South Korea | K-pop boy band Big Bang hits TIME's most influential list

K-pop boy band Big Bang hits TIME’s most influential list

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Awesome hair pays! South Korea’s K-pop boy band Big Bang has blasted into second place on TIME magazine’s 2016 list of the world’s most influential people.

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The megastar quintet grabbed 2.9% of TIME’s total “yes” votes. But the blue hair, blonde hair-crazy boys from Korea were no match for  TIME’s No. 1 person of influence: US Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders garnered 3.3%.

TIME’s annual poll of the world’s 100 most influential people is wholly based on online votes from readers. The top placers are typically world leaders, scientists, artists, and sports players of the moment.

The rest of 2016’s winners follow the mold. Burmese leader Aung San Suu Kyi took the 3rd spot with 2.2%, followed by President Obama’s 2%, Pakistani activist Malaya Yousafzai, Lady Gaga, Taylor Swift, Michelle Obama, Pope Francis and Leonardo DiCaprio rounding out the top 10.

For the uninitiated, Big Bang is the undisputed king of Korea’s K-pop scene. Known for their hip-hop/R&B/pop music, the hugely popular group has been busting the charts and taking the world by storm . They’ve also been raking in awards for their hit music and dancing after debuting in 2006.  In 2015 Mnet Korean Music Awards, Big Bang won four awards including the Artist of the Year award.

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The talented boy band composes and produces their own music.  Its leader, G-Dragon (Kwon Ji-yong), is known as a solo artist.  Big Bang currently has many music labels in Asia —  YG Entertainment (S. Korea), Universal Music Japan, Avex/YGEX (Japan/S. Korea), and Warner Taiwan.

In 2015, Big Bang toured over 15 countries including Japan, China, Singapore, Malaysia, Australia, and the US.  Tickets for their shows in Seoul sold out in minutes, according to event organizers.  A record-breaking 280,000 fans attended their shows in China.

Last year, a South Korean female K-pop rapper, CL (Lee Chae-rin) of 2NE1 girl band, came in second in TIME’s list after Russia’s president Vladimir Putin.  CL made 28th this year.  South Korean mega K-pop star Rain won TIME’s annual poll three times in the past in 2006, 2007, and 2011.

Doug Tsuruoka
Doug Tsuruoka is a US-based newspaper editor and former foreign correspondent who's worked for the Far Eastern Economic Review, Asia Times' original print edition, Newsweek, and other major news media. He has reported from Japan, Korea, Malaysia and Thailand.
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