I was watching one piece and noticed that there was a TVXQ name on the credits

I am somewhat familiar of SM towns Korean Groups and one of them was named TVXQ

I googled and found out that it was indeed the Kpop Group.

It was also found that not only One Piece but also Inu Yasha's Ending Theme song "Every Heart" was sung by a Kpop Artist which is BoA.

And Naruto's theme song "Buterfly" was sung by KARA.

I've Been watching anime since I was a kid (almost 20 years now), and I just recently got hooked in Kpop music. That's when I noticed this.

I was just wondering why are some anime theme songs sung by Korean artists. There are several artists in Japan, and wouldn't it be expensive to get a singer/band from another country? Are there any reasons for this?

  • 2
    boa and and kara are/were both active in japan and also quite popular. I highly doubt it has anything to do with costs.
    – anon
    Commented Feb 29, 2016 at 2:51
  • @ton.yeung I didn't noticed this, so it could be for advertising then ?
    – Kym NT
    Commented Feb 29, 2016 at 2:56
  • I think you're a bit too fixated on the korean/japanese thing. There could be a variety of reasons to chose an artist for an op/ed. For example, the studio has a relationship with a label already, or someone on the staff likes an artist, or someone decided a particular song just fit for an OP/ED, or a combination of the above. Point is there might be a reason published in an article somewhere, but AFAICT, there isn't any particular reason why they chose a korean artist.
    – anon
    Commented Feb 29, 2016 at 14:52
  • @ton.yeung I think you have a point. can you elaborate more and post this as an answer with detailed explanation?
    – Kym NT
    Commented Mar 1, 2016 at 4:22
  • nope. I have no sources. That's why its in a comment.
    – anon
    Commented Mar 1, 2016 at 15:17

2 Answers 2


I think this is related to the Korean Wave in Japan.

In the early 2000s, Korean live action dramas and KPop started to come into Japan and quickly became massively popular. From Korea.net's article on the Korean Wave:

The Korean Wave landed in Japan in 2003 when the KBS TV drama series Winter Sonata was aired via NHK. The drama became an instant mega hit, making its male hero, Yon Sama, a household name, compelling his enthusiastic Japanese fans to visit various film locations, including Namiseom Island, in Korea.

Wikipedia states:

In 2000, the K-Pop singer BoA took off her musical career with SM Entertainment and two years later, her album Listen to My Heart became the first album by a Korean musician to sell a million copies in Japan

on the basis of a Recording Industry Association of Japan page on million-selling records in 2002.

Korean media has gotten so popular in Japan that it's even prompted a backlash among some, as this article from The Atlantic notes.

The period of time when Inuyasha was on the air was squarely in the middle of the Korean Wave. I don't follow Naruto so I don't know exactly which years that particular song was used, but most of the Naruto anime's run has also been during peak years of the Korean Wave. Since BoA and Kara were already extremely popular in Japan, they were tapped to contribute songs for these anime, just as any other popular band would be. They were already touring and otherwise active in Japan, so I'm sure they had contacts that the anime studios could get in touch with to offer them these gigs.

To address the last point, there wasn't a shortage of Japanese bands; the studios just wanted to use these particular Korean bands because of their popularity. Using a foreign band isn't likely to be more expensive; it might even be cheaper, if the foreign band isn't well known, because they'll be willing to trade some pay for exposure. With these bands, since they were already popular and active in Japan, hiring them probably cost about what hiring an equally popular Japanese band would cost.


Kara were originally from South Korea but quickly branched out into the Japanese market and found success there. To cut and paste from Wikipedia:

After finding national success, the group began to expand their music to Japan by signing to Universal Music Japan's subsidiary label, Universal Sigma in 2010. The group's debut was a success as they were dubbed as "Japan's No. 1 Rookie Artist of 2010" by Oricon and also receiving the "New Artist of the Year Award (International)" from the Japan Gold Disc Awards. In April 2011, the group achieved their first number one single in Japan with "Jet Coaster Love", making them the first foreign female group since the creation of the Oricon to rank number one in the first week of release and also the first foreign female group in thirty years to do so.Overall, the group managed to sell over one million physical singles within two years, making them one of the fastest-selling South Korean acts in Japan.

As they were signed by a Japanese label it is reasonable to assume that they either moved to Japan or were frequently there anyway and got the job of making that music via their labels contacts.

  • 1
    Did you mean to write South Korea?
    – user225
    Commented Mar 3, 2016 at 1:33
  • I did mean to write south korea! Thanks for catching that, i have now edited the answer with the correct country.
    – Urzatron21
    Commented Mar 3, 2016 at 6:39

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