If you go on YouTube or TikTok it’s easy to find users who have edited anime openings to sync with K-pop songs. This isn’t news, but actual K-pop groups being asked to sing songs for anime OSTs is.
Recently, there has been an influx of K-pop groups being recruited by anime studios to take part in OSTs. While it’s been gaining traction as of late through shows like Tower of God, World Trigger, and Black Clover, it’s not a new trend. Some of the earliest records of this happening date back to the early 2000’s.
Tohoshinki/Dong Bang Shin Ki is a duo, previously a 5-member group, that has been active since 2003. During their almost 20 years in the industry, the group has become known as K-pop royalty as they’ve toured all over the world and have a massive following in Japan as well as the rest of the world.
- Asu wa Kuru Kara (Because Tomorrow Comes) for One Piece (Ending 17)
- We Are for One Piece (Opening 10)
- Share The World for One Piece (Opening 11)
- Daisuki Datta for the Yo-Kai Watch Movie: Forever Friends
- Together for Cinnamoroll the Movie
- Free Your Mind for Origami Warriors (Opening)
- Love is All I Need for Origami Warriors (Ending)
Since August of 2000, BoA has been a force in the music industry. Her career has led her to release a string of successful albums in Japan and Korea and even released an album in the United States. To this day, BoA is considered the Queen of Kpop and her album releases in Japan and Korea do very well.
- Every Heart for Inuyasha (Ending 4)
- Masayume Chasing for Fairy Tail (Opening 15)
- Beside You – Boku wo Yobu Koe for Monkey Typhoon/Association Robot Goku (Opening 1)
After being constantly rejected by South Korea’s entertainment industry, Younha went to Japan to take matters into her own hands and debuted in 2004. While she had a very rocky start, Younha managed to find her footing and embarked on a successful career.
- Houkiboshi for Bleach (Ending 3)
- Hakanaku Tsuyoku for Kiba (Opening 2)
- Kioku for RIDE BACK in 2009 (Ending)
This 5 piece band debuted in 2007 and is heralded as the leader in the movement to pave the way for idol bands in the industry. The group has met a lot of success in their early career and had a cameo in Toriko the Movie: Bishokushin’s Special Menu along with a certain Shiroyasha. In recent years, the band has been at the center of turmoil due to a member’s involvement in the infamous Burning Sun Scandal.
- Satisfaction for Toriko in 2011
- Neverland for Azuma in 2012
- Ozma theme song
- Theory of Happiness for Toriko the Movie: Bishokushin’s Special Menu.
The now three-piece band debuted in 2009 and is also a very well-known band in the industry. The group has met a lot of success with their distinctive sound. While the group was endlessly praised for this, much like FT Island, a member of CN Blue was also involved in the infamous Burning Sun Scandal and has cost the band a lot of credibility in the public eye. In 2011, they lent their music to Madhouse for their anime based on the US show, Supernatural.
- In My Head for Supernatural in 2011
Boyfriend debuted in 2011 and had years of hits throughout Korea and Japan before they disbanded in May 2019. They were the first group to have twin members and made a splash in the industry with their musical range.
- Hitomi no Melody for Detective Conan (Ending 44)
One Day was originally supposed to be an 11 member group until record producer JYP split the group, creating 2AM and 2PM in the process. 2PM originally had 7 members, but now functions at a 6 member group. They debuted in 2008 and continue making hits to this day.
- Take Off for Ao no Exorcist (Ending 1)
Secret debuted in 2009, but didn’t meet great success until 2010. After that, the quartet soared throughout the music industry and became a must listen to group. This reign ran up until their disbandment in 2018.
- Twinkle Twinkle for Naruto SD in 2012
Oh My Girl
In 2015, this eight-member group, now seven, debuted and hit the ground running. Immediately after releasing their debut album, they announced their second one was coming soon. Since then, the group has been met with great commercial success in Korea and in Japan. Their next Japanese single “Dun Dun Dance” will be released in September 2021 and it is anticipated it will do well much like the Korean version of the song.
- “Eternalism” OST for “Kekkai Sensen & Beyond“
MBLAQ debuted in 2009 and has been inactive since 2015. In the years the group has been active, they have released a consistent string of hits that keep listeners engaged. While no official disbandment statement has been made, fans of this group hope for a day the remaining members of the group release music.
- Baby U! for Beelzebub (Opening 4)
J-Min debuted in Japan in 2007 before beginning an official musical career in Korea in 2012. She’s gone to be known for her musical contributions to drama OSTs, but she is more active in theater. She recently portrayed Bea Bottom in the 2020 musical Something Rotten.
- Change for Hanasakeru Seishounen in 2009
This hit group debuted in 2005 to massive success with their song “Never Again”. In the five years this group was active, they received a lot of accolades for their music, not only in Korea but in Japan as well. In 2008, they became the first South Korean group to win Best New Artist at the Japan Gold Disc Awards. After taking a hiatus, they have announced that they will be back, and fans look forward to their next project.
- Kokoro for Blue Dragon in 2007
While their debut in 2007 wasn’t a smashing success, Kara managed to become one of South Korea’s biggest girl groups. Their popularity extended to Japan where they were able to release a string of hit albums. The group officially disbanded in 2016 after many of the members decided to not renew their contracts.
- Butterfly for Naruto Shippuden OST in 2013
U-Kiss was a group that was very big in Korea, but also Japan. Before their debut in 2008, there were rumors going around the music industry that U-Kiss would be a Korean-Japanese music collaboration due to the interest of a Japanese entertainment company expressing interest in the group. The group went on to become extremely popular all over Asia and became one of the first K-pop groups to hold a tour in Mexico. As of 2021, only one member of U-Kiss remains as everyone else has decided to leave the label.
- Dear My Friend for Arashi no Yoru ni Himitsu no Tomodachi in 2012
After their debut in 2012, Cross Gene went to promote in Japan after a member change. As a result, the group was able to generate a dedicated Japanese fanbase while releasing albums in Korean and a stray album in Japanese. The group has been on hiatus due to the departure of many members, but fans remain hopeful that this 2021 will be the year for more content from the remaining trio.
- Love and Peace for Duel Masters Versus Revolution in 2015
APink debuted in 2011 and hit the ground running. With their girl-next-door charm and sound, the group quickly rose to fame and has been a force in the music industry ever since. With nine Korean mini-albums, three Korean studio albums, and three Japanese studio albums, APink has shown that they’re one of Asia’s biggest groups. The group recently celebrated their 10 year anniversary in April 2021 with a single, “Thank You”.
- Brand New Days for Rilu Rilu Fairilu -Yousei no Door in 2016
The now eight-member group debuted in 2018 after the conclusion of an idol survival program of the same name. Since then, the group has been a consistent force in the music industry with their distinctive sound. The group is currently getting ready to release their next album, NOEASY.
- Top for Tower of God (Opening)
- Slump for Tower of God (Ending)
TxT (Tomorrow by Together)
This five-member group generated a lot of buzz before their debut because they are from BTS’s label; however, TxT has shown that they can hold their own. The group has been on a consistent rise and have gained a lot of fans with their dreamy sound. The group also won a lot of people over when the music video of the Japanese version of their song, Drama came out because the group wore the Karasuno volleyball uniform. The group is currently preparing for their next album, The Chaos Chapter: FIGHT OR ESCAPE.
- Everlasting Shine for Black Clover (Opening 12)
- Force for World Trigger (Opening 3)
This group debuted in 2018 and quickly became one of the pillars of the 4th Wave, a moniker for this generation of K-pop groups. The group has been met with smashing popularity worldwide and domestically. They are now venturing into Japan’s music industry. The group released their first Japanese single, “Dreamer” in 2021, and we look forward to seeing what they do next.
- Dreamer for Digimon Adventure (2020) (Ending 5)