South Koreans upset with Japan for snubbing Gangnam Style

Oct 24, 2012

Rapper Psy hasn't topped the charts in Japan due to 'dispute over contested islands', claim South Koreans

HIT SONG Gangnam Style has taken most of the world by storm but Japan, almost uniquely among developed nations, refuses to be won over by the South Korean song - and tensions are reportedly rising.

While the song has topped the charts in the UK and reached number two in the US Billboard rankings, it has only scraped into the top 30 of the iTunes chart in Japan – a country where so-called 'K-pop' music is normally extremely popular.

In South Korea there is speculation that Japan's dismissal of the worldwide hit, which features a horse-riding dance and the lyrics 'Hey sexy lady', has more to do with a dispute over the sovereignty of two rocky islands that lie between the Asian neighbours than Psy's music, according to AFP.

To make matters worse, various Japanese music blogs have suggested that the video's success on YouTube was down to South Koreans using automated viewing programmes known as "bots".

Some even started referring to the song as "F5 Style" - a reference to the keyboard key used to refresh the window of an internet browser and replay a video.

On Monday the Korean Wave Research Institute (KWRI), a non-profit body established in 2010 to promote Korean popular culture around the globe, hit back.

Denouncing the "conspiracy theories" of YouTube chart manipulation, KWRI president Han Koo-hyun said the "outrageous" Japanese argument was "tantamount to doubting a world record in an Olympics marathon".

Scepticism about the song's worldwide popularity on YouTube "should be viewed as a primary school kid's jealousy and envy", Han said in a press release.

Psy himself does not seem too bothered though. He has been filmed (see video below) trying to teach Ban Ki-moon, the Secretary General of the United Nations, how to dance to Gangnam Style.

The rapper was visiting Ban in New York to discuss how he could "help global issues", reports The Daily Telegraph.

Ban Ki-moon joked that he was thinking about playing the song during tough negotiations in the UN so that everybody would stop and dance. Whether Japan's representatives would join in is open to debate.

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