Five years ago, it was uncommon to hear of anime and K-pop associated with popular culture. In fact, society often considered them “uncool” and “shameful” to enjoy. Today, absorbing Asian entertainment content is something that people are completely absorbed in as it rapidly grows in popularity across the country. Asian entertainment is rising, and rising fast.
Korean musical groups such as ITZY, BTS, and Stray Kids have been starting to gain much more popularity since their starts earlier in the 2010s. Recently, the South-Korean boy band BTS, shortened for Bangtan Sonyeondan or in English, Bulletproof Boy Scouts, has been dubbed “the most popular boy band in the world.”
According to Billboard, when BTS toured in the United States in 2019, they sold out at every show. If this statistic does not prove the group’s popularity, their fanbase surely does. The group’s fans, famously dubbed the “Army,” consisting of more than 40.8 million people, are amongst one of the largest fan bases of this time.
BTS has broken many music records in both the Korean and Western industries. The boys’ music video, “Butter,” broke the record for the most viewed youtube video in 24 hours. BTS has also broken the record for the most streamed group on Spotify, a music streaming service. The group is often credited with “paving the way” for international acts to make it in the United States.
Not only is Asian music gaining popularity, but Asian television shows and movies are as well.
Japanese animations, also known as anime, are starting to gain more popularity in the United States. Well known streaming sites such as Hulu, Netflix, and Amazon Prime Video all have large amounts of anime on them. Anime is usually based on manga, or a Japanese comic. Alice in Borderland, a Netflix Original show, was originally a manga. Netflix decided to turn this manga into a live-action adaptation. Along with this, Alice in Borderland is also an anime, and just like the Netflix adaptation, the anime was based on the manga.
Star Wars: Visions, an upcoming series by Disney, has seven Japanese animation studios working on it. With this massive, American-based entertainment conglomerate, the fact that there are multiple international partners involved in this project shows just how much popularity Asian entertainment is gaining.
With the rising action on the anime scene, manga sales have also been rising. Popular book stores, such as Barnes and Noble, and various libraries now have sections dedicated to manga due to its rise in demand.
Korea has not just made an impact on Western music, but also the film industry. Korean dramas, also known as K-dramas, are also growing in popularity at an exponential rate. Many K-dramas are styled like Hallmark romance movies, while others cover other genres such as mysteries, comedy, and other TV categories. As the name implies, K-dramas are well known for their very dramatic acting, but that is not all. K-dramas are also known for their running themes in plotlines, at least 45 minute long episodes, and intense cliffhangers that keep viewers hooked.
With the popularity increase in Asian entertainment, it is inspiring to see that international acts truly do have a chance to not only exist, but flourish in the United States. One can only hope to see more diverse and alternative acts find success in the United States.