DOI: 10.1002/jocb.642 ISSN: 0022-0175

Creativity and Innovation in the K‐pop System and a Possible Link with Pansori

Myung‐Sook Auh
  • Visual Arts and Performing Arts
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Education


This study aims to distinguish between creativity and innovation in K‐pop using a conceptual framework of the K‐pop system and to examine if any traces of Korean traditional Pansori are found in K‐pop. Innovation refers to successful implementation of creative ideas, and creative ideas without successful implementation are of no use in the business sector. A conceptual framework of the K‐pop system, developed by the author, consists of enabling people, contents, system processes, and environments. This study identified eight innovative aspects of K‐pop, which include manufacturing K‐pop stars using a specific formula; providing government leadership for K‐pop export; using well‐balanced copyrights to encourage K‐pop fans' social media sharing of their copycat versions; and embracing culturally hybrid K‐pop music styles for global markets. K‐pop's possible links with Pansori are found in K‐pop singers' Grit, similar to Pansori singers' Gongryeok; and female K‐pop idols willing to take personal sacrifices of “no dating” and “curfews,” resembling Pansori singers' “punishing effort.” Confucian influence on K‐pop is traced in South Korea's top‐down approaches by the government and music industries, and gender inequality imposed on female idols as the male gaze.

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