music

Japanese national anthem delights foreigners, Japanese commenters have no idea why

Japanese national anthem delights foreigners, Japanese commenters have no idea why

Depending on your travel and Olympic games viewing habits, you may not get the chance to hear national anthems that aren’t from your own country very often. Which is kind of understandable…the songs are supposed to be inspiring, but it seems like at lot of them are either about killing everyone or marching. Marching might be a great way to burn calories, but we could do without songs about it.

However, it turns out that Japan’s national anthem, the incredibly short “Kimi ga Yo,” is a bit of a hit with folks from everywhere but Japan…a fact that’s left quite a few Japanese Internet commenters thoroughly confused.

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Perfume announce re-release of LEVEL3 in time for world tour in November

Perfume announce re-release of LEVEL3 in time for world tour in November

Perfume have announced an autumn release date for a new bonus edition of their album LEVEL3. The worldwide release in October will come just before the Japanese girl group make their US concert debut in early November. LEVEL3 was released in Japan last year, and the worldwide re-release will be via label Astralwerks.

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Dance! Dance! Dance! – Girl groups that “bring it on” 【Videos】

Dance! Dance! Dance! –  Girl groups that “bring it on” 【Videos】

Dancing is an important element of an idol’s performance even though choreography can be quite a task, especially when a group has so many members and the stage is small. One of the charms of Japanese idols is that fans can watch them develop; even if they aren’t the most talented, they’re still cute and fun to watch.

However, this doesn’t mean that all girl groups in Japan are like that! This is not to say that one is better than the other as they are both fun to watch, depending on the situation. We compiled a short list of a few groups that dance like they own the stage every time they’re on it.

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Fan makes functional Hatsune Miku digi-keytar

Fan makes functional Hatsune Miku digi-keytar

Hatsune Miku has been known for helping blaze the trail to the future for quite some time now. From her futuristic look, to her function as a vocal synchronization software, Miku has inspired AR apps, 3D hologram concerts, and more. Now it seems that this digital pop-star has inspired her fans to take that extra step into making tomorrow come today. Using Hatsune Miku as a muse, one Niconico Douga user has invented a unique new musical instrument, simply known as Ano Gakki (“That Musical Instrument”).

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Move over Beats, there’s a new overpriced set of headphones on the market

Move over Beats, there’s a new overpriced set of headphones on the market

So, you love to blast your music wherever you go, but you can’t find any headphones fashionable enough to match your wardrobe. While that’s not likely a problem many of us have, someone has found a solution! Chanel–yes, Chanel–will be releasing their newest fashion accessory–headphones–mid-September. And, don’t worry, fashionistas, they are exactly as expensive as you would think they are!

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Totally metal newborn shows off hardcore cuteness for approving musician dad

Totally metal newborn shows off hardcore cuteness for approving musician dad

From looking at his Twitter profile, you might conclude that Hazuki, singer for the Osaka-based Grollschwert, is a pretty metal dude. He describes the unit as a “melodic deathrash metal band,” and his own vocal style as guttural, growling, and screeching.

Still, even the most dedicated musicians can’t be hardcore all the time, and the vocalist has recently been sharing pictures of his adorable newborn baby daughter with his Twitter followers. It looks like metal is in the family genes, though, as the baby has already executed a perfect double devil horn salute.

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Flagitious Idiosyncrasy In The Dilapidation: Japan’s awesome all-woman grindcore band【J-Tunes】

Flagitious Idiosyncrasy In The Dilapidation: Japan’s awesome all-woman grindcore band【J-Tunes】

When people think of Japanese music, their thoughts usually turn to J-pop or BABYMETAL–and while nothing is wrong with that, there’s a lot more to be found! We’ve been exploring some of our favorite music in Japan over the last few months, but there’s still a massive universe of artists left to discover. Today, we’ll be breaking out the jackhammer and drilling deep into the world of underground Japanese metal, specifically grindcore and the internationally acclaimed (but still largely unknown) band Flagitious Idiosyncrasy In The Dilapidation.

From overseas touring to being a woman-only band in a male-dominated scene, this interview is sure to keep even Top 40-loving readers interested.

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J-pop group “Chubbiness” releases first music video, possibly look even less chubby than before

J-pop group “Chubbiness” releases first music video, possibly look even less chubby than before

Back in January this year, we brought you news of an emerging J-pop group going by the name of Chubbiness. The idea behind the outfit was that, as well as being accomplished singers, the members were all “puniko“, or slightly chubby girls. Compared to most J-pop groups, which are very often populated with girls who are all pointy elbows and shoulder blades, Chubbiness just about lived up to their name, but few Westerners especially would ever think to call them “chubby”.

Eight months later, Chubbiness have launched their first official song, complete with an accompanying music video which shows them tucking in to a table full of sugary treats while singing about how there’s nothing wrong with being a bit on the big side.

The only thing is, after watching the video a handful of times, we can’t help thinking that if anything the Chubbiness girls actually look even slimmer now than when they were first introduced to us…

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Mr. Sato goes discount women’s clothes shopping and discovers a shocking secret

Mr. Sato goes discount women’s clothes shopping and discovers a shocking secret

One day, while Mr. Sato was off-duty, he was doing some shopping around Nakano Broadway in Tokyo. This shopping plaza is sometimes called a “mecca of subculture” for its various stores peddling old books and figures. Of course, Nakano Broadway has many other shops including grocery and household item stores.

In particular, the first floor is filled with women’s clothing shops selling items at rock-bottom prices. On a complete whim Mr. Sato steered into one shop boasting every item for only 575 yen (US$5.60). As if guided by a mysterious force, Mr. Sato entered this store. Little did he know that he was being guided… by the god of rock.

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Japan gets skimpy, slippery and wet at “lotion x music” festival

Japan gets skimpy, slippery and wet at “lotion x music” festival

Normally, Shinkiba 1stRING features the physical feats of Japan’s pro-wrestling circuit. The ring is always packed with wrestling fans whenever there is an event, but what happens when there is no wrestling? Partying, obviously! On August 9, with the looming threat of Typhoon 11, people gathered for a one-of-a-kind party in Japan, possibly the first of its kind: a music festival that mixes bumping beats with…clear lube?!?

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AKB48 recruits new part-time idols – for US$10 an hour

AKB48 recruits new part-time idols – for US$10 an hour

The popular idol group AKB48 announced at the AKB48 Group Summer Festival on Sunday that they are recruiting new “part-time” members — for 1,000 yen (about US$10) an hour. Typically, potential AKB48 candidates must first undergo audition and become trainees before being promoted to regular members. However the “Part-Time AKB” campaign will bypass this long process, similar to Glico’s campaign to recruit a member over 30 years old earlier this year.

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Rick Rack: The teenage girl rock band that is way better than they have any right to be【J-Tunes】

Rick Rack: The teenage girl rock band that is way better than they have any right to be【J-Tunes】

Playing in a band as a teenager isn’t exactly a big deal. Don’t get us wrong though–when you’re in high school, playing a local battle of the bands is probably one of the most thrilling things you can do! But when it comes right down to it, there are tons of high school bands in the world, and most of them sound like, well, high school bands. Of course, there are exceptions, but we think it’s still fair to say that there aren’t too many bands that both sound good and can’t buy their own alcohol.

As you have probably guessed, today we’re showing you one of those notable exceptions. The Nara Prefecture three-piece rock band Rick Rack–and their lead singer/guitarist Serina–have absolutely blown us away with their energetic songwriting and catchy hooks. You’re sure to have a couple of these songs stuck in your head until the end of the week!

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Little girl sings her heart out while selling rice cakes, leaves us blown away 【UPDATED】

Little girl sings her heart out while selling rice cakes, leaves us blown away 【UPDATED】

As someone whose singing voice sounds like a baboon trying to speak English, I am always amazed by people who can just belt out a solo without even a piano to back them up. But I’m doubly impressed when that person is a little kid selling rice cakes on the side of the road!

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BABYMETAL plays first ever US show, bootleg videos leave us wowed

BABYMETAL plays first ever US show, bootleg videos leave us wowed

Continuing their meteoric rise to international stardom, BABYMETAL has checked off another box on their world conquest to-do list: Playing a headline show in the US!

The show this weekend has even made waves in Japan thanks to a fan video uploaded to YouTube shortly after the group’s LA tour. Check it out below!

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Basement Jaxx’s bizarre Japan-based music video freaks us out, makes us want to dance

Basement Jaxx’s bizarre Japan-based music video freaks us out, makes us want to dance

Sometimes it seems like whenever a Western creator wants to get away with something really over the top and crazy, they just set it in Japan to take advantage of that “those Japanese are sooooo weird” stereotype while simultaneously distancing themselves from criticism.

The latest creators to do this are British electronic dance band Basement Jaxx, who have come up with something really, uh… special.

Before we let you watch, we’ll give you a heads-up that it’s somewhat NSFW-ish, mainly on account of it involving robotic butts twerking. We told you it was bizarre.

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New video from Wagakki Band “Hanabi” is an original, awesome song【J-Tunes】

New video from Wagakki Band “Hanabi” is an original, awesome song【J-Tunes】

When we introduced you to the Wagakki Band last year, we were pretty sure they might end up being a big deal. And, as it turned out, we were definitely right about that! After releasing a full album to rave reviews earlier this year, the band has been on the road touring both in Japan and at the Japan Expo in Paris. But despite their busy schedule of rehearsing and performing, they’ve had time to work on a new, original song. While they haven’t released a full video yet (you’ll have to wait a few more weeks), you can check out the short version below!

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Touching Final Fantasy X cover on the violin takes you “To Zanarkand”【Video】

Touching Final Fantasy X cover on the violin takes you “To Zanarkand”【Video】

If you love classical music, and you love Australia, then the name Ayako Ishikawa, is a name you are familiar with. However, if you aren’t familiar with “Devils Ayako”, you’re missing out on an artist that has been given the honorary title of “The Best Performer in Australia“. Already a phenom on the classical music stage, she has recently been making a name for herself on the Internet. Since she began posting her videos to Niconico back in 2013, her popularity has blossomed into a real fan following and she is just hitting her stride now with a string of well-known songs in Japan. Today she takes you “To Zanarkand”…

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Natural sounds: Stunning Kyoto-made speakers are made from 30-year-old Japanese cedar

Natural sounds: Stunning Kyoto-made speakers are made from 30-year-old Japanese cedar

If you’re the kind of person who appreciates traditional craftsmanship and doesn’t mind paying a little more to get it, we have a product for you today that you really have to see.

On sale from tomorrow, these stunning mini speakers are made by master craftsmen in Kyoto and use specially grown Japanese cedar, taking an incredible 30 years to go from planting to finished product.

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Little Texas: The Tokyo country bar for all of Japan’s cowboys【Photos】

Little Texas: The Tokyo country bar for all of Japan’s cowboys【Photos】

You can find just about anything you want in Tokyo. The city is a wonderful melting pot of new and old, domestic and foreign, low and high brow. With everything from a vibrant French quarter to gorgeous temple gardens, it’s hard to imagine anyone getting bored in Japan’s capital. Even so, we have to admit that we were a bit surprised to find a country bar–let alone a country bar with such authentic shows and delicious food! But that’s exactly what Meguro’s oldest country bar, Little Texas, has. With everything from license plates covering the walls to amazing bands on stage, you are guaranteed to have a great time–even if you don’t know the difference between a steer and a bull!

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Japan’s 10 best singing voices as chosen by people in the industry

Japan’s 10 best singing voices as chosen by people in the industry

Japanese music has a wide variety of artists, and like any country’s music scene it too is full of gimmicky sounds or imagery. Such music can be great and a lot of fun too, but there’s something about a naturally talented vocalist that demands our attention and respect.

But who in Japan is the greatest pure singer? Some of you may have already pulled up an image of your favorite Japanese singer while others like me are drawing a blank, still unable to shake the image of Kyary Pamyu Pamyu dancing with candy skeletons.

Luckily, the TV show Suiyobi No Downtown held their own ranking survey asking 200 people in the Japanese music industry from vocal trainers to studio engineers “Who is really good at singing?” Here are the results.

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