SEOUL (Reuters Life!) - Backed by legions of teenage girls and middle-aged Japanese women old enough to be their mothers, South Korean boy band TVXQ is looking to conquer Asia.
The five-member group whose bubble gum pop tunes and glitzy dance steps are reminiscent of Backstreet Boys are among the top music sellers in South Korea, and they have also posted strong sales of 13 singles in Japan.
“We definitely want to perform in bigger parts of the world, in Europe and Northeast Asia, eventually. But now, we want to be on top of Asia,” said the band’s frontman who goes by the name of U-know Yunho before a sold-out concert in Seoul at the weekend.
South Korean boy bands have a history of burning hot and bright at home and finding fans across due to the inroads made by Korean pop stars such as the artist known as Rain.
However, unlike other parts of the world where boy bands die out as their popularity wanes and the members become older, South Korean boy bands often fall apart when their members are called in for the country’s mandatory military service.
TVXQ, which is an abbreviation for what can be translated in Korean as “the gods will rise from the East”, was formed three years ago. It has set a frantic pace for itself to make the most of its time in the spotlight.
Its members are between the ages of 19 and 21, and will likely start being called in for military service in the next year or two.
It took four hours for the group to sell out 33,000 seats for a series of concerts in Seoul, its management company SM Entertainment said.
The group is in the middle of its second Asian tour, playing Taipei this month. They will perform in Malaysia, Thailand, Hong Kong, Beijing and Shanghai in the coming months.
TVXQ has done well in Asia’s biggest music market of Japan. It latest single “Summer” has climbed to the top slots of the Japanese charts.
TVXQ also has a following among Japanese 40-something housewives, who are fascinated by the band’s fresh and boyish image. Many flew to South Korea for the concerts at the weekend.
“They are so cute and charismatic,” said Hiromi Iino, a 40 year-old Japanese woman from Fukuoka.
Additional reporting by Lee Jinjoo, Jessica Kim and Shim Nara