K-pop Idols – Resemblance to Anime Characters
I liked Korea pop music, and for a long time, I had been listening to music from the likes of Rain, Se7en, BoA, TVXQ, Big Bang, 2PM, 4Minute and a lot more. For those who had similarly followed the Korea pop music industry just as avidly, it’s easy to see that Korea pop music had evolved, it had turned into something.. different, both musically and physically. Gone were the days when your favorite kpop idols look more “ordinary” and down to earth, now they equip themselves with exotic makeups, bizarre hairstyles, and other surreal fashions.
The above picture shows how a typical kpop idol nowadays look like. Heavy makeups are applied to the face; including eye liners, toners and some possibly some others I’m not familiar with. His hairstyle is styled in a static, yet surreal look. Often times, these idols also dons bizarre, attention-grabbing outfits which would be extremely embarrassing to wear when walking around the streets. Most kpop stylists aim to make their idols having a very definitive and out-of-the-box look.
Back to the main topic at hand, I think one of the main factors in kpop huge fashion change is due to it’s influence on Japanese culture, or more specifically, anime itself. Of cause, I’m not saying anime is the main source behind this, but I feel it does play a significant role somewhere down the road.
Looking at the above pictures, the dreamlike appearance of kpop idols certainly resembles that of anime characters. Their major eye and facial makeups is a huge plus to the similarity, especially the way they style those long eyelashes. Their hairstyles which look more like wigs themselves, made it even more obvious.
Interestingly, the genres kpop music had also changed along with the idols’ appearances. While ballad and hip hop are more common genres kpop music affiliated themselves with, they now go with the more bizarre techno/trance trend, fitting accordingly to the sudden exotic and bizarre fashion switch.
If I were to make a more generic comparison, the current kpop is just like Japanese visual kei. As per wiki, visual kei is a movement among Japanese musicians that is characterized by the use of make-up, elaborate hair styles and flamboyant costumes, often, but not always, coupled with androgynous aesthetics. Doesn’t that seems somehow.. familiar? The only difference is that visual kei focuses more on rock while kpop is more on techno. Indeed, there is no denying that kpop went down the same path too, using the same “unique” outlook visual kei possesses. They are an art, a fashion, yet, they are also music.
Shift in trends are always an interesting thing. Just what ignited the start of this trend? What happens to the old trend? Is the new trend so good that it can actually outperform the previous trend? I think this point can also be depended on how we perceive which is true or false. Certainly, everyone is now seeing the current trend as the real trend, the true mainstream music, but that’s a discussion for another day.
The surrealism of kpop fashion and the evolution of Korea’s pop music industry; pop changed, and so does kpop. At the end of the day, is this change influenced by anime? Not completely I would say, but it does contribute on quite a major portion of this change.