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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A CD of Buddhist monks reciting sutras is one of Japan’s best selling albums

Man, remember CDs? For a time, they were the best and essentially only way to get your music fix, before digital distribution basically steamrolled CD sales worldwide. Now everybody uses those CD spindles—which once held dozens of CDs containing hundreds of hours of music—to keep their bagels from going stale or whatever.

Unsurprisingly, though, in change-averse Japan, CDs still do a brisk business, although sales are certainly waning and it’s only a matter of time before the Japanese, too, decide to collectively microwave their CD collections once and for all (this being the most fun way to dispose of your CDs). And one interesting side-effect of Japan’s CD business entering its twilight years is that some rather unexpected, and sometimes downright odd, albums have been stealthily cracking the top 10 charts.

For example, this CD containing a soothing collection of Buddhist monks reciting sutras.

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Evangelion theme song lyricist talks about her annual royalties, buying caves in Turkey

Neko Oikawa, who wrote the lyrics for Neon Genesis Evangelion’s theme song “A Cruel Angel’s Thesis,” recently revealed some details regarding the staggering amount of money that she makes in annual royalties off of the enduringly popular song–along with where 300 million yen (US$2.4 million)-worth of her savings has recently gone to.

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Drummer for visual kei band evokes smiles online with photos of adorable rescue kitten

Whether people like to admit it or not, a big part of being in a successful band is maintaining an image. Sure, we know deep down that most of our favorite musicians are just normal people with very specific talents, but we still love to see them as their over-the-top personas. David Bowie may be a great singer, but a good chunk of his success comes just from being so flipping weird all the time.

For visual kei bands in Japan, the “visual” aspect—and thus the image—can be almost as important the music for fans, and visual kei band The Black Swan are no different. But despite the dark, often graphic nature of their videos and general image, their drummer has revealed himself to be a big ol’ softie by posting a plethora of photos of his rescue kitty on Twitter…and winning the hearts of Internet users throughout Japan!

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The new Wagakki Band album is out! Let’s find out what the fans think!

It’s no secret that we’re fans of Wagakki Band here at RocketNews24. We’ve been sharing their music with you since 2013, and you can bet we’ll keep sharing their music until they get old and retire! So, as you can imagine, we were eager to get our hands on their new album Yasouemaki. And, now that everyone has had a few days to enjoy all the new tracks, let’s find out what Japanese fans are saying about the album!

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How do 43 coins tossed through the air create one short but lovely song? Concentration!【Video】

Music is, without a doubt, one of the most powerful artistic mediums humankind has. It can move us in ways that are hard to understand or even describe, eliciting everything from tears to vicious mosh pits. Of course, one of its most renowned powers is helping people concentrate.

Take, for example, classical music, which seems to help students focus while cramming for finals or aid tired workers in getting through a long day. So, to promote their new drink Shuchu Regain (集中リゲイン), Suntory has released a series of YouTube videos demonstrating the power of concentration. Today, we’ll be looking at “the world’s fastest orchestra,” The Extreme Minuet, played by having 43 men toss coins into beakers from several feet away.

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French twins dancing to koto performance in Kiyomizu-dera is as beautiful as it is odd【Video】

Of all the cool dance videos we’ve seen this summer, the one by the Dancing Strawhats and Koharu Sugawara was perhaps our favorite. The video did an excellent job of mixing contemporary dance and music with traditional scenery and clothing, and it was this juxtaposition that really captured our attention.

A new video by another group of contemporary dancers has captured our attention today, but this time it features Kiyomizu-deraone of Japan’s most famous temples, and some lovely music by an incredibly talented koto player. We are in love with this video and we bet you will be too!

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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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Japanese college has specialized anime song program, scholarships for international students

Even within the world of Japanese pop music, anime songs are their own special breed. Unabashedly sentimental, bombastically energetic, or sometimes both, not just anyone can grab a mike and belt out a performance that will capture the hearts of legions of otaku, which is why one Japanese music college has just announced a brand new course, aiming to provide students with the education and training they need to become anime vocalists.

Oh, and the school also offers a scholarship for international students.

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Antinomy: Talking to Urbangarde about their vision, music, and lying to fans

Urbangarde first caught my attention last year with the release of their video for “Sakura Memento”, a song off the 2014 album Utsukushii Kuni. I’ve been rocking out to their music and pondering their quixotic videos in the many months since then, enjoying their mix of pop, rock, and electronic music. So when a chance meeting resulted in the opportunity to sit down and talk with the band’s vocalists Yoko Hamasaki and Temma Matsunaga, I nearly popped out of my skin with excitement!

If you’ve ever wondered how they come up with lyrics, why they’re so “negative,” and whether they enjoy touring or recording more, read on. Also, be sure to check out their latest video for the new single, “Coin Locker Babies”, after the jump!

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Canadian anime vocalist Himeka vents about frustrations working in the Japanese music industry

In 2008, anime fans around the world would have loved to trade places with Catherine St. Onge, better known by her stage name, Himeka. The then-27-year-old Canadian singer had just won a national anime song contest in Japan, besting over 3,000 rivals to secure a recording contract and guaranteed theme song performance for an upcoming anime series.

Unfortunately, fame is a fickle thing. Unable to secure commercial success or a new work visa, Himeka had to return to Canada in 2014, even as she wistfully stated she wanted to remain in Japan forever. A year later, though, she’s singing a very different tune, tweeting that she “probably shouldn’t have come to Japan” in the first place and regrets her time in the country.

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Jon Bon Jovi singing in Chinese is surreal 【Video】

Despite all of his singing about being “halfway there,” it seems that Jon Bon Jovi is perfectly capable of going the extra mile (even though it doesn’t really matter if he makes it or not, etc.).

The singer of many a rock ballad that your one roommate insists on blaring at ungodly hours, Bon Jovi is currently making bizarre new headlines with a YouTube video of him performing a well-known Chinese love song… entirely in the song’s original Mandarin language.

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New Kyary Pamyu Pamyu video “Crazy Party Night” makes Halloween cute and colorful…in August

Kyary Pamyu Pamyu is know for many things, but subtlety certainly is not one of them. The singer/model/crazy-in-a-cute-way-girl has released so many bizarre videos by now that we suspect the Oxford English Dictionary will eventually include a picture of her grinning face under the entry for “quirky.” And that’s why we love her!

So we were naturally excited when we saw that she released a new video titled “Crazy Party Night: Pumpkins Strike Back” today. The music was exactly as peppy and cute as you might expect, and the video was…well, it was definitely a Kyary Pamyu Pamyu video. Check it out after the jump!

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NINGEN ISU: This Japanese literary metal band will rock your butt off【Photos & Video】

When Mr. Sato asks you if you want to check out a band with him, you say yes. You don’t ask which band or check your schedule, you just say yes, because you know it’s going to be a good night. It also doesn’t hurt that I already knew he was talking about NINGEN ISU, whose name literally means “Human Chair,” a metal band in the vein of all our favorite old-school traditional metal heroes.

NINGEN ISU’s rise in popularity has been on a slow but powerful burn for decades, and with their upcoming performance at OzzFest this year, they are sure to be popping up on a quite a few radars. So check them out here now and get ready to tell your friends that you knew about these guys way back when!

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British musician collaborates with Japanese video game composers for stunning concept album

Music has been an essential part of the gaming experience for decades. From simple 8-bit tunes to orchestral compositions, the music of video games can be exceptionally beautiful. As such, it’s fair to say that composers of video game music enjoy a unique position in the entertainment world, straddling the line between being auteur artists and members of large teams of game creators. But what happens when you take the “video game” out of “video game music composition?” Something beautiful and unique!

We recently sat down and chatted with musician Smoke Thief about his new concept album and working renowned Japanese composers Manami Matsumae, Takahiro Izutani, and Saori Kobayashi. If you like video game music, you’ll definitely want to check out the new album Heart Beat Circuit!

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EDM artist MUST DIE! attracts attention in Japan for his love of anime

EDM is easily one of most popular music genres around the world today. And we have to admit that we have a soft spot for it ourselves, especially artists like Kiyoshi Sugo. Of course, the scene is full of rising stars, but one in particular has captured the attention of Japanese Internet commenters: MUST DIE!

While dubstep hasn’t made the same inroads in Japan as it has in other countries, there is certainly still an audience for it. And MUST DIE!, an American-born and Berlin-based producer, has recently captured their attention thanks to his enthusiasm for anime and otaku culture as expressed via both social media and some of his songs, like the new track “Onii-chan.”

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Video of a cappella game songs wows the Internet, leaves us feeling nostalgic

The world seems largely split on a cappella music, with some outright hating and others outright loving it. We’re not about to take sides in this debate, but we will say that, if nothing else, it’s always impressive to watch someone do something they’re really good at. Whether it’s crafting katanas or turning candy boxes into art, witnessing skill in action is pretty awesome, and the same goes for a cappella covers — especially when they’re covers of old-school video game music!

So, it’s hardly surprising that this video of a cappella versions of four classic game songs is exploding in popularity online. We’re sure you’ll be impressed too!

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Got mold? If you’re using your earphones too much, you just might

I’m sure we’ve all heard the warnings about the damage that can be done from having the volume too loud when listening to music with earphones. Alright, so you keep your volume at a reasonable level. No harm done then, right? Well, as it turns out, high volume isn’t the only issue with earphones, as it’s recently been found that excessive use can also cause mold growth in the outer ear canal. Sounds delightful (yuck)!

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Ridiculously talented musician reproduces Super Mario Bros. 3 music & sound effects 【Video】

I’m always in awe of people gifted with musical talents. But nothing prepared me to be blown away by the Canadian musical genius who single-handedly reproduced the music and sound effects from NES classic Super Mario Bros. 3 using nothing but old-school instruments.

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