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The History of Kpop (Korean Pop Music)

Updated on May 15, 2017

Korean pop, or Kpop as it is more popularly known as, is a huge hit among Korean and international students. With Korean music getting recognized on the Asian market, as well as at a worldwide level, Kpop is becoming extremely popular among both Korean speaking people and non Koreans.

The history of Korean pop music is not very old. Pop music has become quite popular in Korea due to the Western influence of pop music. This doesn’t mean that Western culture is overtaking the Korean culture, but more that it was the start of various popular music channels like MTV and internet sources, that have spread pop music and had a great influence upon the inspiration of Korean musicians, as well as general music lovers.

When we look at the history of the Korean pop music, we find out that the Kpop music radio has indeed played a great role in promoting it and bringing it to the masses. The Korean youngsters are absolutely in love with their Korean pop music bands and are really proud of the fact that many of them have gained recognition on an international level as well.

The history of Kpop music is quite exciting, although quite short, with the rapid spread of Kpop music radio shaping it. In fact, over a period of only 20 odd years, South Korea itself has evolved from being a poor country, to being a major international player with incredible commodities and technology. With the coming of many great bands like FINKL and Super Junior, many music lovers which are not familiar with the Korean language are also loving the Korean music a lot. Meaning that in a very short period of time, Kpop has in fact become a major export for the country.

The Korean pop music history does not date back to very old times, as It was just back in the 1990’s that pop music started to becoming really popular in Korea. Since then, many bands and singers have emerged on the scene, some of which even proved to be world class players.

However, Korean TV shows have spread the scene further, with many 'soaps' being a huge hit across Asia and some finding niches in the west. Although many people say that bands like Wonder Girls are actually inspired by the Western girl bands from their make up, to the music that they make, it is in fact that most modern dance music actually has a universal language and style ... it is not set in a specific place, or from a particular descent, although I guess it must have started somewhere first, way back in history.

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Gangnam Style!

More recently, the crazy dance moves of Psy have sent Kpop truly global. This trend caught on, went wild on YouTube and soon topped the charts of the US and USA, despite hardly having any lyrics in English. The dance is fun, silly and lively ... which seems to have caught the child hidden within clubbers around the globe. The routine truly went viral on YouTube, where many uploaded their own variations. The music itself is about the romantic dance that goes on between single guys and girls. It is also a 'tongue in cheek' poke at the very 'classy' upper market party area of Gangnam in Seoul, where previously you would never seen anyone dancing in an off the wall fashion like this. This song is now on many advertisements, especially on South Korean TV. The words and moves have turned PSY into a world mega star overnight. Suddenly the world wants to know a bit more about South Korea.

Thanks to this Gangnam style trend, Kpop has turned a new corner in its history. The trend and music is spreading, as more people are now seeing what else South Korea has to offer! And having worked there myself, I can say that there is plenty to suite most tastes ... they really love their music and pop groups!!!

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© Copyright 2012. Brett.Tesol - Full terms available on Brett.Tesol's profile page (click the blue link for profile, failure to read the Copyright Contract could be expensive. The act of copying this work means that you accept the full terms of the contract, regardless of whether or not you have read it).

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    • profile image

      Love Kpop girl 

      4 years ago

      I love Kpop and I'm really laerning there words just by lesig to the music. Mostest of my family is Korean but I'm amircan tho

    • profile image

      zhy enriquez KPOP forever 

      5 years ago

      i love kpop .. even i am a Filipino ....




    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Same here I needed this for my project

    • Brett.Tesol profile imageAUTHOR

      Brett Caulton 

      6 years ago from Asia

      Hi Fay,

      Thanks for reading. From memory, it was originally published in 2011. However, it was unpublished and edited in 2012, so it may show 2012 as the published date online.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      hello! thanks for sharing this article. i'm doing a paper about k-pop too, and i hope this will be of great help. :-) may i know the date or year you did this? i need it so that i can cite you on my bibliography. tanks!

    • Brett.Tesol profile imageAUTHOR

      Brett Caulton 

      6 years ago from Asia

      @ Lucy,

      Sorry but this was written a long time ago. It was researched both online and through Korean friends (as I work in South Korea).

      Obviously when I refer to Korean popular music of the past, it isn't the Kpop music of today. As music in the UK during the 80s and 90s is very different to UK chart music today. However, it all helped to grow the music scene.

      Thanks for commenting. Hope it has helped your project ...

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Hello, I loved your article on history of K-pop!!

      I am doing a report at my school, and may I ask where you got the information from? Because of the reason I need to know exact source to put into my report. I'm only asking because your post had really good information :) It would really help me if I have the source.

      Thank you! :D

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      6 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Brett,

      Although I seldom hear pop music of any kind these days much preferring easy listening, golden oldies and classical (is my age showing? Ha!), I found this interesting. Voted that and sharing. Thanks!

    • Brett.Tesol profile imageAUTHOR

      Brett Caulton 

      6 years ago from Asia

      Thanks for all your comments. There isn't a lot about Korean pop history, despite the culture being huge. OK, this probably isn't as popular as all the fine young lasses in the videos (and guys for the girls), but it is something I found interesting, as the US has had a strong influence on South Korea's development.

    • breathing profile image


      6 years ago from Bangladesh

      Pop music is a new version of music. It has brought a different flavor in music territory and the music loving people are appreciating this change. I myself personally love the pop music. As an Asian I like Korean Pop music as well. Very good written. Great hub. Thanks for sharing this with us.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      thank for sharing the's very helpful. Up to now, it doesn't exist many info about k-pop's style...

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I Needed This For A School Project And This Was Very Helpful. /) /)



    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Hi, Brett. I'm working on a book, and I'm interested in using some of your material in it. Could you write me back by e-mail so we can have a private conversation about this? I'm at

      This is legit and I expect to pay.


    • phoenix2327 profile image

      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 

      7 years ago from United Kingdom

      Good hub, brett. Didn't realise how popular this type of music was. Voted up and interesting. Thanks for SHARING.

    • alocsin profile image

      Aurelio Locsin 

      7 years ago from Orange County, CA

      I didn't think Kpop was old enough to have a history. Voting this Up and Interesting. Thanks for SHARING.


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