JPop and JRock are the main-music genres of the vast and colorful Japanese music market, which also has artists and groups influenced by music-sub-genres such as Electronic, Jazz, Blues, Soul, Hip Hop and Enka (traditional Japanese Pop). Japanese musicians and singers write and sing songs mixing the Japanese and the English language. The result is (just as with KPop) sometimes amusing, but nevertheless the music is worth listening to.
A Lesson In JPop
In the West we perceive JPop as a flamboyant childish music style. No doubt, that is what a large part of JPop looks like, but if you are a fan of the “aegyo” style, the Japanese version (–> “kawaii”) shouldn’t bother you. People repeatedly complain that the KPop industry focuses too much on the appearance of idol’s, but isn’t that the way of most music industries? The “Kawaii” side of the Japanese music industry markets their idols looks just as much as their music – and that often scares Westerns away. JPop seems inaccessible and weird – the personification of that probably being currently popular idol and singer Kyary Pamyu Pamyu. But do you remember how you got into KPop? Surely you remember that faithful day – well, JPop requires the same open-mindedness (maybe a little more). But do you recall how things in KPop use to weird you out and now you secretly/openly love them? When getting into the kawaii side of JPop, you will encounter beauty standards that simply aren’t yours (and neither do all Japanese like them), but just maybe you might grow to like the quirky looks and sounds of this side of JPop.
This month’s featured idol group: Morning Musume Sakuragumi
Mori (jap. “forest”) girls are a trend in Japanese fashion, referring to girls who dress with a range of natural fabrics, handmade or vintage accessoures and floatydresses or cardigans – all with a nature theme. This forest spirit theme is also common in Japanese music, where singers (majorly female) capture the natural beauty of fields, mountains and seas in their own look and in their music. They promote the intimate connection of humans with nature, as well as focusing on human emotions – singing about love, loss and the search for freedom.
This month’s featured Mori girl: Alan Dawa Dolma
Previously featured Mori girls: (Coming) ✻ (Coming)
Band Next Door
“The band next door” is another common image that JPop bands and artists like to go for. This is mainly to contrast with idol groups and fashionable divas – these bands and musicians focus on their music rather then their looks and make music to make others happy. They in many ways capture the Japanese spirit in an simplistic but effective approach of conveying messages through songs and telling you to “Ganbare!” (Don’t give up! Do your best!).
This month’s featured Band Next Door: Ikimono-Gakari
Previously featured Bands next door: ★
Ready for some Japanese eye candy? Naturally Japan has boy groups and whether they can also sing/dance is up for you to judge. Not unlike our oppas they capture their fans hearts with adorable quirkiness, acting in J Dramas and emotional love songs. However they do not enjoy as much international fame as their Korean counterparts – want to change that?
This month’s featured JBoy: Jin Akanishi
Previously featured JBoys: ✭
Many of Japan’s divas have become internationally famous, as their top-selling albums climbed up the All-Asia Charts. These girls use both the beauty of their voices and faces (there’s no denying it) to gather large crowds of fans, however they are all hard-working with discographies so gigantic they surpass most musical artists. Queens of Pop commonly makes one suspect tiring pop ballads, but judge for yourself.
This month’s featured JPop Diva: Ayumi Hamasaki
Ready for some Japanese dance skills? Not only Korea is home to groups with a focus on the dance abilities of their members.
This month’s featured Dance Ensemble: Exile
Previously featured Dance Ensembles: AAA ✺ Generation
This month’s featured JSoul Queen: Miho Fukuhara
Previously featured JSoul Queens: (Coming) ♚ (Coming)
Maybe you have heard of some Classic composers from Japan, but what about the numerous pop & rock artists who incorporate classical music and instruments into their songs?
This month’s featured JClassic: Kalafina
Previously featured JClassic artists: (Coming) ✜ (Coming)
A Lesson In JRock
This particular part of the Japanese rock scene has a number of fans overseas, but for the inexperienced eye and ear it presents a bit of a challenge: After all, Visual Kei is majorly rock bands made up of men, yet the choice of costumes and make-up is the one we might expect from a goth-girl.
This month’s featured Visual Kei: Plastic Tree
Previously featured Visual Kei artists: (Coming) ✢ (Coming)
This month’s featured Jazz Rock: Tokyo Jihen
Previously featured Jazz Rock artists: (Coming) ♫♪ (Coming)
With all these choices of music-styles to go around, there’s still a large audience for street and indie rock. Scarcely known abroad these groups sell out concert halls in Japan.
This month’s featured Indie Rock: Half-Life
Previously featured Indie Rock artists: (Coming) ✌ (Coming)
Girls are not underrepresented in the Japanese rock scene, often fusing the rock genre with pop and folk.
This month’s featured Pop-Rock Girl: Yui
Check out these previously featured Pop-Rock Girls: ❂