Prepare to be outraged: Japan votes for its “100 Best World Class Songs” 【Videos】

The long-running Japanese music program Music Station recently held a nation-wide survey polling 10,000 people on what they thought were Japan’s most world-class songs. Respondents told the TV show which songs they felt best represented Japan, throwing up popular artists such as Arashi and Mr. Children, and the results were aired on 23 September.

As with any music ranking, the results are open for debate, and this list is certainly no exception. However, looking at the top 10, it’s hard not to wonder where Music Station found the people who were asked to name Japan’s greatest ever song, and many Japanese netizens are calling the list “a national embarrassment”.

Are they right? Let’s find out by kicking things off with the 10th Best World Class Song: “Koi Suru Fortune Cookie” by AKB48.

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Idol ordered to pay management company 650,000 yen after going to hotel with male fan

Idol singers exist in an extremely specialized, and often contradictory, corner of the already specialized Japanese pop music industry. Successful idols are expected to walk the fine line between having a polished, attractive appearance and an approachable, unassuming aura. Even more ironic is that while their songs’ lyrics are often focused on love and devotion, it’s practically unheard of for an active idol to openly be in a romantic relationship.

Every now and again, though, word gets out that an idol secretly has a boyfriend, or had an illicit liaison with a guy. The revelation is usually followed by a solemn apology to fans, and often the offending member being removed from the group. But this time the story of an idol’s amorous activities coming to light has something we’ve never heard about before: a court-ordered fine equivalent to several thousand dollars for breach of contract.

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J-Pop group Perfume was (kind of) at that big Apple presentation 【Video】

There seem to be two types of people when it comes to the J-Pop girl band Perfume: those who have never heard of them, and those that have already fainted from excitement upon reading the headline for this story.

Not too long ago, the group took Japan by storm and stole the hearts of J-Pop fans everywhere, although in truth it does seem like their popularity has lost a little steam as of late. But don’t worry, they’re still big enough to make a splash at the Apple presentation that happened Wednesday.

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Have you seen the Studio Ghibli music video for Chage & Aska’s “On Your Mark”?

We’re sure nearly all of our readers have, at the very least, heard of Studio Ghibli. You’ve probably seen a few — or even most — of their films, but we’d be surprised if many have seen everything the company has produced. But don’t take that the wrong way! We’re not questioning anyone’s dedication. It just turns out there are quite a few rare Ghibli works out there in the wild.

For example, “On Your Mark,” a music video for the song of the same name by Chage & Aska, is apparently unknown to quite a few young Japanese anime fans. But what about you? Have you seen it? If not, it’s definitely one of the weirdest (and most interesting) music videos you’re likely to see this week. And if you have seen it, here’s your chance to watch it one more time!

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Final Evangelion movie coming in December, claims quote from Japanese magazine

Depending on how you do the math, anime fans have now been waiting somewhere between three and 20 years for the upcoming, and supposedly final, Evangelion movie. The franchise began as a TV series in 1995, with its most recent installment, the third film in the Rebuild of Evangelion reboot and/or sequel, having debuted in Japanese theaters in 2012.

A release date has yet to be officially announced for the fourth Rebuild movie, but a weekly Japanese news magazine recently published a quote from an industry insider who claims he knows when the last Eva film is finally coming out.

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New music video by LADYBABY here to rock your world (in more ways than one) 【Video】

Few could have imagined that a bearded man dressed in a girl’s school uniform would prove to be big a hit. Even fewer perhaps would have guessed that putting said individual in a J-pop group alongside a couple of Japanese teens would be something people would actually want to watch, but watch they do, and LADYBABY is currently taking Japan by storm.

In the music video for their first upcoming single release, “Tokyo Manju”, Japan’s most curious trio takes to the streets of Tokyo to show you all the wonderful things we love about Japanese culture.

When Gackt said the Cool Japan campaign needed a revamp, I don’t think this is quite what he had in mind…

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Oops! There’s something not quite right about Nana Mizuki’s live tour publicity image…

Nana Mizuki, one of the few voice actresses in Japan who also has a successful singing career, is about to embark on a live tour, dubbed Live Adventure 2015. With 10 albums under her belt, the multi-talented seiyuu has been having annual solo concerts since 2000, and it’s no surprise that fans are abuzz over her upcoming tour, which starts on July 4. But the excitement and anticipation has not blinded net users enough to overlook some careless photo-editing that was spotted on one of the event’s publicity visuals.

Have you spotted the spooky mistakes in the photo yet? Read on to find out where they are!

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What makes “Love Live!” so mega popular? We asked one passionate super fan

If you’re into anime and you haven’t been living under a rock for the past two years, you should have at least heard of the unstoppable, indomitable multimedia force known as Love Live! School Idol Project, which first aired in early 2013. The show took off and captured the hearts of Japanese and foreign viewers alike seemingly in the blink of an eye.

In fact, fans of the series are known for being so incredibly dedicated to the teenage troupe that we wanted to find out firsthand what attracted them to the series. Consequently, we had our Japanese reporter ask one enthusiastic fan, whom we’ll call Mr. K, for his personal opinion. What do you think he had to say about the draw of the series?

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Kyary Pamyu Pamyu goes to Tokyo DisneySea dressed like a total creeper

Perhaps it’s not to the extent that celebrities have it in the United States, but Japanese celebs – especially pop idols of the female persuasion – are regularly accosted in public if they’re recognized. And while most stereotypically meek Japanese might be content with taking surreptitious photos from afar in the event of an idol sighting, the possibility of running across an unhinged fan or aggressive paparazzi on the streets means most Japanese pop stars will conceal their faces somehow when strolling around in public on their own.

For the typical celeb, this generally means wearing dark shades or even just wearing a fashion they’re not normally seen wearing on TV, while others still will walk around with their faces totally uncovered like the rest of the unwashed masses. Kyary Pamyu Pamyu, on the other hand, wasn’t taking chances on a recent trip to Tokyo DisneySea, choosing to conceal her face entirely and looking like a total creeper in doing so.

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Is AK48’s Chinese sister group even cuter than the original? Our reporter thinks so!

Ever heard of SNH48, AKB48’s second sister group outside of Japan? Based in Shanghai, China, the idol unit has been active since 2012, releasing a total of eight singles to date. These singles are all Chinese-language covers of previous AKB48 singles, including their latest release on May 15–the Chinese version of “Manatsu no Sounds Good!” (盛夏好声音).

Now, I’m not someone easily swayed by the cutesy “charms” of idol singers, but a female writer on our Japanese sister site recently wrote a piece expressing her opinion that SNH48 could possibly be–dare I write it–even cuter than the veritable goddesses of the original AKB48.

Take a moment to watch their latest music video and decide who you think is the cutest!

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Smiles optional-New talent agency accepting applications for idols suffering emotional distress

It’s pretty widely accepted that in the Japanese pop idol world, legitimate musical talent takes a back seat to the ability to project an image. So while you might not need perfect pitch or flawless rhythm, if you want to be an idol, you will need to radiate a constantly upbeat aura, right?

Well, maybe not. A new idol talent agency has just opened its doors, and the company is specifically looking for performers with a gloomy outlook, and is now accepting applications, with no experience required.

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Get your geek on! Artwork for the Momoiro Clover Z/Dragon Ball CDs revealed

While Momoiro Clover Z’s transformation into Frieza clones earlier this month simply turned out to be an April Fool’s Day joke, their collaboration with Dragon Ball Z is the real deal! In fact, the group is responsible for the theme song for the new movie, Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection F. Which is pretty cool, and if you’re a fan of Momoiro Clover Z and Dragon Ball Z you’ll probably also love the covers for the movie’s maxi singles being released on April 29.

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J-pop unit Perfume’s innovative projection mapping at US performance creates worldwide buzz

Perfume, the three-member electro-pop group from Hiroshima, Japan, took to the stage for a special performance at the 2015 South by Southwest (SXSW) festival in Austin, Texas. The annual event, held this year from March 13-22, always includes a unique lineup of musical artists, independent films, conference panels, and technological exhibitions, all carefully selected to showcase the highest levels of creativity in the current industry.

Even in that environment, Perfume’s musical and dance performance seems to have blown away the crowd with its ground-breaking use of projected visuals. Is their performance really happening in the physical world? Folks from around the world who’ve seen the video online say it’s enough to give them goosebumps!

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Japanese female electro-rap duo Charisma.com: Office workers by day, musicians by night 【Videos】

If you’re looking for a new musical act to blow your mind, look no further than Charisma.com (カリスマドットコム).

The electro-rap duo (yes, you read that right!) is composed of two Japanese women–MC Itsuka and DJ Gonchi–who will without a doubt knock your socks off with their genre-defying sound. Once you’ve listened to some of their work, you can say goodbye to peace and quiet because you’ll never get Gonchi’s catchy melodies or Itsuka’s fast and furious rapping out of your head. Impressively, over the past two years, their music has been steadily attracting attention from all corners of the world. Would you say that they’re on the path to complete global domination?

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Natsume Mito’s debut music video, “Maegami Kiri Sugita” isn’t just crazy, it’s kind of insane

The music video for “Maegami Kiri Sugita” (produced by Yasutaka Nakata of CAPSULE) is an animation video directed by Katsuyuki Iseda. Picked up by the media and reaching over 10,000 views in just one day, the video has been causing a lot of commotion amongst J-pop fans this week, with content that apparently surprised even Natsume herself.

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Grammy winner Sam Smith comes to Japan, meets Kyary Pamyu Pamyu in clash of mundane, crazy names

It’s been a couple of days since we’ve had any Keanu Reeves sightings in Tokyo, so we’re going to assume the Hollywood actor has left Japan (and sadly without taking us up on our offer for a free bowl of ramen). That doesn’t mean the country is suddenly devoid of famous visitors, though, as the movie star’s presence has been swiftly replaced by that of recording star Sam Smith.

The 22-year-old English singing sensation recently arrived in Japan, where he got fans of J-pop talking by posing for a photo with Japanese songstress Kyary Pamyu Pamyu.

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New plus-sized idol group hopes to broaden the image of beauty in Japan 【Video】

In the never-ending battle to be the next big thing, a new idol group made their debut on January 15–with “big” being the operative word. Featuring the same singing and dancing you’ve seen from the hundreds of idol groups before them, these five girls are trying to prove that even those who aren’t paper-thin can make it in the idol world.

What separates this group from the “marshmallow girls” before them? For one, they actually are plus-sized, and they are OK with that! Please welcome to the stage: Pottya.

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Why are young Japanese women going crazy for this 100-yen Daiso wristwatch?

Even with one of the most outspokenly pessimistic presidents in the business world, Japan’s Daiso 100-yen shops are one of the most successful chains in the country. Walk into any branch, and you’ll see a huge mix of demographics among the customer base, including starving students, newlyweds setting up their own household, and thrifty families.

But while Daiso’s huge product selection gives it a wide appeal, it’s usually not the first stop for fashionable young ladies who’re looking for trendy accessories. So it’s been a surprise for the chain’s managers that since November, women have been snapping up Daiso-brand wristwatches like they’re designer timepieces, even though they’re dirt-cheap at just 108 yen (US $0.92) after tax.

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Hugh Jackman stars, sings J-pop cover, and speaks Japanese in ads for Toyota【Videos】

When you get to be as big a company as Toyota, you can afford to go out and get A-list talent for your commercials. Over the last few years, the automaker’s created a series of ads starring boy band SMAP’s Takuya Kimura and film icon Beat Takeshi.

In the commercials, collectively known as ReBORN, Kimura and Takeshi play historical figures Oda Nobunaga and Toyotomi Hideyoshi, reincarnated in modern Japan. The latest installment even has a special guest star as Hugh Jackman, Wolverine himself, shows up to help spread the word about Toyota’s newest eco-friendly cars.

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16 years after his death, new song by X Japan guitarist hide released with vocals by…hide?!

The Japanese music scene doesn’t have quite the lengthy list of young deaths that its Western counterpart does, but that doesn’t mean J-pop hasn’t lost some of its biggest stars while still in their prime. In 1998, 33-year-old hide, who rose to fame as guitarist for the band X Japan and had also established a successful solo career, was found dead in his apartment, hung by a towel attached to a doorknob.

Ruled a suicide, his death came as a shock to his legions of fans, and while he left behind a large body of work, it seemed they would never get to hear the song “Ko Gyaru,” which hide had been putting the finishing touches on before his passing. So it’s come as a surprise that a video for the song was recently released on YouTube, with vocals that sound as if they’re being provided by the deceased musician himself.

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