Listen To Popular Music (Japanese Edition)
For a beginner in Japanese, learning the language through song and music is usually done with mnemonics and little rhymes to stick in your memory. However, for adults, it will likely be easier to merge socially amongst other Japanese speakers if you know music relevant to your age group. Thanks to popularity of Japanese culture overseas, there are plenty of translations in a myriad of languages on the internet to assist you. When I began studying Japanese as teenager, my dad was sent to Japan on a business trip and returned with this randomly selected album as a gift for me.
I can clearly recall one night when I was listening to this CD for what seemed like millionth time, and I realized that was I actually following along with the Japanese lyric booklet! This was her first album. The vocabulary in their music varies between elementary school simple to get-out-the-dictionary complex. Any except Exodus, an album I recommend avoiding. Utada Hikaru is infamous for her ability to move records. Her songs are so easy to understand and follow that I would regard them the way you listen to conversations in textbooks. Shima Uta, or Island Song, is a beautiful, mournful composition that uses metaphors of Okinawan scenery to disguise pining for lost love.
It gently uses Okinawan dialect instead of the more common Tokyo dialect used in textbooks use. Shima Uta also sticks to simple subject and simple predicate grammar. You might not have heard about it, but Japan now also has a thriving hip hop scene whatever particular style you tend to prefer. Rakuen Baby was probably the first Japanese language hip hop hit, and even if it might be too dancey for your tastes, it would not be an exaggeration to say that RIP SLYME pushed the entire genre closer to prominence.
One of the oldest Japanese hip hop acts, Rhymester formed in and perform without break to this day. They got more commercial over time but continue to put out some of the best hip hop in Japan.
TOKYO (11 a.m.)
Rockabilly is not a genre one would tend to associate in Japan, but it has a strong presence in the country, including some stellar acts and an active subculture. You can get a look at the latter in this video by the Swedish band Peter, Bjorn, and John:. Their live shows are non-stop onslaughts of testosterone.
Oh, and did I mention their horror B-movie Wild Zero? Have a look below:. YMO is easily one of the most important electronic music bands in the world, let alone in Japan.
Big in Japan? Overseas artists may find it more difficult to draw a crowd
Formed in , they contributed to the development of synthpop, ambient house, electronica, electro, j-pop, house, techno, and hip hop music, and had profound influence on many other genres. Founded in , Dir En Grey is one of the most successful metal bands from Japan. They changed their image and music style numerous times throughout their career and so have something to offer to everyone.
A fairly successful band, still active today, it tends to experiment as much as any Western counterpart. A band whose sole purpose for existence has been the popular anime series Cowboy Bebop.
And how lucky are we for that, as whether they play jazz, or blues, or something else entirely, their tunes are nothing less of exceptional. Oh, and as a little trivia, according to the fictional description in the anime, derives from how the performers wear seatbelts to be safe while they play hardcore jam sessions.
Now how cool is that? Combining jazz and house, theirs are some of the most original sounds on this list. Though it only got exposed to its beauty in the late 19th century, Japan was quick to catch up, and it is now one of the most important markets for Western classical music and home to many important composers and performers. A Japanese composer and writer on aesthetics and music theory, Takemitsu was famous for combining elements of oriental and occidental philosophy and fusing opposites such as sound with silence and tradition with innovation.
This Japanese composer has been forgotten outside of classical music circles, but that does not make his music any less beautiful. Abe was strongly influenced by his teacher Klaus Pringsheim who himself had been a pupil of Gustav Mahler , and his knowledge of the late romanticism period and neo-classicism.
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Best known for his eerie Silent Hill soundtracks, Yamaoka still remains one of my favourite artists when it comes to dark, atmospheric ambient music that sends the chills down the spine probably a close second behind Chris Vrenna. This exceptional composer, student of the legendary anime composer Takeo Watanabe, is behind over film scores and solo albums, including every single Ghibli anime and several films by Takeshi Kitano.