TWICE to Release 'One More Time,' First Japanese Single, in October

Lee Young-ho/AP Images
Twice perform during the live concert '2016 Incheon K-Pop Concert' at Munhak World Cup Stadium in Incheon, South Korea on Sept. 24, 2016. 

TWICE, one of the most popular girl groups in Korea, is returning to Japan on Oct. 18 with its first Japanese single, “One More Time,” after peaking at No. 2 on Japan's Oricon Weekly Album Chart in June. 

On Thursday (Sept. 14), the girls released a teaser for the music video where they play up a sports concept in an inversion of their cheerleading costumes for “Cheer Up.”

First up, Nayeon and Jihyo smize for closeups at the tennis court. Meanwhile, Chaeyoung and Dahyun gear up to fight in a boxing match refereed by Jeongyeon. Momo has a hula hoop in tow while Mina swivels a bowling ball in her palms. Tzuyu poses as a rhythmic gymnast holding a ribbon. (It’s hard to tell what sport Sana’s outfit represents.)

The music included in the teaser is much less of a giveaway, but the repetitive blaring sound evokes house music adapted for a rally -- a sensibility that wouldn’t feel out of place in a kooky sports movie like Space Jam.

Known for their eccentric yet adorable concepts, the girls of TWICE made their Japanese debut with the compilation album #Twice, which featured both Japanese and Korean-language versions of their first five Korean singles.

The group, whose cutesy “shy shy shy” lyric and dance went viral in Korea, resonated with a Japanese audience as the album rose to No. 1 on the Oricon Daily Album Chart in August, nearly two months after it was released, according to Soompi. It probably doesn’t hurt that three of the members -- Momo, Sana and Mina -- are Japanese. 

The group previously teased the upcoming single in August at the end of the #Twice Spot Movie on its official Japanese YouTube channel. The video recapped TWICE's initial Japanese promotions by splicing clips of performances together -- only to have the girls' image painted over, with the words “One More Time…?” superimposed.

For years, East Asia has been the bread and butter of foreign promotions in the K-pop industry. Now that China -- long one of K-pop’s most lucrative markets -- has issued a cultural ban against South Korean imports, many companies are setting their sights more directly on the Japanese market.

The group was previously the subject of criticism from mainland China when member Tzuyu, who is from Taiwan, held a Taiwanese flag during a broadcast -- which tapped into tensions between mainlanders and Taiwanese over pro-independence sentiments on the island. Sixteen at the time, she had to apologize for holding the flag. Thus, TWICE is doubly incentivized to promote outside of China, even though Chinese members from other groups -- like labelmate Jackson Wang from GOT7 -- individually promote in mainland China during the cultural ban.