Just J-Pop: NiziU Part 1

Category: Lifestyle/Entertainment


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. glumness / ˈglʌm nɪs / (n) – a feeling of sadness or disappointment

    After the team lost the championship, you could feel the glumness in the locker room.

  2. imitate / ˈɪm ɪˌteɪt / (v) – to copy someone or something

    John can imitate a dog’s bark perfectly.

  3. choreography / ˌkɔr iˈɒg rə fi / (n) – the movements that dancers use in a performance

    The group’s creative choreography amazed the judges.

  4. distract / dɪˈstrækt / (v) – to take someone’s mind or attention away from something

    Watching TV shows helps to distract me from my problems.

  5. wrap up / ræp ʌp / (phrasal) – to complete, finish, or end something

    We wrapped up the project last week, and I’m so glad it’s finally done.


Read the text below.

During 2020, many people sought escape from the glumness of life during the COVID-19 pandemic. Around the world, they found a temporary break in video games like Animal Crossing: New Horizons or TV shows and movies on Netflix. They also found it by imitating dances done by famous pop stars on the short-form video app TikTok.

Japanese pop group NiziU provided one song and a set of choreography for those looking for something fun to distract themselves with. The nine-member project came together as part of a TV reality show, and started releasing music soon after the show wrapped up. Their summer song Make you happy became the hit of the season, and closed out 2020 as the most viewed YouTube video in Japan. That tune offered a ray of light — and some fancy footwork — to people all around the world, and has set NiziU up as the next big group to watch in J-pop.

They also represent an interesting experiment in Japan’s music industry. NiziU came together thanks to JYP Entertainment, a Korean company behind globally popular K-pop acts such as Twice and Got7. JYP debuted the show Nizi Project in January, and over the next few months — especially during the period where more people found themselves stuck inside — it became a hit. Viewers followed along to see who would appear in the final group. (Patrick St. Michel)

To be continued…

This article was provided by The Japan Times Alpha.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

  • In your opinion, what was the best way to fight the glumness of life in 2020 (ex. Animal Crossing, Netflix)? Why? Discuss.
  • Do you think that 2021 so far is a better year than 2020 was? Why or why not? Discuss.

Discussion B

  • NiziU came together as part of a TV reality show. How do you feel about this process? Why? Discuss.
  • If you had the chance to be on a TV show like that, would you? Why or why not? Discuss.