News of the arrival of South Korean boyband JYJ prompted hundreds of fans to camp out on the streets recently to get closer to the trio. But this wasn’t in Seoul or even Tokyo: it was in Lima.
Having taken Asia by storm over the past decade with bubblegum hooks and dance moves infused with military precision, South Korea’s K-pop phenomenon continues to defy language barriers and find fans around the world.
As South Korea continues to export its culture, K-pop’s polished fusion of influences ranging from hip-hop to dubstep is winning a growing number of passionate followers in Latin America.
JYJ has held sellout concerts there and a Colombian TV station is airing a K-pop talent show.
Latin American fans have posted hundreds of videos on YouTube showing flash mobs emulating K-pop dance moves and urging their favourite stars to visit the continent, despite many not having officially released songs outside Asia.
Promoters are using the power of the Internet to lure distant fans and organise concerts in Europe and North and South America.
The popularity of the genre in Asia remains undiminished — 7,000 Japanese fans will flock to Seoul this month to “meet” JYJ at a major event that has booked out 3,500 hotel rooms around Seoul.
But in Latin America, fans are taking note: JYJ in March performed in both Chile and Peru as part of a world tour of 15 venues including Berlin and Barcelona.
Hundreds camped out for days in Santiago and Lima as they tried to get closer to the trio during their first concerts in the region, said June Oh, a spokeswoman for the band’s agent C-JeS.