“Painter x Lyrics: Flower Edition” art book turns music lyrics into gorgeous illustrations

Lovers of Japanese music and art rejoice, because the second volume of the Painter x Lyrics (絵師×歌詞) art book series went on sale on November 20!

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McDonald’s offering massive 48-McNuggest bucket in Japan, but true idol fans need to eat 1,200

Because why stop at 40 pieces when you could order 48, or just keep going into quadruple digits to really support your favorite Japanese idol singer?

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Karaoke-loving pet bird in Japan dances, sings along to rock band’s video 【Video】

Java sparrows are pretty popular pets in Japan, where they’re called buncho. But even though buncho literally means “literature bird,” some of the cute little creatures apparently have more of a gift for music, like in this video of one Java sparrow dancing adorably to the sounds of one of Japan’s most popular rock bands and singing along like he’s at karaoke.

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Virtual idol Hatsune Miku announces seven-city U.S., Canadian concert tour

The world’s biggest virtual idol is returning to the U.S. on a new concert tour, and also making her Canadian performance debut.

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Top violinist Ayako Ishikawa to release major label debut album with anime covers 【Videos】

Although a number of Japanese music labels have been hesitant to embrace YouTube, over the last few years uploads from independent Japanese artists and personalities have reached higher numbers than ever before.

For some, like BABYMETAL, Ladybaby, and these adorably cute kiddos, the popular video sharing site is the ticket to instant Internet fame. For others, like top violinist Ayako Ishikawa, the road is a little longer, but nonetheless rewarding, with the recent announcement of her major label album debut featuring re-worked anime covers.

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Buddhist schoolgirl idol group gets shut down for becoming too popular

In Japan, there truly is an all-singing, all-dancing “idol” group for everything. From plus-sized beauties to macho men and octogenarians, if you’ve got a unique message and a catchy tune, there’ll be a niche audience out there waiting to share your next video and dance along with glow sticks at your next performance.

Just when we thought the happy-go-lucky, free-for-all nature of the amateur idol world had no boundaries, it seems there is one line that can’t be crossed: schoolgirls and religion. Meet the “Num-Num Girls”, a Buddhism-based schoolgirl pop group that has been shut down for becoming too popular.

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Three tricky ways the Japanese entertainment industry keeps idol singers from dating

It’s widely known in Japan that idol singers are often contractually prohibited from engaging in romantic relationships. The reasoning goes that if word gets out that an idol singer has a boyfriend, her fans will feel betrayed that she isn’t solely devoted to her role as a musician and entertainer, and thus stop buying her CDs (there’s also the unspoken implication that openly dating someone will destroy the fantasies of individual fans that would like to date the singer themselves).

A signed contract isn’t always enough to keep young love and hormones in check, though. And when you consider that idols are almost always attractive, outgoing young women, it seems like it should be only a matter of time until they find a guy they fancy out of their swarms of would-be suitors. That’s why in addition to legal pledges not to date, the Japanese entertainment industry has a number of sneaky tactics up its sleeve to prevent its idols from falling in love or going on a single date.

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Hatsune Miku appears with J-pop legend Namie Amuro in new music video

Vocaloid music still isn’t exactly what you’d call mainstream in Japan, but the genre of virtual idols has made considerable strides in popularity over the last couple of years. Just last month, Vocaloid Hatsune Miku appeared on perpetually popular TV program Music Station, a feat that’s considered a feather in the cap of any performer.

Now, Japan’s most popular virtual vocalist has teamed up with one of its most popular human ones, as Hatsune Miku and J-pop recording legend Namie Amuro have collaborated on a new song and music video.

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Japanese idol unit plans concert for men only, draws complaints from women’s organization

The city of Dazaifu, located in Fukuoka Prefecture, has a couple of nice cultural sites, such as the Tenmangu Shinto shrine and Komyozenji Buddhist temple. It’s pretty short on modern, youth-oriented attractions, though, so many of the city’s younger residents were probably thrilled when they heard that Momoiro Clover Z, one of Japan’s most popular idol units, would be holding a concert in their relatively sleepy town.

Many of them were less thrilled, though, when it was announced that the concert would be held only for male fans, a decision that’s drawn complaints from a local women’s group.

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Looking for some new Japanese music? Virtual boy band Eight of Triangle is about to blow up

One of the oddest and yet most popular idols in Japan is the Vocaloid, Hatsune Miku. She sings, she dances, and fans think of her more as a living, breathing person than the virtual reality project that she is. She makes a ton of money from her live concerts and merchandise and her only real competition is her other female Vocaloid friends.

But perhaps that is about to change, as a new duo of virtual reality idols hit the Internet today, launching their careers with a preview of their upcoming single along with their sultry computer-generated good looks. Introducing Kazuto and Ray from the group Eight of Triangle!

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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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