K-pop, Mandopop and other Asian pop

K-pop fans respond to BTS-inspired Japanese boy band King & Prince

With 10 million followers in Japan alone, K-pop kings BTS have made a big impression on the music scene. A Japanese talent agency has launched a six-member boy band who’ve found a following online among K-pop fans

PUBLISHED : Monday, 30 July, 2018, 8:00pm
UPDATED : Monday, 30 July, 2018, 8:00pm

The “Japanese version” of breakthrough South Korean act BTS, King & Prince, are becoming increasingly popular among K-pop fans online.

King & Prince made their debut this year. Their six members are Sho Hirano, Genki Iwahashi, Yuta Kishi, Ren Nagase, Kaito Takahashi and Yuta Jinguji.

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The group are the creation of Johnny’s Universe, Johnny & Associates’ new record label under Universal Music. Johnny & Associates are an influential talent agency in Japan, with other acts including Arashi and KAT-TUN.

“BTS have about 30 million followers on social media worldwide, with 10 million in Japan alone,” Fujikura Naoshi, president and CEO of Universal Music Japan, told Yahoo! Japan. “The power of the group is amazing.

“I think an increasing number of Japanese artists are exhibiting a willingness to make such accomplishments as well, after witnessing the success of the group.”

He said BTS' success had been a huge motivation, and that he is discovering the potential of Japanese artists at the same time.

King & Prince were born according to this belief, Naoshi said.

“King & Prince are an example [of] targeting foreign markets with the members enthusiastically learning English,” he said. “Now it is more demanding to foster young superstars, but we must do this.”

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The group are gaining popularity in Japan, with their debut single, Cinderella Girl, topping the Billboard Japan Hot 100 Chart in May.