Japan has a long history of being connected to music. Japanese music offers something for everyone, ranging from the classic sounds of the koto and taiko drums to the more contemporary pop and rock of today. And over the years, Japan has given the world some incredibly gifted and well-known vocalists.
1. Wata Igarashi
Igarashi is a DJ at some of Tokyo's top techno events, but his recent production endeavors have made him stand out as someone to watch. Igarashi launched the new Berlin label Midgar this summer with a record that should further solidify his name. This follows the release of two strong EPs last year.
2. Takaaki Itoh
Takaaki Itoh's A Fancy Haircut Will Not Help You To Make Better Tracks EP, which is unquestionably a candidate for the best-titled release of last year, is a considerably more severe statement than its tongue-in-cheek, confrontational description may initially imply. Itoh, from Sendai City, has been a significant presence in Japan's Tohoku region's little techno scene.
Kyoka, currently based in Berlin, is best known for her recordings on Raster-Noton (she was the label's first solo female artist to do so), including the critically praised full-length Is (Is Superpowered), which came out earlier this year. In terms of style and geography, Kyoka's career has taken her all over the world: from impromptu jam sessions while traveling across America to playing in Tokyo's art-noise scene as a member of the duet Groupies.
4. Keita Sano
Based in rural Okayama, distant from Tokyo and Osaka's nightlife hotspots, Keita Sano has appeared to completely ignore the local music industry, releasing music instead on a few foreign labels, most notably New York's Mister Saturday Night Records. Funkineven promoted "She Was The One," a B-side from the EP People Are Changing.
5. Ryo Murakami
Many people outside of Japan may be familiar with Ryo Murakami because of his relationship with the legendary Steve Bug, whether it be due to the latter's inclusion of Murakami's song "Monument" on his Fabric 37 mix or Murakami's numerous releases between 2007 and 2009 on the labels Dessous and Poker Flat, both of which were founded by Steve Bug.
6. Mystica Tribe
Mystica Tribe, the stage name of Tokyo-based producer Taka Noda, creates wonky, disorienting dub techno that is just about danceable enough to work in clubs. It draws inspiration from soul and psychedelia. Following three albums on Holland's SD Records
His debut album Kawasaki, released in 2011 on the Berlin label Mojuba, combines traditional Detroit elements with a melancholy undertone that may reflect the suburban ennui in the album's name. Other places in Stereociti's discography are filled with more beautiful music.
8. Hiroaki Iizuka
Hiroaki Iizuka is yet another producer to launch a label with their first release; this time, it's London's Them Records. His hardware-driven jacking techno is reminiscent of artists like Blawan and J. Tijn; it's built for peak-time destruction.
9. Utada Hikaru
Utada Hikaru has ruled the Japanese music charts since 1997 and is well-liked and well-known worldwide. She sings slowly and clearly in many of her songs, making them perfect for beginning listeners.
AKB48 is a well-known Japanese female group. AKB stands for the Tokyo neighborhood of Akihabara, and 48 represents the band's 48 members. Pop culture has gotten out of control, as seen by the news item of how one member of AKB48 shaved.