there would be Korean and Japanese members, the Korean members worked just as hard as the Japanese members to learn each others’ languages, which is nice to see reciprocated instead of just foreign members learning Korean!
Again, KARA has no Japanese members, but has an extensive Japanese discography of both albums and singles, and seems to be able to get by in Japan without the use of translators, which means they haven’t just memorized the Japanese lyrics for their songs. They’ve even recorded soundtracks for Japanese dramas.