Best modern music from Japan

January 19, 2018 | By

Japan produces a great deal of music and encompasses several genres, including over the years: reggae, J-hip hop, Japanese jazz, Anime Music, J-pop, and J-rock, video game music and Japanoise, to name a few.

Best modern music from Japan

Japanese jazz was at first criticized as trying to poorly imitate American jazz. In response to this criticism, Japanese jazz musicians began to incorporate traditional Japanese music into their jazz to produce a more uniquely Japanese sound.

The famous reggae artist Bob Marley visited Japan in the late 1970s. This had a big impact on the music scene leading to a collaborative work between Bob Marley and a Japanese percussionist who was named Pecker. Collaboration between Japanese and Jamaican artists continues today with the continued production of the reggae style of music.

The modern style of music in Japan is what is known as J-rock and J-pop. These music styles began in the 1990s and are based on traditional Japanese music which is blended with the influence of some western music, in particular the music of the bands: the Beach Boys and the Beatles.

Japanoise is a style of music that is unique to Japan. Bands that produce this type of music are interested in the production of a “jamming” type of music which is very loud, noisy, and high energy. Japanoise is a style that is still popular today with bands such as Hijokaidan, Merzbow, and Hanatarash all producing variations of this style of music.

With the development of Anime, came the development of music to accompany it. Often popular bands produce the music and help to underscore and highlight the themes and plots of the storylines.

Video game music is another type of music that has come out of Japan. Popular games such as Mario and Final Fantasy include music soundtracks that have been developed and produced by Japanese musicians. Some contributors to video game music include the artists: Yasunori Mitsuda, Koichi Sugiyama and Nobuo Uematsu.

Modern music in Japan includes popular bands such as Southern All Stars (also known as Sazan, a rock band), and Yellow Magic Orchestra. Yellow Magic Orchestra also incorporates electronic and/or techno sounds into their music and are highly popular in Japan. This band is credited with bringing in the use of synthesizers and computers into the music scene. The type of music coming from these two bands has spread and become popular in other Asian countries.

Southern All Stars

Contemporary R&B and hip hop music have influenced Japanese music in the 2000s. The popular band Orange Range for instance incorporates a great deal of hip hop in their music.

Another type of music that became popular in Japan was ska-punk with bands such as 175r and Shakalabbits being notable. Heavy metal bands have also been successful, for instance the band Babymetal in 2014 has had some very successful songs.

Since about 2010 there have been many music groups that compete against each other. These are known as the idol groups or “Idol sengoku jidai”. Some examples of such music bands include: Hey! Say! JUMP and Kanjani.

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