Over the holidays, I was given a book to read with the promise it would have a dragon in it....Technically it did. Here's my take on "K-pop - The International Rise of the Korean Music Industry".
16 Jan 2015 - 2:45 PM  UPDATED 20 Jan 2015 - 6:06 PM

The last book I picked up that had this few pictures and such small print involved a large wall and an annoying brat with dragons ("Write, George, write like the wind!"). It's no "Song of Ice and Fire", but "K-pop - The International Rise of the Korean Music Industry" still contains interweaving themes, interesting characters and there is a picture of a dragon (G-Dragon is technically a dragon, right?).

"K-pop - The International Rise of the Korean Music Industry" edited by Jungbong Choi and Roald Maliangkay, looks at where K-pop finds its roots, where it branches out into realms outside of just being a musical genre, and how it flourishes in other nations. In essence, I think it's a 101 of what K-pop was, what it became and the different forms it's taken throughout the world. There's even a chapter about us in there: SBSPopAsia and YOU the PopAsians!


The book starts with a brief history of K-pop, which is where we meet some of the first K-pop 'girl groups' including The Kimchi Kats (how utterly ROCKING is that name by the way?)


The thing that made this part of "K-pop - The International Rise of the Korean Music Industry" interesting for me was the parallels you could make from K-Pop to other parts of the world. Their music was evolving, I think, in the same ways it might have been in England, America or Australia.

From there, the book explores the different ways people have been able to experience K-pop and how different fan bases around the world have gotten into it. From movies that were huge hits in Japan, to anime and manga leading fans on the other side of the globe to K-pop. It is also heart-warming to hear how fans celebrate their K-pop obsession in other parts of the world (plus, cover dancing sounds amazement!).

“K-pop - The International Rise of the Korean Music Industry” also looks at what could be termed the “darker” side of the K-pop industry. While not discussed at great length, it is a recurring theme as to the pressures and expectations placed on K-pop stars from the industry and fans. 

Special word nerd note: there is use of the word “Schadenfreude” which means to take pleasure in the misfortune of others. This is seriously one of my favourite words of all time. It's used in a chapter that also serves as a reminder that on the Internet, just like in real life, it's important to try not to be a jerk.

Overall, it's a fairly easy read, though it's not a bad idea to have a dictionary handy for some of the terms they use. (Don't use Google... You'll start by typing something simple into a search engine and suddenly it will be 5 hours later and you'll be reading about “the father of anthropology”, YOU JUST WILL).

I read this book knowing very little about K-pop (other than I really like Epik High because they're awesome), but came away with a lot more insight into the whole world that has been created around and by the K-pop industry. As a reference book for a project, or just general knowledge of K-pop, I think this one definitely belongs in your collection!