Despite Japan’s on-going music market recession, K-POP girl groups SNSD and KARA shined last year.

“Since KARA and SNSD both have success in Korea, when they debuted in Japan, they already had a lot of passionate fans. According to last year’s Oricon Yearly Ranking, the top domestic new comers who had their CD debut were #1 KARA and #2 SNSD. KARA had 2 singles, 5 albums and 1 DVD, 8 total things; earning 1.3 billion yen (~15.7 USD). SNSD had 2 singles, 6 albums and 1 DVD, 9 total things, they earned 880 million yen (~10.6 USD). #3 was the male 3 member band WEAVER who earned 130 million yen (~1.6 million USD).” (Music Magazine Reporter)

About their popularity in Korea, “It feels as if KARA’s season has passed, and SNSD’s popularity among young girls is high. It’s for that reason that KARA has increased their Japanese activities. Starting in January, the members play the lead roles in their TV Tokyo drama “URAKARA”.” (Journalist from Korea)

On December 30, 2010, SNSD was awarded the Best Newcomer Award by the “Japan Record Awards”. It feels as though SNSD are leading KARA by just a bit in Japan and it could be thanks to their valuable weapon, one member who is proficient in Japanese, Sooyoung. In August 2010, she was the representative member at Tokyo’s Ariake Coliseum and greeted the fans, “After this, I think there will be a lot of chances to meet with Japanese fans, so please support us!”. After this, she was proactive and she fluently spoke in Japanese at events and on TV programs. She learned this Japanese from her early years in Japan.

“When she was still 11 years old, she applied for TV Tokyo’s audition program “ASAYAN”’s “Japan-Korea Ultra Idol Duo Audition” that began in December 2001. There were around 15,000 applicants from Japan and Korea and she was selected among them. She was paired with Takahashi Marina, who has already retired, to form the female duo “routeφ”; produced by Kawamura Ryuichi. In April 2002, they released their debut single “START”. At that time, she went by her real name Choi Sooyoung.” (Record Company Officials)

“ASAYAN had already produced Suzuki Ami and Morning Musume. At the time Sooyoung passed her audition, the idol golden age was already in full force and the girls couldn’t keep up with it. “START” (R and C Ltd.) only sold 5,000 copies and entered Oricon at rank #62. By July 2003, they had already released 3 singles and 1 DVD; but still remained unknown. In March of 2003 “ASAYAN” stopped being broadcast and route0 broke up.” (Same Company As Before)

After the breakup Sooyoung returned to Korea. She took thorough singing and dance lessons. In August 2007, she was able to debut as a member of SNSD. They became big last year and she had her “triumphant return” to Japan.

Sooyoung doesn’t try hard to hide from her past. In 2008 a Korean entertainment program touched on her past activities in Japan and she thinks fondly of those times now. I have no doubt she will definitely be successful in her activities.

Translated by: [email protected]
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