Just J-Pop: NiziU Part 2

Category: Lifestyle/Entertainment


Unlocking Word Meanings

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

  1. outfit / ˈaʊtˌfɪt / (n) – an organization or a group of people doing the same activity together

    Jim’s outfit was stationed overseas for several years during the war.

  2. dub / dʌb / (v) – to give someone or something a name, description, etc.

    Mark was dubbed a hero after he saved a dog from a burning building.

  3. craze / kreɪz / (n) – an idea, activity, etc. that is extremely popular for a short time

    Earlier this year, singing sailor songs was a craze on social media for a few weeks.

  4. day one / deɪ wʌn / (n) – the very beginning of something

    I knew I didn’t like him from day one.

  5. keep tabs on (someone/something) / kip tæbz ɒn / (idiom) – to carefully monitor someone or something to know what that person or thing is doing

    I’ve been keeping tabs on the stock market because I’m thinking about investing.


Read the text below.

Continued from Part 1…

But when NiziU emerged, they weren’t like other J-pop outfits. The group — consisting of members Ayaka, Mako, Maya, Mayuka, Miihi, Nina, Riku, Rima and Rio — embraced the internet in a way that other Japanese acts have often avoided. They emphasized uploads on YouTube and, as the centerpiece for the Make you happy music video, performed a routine dubbed the “jump rope dance.”

Their style of inclusion became a hit on TikTok, both in Japan and in other parts of the world. The video platform — where uploads usually run for 10 to 30 seconds — overflows with dance covers, and Make you happy provided a new craze for creators to try out. It helped turn NiziU into a sensation in Japan, and it earned the group attention from K-pop fans all over the globe.

Japanese artists tend to do well domestically, but often struggle at presenting themselves to the world. NiziU have avoided this by using a time-tested K-pop strategy from day one: They gave fans easy access to them via sites like YouTube, and combined this with elements like dancing that can go viral and get fans involved in the creative process. As 2021 settles in, NiziU aren’t just an exciting new group to keep tabs on — they’re a sign of a potential shift in how J-pop approaches the world. (Patrick St. Michel)

This article was provided by The Japan Times Alpha.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

  • In your opinion, why do many Japanese artists have success in Japan but not overseas (ex. language issues, lack of international promotion)? Discuss.
  • Who do you think was the most successful Japanese artist/group of all time? How much success did he/she/they have overseas? Discuss.

Discussion B

  • In recent years, K-pop bands have exploded in popularity worldwide. Do you agree that this is largely because of their internet presence and creative dance moves? Why or why not? Discuss.
  • In your opinion, what country or countries’ bands have the most international popularity? Why? Discuss.