The Banana Guide to Asian Entertainment: It’s All About Japan: Part IV
Alternative Jpop picks, the world of Jrock, and stuff!
If you give yourself some time, and move past the “weird” and boy bands, you might find a couple of names within the Oricon chart that might pique your interest in Japanese popular music. Maybe it could be a song by Ikimonogakari (いきものがかり), whose single Arigatou (ありがとう) [clip] was a huge hit as the theme song for NHK’s Asadora  Gegege’s Wife (ゲゲゲの女房) back in 2010.
Or maybe the style of Kobukuro (コブクロ) would suit you better with something like their single Tsubomi (蕾) [MV].
However, if you thought Jmusic is only in Japanese, you might be surprised to find about MONKEY MAJIK, a Canadian-Japanese group that… actually reminds me quite a bit of the Barenaked Ladies. In half-English and foreign-sounding Japanese, you can sing along to MONKEY MAJIK’s infectious pop rock.
The Japanese music scene is also filled with Jrock groups — of the regular kind, the Visual Kei  kind, and of the other kinds — with some of the most popular being Mr. Children [Prayers~The Track of Tears (祈り～涙の軌道) [MV]], l’Arc~en~Ciel [Chase [MV]], BUMP OF CHICKEN [Only Lonely Glory (オンリー ロンリー グローリー) [MV]], GLAY [Bible [MV]]… and then, of course, there’s GACKT [Jesus [MV]] and his side project YELLOW FRIED CHICKENz [The End of the Day [MV]].
But if pop music, rock, or folksy pop rock isn’t your thing, the Japanese R&B, Hip Hop, and Rap scenes are also pretty popular with names such as Koda Kumi *cough*, AI [Happiness (ハピネス) Reggae Summer Remix by Mighty Crown [clip]], m-flo [She’s So (Outta Control) [MV]], FUNKY MONKEY BABYS… and there’s also Kreva.