Can you J-pop?


How does one distill the collected culture of a highly complex, varied society, whilst simultaneously wrapping it in a commercially viable bundle for export to mostly middle class Americans? Simple: J-pop! Intrigued by the phenomenon, we've just added several musical artists for your perusal, including Mr. Children and Hikaru Utada. So let us know what you think: Do you love it, hate it, want more of it, need someone to tell you what the "J" stands for? Here's a complete list of new discs in the collection.

Yellow Magic Orchestra: Formed in 1978, YMO pioneered the synthpop and electropop music genres of the 1970's, and remains highly influential in the world of modern electronic music
Mr. Children, a highly popular rock band that has sold over 50 million albums in Japan.
B'Z. Pronounced "bee-zu, this critically acclaimed hard rock band has the highest total albums sales of any band across Asia.
Hikaru Utada. Winner of the Nihon Golden Disc award, 24 year old singer, songwriter, and producer Hiraku Utada is one of the most successful pop artists in Japan, releasing her first number one selling single when she was just 16.
Happy End. A folk band that existed from 1970-1973, Happy End blended western folk and traditional Japanese melodies. Their song Kaze Wo Atsumete appeared on the Lost in Translation soundtrack.
The 5,6,7,8's. An all-girl Japanese Surfer rock band, nuff said. They appeared in the film and are featured on the soundtrack Kill Bill V.1.
Kumi Koda. Pop and R&B bestseller and fashion trendsetter Kumi Koda frequently tops the charts in Japan.
Southern All Stars. If you've read this far, SAS is a Pop/Rock band that I think you might like.
* Just Added Fantastic Plastic Machine. His style draws on bossa nova, lounge music, and 60's movie soundtracks.
* Just Added Pizzicato Five. They influenced the development of Shibuya-Kei, a blend of jazz, fusion, traditional and other styles of music.
* Just Added Shunichi Miyamoto. A musical artist and voice actor known for his vocal abilities.
Kazufumi Miyazawa. A Japanese/Okinawan band that fuses rock, pop and folk.
Puffy. They are a pop/rock band known as Puffy Ami Yumi in the US due to legal restrictions brought about by that other Puffy.



Awesome post, jody. I wanted to add a few interesting things about superstar Hikaru Utada... she was born in the US and lived in New York until she was 15. Her native english is a big part of her english-obsessed j-pop appeal. Her nickname in US school was apparently 'Hikki' which her japanese fans have wholeheartedly adopted with nary a '-chan' in sight. US Gamers may also be familiar with her, as she performed the intro song in the smash hit PS2 game Kingdom Hearts and its sequel. She is also very, very, very good at Tetris.

My two favorite japanese bands are Pizzicato Five, who broke up in 2001, and Fantastic Plastic Machine, who released a new album in 2006. We don't have any of either at AADL, though, Jody... =) Also, I dig The Pillows, a garage-band like group who did a lot of music used in FLCL (which we do have!), a short but awesomely bizzare OAV that Gainax reportedly did to decompress after wrapping up Evangelion.

Sorry for geeking out there. You started it!

Thanks Eli. Fantastic Plastic Machine’s latest album, Imaginations, is currently on order and should be here in a couple of weeks, along with a compilation of his from 2007, Best. Also, around the same time the following should be arriving:

Pizzicato Five.
Band Of The 20th Century: Sony Years 1987 – 1990
Big Hits & Jetlags 1994-1997
Ca Et La Du Japon
Happy End of the World
This Year’s girl

Hikaru Utada.
Single Collection V. 1

Dear AADL,

I love you.


Another very talented Japanese singer is Shunichi Miyamoto. He isn't that well known, but he has a gorgeous voice =)

Shunichi Miyamoto also voiced the role of Shani Andras on Mobile Suit Gundam Seed. His 2005 album For Someone Needs Love is on order.