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KCON JAPAN 2023 Hits a High Note Attracting Largest Audience Ever of 123K



▶ KCON JAPAN 2023 held for three days between May 12 and 14 at Mahukari Messe was the largest concert ever, recording a cumulative attendance of 480K+ in Japan alone. KCON has established itself as a landmark K-cultural event that you should never miss. (Photo courtesy of CJ ENM.)

CJ ENM successfully concluded KCON JAPAN 2023, the World’s No.1 K-Culture Festival, held at Mahukari Messe for three days between May 12 and 14 and drew a record-breaking audience of 123K+. This was the largest number of people to have visited KCON since it kicked off the first concert in the USA in 2012. KCON JAPAN 2023 broke the previous record of KCON LA 2019 and flaunted the largest scale show ever in the history of KCON. The Japanese audience who flocked to Mahukari Messe enjoyed the K-pop content and watched the top Korean artists’ shows, fully immersing themselves in K-culture. Until today, the cumulative number of people who have attended KCON JAPAN is 480K+. KCON has now established itself as a landmark K-cultural event that you should never miss.


▶ KCON JAPAN 2023, the World’s No.1 K-Culture Festival, ended successfully, drawing a record-breaking audience of 123K+. (Photo courtesy of CJ ENM.)

Largest convention ever! Booths were packed with visitors, making them grasp the power of K-pop.

At the convention held between 10 am and 6 pm for three days, 169 programs with 259 booths were held successfully, spanning a vast spectrum of topics from K-pop to food, lifestyle, beauty, and fashion. According to a CJ ENM representative, they even had to rent another hall thanks to the enormous amount of interest among Japanese toward the convention. This year, in particular, visitors had more opportunities to explore K-culture firsthand, by becoming a real “KCONer” in a journey across K-pop and K-culture. For example, there was a section where a K-pop artist conducts a test on K-food preference recommendations, visits the Food Zone in person, and plays a bingo game using K-food items. There was also a zone with a replica of the lead character’s room in a K-drama series, True Beauty, which was a huge hit among Japanese Millennials and Gen Z. In the room, visitors could pretend to be the lead character of the drama. Apart from this, many companies joined KCON and instead of simply displaying their latest innovations, they arranged booths at which visitors could get a hands-on experience with their products. This created long lines in front of each booth, demonstrating the wide appeal of K-culture. One female visitor to the convention in her twenties said with excitement, “I did not hesitate to visit KCON when I heard that the second KCON is being held after last year. I enjoy eating K-food, and today, I had a cheese hotdog there. I also visited the booth of my favorite artist.”

K-collection was also held in collaboration with the Ministry of SMEs and Startups (MSS) and the Korea Foundation for Cooperation of Large and Small Business, Rural Affairs (KOFCA) to support SMEs having difficulty entering the overseas market on their own. That is, KCON now serves as a foothold for Korean companies when they seek to make inroads into the oversea market as the event has now become a landmark of K-culture. The government and the private sector have teamed up to create an opportunity for a total of 40 businesses, including 22 beauty companies, 10 daily necessities companies, 6 food companies, and 2 fashion companies, to meet KCON participants in person and introduce their products. This was more than a simple promotional event though as it was also an export fair in connection with KCON, supporting Korean companies to expand their export channels. In particular, Young Poong Inc. succeeded in signing an over JPY 500 million deal with a local buyer. A Young Poong representative said, “We appreciate having a chance to promote Young Poong through the extraordinary platform, KCON, and also put up a great export performance.” A boy band ATEEZ was appointed the ambassador to K-collection at KCON JAPAN 2023 and helped promising SMEs increase their export channels through KCON.


▶ 169 programs with 259 convention booths that cover K-pop, food, lifestyle, beauty, and fashion were held successfully, drawing flocks of KCON audiences. (Photo courtesy of CJ ENM.)

KCON captivates Gen Z of Japan, collaborating with Tokyo Girls Collection for the first time, giving visitors an opportunity to meet top K-pop artists in person.

On the second day, on Saturday, May 13, a joining event was held together with Tokyo Girls Collection, the largest fashion festival in Japan, which received a fervent response. Not only the country’s top model affiliated with Tokyo Girls Collection, but also artists appearing at KCON, including CSR, DXTEEN, KINGDOM, PURPLE KISS, STAYC, and 8TURN, took to the stage for a one-of-a-kind fashion event. A talk show and a fashion show were also held, showing the latest trends and lifestyles of Seoul and Tokyo. A male visitor in his twenties who watched the Tokyo Girls Collection said, “It was a unique experience because I could enjoy a famous Japanese festival at KCON. It was interesting and cool to see K-pop artists walking on the runway as models.”

An extensive array of events held at the Mahukari Messe convention center generated more excitement by making it easier to approach local fans via K-pop. The venue was filled with interactive, audience-oriented programs. For instance, K-pop artists appeared not only on the main stage, KCON Stage, but also on Connecting Stage, and Dance All Day to join a workshop together with fans or stage performances. At MEET & GREET, the signature KCON content, as many as 18 top artists, including ATEEZ, ENHYPEN, ITZY, Kep1er, LE SSERAFIM, THE BOYS, and ZEROBASEONE, joined the event and reached out to fans.


▶ The performances at KCON JAPAN 2023 loaded with special stage designs and signature stages were not only aired in Korea, but also across the world, and were enjoyed by 5.67 million viewers online. (Photo courtesy of CJ ENM)

The greatest show by top K-pop artists, a feast of performances that fascinated K-pop fans worldwide!

The Japanese audience’s love for K-pop is hotter than ever before. The amount of music album exports to Japan last year topped KRW 300 billion, posting the highest ever in history. Japan is also the country with an overwhelmingly higher amount of music album exports than any other country or region in the world. (Source: Export and import trade statistics, Korea Customer Service.) KCON JAPAN 2023 also had a stellar lineup of artists to fulfill the immense expectations and enthusiasm of Japanese fans.

KCON JAPAN 2023 heated Mahukari Messe, filling the stage with special stage designs and signature stages that have not been seen anywhere else. On the first day, the curtains opened on an exclusive collaboration featuring a powerful performance from solo artist YENA; Hikaru from the girl band Kep1er; Suh Young Eun; RIO, Maya, and Rima from NiziU; ISA, SEEUN, and YOON from STAYC. On the Dream Stage, STAYC and LE SSERAFIM gave an emotional performance with fans who had passed an audition held at the convention center stage on May 12-13. From NiziU, a girl band enjoying an enormous amount of popularity in Japan, INI, and JO1, to new artists and top boy bands joined the stage, making fans go wild nonstop for three days. ZEROBASEONE, a fifth-generation K-pop boy band that was formed after having been selected by star creators from 184 countries and regions through Mnet BOYS PLANET made their debut at this year’s KCON. Although they have not officially debuted yet, they have already proven their popularity in both Korea and Japan. They sang “Say My Name” the song they performed in the competition, and the show’s theme song, “Here I Am” in a nine-member version for which they received a rave response. According to CJ ENM, more than 5.6 million people watched KCON JAPAN 2023 online, which was broadcast in Korea and worldwide.

Shim Joon-beom, Head of Music Content at CJ ENM, said, “With KCON JAPAN 2023, we wanted to reach out to the Japanese audience and take a step closer through K-pop. I am thrilled that KCON seems to have established itself as a landmark event for K-culture, encompassing food, beauty, and fashion, as we have expanded the scale of the convention through KCON. Going forward, KCON will spearhead the effort to spread K-culture in every corner of the world.”

KCON is a combination of a K-pop show (Show) and Convention and is an event through which visitors can experience the Korean lifestyle firsthand. Since the first KCON was held in 2012, KCON has since crisscrossed the global stage, including Asia, the Middle East, Europe, and Latin America. So far, KCON has drawn a cumulative offline audience of more than 1.48 million. Following Thailand in March and Japan in May, KCON will be held at Crypto.com Arena and LA Convention Center in the USA in August.