Based on the game by Bishop.

Which is more popular internationally, anime or K-pop?

In my opinion, K-pop has more potential than Anime, but for now, Anime is generally more well known than K-pop for a few reasons which I will state below… Anime, for the most part is “culturally odorless” meaning it is more accepted worldwide because anime is simply 2D “cartoons” which anyone can enjoy regardless of cultural background.
Unlike K-pop, which has a very distinct Korean element to it (obviously).
In other words, people are more likely to accept Anime over K-pop for the first time for the very reason I mentioned.
So you have to have quite an open mind to like K-pop compared to Anime. Anime has been exported from Japan for many, many decades longer (since the 60s-70s) than K-pop like others have mentioned here so it had ample time to grow and spread.
K-pop has only gained international recognition outside Asia around 2012 after “Gangnam Style” went viral.
Most people around the world are at least familiar with PSY. Anime caters to both male and female audiences.
K-pop primarily caters to female audiences because they are more likely to be fans of the genre.
About 80–90% of K-pop fans are female. Although Anime may be more well known than K-pop, the achievements and growing influence of K-pop are phenomenal nonetheless which I will provide examples of below. As of today, there are only 4 videos on YouTube that have over 3 Billion views and one of them is “Gangnam Style”.
Yes, “Gangnam Style” by PSY whom many of you know is considered a “one hit wonder” but the amount of mainstream coverage he received worldwide in 2012 alone is probably more than the attention any Anime has ever received in history.
Anime, despite being popular, is not taken very seriously.
And I honestly can’t recall any anime being viewed more than 3 billion times. Overseas (outside Japan) revenue of Anime is 5.2 Billion USD according to the Association of Japanese Animations (AJA) and 4.7 Billion USD for K-pop according to the Korean Creative Content Agency (KCCA), which isn’t a very big difference despite how much longer Anime has been exported overseas compared to K-pop.
At its current growth rate, overseas K-pop revenue will eventually exceed overseas Anime revenue. BTS (Beyond The Scene) is probably the most successful K-pop group after PSY and is considered to be the hottest boy-band in the world right now.
This K-pop group has been getting a ridiculous amount of mainstream coverage in the States lately.
They have thee largest presence on social media and they are also the first K-pop group to perform at the American Music Awards this year.
BTS also won the Billboard’s Top Social Artist Award and is the most tweeted about Artist in the US and the world this year.
They also earned a spot on the TIMES “Top 25 Most Influential People on the Internet” this year.
Furthermore, they have also recently appeared on world famous shows like… The Late Late Show with James Corden Jimmy Kimmel Live The Ellen DeGeneres Show ABC’s “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve With Ryan Seacrest” and many, many more to come These shows are watched by millions of Americans and BTS has or will appear on all of them this month. Overall, Anime is generally more well known than K-pop (for now), at least in the US, due to longer exposure and being both entertaining and “culturally odorless”, however K-pop has grown exponentially in popularity in the past 5 years despite the odds and has yet to peak.
Not to mention, K-pop is trending all over the world right now.
Also, the fact that tens of millions of people all over the world are willing to open up and consume the music of a foreign culture is a miracle in its own right.
Point is, Anime being popular and accepted can be expected, while K-pop being more or less accepted is quite surprising and is considered by many to be a global phenomenon because it can transcend cultural barriers.
Which is why K-pop fans often feel “special” because they are part of this unique phenomenon.
Either way, although not an apples-to-apples comparison, I hope I provided some valuable insights of both industries for you. Cheers! Sources: The $4.7 Billion K-Pop Industry Chases Its ‘Michael Jackson Moment’ Anime Industry Data | 日本動画協会 BTS Is Back In America: Here’s Their U.S.
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