The hottest boy band in Korea, TVXQ, climbed to the top spot in Japan's daily Oricon charts. / AP-Yonhap
By Cathy Rose A. Garcia
Korean pop artists are now hitting the charts, scoring hits in the U.S. and Japan. Reggae artist Skull made a surprisingly strong showing in the U.S. music charts, with his first single ``Boom Di Boom Di.'' The catchy reggae song has gained popularity with the help of the visually stimulating animated music video.
According to his manager Morgan Carey, Skull's single is now number five on the Billboard R&B/ Hip Hop sales chart and number 17 on the Hot Singles sales chart. Skull is also featured in the Reggae section of iTunes, the biggest online music store in the U.S.
Carey took the unconventional approach to promoting Skull, by starting him out in the urban music scene and introducing him to hip-hop audiences.
With Skull's initial success in the Billboard charts, there are already rumors of Skull's possible collaboration with pop superstar Mariah Carey. However, Morgan, who is Mariah's brother, said nothing has been confirmed yet.
Meanwhile, Korean boy bands appear to be flourishing in Japan's competitive pop music industry.
Popular group TVXQ debuted at number one on Japan's Oricon daily singles charts Aug. 1, with their single ``Summer Dream.'' Another group SS501 ranked fifth with their first Japanese single ``Kokoro'' on the same day.
TVXQ, known as Tohoshinki in Japan, has already released 12 singles, which mostly landed the Oricon top 10 charts, and two Japanese-language albums in the last two years.
However, this was the first time the group's single has debuted on the top spot. It is also said to be the first number one ranking by a Korean male group in the Oricon charts.
TVXQ recently toured Japan for their ``2nd Live Tour 2007 Five in the Black,'' holding 16 concerts throughout the country.
On the other hand, SS501 also seems to be attracting many Japanese fans. The group's first Japanese single ``Kokoro'' ranked fifth in the Oricon charts, a surprising showing considering they had only debuted in Korea in 2005 and in Japan last year.
TVXQ and SS501's strong showing is particularly impressive since they were up against new releases from Japanese boy band Hey! Say! 7 and more well-known groups like Chemistry, Aqua Timez and Spitx.
No doubt boosted by K-pop's popularity abroad, top K-pop stars SG Wannabe, Epik High, Lee Hyo-ri and Seeya performed at the Big 4 concert held at the Manhattan Center in New York City on Aug. 4.
The Big 4 concert was aimed at showcasing the different sides of K-pop, such as ballads from SG Wannabe and Seeya, hip-hop music from Epik High and dance songs from Lee Hyo-ri, to an American audience.
The same artists are scheduled to perform at the Colosseum, Caesars Palace Hotel in Las Vegas on Aug. 11.