music

Masked drummer brings the heat to our favorite video game music

His hair is a shock of red flame. His face is hidden behind a black-and-white wrestling mask. The mystery drummer, godly skills at his command. Final Fantasy. Romancing SaGa. Dragon Quest. He plays them all. Who is he?

Why, he’s drum virtuoso and YouTube regular, dainashi! Since his first video almost a year ago, the masked drummer has set jaws dropping with his incredible renditions of popular video game background music. We take a look at some of his uploads.

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Japan’s newest idol group, KBG84, hails from Okinawa, has an average age of 84

Japan’s idol world is quite…expansive, for lack of a better word. Even with the wide variety of groups running around, it can be hard to really tell them apart–though we have to say there was no mistaking Osaka’s Obachaaan for any other group. In fact, the “old lady” idol group is still going strong–perhaps thanks in part to the dearth of elderly competition. But it looks like Obachaaa and AKB48 are about to face some new rivals: KBG84, Okinawa’s own geriatric idol group!

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There’s music in the air (and everywhere else): Netizens share real-world musical finds

The weekend is still a few days away, so to lighten your mood, today we’re bringing you some unrelated, yet feel-good images. While these aren’t quite as newsworthy as the face of Jesus appearing on a slice of burnt toast or “there is no god” spelled out in watermelon seeds, these musical notes spotted in the unlikeliest of places are still delightfully simple and sure to put a smile on your face.

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Why do most concerts held in Japan prohibit taking pictures?

For anyone who enjoys live music, part of the fun is taking photos of the band or recording video to relive the experience at home or show off on Facebook. It’s a tradition that strengthens the connection between bands and their fans long after a concert is over. Especially in this digital age, many bands depend on the power of social media to connect with new audiences they could never reach before.

If you’ve ever attended a concert in Japan, you know this is not the case. You will almost always see “No photos” and “No video” signs posted all over concert venues. It doesn’t matter if you’re watching a foreign artist or a local one, you are not allowed to take pictures, and a host of security personal will remind you of the fact.

Find out why this is the case, and which big musical act might be turning the tide, after the jump.

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North Korean officials, Gaddafi and more get the heavy metal treatment from talented guitarist

A while back, Japanese politician Ryutaro Nonomura captured the world’s attention after a surreal outburst at a press conference regarding his alleged misuse of taxpayers’ money. No doubt seeing fertile ground for comedy, one creative musician then made Nonomura the stuff of Internet legend by setting the man’s sobs to a guitar track.

Guitarist Felix Martin and his talented collaborators operate under a similar concept, setting guitar, drums, and bass to speeches from North Korean officials, Hugo Chavez, and others. This project isn’t for laughs, though. With an ear for the rhythm and pitch of the spoken word, not to mention masterful heavy metal stylings, Martin and company elevate the aptly named Human Transcription project to the realm of art. Politics and propaganda have never sounded so good.

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Netizens get creative with ice cube trays shaped like BIGBANG singer’s nose and mouth

Idol and boy band merchandise comes in many forms, and some if it is downright weird. Take, for example, this official ice cube tray set shaped like the schnozz and kisser of K-pop vocalist and BIGBANG member Daesung, aka D-LITE in Japan. No, we’re not making this up! In fact, this particular piece of plastic pop memorabilia has really got netizens excited, with many taking to Twitter to showcase the “creations” they have made through the use of certain materials in tandem with the ice cube tray. Join us for a variety of disturbing flared nostrils and pouty lips after the jump!

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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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Want to see anime singer Hironobu Kageyama, or rising idol Azusa Todokoro, perform live? 【Event】

Aside from protagonist Goku’s voice actress Masako Nozawa, it’s pretty hard to find a performer who can claim to have made his or her presence felt in all of anime hit Dragon Ball’s over 290 TV episodes and dozen-plus movies. One man who can make that claim, though, is vocalist Hironobu Kageyama, who supplied the opening theme for each and every episode of Dragon Ball and its successor series Dragon Ball Z, plus 12 of its 13 movies to-date (and even the most recent film used a cover of his iconic hit “Cha-La Head-Cha-La”).

Now in his 50s, no one would blame Kageyama is he said he didn’t have the energy for live performances anymore, but the tireless singer isn’t ready to retire yet. Aside from being the front man for anime song supergroup JAM Project, next month Kageyama will be performing for TV program Anison CLUB!, and anime music Internet portal animeloLIVE! is giving away tickets to the event.

And don’t worry if Dragon Ball was before your time, because animeloLIVE! is also looking for fans to come out and support up-and-coming voice actress and idol Azusa Todokoro at yet another event to be held in March.

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Idol group’s collaboration with blackfaced performers sparks controversy in America

J-pop-cum-doo-wop group Rats & Star have been active for decades in Japan singing soul tunes and doing the occasional electric slide. It’s a style of music that they have embraced whole-heartedly. In fact they are so into the sound that they paint themselves black during shows to look the part.

Their act had continued without major incident for quite some time until one of their singers Yoshio Sato posted a promotional image of them with idol unit Momoiro Clover Z on Twitter for an upcoming TV appearance, nearly all with faces painted black.

As you might expect, many Americans are up in arms over the image, but what do Japanese people have to say about this?

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An idol song written by a comedian? “Attakaindakara” is the latest craze in Japan 【Videos】

“Attakaindakara” is a song which born from a skit written by comedy duo Kumamushi and it’s currently one of the most popular tunes in Japan. In the skit, Shunsuke Hasegawa imagines what it would be like if he were reborn female and became an idol, launching into a song that he wrote himself, much to the displeasure of his partner Hiroki Sato.

We’re sure the pair knew they were on to something when they made the video, but they probably had no idea it would become quite so popular years later…

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Learn a month’s worth of delicious Indonesian dishes with Frenchman’s punk rock song 【Video】

Unfortunately for everyone who loves delicious food, Indonesian restaurants are in short supply around the world and some people’s knowledge of the cuisine is limited to Indonesian “Ethnic” Cup Noodle. Fortunately though, a French singer named Fransoa, fell in love with Indonesian food and decided to write a punk song about it.

Using the bizarre music video as a base, we are going to introduce 30 of the Indonesian dishes that Fransoa mentions in his song. Get out a napkin because you’ll be drooling by the end of this.

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Man learns how to play Super Mario World… with his nose and a recorder【Video】

By now we have pretty established that video-streaming site Niconico is in its own league when it comes to innovation…or pure weirdness. However, we are still constantly amazed by the unique ideas extremely creative Niconico users put up on the internet. Think you’re good at Super Mario World? This particular Mario Master has decided to up the game by playing Mario using…a recorder. Sorry, no; recorder with his nose.

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Ariana Grande is learning hiragana and Japan can’t stop talking about it

Ariana Grande is a rising star that many are calling a “mini-Mariah Carey.” Launching onto the world stage after an incredibly successful run on the Nickelodeon show, Victorious, she is quickly gaining fans around the world with her solo music career. She has quite the following in Japan too, with her most recent album, My Everything, peaking at #3 on the weekly Oricon Music charts. And while Japan can’t get enough of her songs and her extremely long hair (extensions), there is something else that her Japanese fans are talking about these days: Ariana Grande is learning hiragana.

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Trouble on the pot? Here are five songs our Japanese writer chose to give you dookie power!

Hemorrhoids are, apparently, a pain in the butt. Your humble writer must confess to a lack of experience in the hemorrhoid department, but I will certainly admit a great deal of sympathy for those with the affliction. However, one of our Japanese writers, a certain Mr. Wasai, is quite experienced in the painful pooping department.

Of course, hemorrhoids aren’t exactly the most glamorous physical malady, and a large number of Japanese people are certainly embarrassed to discuss it. But Wasai is here to provide support for everyone in the form of music! Here are the five songs that best reflect his dookie affliction.

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Traditional wood-carved guitars prove Japan is the most metal

Japan is known throughout the world for finding harmonious ways of combining traditional design and aesthetics with modern ideas and technology. You can see it everywhere: in Japanese architecture, eating utensils, even smartphone/tablet cases and pop music.

So it should come as no surprise then that there’s Japanese electric guitars that have been hand-crafted out of wood following traditional carving techniques. Oh, and did we mention that you can order them online?

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Italian jazz pianist unleashes inner Ghibli fanboy, releases anime theme song album

The legendary anime director Hayao Miyazaki and the Studio Ghibli films have amassed a huge following from an incredibly diverse and very loyal fan base (some more than others) around the world. Famed Italian jazz pianist Giovanni Mirabassi is one such fan and tapped into his inner Miyazaki fanboy to release an album last week featuring jazz covers of 10 popular songs from Studio Ghibli films as well as other classic Japanese anime like Cowboy Bebop and Lupin III. The album, named after the French title of Laputa: Castle in the Sky, is Mirabassi’s homage to Japanese anime and a beautiful take on the iconic songs.

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Secret backmasked message found hidden in Dragon Ball Z ending song

There are many urban legends of satanic verses hidden in popular music to subconsciously corrupt our children. While those claims may not always be true, there are definitely a lot of songs out there that feature backmasked messages (hidden messages revealed only when you play the piece backwards). So what could possibly be hiding behind the cutesy, bouncy Dragon Ball Z ending song?!

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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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New video “Ikusa” from Wagakki Band mixes rock, traditional instruments, and swords!

Since the release of Wagakki Band‘s first original song “Hanabi” last year, we’ve been holding our breath waiting for more. Okay, that’s not completely true–we’ ve been sneaking little gasps since then–but we were definitely excited to hear the the group was recording both the opening and closing song for the new anime Sengoku Musou, based on the game of the same name. But unless you actually tuned in to watch the show you’d be hard pressed to find the songs–until now!

Today, the band released a music video for “Ikusa,” the show’s opening theme song. Check it out below but be careful that you’ve cleared your room of pointy objects first so you don’t hurt yourself headbanging.

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American teens watch J-pop music videos for the first time【Video】

We here at RocketNews24 love all things Japan and Asia so much that sometimes it comes as a slight shock when the rest of the world doesn’t share our passion. Still, with the advent of the internet and the amount of entertainment Japan exports to the west (Dragonball, Pokémon, Final Fantasy, etc), it’s no huge surprise to find kids in far-flung places who are pretty familiar with Japan and can name at least a few J-pop groups. Still, many teens out there don’t really get much exposure to Japanese stuff, so when they do, the results are pretty amusing to watch! In this video, which has piqued the interest of quite a few people online in Japan, regular American teens watch three J-pop music videos (from groups Perfume, EXILE and AKB48) and give their thoughts.

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