Psy is having the time of his life with “Gangnam Style.” CNN, WSJ, LA Times, and even a French TV program applauded “Gangnam Style” openly. The music video of “Gangnam Style” already produced many parody videos including, “Gundam Style,” “Daegu Style,” “Hongdae Style,” and so on.
On YouTube, “Gangnam Style” reached 2.7 million clicks within the first four weeks. Psy’s explicit appeal to the B-class culture was welcomed by excited fans and netizens all over the world. Psy put well-organized K-pop culture aside and stimulated subtle and yet comical sexual innuendos with B-class humor and rather addictive melody and choreography. Numerous foreign media outlets praised “Gangnam Style” as a “must-see music video,” and even the reaction videos of various foreigners watching the video garnered as much attention as the music video itself online.
In the midst of this international fame, “Gangnam Style” is now facing a rather absurd nationality controversy. Many commenters on YouTube wrote, “Japan makes good pop music,” “Great Japanese music,” and “This is why I love Japanese music.” Without attempting to find out anything about Psy’s nationality, they came to a rather premature conclusion that Psy is a Japanese artist. Although many others corrected these J-pop preachers that “Gangnam Style” is a Korean song, not Japanese, it could not stop the controversial debate among YouTube commenters.
Many spiteful YouTube users refused to admit the truth and argued, “This Japanese music video is awesome. I like Japan and Japanese artists. Koreans are just jealous because they don’t have anyone this awesome. This is a Japanese song. End of the story,” “I’ve lived in Seoul for my entire life and I can tell you, this is a Japanese song,” and “Korea simply doesn’t have the money to make a song like this.”
Such false statements angered many Korean and non-Korean YouTube users. Some pointed out, “People just don’t want to admit Koreans can actually produce awesome songs,” and “the word ‘Oppa’ is Korean. Since when it became Japanese?”
These YouTube comments claiming “Gangnam Style” as Japanese sensation was captured by a Korean netizen and spread throughout several major internet communities and forums. Korean netizens are very upset and trying to figure out who is behind such outrageous claims. Netizens wrote, “Some cowardly anti-Korean Japanese people are commenting on YouTube without revealing their nationality” and “This is a cyber attack from Japan.” Some other netizens assumed, “A lot of foreigners assume all Asian people are either from China or Japan. This surely is very different from what people know as K-pop. However, this nationality debate is still pretty ridiculous.”
Meanwhile, Psy will be advancing to the Japanese market with “Gangnam Style” in late September. Initially, Psy planned to tweak the song to “Roppongi Style.” However since “Gangnam Style” has become so popular and attracted many fans with its unique style, he decided to stick to the original song in Japan, too.