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Editorial: Big Bang vs TVXQ?

October 4, 2008

Big Bang; TVXQ (Dong Bang Shin Ki/Tohoshinki)
Big Bang TVXQ

I felt like writing something on this thing that keeps happening among people all over the internet: comparing Big Bang and TVXQ. I think a lot of people are doing this because Big Bang and TVXQ are both pretty popular in Korea, and both are doing what they can to win over the Japanese market. A lot of people (usually TVXQ fans) are getting frustrated with Big Bang because they keep releasing English albums in Japan, which causes them to say, “TVXQ spent a LOT of time learning Japanese,” etc.; they put Big Bang down for “disrespecting” Japan. On the other side of the coin, there are people (mostly Big Bang fans) who say things like, “What TVXQ did in Japan wasn’t a very big deal,” which minimizes the magnitude of what that group actually did. I’m annoyed because I don’t think it’s fair to make such black and white comparisons that are based on ridiculous things.

I’m trying to look a this objectively. It’s hard, but I’m trying. I know it’s kind of weird to think about Big Bang entering the Japanese market with songs that aren’t in the language, but who-freaking-cares (okay, I fail at objectivity). Everyone keeps talking about “respect” for the Japanese, and how their failing miserably at it. What I want to ask is: who-freaking-cares. LMAO, no, seriously. Think about it: if the Japanese are offended, what will happen to Big Bang? They will go back to Korea, which will welcome them back with open arms. I’m looking at it from a few different perspectives. First of all, I’m 99% Big Bang as a whole has better English skills than Japanese skills. Just like TVXQ, it would take a long time for them to learn Japanese, and I don’t think YG has the patience for that. However, English is supposedly one of the hardest languages to learn. I’m not saying anything against TVXQ becoming fluent in Japanese (I’m amazed by them, actually); I’m just trying to point out that they didn’t just take the easy route with English. I still think it’s a little strange to try to enter the Japanese market with English, but I don’t see why people (especially non-Japanese) get so personally offended by this. FYI: You? Are not going to be affected by Big Bang’s rise or fall in Japan.

And for all of those people who seem to think TVXQ didn’t do anything big by making it into Japan? Er, what planet are you from? I can’t say they have been completely accepted (they still have to deal with issues there; they are still not in the proper section of the music store, and they can’t make it onto certain programs), but what they have done is brand-new and amazing. I think Japan is probably more receptive to Korean artists because of the lengths this group had to go through.

That being said, I’m sick and tired of all the arguments that throw TVXQ into the Big-Bang-in-Japan mix. I’m sorry, but I believe these two groups have nothing to do with each other. I’m serious; I’m annoyed out of my mind that every time “Big Bang” and “Japanese” wind up together in one sentence, “TVXQ” dominates the next twenty sentences. I think they are a great group. They are intelligent, talented people who worked (and are STILL working) extremely hard to break into the Japanese market, and have helped pave the road for their fellow countrymen. If anyone disregards their efforts and success… I don’t even know what to say, because that is simply foolishness. HOWEVER, comparing TVXQ and Big Bang is like comparing apples and oranges. Let me talk about this a little:

  • The groups debuted three years apart. TVXQ has been around much longer than Big Bang; they showed up on the scene in late 2003 (almost five years ago), while Big Bang just had their second anniversary. TVXQ is an older group on the whole (their youngest member being almost the same age as Big Bang’s oldest member).
  • Big Bang and TVXQ’s genres don’t come near each other. Sure, both groups have five members with both singers and rappers. However, if you try to compare their music… you simply cannot. Depending on which “era” of Big Bang you’re talking about, they range from R&B and hip-hop to electronica, dance and trance-inspired music. Even though TVXQ has grown and matured over the years, they have fundamentally stuck with the same formula: ballads with a dash of up-beat (I don’t know what to call them) tunes. While Big Bang relies heavily on their rapping, TVXQ taps into their group’s talent for long notes and harmonization (even going as far as to release beautiful a cappella versions of songs).
  • According to the Guinness Book of World Records, TVXQ has the largest fanclub in the world–and that’s just considering documented fans. I’m not calling “VIPs” a measly bunch, but they don’t have anything on Cassiopeia.

And there is so much more I could bring up (I’m just lazy right now).

I don’t really want to start a debate here; I just need to go crazy and vent a little. I keep thinking that maybe one day, people will finally stop comparing these two groups. However, I have yet to see that happen. I suppose everyone needs something to argue about, but I wish we wouldn’t talk about this anymore. It simply does not make sense to me to compare TVXQ and Big Bang, when they have so many differences. At the same time, they’re both great groups who deserve acclaim (almost) equally… but for different things. Just like the “apples and oranges” metaphor, you can say, “they’re both fruit,” but similarities stop there. I hope everyone can enjoy them for their unique traits.

/end essay-length post lol

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