[Contemporary Korean Arts 6] K-POP: Roots and Blossoming of Korean Popular Music


Kim Chang Nam


Arts & Photography



Publication Date

July, 2012


15.0 x 22.5cm (full color / soft cover)


10,000 KRW






Contemporary Korean Arts Series 6

How it became the global craze

K-pop, referred to pop and dance music performed by idol groups mainly targeted at teens, has been expanding in popularity beyond Asia to Europe and South America. It was the 1990s when this school of music first appeared in Korea, but its emergence was not abrupt and its roots are sunk deep into decades of Korean popular music history. This book is designed to introduce to international audiences interested in Korean music how the modern form of Korean pop music began and evolved. Understanding the history of Korean pop music, which has shifted and progressed in the currents of social transformation, means figuring out just how Korean society has been transfigured.

This book is mainly divided into two sections. The first deals with the developments in Korean pop music from Japanese rule up to the early 1990s. Exploring this period, which falls into a prehistory of K-pop, will serve as an opportunity for understanding the historical context surrounding K-pop. The second section illustrates the processes of the formation to K-pop throughout the 1990s and the stages in its development into its current form as a globalized cultural element. The main focuses of the second portion include K-pop’s representative idol groups, the social circumstances that yielded K-pop, and its production system.

Gaining a thorough grasp of the K-pop fever around the world requires a more multi-dimensional perspective that encompasses its historical context and structural conditions. In this sense, this book will prove useful to those who desire to learn about K-pop and Korean popular culture, and further about Korean society.


01 K-POP, or Korean Popular Music

02 Korean Popular Music Preceding K-POP: Late 1920s to Early 1990s
• The Formative Period of Korean Popular Music:
From the Japanese Occupation through the 1950s
• Popular Music in the 1960s
• Popular Music in the 1970s
• Popular Music in the 1980s
• Popular Music in the 1990s

03 Korean Popular Music in the Era of K-POP: After the Late 1990s
• The Landscape of Pop Music in the Era of Digitalization and Globalization
• First Generation Idols in the Late 1990s and the Early 2000s
• Second Generation Idols after the Mid-2000s
• Idol Groups and Sexuality
• The Musicality of K-POP and the Influence of Hip-hop and R&B
• K-POP and Hallyu

04 Summary and Conclusion
• The Roots of K-POP: The History of Korean Popular Music
• Korean Popular Music in the Era of K-POP and Its Future



Kim Chang Nam
• BA in Business Administration, Seoul National University
• MA in Communication, Seoul National University
• Ph.D. in Communication, Seoul National University
• Professor of Department of Media and Communications, Sungkonghoe University

Arts Council Korea (ARKO)
ARKO is a state funded‚ non profit organization. The main aim of the Council is to make the arts more central to the lives of the Korean citizens by supporting arts organizations and artists in and abroad through grant-giving services and programs.