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K-pop lands in Latin America

K-pop is steadily gaining popularity in Latin America. Following last December’s inaugural K-pop group concert -- where K-pop groups like BEAST and 4Minute premiered in Brazil -- the three-member boy group JYJ dazzled the region as the first K-pop headliners in Chile and Peru.

Thousands of K-pop aficionados from around the country and nearby countries including Brazil, Argentina, and Bolivia alongside European fans who came all the way from Spain and Sweden converged in Santiago on March 9 and in the Peruvian capital of Lima on March 11 to enjoy the sold-out shows. The boy group’s showcase was enhanced by the voices of the audiences singing and dancing along, while waving their national flags.

“The performance in Chile was particularly significant, as this year marks the 50th anniversary of bilateral diplomatic ties,” said Minister-Counselor Park Sun-tae of Public Affairs at the Korean embassy in Chile. “K-pop has played an affirmative role in Korea-Chile relations.”

JYJ’s world tour kicked off last April with an opening concert in Bangkok, Thailand. The group stopped in Beijing, Taipei, Tokyo, Los Angeles, Vancouver, Barcelona, and Berlin ahead of wrapping up in South America. A crowd of nearly 210,000 spectators took in shows on the year-long tour held in 15 different cities.

Nearly 400 JYJ fans gathered at the Santiago International Airport early in the morning on March 8 to greet JYJ (Photo: Yonhap News).Nearly 400 JYJ fans gathered at the Santiago International Airport early in the morning on March 8 to greet JYJ (Photo: Yonhap News).

The local press and fans have predicted the possibility of K-pop joining the ranks of mainstream music, garnering a larger fanbase in the region. They anticipated that JYJ’s first concert will serve as a catalyst to accelerate the momentum.

Meanwhile, other Latin American tours have been in the planning stages for a number of other K-pop groups, such as BEAST and Super Junior, who are set to meet the audiences on stage later this year, furthering K-pop fever in the region.

By Hwang Dana Staff Writer

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