Origins of K-Pop

For many people, Gangnam Style is their first exposure to Korean pop music, more commonly known as K-Pop. Psy’s song, Gangnam Style, has sky-rocketed his fame and exposed the world to this ever growing K-Pop culture. The song became so popular that it even started playing on American radio stations and has been heard throughout the world, thus establishing K-Pop in cultures all over the globe.
So, how did K-Pop come into existence? When Korea was liberated from Japanese rule in 1945, the freed Koreans became exposed to the different forms of American music. Pop music gradually replaced traditional music and the cultural influences of “Americanization” began to spread throughout the country. However, in the 1980s, Park Chung Hee, Korea’s president, commissioned the Gwangju Massacre, resulting in the resistance of many youthful Koreans to their military dictator through the means of rock music. Since then, the resistors turned to Japanese pop music, and Koreans also acted in a similar manner, causing a period of time called “Japanization” to arise. Due to the blended cultures of Americanization and Japanization, K-Pop has become what we know of today.
In 2002, the decade of the “Korean Wave” began as a new trend. Since then, K-Pop has become even more accepted through a wide range of artists and songs such as Girls’ Generation’s “Gee,”Taeyang’s “Wedding Dress,” “Psy’s “Gangnam Style” and will be ever changing as the American culture revolutionizes.

Dalla Wong and Cynthia Luong
Features Editors