The Banana Guide to Asian Entertainment: It’s All About Japan: Part IV
What we know Japan for…
Admit it. The first word that comes to mind when most people think about Japan (besides sushi, geisha, harakiri, or samurai) is “weird.” There are entire websites devoted to “strange Japan” culture, so it wasn’t too perplexing when Kyary Pamyu Pamyu’s PONPONPON became an internet sensation.
People just can’t get enough of the weird.
And even though Japan’s vocaloid Hatsune Miku freaks me out a little bit, this collaboration with group Livetune, titled Tell your World, isn’t all that bad.
Then, of course, there’s commercial Japanese pop. Jpop, as it’s commonly referred to, dominates Oricon charts — the Billboard charts in the country — and are populated predominantly by two groups: Arashi (嵐) — lately with their single, Face Down [MV] — and the 64-rotating-member girl group AKB48, currently #1 with their song Midsummer Sounds Good! (真夏のSounds good !) [clip].
Other staple Oricon-friendly Jpop stars and groups are Utada Hikaru, Ayumi Hamasaki, Namie Amuro — well, now not as often — DREAMS COME TRUE, Perfume [Spring of Life [MV]], KinKi Kids, and a never-ending list of boybands like SMAP, Exile, KAT-TUN, Kanjani8, Hey! Say! JUMP, and others.
I know it might sound discouraging, if you don’t like dance pop — or Jpop in general. In any case, the Japanese music scene is too varied to focus on just sugary dance pop and Japan’s non-Kpop version of electropop — you can read more about it on one of my favorite sources for it: Make Believe Melodies.
Note: For the purpose of this post, we’re not mentioning Kpop artists that sing in Japanese.
Note 2: Don’t forget to check World Order’s Machine Civilization [MV].