Since NiziU debuted last year with both their pre-debut mini album Make You Happy and their debut single Step and a Step, people have been wondering: when do they plan on making their Korean debut?
Within Japan, there’s been much speculation as to why this is, with one particularly incendiary analysis claiming that perhaps it is due to anti-Japanese sentiments that their debut has been postponed for the time being.
However, the reality may be much more benign. The television Nizi Project was never aired in Korea, and while there has been some media coverage of both the television program as well as the group, much of the Korean public simply does not realize that the group exists, with the little that has been published in the Korean press calling them the second TWICE. The speculation was also fueled in part by the fact that there was such a gap between NiziU‘s Korean chart results and their Japanese ones, but the likeliest answer lies in the public’s lack of awareness of their existence.
Among K-pop fan diehards internationally, much of the issue lies with the fact that the girls were all Japanese and singing purely in Japanese, with much confusion between whether or not they are J-pop or K-pop. J.Y. Park himself has responded by saying that while the girls themselves were not Korean, they still are a Korean act, emphasizing that this was a group that was part of a much larger plan 10 years in the making for the company.
Of course, the amount of actual criticism like this is extremely small in relation to the warm reception the group has received.
Finally, many K-pop and music critics actually believe that the real reason for the pause on NiziU‘s eventual Korean debut is more likely that while they are extremely good as compared to all K-pop girl group debuts, they simply aren’t at the quality expected of a JYP company group. In addition, Korean as a language is quite difficult for Japanese people to sing because of the number of sounds that do not exist in the Japanese language, so it would require quite a bit of time before they would be able to sing fluently in Korean.
Hopefully, JYP will allow them to debut in Korea with a hit that resounds around the world.
This is a paraphrase of a Yahoo! Japan opinion piece, linked here