By Nadine Kam I
In pursuit of growth, the South Korean entertainment industry is increasingly looking overseas to create global-oriented groups to sing in the language of their native countries. Now JYP Entertainment (Twice, 2PM, GOT7, Stray Kids, Itzy) is coming to Hawaii to host auditions for its next girl group, a Japanese-oriented act and TV show to be created in collaboration with Sony Music.
Auditions for the Nizi (meaning “rainbow”) Project will take place in Japan (Sapporo, Sendai, Tokyo, Nagoya, Osaka, Hiroshima, Fukuoka) and Okinawa this summer, before ending in Honolulu Aug. 8 at the Hilton Hawaiian Village Resort & Hotel, and Los Angeles Aug. 11 at the Loews Hollywood Hotel. The application deadline for the U.S. auditions is 5 p.m. Aug. 1. To apply, visit http://niziproject.com and fill out the “Entry” form.
? Watch: J.Y. Park talks introduces the Nizi Project
During the auditions of females ages 15 to 22, 20 people will be selected for six months of training which will be filmed for a reality show airing in October 2019. More important than singing and dancing ability (though potential will be weighed) is fluency in the Japanese language. The final group lineup will be revealed in April 2020 with a tentative debut scheduled for late 2020.
Nizi Project is similar to JYP’s recent Chinese boy group debut Boy Story, which involved the agency collaborating with TME and Tencent to create the pre-teen boy group.
The project, part of JYP founder J.Y. Park’s (really, all of K-pop leaders) “Globalization by Localization” strategy, is causing controversy at home.
Koreans sensitive to the fragile political relationship between South Korea and Japan are asking why would a girl group that consists of Japanese members singing in Japanese be called K-Pop when the genre implies songs are written in the Korean language. This argument will be coming up more and more as the K-pop industry pushes into the rest of Asia, Southeast Asia and even America, with homegrown, non-Korean talent.