As K-pop Becomes A Global Sensation, Idol Training System Is Compared To Grooming Stars

Japanese boy bands JO1

As K-pop becomes a genre in its own right, its unique bootcamp-like training system and idol-making become a standard in Asia.

The K-idol training system is most actively compared in Japan. More than 30,000 aspiring idols have flocked to open K-pop auditions held in Japan over the past two years.

JYP Entertainment, one of Korea’s top three entertainment agencies, held audition programs in eight cities to create a K-pop-like girl group in Japan. The nine members of NiziU, the girl group formed from this audition program, were selected from 100,000 applicants. After going through the same K-pop trainee system. NiziU set a record by being the first girl group to have two songs surpass 100 million streams on Oricon’s weekly stream chart. They also won three awards at the 2021 Japan Golden Disc Awards.

CJ ENM, another top entertainment company in Korea, formed Japanese boy bands JO1 and INI through “Produce 101 Japan”, the Korean version of the TV idol audition program. Both bands’ early songs topped the Japanese Oricon charts.

The K-pop idol trainee system is famous for its rigorous and systematic bootcamp-like process. It has a meticulous program that covers all areas including talent selection, education and debut. Song with choreography is also a distinctive part of her performance-oriented training.

“Teenagers in Japan choose the K-pop idol as their future dream,” said Chang Hyuck-jin, chief operating officer of Lapone Entertainment, a music label under CJ ENM based in Japan.



One of the Japanese members of a new girl group, Kep1er, had dreamed of becoming a K-pop idol ever since she watched Korean drama “Dream High” in elementary school.

The diverse nationalities of K-pop idols coincide with the growing international audience for Korean music. The demand for Korean music has grown exponentially and more and more countries are importing Korean music. Korea’s album exports totaled $220 million last year, nearly doubling the previous year’s $136 million.


Japanese member of Kep1er

Total exports rose 22% year-on-year despite lower exports to Japan. The share of exports to Japan fell from 47.1% in 2020 to 35.3% last year. During the same period, exports to other countries such as China and the United States increased by 6.8 percentage points and 2.2 percentage points, respectively. There was also new demand for K-pop in Africa, Eastern Europe and the Middle East.

By Park Dae-eui and Susan Lee

[ⓒ Pulse by Maeil Business News Korea &, All rights reserved]

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