J-pop (Japanese: ジェイポップ, jeipoppu; often stylized as J-POP; an abbreviation for Japanese pop), natively also known simply as pops (ポップス poppusu), is a musical genre that entered the musical mainstream of Japan in the 1990s. Modern J-pop has its roots in traditional Japanese music, but significantly in 1960s pop and rock music, such as The Beatles and The Beach Boys, which led to Japanese rock bands such as Happy End fusing rock with Japanese music in the early 1970s. J-pop was further defined by new wave groups in the late 1970s, particularly electronic synth-pop band Yellow Magic Orchestra and pop rock band Southern All Stars.
|Cultural origins||Nominally 1980s–early 1990s Japan; |
Roots traced to the 1960s–1970s
Eventually, J-pop replaced kayōkyoku ("Lyric Singing Music", a term for Japanese pop music from the 1920s to the 1980s) in the Japanese music scene. The term was coined by the Japanese media to distinguish Japanese music from foreign music and now refers to most Japanese popular music. Popular styles of Japanese pop music included technopop during the 1970s–1980s, city pop in the 1980s, and Shibuya-kei in the 1990s.
Form and definitionEdit
The origin of modern J-pop is said to be Japanese-language rock music inspired by the likes of The Beatles. Unlike the Japanese music genre called kayōkyoku, J-pop uses a special kind of pronunciation, which is similar to that of English. One notable singer to do so is Keisuke Kuwata, who pronounced the Japanese word karada ("body") as kyerada. Additionally, unlike Western music, the major second (sol and la) was usually not used in Japanese music, except art music, before rock music became popular in Japan. When the Group Sounds genre, which was inspired by Western rock, became popular, Japanese pop music adopted the major second, which was used in the final sounds of The Beatles' song "I Want to Hold Your Hand" and The Rolling Stones' song "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction". Although Japanese pop music changed from music based on Japanese pentatonic scale and distortional tetrachord to the more occidental music over time, music that drew from the traditional Japanese singing style remained popular (such as that of Ringo Shiina).
At first, the term J-pop was used only for Western-style musicians in Japan, such as Pizzicato Five and Flipper's Guitar, just after Japanese radio station J-Wave was established. On the other hand, Mitsuhiro Hidaka of AAA from Avex Trax said that J-pop was originally derived from the Eurobeat genre. However, the term became a blanket term, covering other music genres—such as the majority of Japanese rock music of the 1990s.
In 1990, the Japanese subsidiary of Tower Records defined J-pop as all Japanese music belonging to the Recording Industry Association of Japan except Japanese independent music (which they term "J-indie"); their stores began to use additional classifications, such as J-club, J-punk, J-hip-hop, J-reggae, J-anime, and Visual kei by 2008, after independent musicians started to release works via major labels. Ito Music City, a Japanese record store, adopted expanded classifications including Group Sounds, idol of the 1970s–1980s, enka, folk and established musicians of the 1970s–1980s, in addition to the main J-pop genres.
Whereas rock musicians in Japan usually hate the term "pop", Taro Kato, a member of pop punk band Beat Crusaders, pointed out that the encoded pop music, like pop art, was catchier than "J-pop" and he also said that J-pop was the pops (ポップス poppusu) music, memorable for its frequency of airplay, in an interview when the band completed their first full-length studio album under a major label, P.O.A.: Pop on Arrival, in 2005. Because the band did not want to perform J-pop music, their album featured the 1980s Pop of MTV. According to his fellow band member Toru Hidaka, the 1990s music that influenced him (such as Nirvana, Hi-Standard, and Flipper's Guitar) was not listened to by fans of other music in Japan at that time.
In contrast to this, although many Japanese rock musicians until the late 1980s disrespected the kayōkyoku music, many of Japanese rock bands of the 1990s—such as Glay—assimilated kayōkyoku into their music. After the late 1980s, breakbeat and samplers also changed the Japanese music scene, where expert drummers had played good rhythm because traditional Japanese music did not have the rhythm based on rock or blues.
Hide of Greeeen openly described their music genre as J-pop. He said, "I also love rock, hip hop and breakbeats, but my field is consistently J-pop. For example, hip hop musicians learn 'the culture of hip hop' when they begin their career. We are not like those musicians and we love the music as sounds very much. Those professional people may say 'What are you doing?' but I think that our musical style is cool after all. The good thing is good."
Japanese popular music, called ryūkōka before being split into enka and poppusu, has origins in the Meiji period, but most Japanese scholars consider the Taishō period to be the actual starting point of ryūkōka, as it is the era in which the genre first gained nationwide popularity. By the Taishō period, Western musical techniques and instruments, which had been introduced to Japan in the Meiji period, were widely used. Influenced by Western genres such as jazz and blues, ryūkōka incorporated Western instruments such as the violin, harmonica, and guitar. However, the melodies were often written according to the traditional Japanese pentatonic scale. In the 1930s, Ichiro Fujiyama released popular songs with his tenor voice. Fujiyama sang songs with a lower volume than opera through the microphone (the technique is sometimes called crooning).[dubious ]
Jazz musician Ryoichi Hattori attempted to produce Japanese native music which had a "flavor" of blues. He composed Noriko Awaya's hit song "Wakare no Blues" (lit. "Farewell Blues"). Awaya became a famous popular singer and was called "Queen of Blues" in Japan. Due to pressure from the Imperial Army during the war, the performance of jazz music was temporarily halted in Japan. Hattori, who stayed in Shanghai at the end of the war, produced hit songs such as Shizuko Kasagi's "Tokyo Boogie-Woogie" and Ichiro Fujiyama's "Aoi Sanmyaku" (lit. "Blue Mountain Range"). Hattori later became known as the "Father of Japanese poppusu". The United States soldiers—who were occupying Japan at the time—and the Far East Network introduced a number of new musical styles to the country. Boogie-woogie, Mambo, Blues, and Country music were performed by Japanese musicians for the American troops. Chiemi Eri's cover song "Tennessee Waltz" (1952), Hibari Misora's "Omatsuri Mambo" (1952), and Izumi Yukimura's cover song "Till I Waltz Again with You" (1953) also became popular. Foreign musicians and groups, including JATP and Louis Armstrong, visited Japan to perform. In the mid-1950s, "Jazz Kissa" (ジャズ喫茶 Jazu Kissa, literally "Jazz cafe") became a popular venue for live jazz music. Jazz had a large impact on Japanese poppusu, though "authentic" jazz did not become the mainstream genre of music in Japan. In the late 1950s and early 1960s, Japanese pop was polarized between urban kayō and modern enka.
Modern J-pop is also sometimes believed to have had its roots with Chinese immigrant jazz musicians who had fled Shanghai during the communist takeover, and were collaborating with the U.S.-occupied forces to help introduce s variety of new genres to the Japanese public. In 1949, when the communists took over and established the People's Republic of China on the mainland, one of the first actions taken by the government was to denounce popular music (specifically both Chinese pop music, known as Mandopop, and Western pop music) as decadent music, and for decades afterwards the Communist Party would promote Chinese revolutionary songs while suppressing Chinese folk songs, Chinese pop songs and Western pop songs. Dissatisfied with Chairman Mao Zedong's new music policies, a number of Shanghainese jazz musicians fled to the British colony of Hong Kong and established Cantopop, which is pop music sung in the Cantonese dialect of Chinese. However, a few musicians instead settled in Japan, where they became members of the Far East Network and collaborated with the American soldiers to help expose the Japanese public to a wide variety of western genres. This eventually lead to the establishment of modern Japanese pop music, known as kayōkyoku.
1960s: Origin of modern styleEdit
Rokabirī Boom and Wasei popsEdit
During the 1950s and 60s, many Kayōkyoku groups and singers gained experience performing on US military bases in Japan. Around the same time, Yakuza manager Kazuo Taoka reorganized the concert touring industry by treating the performers as professionals. Many of these performers later became key participants in the J-pop genre.
In 1956, Japan's rock and roll craze began, due to the country music group known as Kosaka Kazuya and the Wagon Masters; their rendition of Elvis Presley's song "Heartbreak Hotel" helped to fuel the trend. The music was called "rockabilly" (or rokabirī) by the Japanese media. Performers learned to play the music and translate the lyrics of popular American songs, resulting in the birth of Cover Pops (カヴァーポップス Kavā poppusu). The rockabilly movement would reach its peak when 45,000 people saw the performances by Japanese singers at the first Nichigeki Western Carnival in one week of February 1958.
Kyu Sakamoto, a fan of Elvis, made his stage début as a member of the band The Drifters at the Nichigeki Western Carnival in 1958. His 1961 song "Ue wo Muite Arukō" ("Let's Look Up and Walk"), known in other parts of the world as "Sukiyaki", was released to the United States in 1963. It was the first Japanese song to reach the Number One position in the United States, spending four weeks in Cash Box and three weeks in Billboard. It also received a gold record for selling one million copies. During this period, female duo The Peanuts also became popular, singing a song in the movie Mothra. Their songs, such as "Furimukanaide" ("Don't Turn Around") were later covered by Candies on their album Candy Label. Artists like Kyu Sakamoto and The Peanuts were called Wasei Pops (和製ポップス Wasei poppusu, "Japan-made pop").
After frequently changing members, Chosuke Ikariya re-formed The Drifters in 1964 under the same name. At a Beatles concert in 1966, they acted as curtain raisers, but the audience generally objected. Eventually, The Drifters became popular in Japan, releasing "Zundoko-Bushi" ("Echoic word tune") in 1969. Along with enka singer Keiko Fuji, they won "the award for mass popularity" at the 12th Japan Record Awards in 1970. Keiko Fuji's 1970 album Shinjuku no Onna/'Enka no Hoshi' Fuji Keiko no Subete ("Woman in Shinjuku/'Star of Enka' All of Keiko Fuji") established an all-time record in the history of the Japanese Oricon chart by staying in the Number One spot for 20 consecutive weeks. The Drifters later came to be known as television personalities and invited idols such as Momoe Yamaguchi and Candies to their television program.
Ereki Boom and Group SoundsEdit
The Ventures visited Japan in 1962, causing the widespread embrace of the electric guitar called the "Ereki Boom". Yūzō Kayama and Takeshi Terauchi became famous players of electric guitar. In 1966, the Beatles came to Japan and sang their songs at the Nippon Budokan, becoming the first rock music band to perform a concert there. The public believed that the Beatles would cause juvenile delinquency. The Japanese government deployed riot police against young rock fans at the Nippon Budokan. John Lennon felt that they were not well regarded in Japan, but Beatlemania has never really died there. The Beatles inspired Japanese bands, creating the Group Sounds genre in Japan.
Most Japanese musicians felt that they could not sing rock in Japanese, so the popularity of Japanese rock gradually declined. As a result, there were debates such as "Should we sing rock music in Japanese?" and "Should we sing in English?" between Happy End and Yuya Uchida about Japanese rock music. This confrontation was called "Japanese-language rock controversy" (日本語ロック論争 Nihongo Rokku Ronsō). Happy End proved that rock music could be sung in Japanese, and one theory holds that their music became one of the origins of modern J-pop. The Beatles also inspired Eikichi Yazawa, who grew up in an underprivileged family, his father dying when he was a child. Keisuke Kuwata, who grew up in a dual-income family, was influenced by the Beatles through his older sister, then an avid fan. Yōsui Inoue was also a fan of The Beatles, but he said that his music style was not particularly related to them. After Happy End disbanded in 1973, Haruomi Hosono, a former member, began a solo career and later formed Yellow Magic Orchestra.
1970s: Development of "New Music"Edit
Fōku and New MusicEdit
In the early 1960s, some Japanese music became influenced by the American folk music revival; this was called fōku (フォーク, "folk"), although the genre of music was mostly covers of original songs. In the late 1960s, The Folk Crusaders became famous and the underground music around that time became called fōku. As with enka, Japanese fōku singers Wataru Takada performed social satires.
In the early 1970s, the emphasis shifted from fōku's simple songs with a single guitar accompaniment to more complex musical arrangements known as New Music (ニューミュージック nyū myūjikku). Instead of social messages, the songs focused on more personal messages, such as love. In 1972, singer-songwriter Takuro Yoshida produced a hit song "Kekkon Shiyouyo" ("Let's marry") without decent television promotion, though fans of fōku music became very angry because his music seemed to be a mersh[clarification needed] music. The highest-selling single of the year was the enka song by Shiro Miya and the Pinkara Trio, "Onna no Michi". The song eventually sold over 3.25 million copies. On December 1, 1973, Yōsui Inoue released the album Kōri no Sekai, which topped the Oricon charts and remained in Top 10 for 113 weeks. It spent 13 consecutive weeks in the number-one spot, and eventually established a still-standing record of a total 35 weeks at the number-one position on the Oricon charts. Yumi Matsutoya, formerly known by her maiden name Yumi Arai, also became a notable singer-songwriter during this period In October 1975, she released a single "Ano Hi ni Kaeritai" ("I want to return to that day"), making it her first number-one single on the Oricon charts. Miyuki Nakajima, Amii Ozaki, and Junko Yagami were also popular singer-songwriters during this period. At first, only Yumi Matsutoya was commonly called a New Music artist, but the concept of Japanese fōku music changed around that time. In 1979, Chage and Aska made their debut, and folk band Off Course (with singer Kazumasa Oda) released a hit song "Sayonara" ("Good-bye").
Emergence of Japanese rock and electronic musicEdit
Rock music remained a relatively underground music genre in the early 1970s in Japan, though Happy End managed to gain mainstream success fusing rock with traditional Japanese music. Several Japanese musicians began experimenting with electronic music, including electronic rock. The most notable was the internationally renowned Isao Tomita, whose 1972 album Electric Samurai: Switched on Rock featured electronic synthesizer renditions of contemporary rock and pop songs. Other early examples of electronic rock records include Inoue Yousui's folk rock and pop rock album Ice World (1973) and Osamu Kitajima's progressive psychedelic rock album Benzaiten (1974), both of which involved contributions from Haruomi Hosono, who later started the electronic music group "Yellow Magic Band" (later known as Yellow Magic Orchestra) in 1977.
In 1978, Eikichi Yazawa's rock single "Jikan yo Tomare" ("Time, Stop") became a smash hit that sold over 639,000 copies. He is regarded as one of the pioneers of Japanese rock. He sought worldwide success, and in 1980 he signed a contract with the Warner Pioneer record company and moved to the West Coast of the United States. He recorded the albums Yazawa, It's Just Rock n' Roll, and Flash in Japan, all of which were released worldwide, but were not very commercially successful. Keisuke Kuwata formed the rock band Southern All Stars (SAS), which made their debut in 1978. Southern All Stars remains very popular in Japan today.
In the same year, Yellow Magic Orchestra (YMO) also made their official debut with their self-titled album. The band, whose members were Haruomi Hosono, Yukihiro Takahashi and Ryuichi Sakamoto, developed electropop, or technopop as it is known in Japan, in addition to pioneering synthpop and electro music. Their 1979 album Solid State Survivor reached number one on the Oricon charts in July 1980, and went on to sell two million records worldwide. At around the same time, the YMO albums Solid State Survivor and X∞Multiplies held both the top two spots on the Oricon charts for seven consecutive weeks, making YMO the only band in Japanese chart history to achieve this feat. Young fans of their music during this period became known as the "YMO Generation" (YMO世代 YMO sedai). YMO had a significant impact on Japanese pop music, which started becoming increasingly dominated by electronic music due to their influence, and they had an equally large impact on electronic music across the world. Southern All Stars and Yellow Magic Orchestra symbolized the end of New Music and paved the way for the emergence of the J-pop genre in the 1980s. Both bands, SAS and YMO, would later be ranked at the top of HMV Japan's list of top 100 Japanese musicians of all time.
1980s: Fusion with "kayōkyoku"Edit
In the early 1980s, with the spread of car stereos, the term city pop (シティーポップ shitī poppu) came to describe a type of popular music that had a big city theme. Tokyo in particular inspired many songs of this form. During this time, music fans and artists in Japan were influenced by album-oriented rock (especially adult contemporary) and crossover (especially jazz fusion). City Pop was affected by New Music, though its origins have been traced back to the mid-1970s, with the work of the Japanese rock band Happy End and its former member Haruomi Hosono, as well as Tatsuro Yamashita.
The popularity of city pop declined when the Japanese asset price bubble burst in 1990. Its musical characteristics (except its "cultural background") were inherited by 1990s Shibuya-kei musicians such as Pizzicato Five and Flipper's Guitar.
Growth of the Japanese rock industryEdit
Throughout the 1980s, rock bands such as Southern All Stars, RC Succession, Anzen Chitai, The Checkers, The Alfee, and The Blue Hearts became popular. Anzen Chitai came from Yosui Inoue's backup band. On December 1, 1983, rock singer Yutaka Ozaki debuted at the age of 18. In 1986, The Alfee became the first artists to play a concert in front of an audience of 100,000 people in Japan. Some Japanese musicians, such as Boøwy, TM Network, and Buck-Tick, were influenced by New Romanticism.
Boøwy became an especially influential rock band, whose members included singer Kyosuke Himuro and guitarist Tomoyasu Hotei. Their three albums reached number one in 1988, making them the first male artists to have three number-ones within a single year. Subsequent Japanese rock bands were modeled on this band. Guitarist Tak Matsumoto, who supported TM Network's concerts, formed rock duo B'z with singer Koshi Inaba in 1988.
In the late 1980s, girl band Princess Princess became a successful pop-rock band. Their singles "Diamonds" and "Sekai de Ichiban Atsui Natsu" ("World's Hottest Summer") were ranked at the number-one and number-two spots, respectively, on the 1989 Oricon Yearly Single Charts.
In the late 1980s, a new trend also emerged in Japanese rock music: the visual kei, a movement notable by male bands who wore makeup, extravagant hair styles, and androgynous costumes. The most successful representatives of the movement are X Japan (formerly known as "X") and Buck-Tick. X Japan released their first album Vanishing Vision on the indie label Extasy Records in 1988; their album Blue Blood was released on CBS Sony in 1989. Blue Blood sold 712,000 copies, and their 1991 album Jealousy sold over 1.11 million copies. Surprisingly, X Japan were a heavy metal band, but guitarist hide later came under the influence of alternative rock, releasing his first solo album Hide Your Face in 1994 and launching his successful solo career.
Golden age, decline and transfiguration of IdolsEdit
In the 1970s, the popularity of female idol singers such as Mari Amachi, Saori Minami, Momoe Yamaguchi, and Candies increased. Momoe Yamaguchi was one of the first kayōkyoku singers to use the special pronunciation characteristic of J-pop. In 1972, Hiromi Go made his debut with the song "Otokonoko Onnanoko" ("Boy and Girl"). Hiromi Go originally came from Johnny & Associates.
In the 1980s, Japanese idols inherited New Music, though the term fell out of usage. Seiko Matsuda especially adopted song producers of previous generations. In 1980, her third single "Kaze wa Aki Iro" ("Wind is autumn color") reached the number-one spot on the Oricon charts. Haruomi Hosono also joined the production of her music.[verification needed] She eventually became the first artist to make 24 consecutive number-one singles, breaking Pink Lady's record.
Other female idol singers achieved significant popularity in the 1980s, such as Akina Nakamori, Yukiko Okada, Kyōko Koizumi, Yoko Minamino, Momoko Kikuchi, Yōko Oginome, Miho Nakayama, Minako Honda, and Chisato Moritaka. Okada received the Best New Artist award from the Japan Record Awards in 1984. Nakamori won the Grand Prix award for two consecutive years (1985 and 1986), also at the Japan Record Awards; she made a suicide attempt in 1989.
Around 1985, however, people began to be disenchanted with the system for creating idols. In 1986, idol singer Yukiko Okada's song "Kuchibiru Network" ("Lips' Network"), written by Seiko Matsuda and composed by Ryuichi Sakamoto, became a hit song, but she committed suicide immediately after that.
Hikaru Genji, one of the Johnny & Associates bands, made their debut in 1987. They became a highly influential rollerskating boy band, with some of their members gaining their own fame as they got older. Their song "Paradise Ginga", written by Aska, won the Grand Prix award at the 30th Japan Record Awards in 1988. Some of the group's backing dancers later formed SMAP.
The late 1980s also saw the rise of the female duo Wink. They didn't laugh, unlike Japanese idols of former eras. Wink debuted in 1988, surpassing the popularity of the then-most popular female duo, BaBe. Wink's song "Samishii Nettaigyo" won the grand prix award at the 31st Japan Record Awards in 1989.
CoCo made their hit debut with the 1989 single "Equal Romance" for the hit anime series Ranma ½. Tetsuya Komuro, a member of TM Network, broke Seiko Matsuda's streak of 25 consecutive number-ones by making his single "Gravity of Love" to debut at number-one in November 1989.
1990s: Coining of the term "J-pop"Edit
1990–1997: Growing marketEdit
During this period, the Japanese music industry sought marketing effectiveness. Notable examples of commercial music from the era were the tie-in music from the agency Being and the follow-on, Tetsuya Komuro's disco music.
The period between around 1990 and 1993 was dominated by artists from the Being agency, including B'z, Tube, B.B.Queens, T-Bolan, Zard, Wands, Maki Ohguro, Deen, and Field of View. They were called the Being System (ビーイング系 Bīingu kei). Many of those artists topped the charts and established new records, notably B'z, which eventually established a new record for consecutive number-one singles, surpassing Seiko Matsuda's record. B'z is the Japanese biggest selling artist of all time, according to Oricon charts and RIAJ certifications. On the other hand, Wands, regarded as a pioneer of the "J-pop Boom" of the 1990s, had trouble because member Show Wesugi wanted to play alternative rock/grunge.
Many artists surpassed the two-million-copy mark in the 1990s. Kazumasa Oda's 1991 single "Oh! Yeah!/Love Story wa Totsuzen ni", Chage and Aska's 1991 single "Say Yes" and 1993 single "Yah Yah Yah", Kome Kome Club's 1992 single "Kimi ga Iru Dake de", Mr. Children's 1994 single "Tomorrow Never Knows" and 1996 single "Namonaki Uta", and Globe's 1996 single "Departures" are examples of songs that sold more than 2 million copies. Dreams Come True's 1992 album The Swinging Star became the first album to sell over 3 million copies in Japan. Mr. Children's 1994 album Atomic Heart established a new record, selling 3.43 million copies on Oricon charts.
The duo Chage and Aska, who started recording in late 1979, became very popular during this period. They released a string of consecutive hits throughout the early 1990s; in 1996, they took part in MTV Unplugged, making them the first Asian group to do so.
After TM Network disbanded in 1994, Tetsuya Komuro became a serious song producer. The period between 1994 and 1997 was dominated by dance and techno acts from the "Komuro family" (小室ファミリー Komuro Famirī), such as TRF, Ryoko Shinohara, Yuki Uchida, Namie Amuro, Hitomi, Globe, Tomomi Kahala, and Ami Suzuki. In that time, Komuro was responsible for 20 hit songs, each selling more than a million copies. While Globe's 1996 album Globe sold 4.13 million copies, establishing a record at the time, Namie Amuro's 1997 song "Can You Celebrate?" sold 2.29 million copies. His total sales as a song producer reached 170 million copies. By 1998, Komuro's songs had become less popular. By the middle part of the first decade of the 21st century, Komuro's debt lead him to attempt the sale of his song catalog—which he didn't actually own—to an investor. When the investor found out and sued, Komuro tried to sell the catalog to another investor in order to pay the 600,000,000 Japanese yen judgement he owed the first investor.
Namie Amuro, who was arguably the most popular solo singer in the period, came from the "Okinawa Actors School", which also incubated the bands MAX and Speed. At first, while still a part of the Komuro Family, Amuro remained in the dance music genre, but she slowly changed her music style to contemporary R&B and ended her partnership with Tetsuya Komuro.
1997–1999: Commercial peakEdit
The sales in the Japanese music market continued to increase. In October 1997, Glay released their album Review -The Best of Glay, which sold 4.87 million copies, breaking Globe's earlier record. However, it was surpassed in the next year by B'z's album B'z The Best "Pleasure", which sold 5.12 million copies. The Japanese market for physical music sales peaked in 1998, recording sales of ¥607,000,000,000. In March 1999, Hikaru Utada released her first Japanese album, First Love, which sold 7.65 million copies, making it the best-selling album in Oricon history.
The late 1990s saw the popularity of rock bands, such as Glay, Luna Sea, and L'Arc-en-Ciel, most of them related to the visual kei movement, though they later changed their style. At the time, rock musicians in Japan were absorbing kayōkyoku music after the genre vanished. Glay became especially successful, with massive exposure in the media, comparable to that of the most popular pop singers produced by Tetsuya Komuro. In July 1999, Glay played a concert to a record audience of 200,000 people at the Makuhari Messe, certified by Guinness World Records as the biggest solo concert in Japan. In July 1999, L'Arc-en-Ciel released two albums, Arc and Ray, at the same time; they sold over 3.02 million combined copies in the first week of release.
X Japan announced their disbandment in September 1997 and their guitarist hide died in May 1998. His funeral had a record attendance of 50,000 people, breaking the record of Hibari Misora, whose funeral was attended by 42,000 people. After his death, his single "Pink Spider" and album Ja, Zoo were certified million-sellers by the Recording Industry Association of Japan.
Johnny & Associates produced many all-male groups: SMAP, Tokio, V6, KinKi Kids and Arashi. SMAP hit the J-pop scene in a major way in the 1990s through a combination of TV "Tarento" shows and singles, with one of its singers, Takuya Kimura, becoming a popular actor commonly known as "Kimutaku" in later years.
By the late 1990s, the girl group Speed was very popular; they announced their disbandment in 1999. The group returned to the music scene in 2008. Another all-female band, Morning Musume, produced by Tsunku, former leader of band Sharam Q became very popular, with a string of releases that were sales hits before even being released. The group's popularity gave origin to the Hello! Project. Following the pattern set a decade before by the 1980s all-female Onyanko Club, Morning Musume spawned several splinter bands.
In the late 1990s and early 21st century, female singers such as Hikaru Utada, Ayumi Hamasaki, Misia, Mai Kuraki, and Ringo Shiina became chart-toppers who write their own songs or their own lyrics. Hikaru Utada is the daughter of Keiko Fuji, a popular singer of the 1970s. Ayumi Hamasaki was made Utada's contemporary rival, though both women claimed the "competition" was merely a creation of their record companies and the media.
Ayumi Hamasaki won Grand Prix awards for three consecutive years—the first time in Japan Record Award history—between 2001 and 2003. Although Hamasaki became very famous, Tom Yoda, then-chairman of her record company Avex Group, argued that her tactics were risky, because Avex disregarded the modern portfolio theory. This concern disappeared when the company's other singers (such as Ai Otsuka, Kumi Koda, and Exile) also reached a certain level of popularity in the mid-2000s under Yoda's management policy. BoA, A Korean singer also apart of Avex group, also achieved high levels of success although being Korean in Japan. She opened the Hallyu door to other Korean artists so that they may achieve varying levels of success in Japan as well.
In December 2002, the digital-download market for ringtone songs (着うた chaku-uta) was created by mobile-phone company au. The market for digital downloads grew rapidly, and Hikaru Utada's 2007 song "Flavor of Life" sold over 7 million downloaded copies. In October 2007, EMI Music Japan announced that Utada was the world's first artist to have 10 million digital sales in one year. According to the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry's 2009 digital music report, Thelma Aoyama's digital single "Soba ni Iru ne" and Greeeen's digital single "Kiseki" sold 8.2 million copies and 6.2 million copies, respectively, in the 2008 download rankings.
Japanese hip hop and urban popEdit
In the first decade of the 21st century, hip hop music and contemporary R&B influences in Japanese music started to gain attention in popular mainstream music. In November 2001, R&B duo Chemistry's debut album The Way We Are sold over 1.14 million copies in the first week, and debuted at the number-one position on the Oricon weekly album charts. Hip hop bands such as Rip Slyme and Ketsumeishi were also at the top of the Oricon charts.
Pop/R&B singer Ken Hirai topped the Oricon yearly album chart in 2006 with the release of his greatest hits album 10th Anniversary Complete Single Collection '95-'05 Utabaka, selling over 2 million copies.
The pop/hip-hop duo, Halcali, have the honor of being the first Japanese female hip-hop artists to break the Oricon top 10 charts. They have also performed overseas two times in 2008, once at the Anime Central festival in Chicago, and once more at Central Park, NYC on Japan Day.
Although there were only 132 new artists in Japan in 2001, according to the Recording Industry Association of Japan, the number increased to 512 in 2008. In 2008, 14 new artists, such as Thelma Aoyama, attended the NHK Kōhaku Uta Gassen for the first time.
Popularity of live performances and veteran musiciansEdit
Rock musicians such as Mr. Children, B'z, Southern All Stars, and Glay still topped the charts in the first decade of the 21st century. Mr. Children's song "Sign" won the Grand Prix award at the 46th Japan Record Awards in 2004. When the group released their album Home in 2007, they passed 50 million albums and singles sold, making them the second-highest selling artist of all time in Japan since the origin of Oricon—just behind B'z, who held the number-one position with more than 75 million records sold until then. Home topped the 2007 Oricon yearly album charts.
The sales of physical CDs declined, but audiences to see live performances increased. Eikichi Yazawa took part in rock festivals, and, in 2007, he became the first artist to have performed 100 concerts at the Nippon Budokan.
Other artists, such as Namie Amuro, also continued their long-running careers with successful releases in this period. Her live tour, Namie Amuro Best Fiction tour 2008-2009, not only became the biggest live tour by a Japanese solo female artist—attended by 450,000 fans in Japan—but was also attended by 50,000 fans in Taiwan and Shanghai. While Kazumasa Oda's 2005 album Sōkana topped the Oricon weekly album charts, his 2007 single "Kokoro" reached the weekly single charts, breaking Yujiro Ishihara's record and making him the then-oldest singer to top the single charts. Mariya Takeuchi's greatest hits album Expressions topped the Oricon album chart in 2008, making her the oldest female singer with the longest active career to reach the number-one position.
Johnny & AssociatesEdit
Johnny & Associates's all-male groups remained well-known. In 2001, SMAP released their greatest-hits album SMAP Vest, which sold over a million copies in the first week. In November 2001, Johnny & Associates established the label J Storm for their band Arashi. SMAP's 2003 single "Sekai ni hitotsu dake no hana" sold more than two million copies, being the number-one single in the Oricon yearly single charts for that year. In 2007, Guinness World Records honored KinKi Kids for holding a world record for the number of singles debuting at the number-one position since their debut: 25. SMAP was said to fight a lonely battle at the Kōhaku Uta Gassen, as seen from the viewpoint of its audience share. In 2008, male musicians established a record of four consecutive wins at the Kōhaku Uta Gassen. Arashi's greatest hits album All the Best! 1999–2009 topped the 2009 Oricon yearly album charts.
Johnny & Associates also produced new groups such as Hey! Say! JUMP, Tackey & Tsubasa, NEWS, Kanjani Eight, and KAT-TUN. In 2006, KAT-TUN's debut single "Real Face", composed by Tak Matsumoto, sold over one million copies and topped the Oricon Yearly Charts. In 2007, temporary Johnny's Jr. group Hey! Say! 7 broke a record as the youngest male group to ever top Oricon charts, with an average age of 14.8 years. Later that year, Hey! Say! JUMP broke a record as the largest group to debut in Johnny's history, with ten members. They also became the youngest group ever to perform in Tokyo Dome with the average age of 15.7 years old. On the 2008 yearly singles charts, only one single ranked in the top 30 was sung by a female (Namie Amuro's single "60s 70s 80s") except gender-mixed groups, partly because the boy bands enjoyed an advantage in physical single sales. In 2009, Johnny's Jr. artist Yuma Nakayama w/B.I.Shadow became the youngest artist to have their first single to debut at the number-one spot, as the band had an average age of 14.6 years, breaking the former record set by female group Minimoni, 14.8 years.
Cover versions and classical popEdit
In February 2001, Ulfuls released their cover version of Kyu Sakamoto's 1963 song "Ashita Ga Arusa". Their cover version debuted at the number-five position, behind Utada, Kinki Kids, Hamasaki and Hirai. In March, Yoshimoto Kogyo's special band "Re: Japan" also released their cover version of "Ashita Ga Arusa". When Ulfuls's cover version of this song remained at number eight, Re: Japan's version topped the Oricon weekly single charts.
In 2003, Man Arai released the single "Sen no Kaze ni Natte" ("As A Thousand Winds") based on the Western poem "Do not stand at my grave and weep". In Japan, the poem was known for Rokusuke Ei's reading at the funeral of Kyu Sakamoto in 1985. Japanese tenor singer Masafumi Akikawa covered the song in 2006. Akikawa's cover version of the song became the first classical music single to top the Oricon charts, and sold over one million copies. On the 2007 Oricon Yearly Charts, the single became the best-selling physical single, scoring a victory over Utada's "Flavor of Life". Oricon claimed that the song was not J-pop. On the other hand, sheet music from the Zen-On Music Company Ltd classified the song as J-pop.
Hideaki Tokunaga covered many female songs on his cover album series, Vocalist. He released Vocalist, Vocalist 2, Vocalist 3, Vocalist 4 and Vocalist Vintage (Vocalist 5) in 2005, 2006, 2007, 2010, and 2012 respectively. In August 2007, Vocalist 3 became Oricon weekly number-one cover album with 2 weeks (tied the record in Japan), and in May 2010, Vocalist 4 became the Japan first Oricon monthly number-one cover album.
In 2010, other singers also released cover albums of Japanese songs such as Juju's Request and Kumi Koda's Eternity: Love & Songs. Superfly released a single that came with a cover album of Western rock songs, titled Wildflower & Cover Songs: Complete Best 'Track 3', ultimately becoming the band's third consecutive album to debut at number one on the Oricon weekly album charts.
Influence from Neofolk and Neo Shibuya-keiEdit
Folk duos, such as 19, Yuzu, and Kobukuro, became popular during the period. Their music was called "Neofolk". In October 2007, Kobukuro's double-album All Singles Best became the first male album to ship three million copies in the 21st century in Japan. In January 2008, their album 5296 beat out Ayumi Hamasaki's album Guilty on the Oricon charts, though she previously had eight consecutive number-one studio albums.
Electronic music bands such as Plus-Tech Squeeze Box and Capsule were called "Neo Shibuya-kei". Yasutaka Nakata, a member of Capsule, became the song producer for girl group Perfume. In April 2008, for the first time as a technopop band in 25 years since Yellow Magic Orchestra's 1983 album Naughty Boys, Perfume achieved a number-one album Game on the Oricon charts. In July 2008, their single "Love the World" debuted at number one, making it the first technopop song to reach number one in Oricon history. Other Japanese female technopop artists soon followed, including Aira Mitsuki, immi, Mizca, SAWA, Saoriiiii, and Sweet Vacation.
Anime music, image song and VocaloidEdit
During the late 2000s and the early 2010s, the anime music industry, such as voice actors and image songs, added weight to Japanese music. Though anime music was formerly influenced by J-pop and visual kei music, Japanese indie music apparently influenced the genre at the 2006 FanimeCon. In 2007, after sampling voice actress Saki Fujita's voice to develop it, Vocaloid Hatsune Miku was released, and many songs featuring Hatsune Miku were shown on the Nico Nico Douga. Some of the musicians featuring Hatsune Miku, such as Livetune and Supercell, joined large record companies in Japan. Livetune released Re: Package on Victor Entertainment on August 27, 2008, and Supercell released Supercell on Sony Music on March 4, 2009. The albums Re: Package and Supercell were not brought under the control of the copyright system of the Japanese Society for Rights of Authors, Composers and Publishers (JASRAC), breaking the tradition that the musicians under the major labels affiliated with the system.
In June 2009, voice actress Nana Mizuki's album Ultimate Diamond became the first voice actor album to reach number one on the Oricon weekly charts. The fictional all female band Hōka-go Tea Time, from the anime series K-On!, released the mini-album Hōka-go Tea Time on July 22, 2009. The mini-album debuted at number one on the Oricon weekly album charts, becoming the first album by anime characters to reach number one. In May 2010, Exit Tunes Presents Vocalogenesis feat. Hatsune Miku became the first album featuring Vocaloids to reach number one on the Oricon weekly charts, replacing Hideaki Tokunaga's Vocalist 4, which had topped the charts for four consecutive weeks.
2010s: Popularity of idol groupsEdit
Since the end of the 2000s, more and more idol groups have emerged. The high number of idol groups in the Japanese entertainment industry is sometimes called "Idol sengoku jidai" (アイドル戦国時代; lit. Idol war age). Some of the most successful groups during the 2010s include Hey! Say! JUMP, AKB48, Arashi, Kanjani Eight, Morning Musume, Momoiro Clover Z.
Kyary Pamyu Pamyu, a Harajuku-based fashion model, made her musical debut in 2011 and gained international popularity with her debut single "Pon Pon Pon", known by some Western celebrities such as Katy Perry and Ariana Grande. She is produced by Yasutaka Nakata, who also produces girl group Perfume. She subsequently gained success through her songs "Ninja Re Bang Bang" and "Fashion Monster". During 2014, about 486,000 people attended Momoiro Clover Z's live concerts, which was the highest recorded concert attendance for any female musician in Japan.
Some Japanese pop artists are extremely popular in Japan, and some also have fanbases in other countries—especially in Asia, but also in Western countries. They influence not only music, but also fashion. As of 2016, the top five best-selling artists in the Japanese Oricon charts history are B'z, Mr. Children, Ayumi Hamasaki, Southern All Stars, and DREAMS COME TRUE. Among the five, Hamasaki holds the record for being the only solo artist.
- Parc, J. and Kawashima, N. 2018, Wrestling with or Embracing Digitization in the Music Industry: The Contrasting Business Strategies of J-pop and K-pop, Kritika Kultura 30/31: 23-48.
- 究極のビートルズ来日賞味法！ ビートルズが日本に与えたもの (in Japanese). Oricon. 2006-06-21. Retrieved 2009-01-09.
- "New Music" (in Japanese). Who.ne.jp. Archived from the original on June 3, 2009. Retrieved 2011-06-13.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link) ()
- "J-POPって何だろう？そして今、改めて歌謡曲の魅力とは？" (in Japanese). Chūkyō Television Broadcasting. 2008. Archived from the original on 2009-03-12. Retrieved 2009-10-30.
- Ｊ-ＰＯＰなぜ聞き取りに？ 信州大教授、西宮で講演. Kobe Shimbun (in Japanese). 2007-12-20. Archived from the original on 2008-03-25. Retrieved 2009-03-03.
- "松岡正剛の千夜千冊『J－POP進化論』佐藤良明" (in Japanese). Matsuoka Seigo no Senya Sensatsu. 2000-12-28. Retrieved 2009-02-03.
- "AAA『2010年第1弾は、AAAらしいアップ！』". Oricon Style (in Japanese). Oricon. January 27, 2010. Retrieved September 8, 2011.
- "CDショップに聞いてみた「どっからどJ-POP？」" (in Japanese). Excite Japan. 2008-11-10. Retrieved 2009-09-17.
- ビークルのロック魂の結晶ともいえる！ (in Japanese). Barks. 2005-05-10. Retrieved 2009-01-07.
- "Greeeen" (in Japanese). Universal Music Japan. Archived from the original on 2009-10-26. Retrieved 2009-10-20.
- Roberson, James E.; Suzuki, Nobue (2003). Men and Masculinities in Contemporary Japan: dislocating the salaryman doxa. Nissan Institute/Routledge Japanese studies. London: RoutledgeCurzon. p. 78. ISBN 978-0-415-24446-6.
- Yano, Christine Reiko (2003). Tears of Longing: Nostalgia and the Nation in Japanese Popular Song. Harvard University Asia Center. p. 33. ISBN 978-0-674-01276-9.
- Minichiello, Sharon (1998). Japan's Competing Modernities: Issues in Culture and Democracy, 1900-1930. University of Hawaii Press. p. 248. ISBN 978-0-8248-2080-0.
- Kiyomaro Kikuchi (2006-09-14). 藤山一郎（ポピュラー）・増永丈夫（クラク）二刀流の復活. JANJAN (in Japanese). Archived from the original on 2009-06-15. Retrieved 2009-02-01.
- Kiyomaro Kikuchi (2006-04-20). 酒は涙か溜息か―藤山一郎音楽学校停学事件. JANJAN (in Japanese). Archived from the original on 2009-02-06. Retrieved 2009-02-04.
- Atkins, E. Taylor (2001). Blue Nippon: Authenticating Jazz in Japan. Durham, North Carolina: Duke University Press. ISBN 0-8223-2721-X.
- 服部良一生誕100周年ンサート (in Japanese). Fuji Television. 2006. Archived from the original on 2007-11-03. Retrieved 2009-01-21.
- "Honorary Citizens". Aomori City. 2005. Archived from the original on February 7, 2009. Retrieved 2009-01-21.
- Molasky, Michael S. (2008). "ジャズ喫茶という異空間――'60‐'70年代の若者文化を歩く 第四回 page.3" (in Japanese). Web Chikuma. Archived from the original on December 7, 2008. Retrieved 2008-11-17.
- 日本のジャズ、高鳴る響き―ップス界にも新風. Nihon Keizai Shimbun (in Japanese). 2003. Retrieved 2008-11-18.
- Kikuchi, Kiyomaro (November 2006). 演歌、歌西洋音楽 [Enka, kayōkyoku and Western music] (in Japanese). Toshiba. Archived from the original on 2008-06-19. Retrieved 2009-08-04.
- Broughton, Simon. Ellingham, Mark. Trillo, Richard (2000). World Music: The Rough Guide. Rough Guides Publishing Company. p. 49. ISBN 1-85828-636-0.CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link)
- Wordie, Jason (2002). Streets: Exploring Hong Kong Island. Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press. ISBN 962-209-563-1.
- Martin, Ian, "'Golden age' of kayoukyoku holds lessons for modern J-pop", Japan Times, 26 May 2011, p. 13.
- "Showa 33: the year Japan got all shook up". The Japan Times. 2008-02-21. Retrieved 2009-03-03.
- ジャパンポップスの黄金時代 [Japan pops' golden age] (in Japanese). Columbia Music Entertainment. 2005-04-28. Retrieved 2008-11-20.
- 第１回日劇ウエスタンカーニバル [First Nichigeki Western Carnival]. Mainichi Shimbun (in Japanese). Retrieved 2008-11-20.
- 九ちゃんの歌 [Kyu-chan's songs] (in Japanese). EMI Music Japan. Retrieved 2009-01-05.
- "Kyu Sakamoto". nippop.com. Retrieved 2008-06-29.
- "J-Pop Before J-Pop". Stylus Magazine. 2006-06-08. Retrieved 2009-01-04.
- 懐かしの名曲を探せ！（第31回）～ザ・ピーナ恋のバカンス」の巻 (in Japanese). Nikkei Business Publications. 2006-05-26. Retrieved 2009-02-05.
- "ザ'60s ポップス・ヒッレード" [The 60s' pops hit parade] (in Japanese). Victor family club. Retrieved 2008-11-18.
- 荒井注さん全のため死去 [Mr. Chu Arai has died from hepatic failure]. Nikkan Sports (in Japanese). 2000. Archived from the original on 2009-02-06. Retrieved 2009-01-04.
- "12th Japan Record Award" (in Japanese). Japan Composer's Association. Archived from the original on 2009-02-07. Retrieved 2009-01-07.
- オリコンルバム１位が千作品に 最多はユーミン. Asahi Shimbun (in Japanese). 2007-09-19. Retrieved 2008-12-27.
- "Mad about deke-deke-deke". The Japan Times. 2008-08-07. Retrieved 2009-01-12.
- "The Ventures: still rocking after 50 years". The Japan Times. 2008-08-07. Retrieved 2009-01-12.
- それはビートルズから始まった・・・ 武道館が"伝説"になった日 [It started from The Beatles ... the day when the Budokan became a legend] (in Japanese). Nikkei Business Publications. 2008-03-20. Retrieved 2009-01-06.
- "SmaStation Special Back Number #194" (in Japanese). TV Asahi. 2006. Retrieved 2009-01-06.
- Bartlett, Duncan (2008-12-08). "Japan keeps Lennon's memory alive". BBC. Retrieved 2009-01-12.
- "第4回：内田裕也&裕也ファミリーTOP3「コンプリート書評」" (in Japanese). Open Computer Network. 2007-09-27. Retrieved 2009-01-14.
- "日本のロックを徹底紹介！CDジャーナル新刊ムック「日本のロック名曲徹底ガイド 1967-1985」本日発売" (in Japanese). CD Journal. 2008-10-02. Retrieved 2009-01-14.
- 「信じろよ、自分を」矢沢永吉が語る仕事-1. Asahi Shimbun (in Japanese). 2008-06-08. Retrieved 2008-11-18.
- 桑田佳祐、沈痛...臓がんで死去 (in Japanese). Daily Sports. 2008-10-23. Archived from the original on October 26, 2008. Retrieved 2009-01-08.
- 第５部ル ビートルズとディラン (in Japanese). Nishinippon Shimbun. 2006-11-29. Archived from the original on 2009-02-06. Retrieved 2009-01-07.
- "Haruomi Hosono" (in Japanese). natalie. Retrieved 2009-01-09.
- "Folk" (in Japanese). MSN Japan Music. Archived from the original on January 22, 2009. Retrieved 2009-01-31.
- "The Folk Crusaders" (in Japanese). MSN Japan Music. Archived from the original on February 9, 2009. Retrieved 2009-01-31.
- "Wataru Takada" (in Japanese). MSN Japan Music. Archived from the original on February 7, 2009. Retrieved 2009-01-20.
- 第11回 ─ ニューミュージック [No. 11 ─ New Music] (in Japanese). bounce.com. 2007-03-22. Archived from the original on 2008-04-11. Retrieved 2008-11-16.
- 雑感・戦後日本の世相と流行歌（29） (in Japanese). Asahi Broadcasting Corporation. Archived from the original on 2009-02-06. Retrieved 2009-01-24.
- "SMAP「世界に一つ」、 シングル売上歴代9位に！！" [SMAP's "The Only Flower In The World" becomes the ninth best-selling single in the history!!] (in Japanese). Oricon. 2004-08-03. Retrieved 2008-11-21.
- "Korino Sekai" (in Japanese). Universal Music. Archived from the original on 2009-02-06. Retrieved 2009-01-12.
- 第５部・井上陽水の世界＜１０＞ミラー 大ヒットに戸惑い始めて (in Japanese). Nishinippon Shimbun. 2006-11-28. Archived from the original on 2009-02-06. Retrieved 2008-12-27.
- "Yuming and Southern" (in Japanese). uta-net. Retrieved 2009-01-14.
- "New Music" (in Japanese). Who.ne.jp. Archived from the original on 2009-06-03. Retrieved 2011-06-13.
- Mark Jenkins (2007), Analog synthesizers: from the legacy of Moog to software synthesis, Elsevier, pp. 133–4, ISBN 0-240-52072-6, retrieved 2011-05-27
- 井上陽水 – 氷の世界 at Discogs (Translation)
- Osamu Kitajima – Benzaiten at Discogs
- Harry Hosono And The Yellow Magic Band – Paraiso at Discogs
- "アーティストのブレイクにひと役買う、資生堂CM30年のパワー" (in Japanese). Oricon. 2006-08-08. Retrieved 2009-01-14.
- "Top 100 Japanese pops Artists - No.14" (in Japanese). HMV Japan. 2003-11-17. Retrieved 2008-11-19.
- Lester, Paul (2008-06-20). "Yellow Magic Orchestra". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 2009-01-08.
- "Computer rock music gaining fans". Sarasota Journal: 8. August 18, 1980. Retrieved 2011-05-25.
- David Toop (March 1996), "A-Z Of Electro", The Wire (145), retrieved 2011-05-29
- Broughton, Frank (2007). La historia del DJ / The DJ's Story, Volume 2. Ediciones Robinbook. p. 121. ISBN 84-96222-79-9. Retrieved 25 May 2011.
- "Look back on YMO" (in Japanese). eo Music Tribe. Archived from the original on 2009-02-07. Retrieved 2009-01-12.
- Phil Hardy; Dave Laing; Stephen Barnard (1987). Encyclopedia of Rock (2nd ed.). Macdonald Orbis. p. 476. ISBN 0-356-14274-4. Retrieved 25 May 2011.
- "ポルノが24年ぶりの快挙達成！". Oricon. August 17, 2004. Retrieved 2011-06-09. (Translation)
- "オリコン週間ランキング1位！今、Perfumeがウケている理由は？" (in Japanese). Nikkei Business Publications. 2008-04-30. Retrieved 2009-01-10.
- "Ryuichi Sakamoto Special Interview" (in Japanese). Apple Inc. 2007-03-19. Archived from the original on 2008-12-24. Retrieved 2009-01-08.
- Emmanuelle Loubet; Marc Couroux (Winter 2000). "Laptop Performers, Compact Disc Designers, and No-Beat Techno Artists in Japan: Music from Nowhere". Computer Music Journal. MIT Press. 24 (4): 19–32. doi:10.1162/014892600559498. JSTOR 3681552.
- "Yellow Magic Orchestra: Hi Tech/No Crime", High fidelity news and record review, Link House Publications, 38 (1–6): 93, 1993, retrieved 2011-05-29
- "Yellow Magic Orchestra profile". Allmusic. Retrieved 2009-06-03.
- "Geek Monthly, Volumes 17-22", Geek Monthly, CFQ Media, p. 20, 2008, retrieved 12 June 2011
- 第14回 ─ シティー・ポップ [No. 14 ─ City Pop] (in Japanese). bounce.com. 2003-05-29. Archived from the original on 2007-08-24. Retrieved 2008-11-17.
- "パパが夢中だったAOR特集！" (in Japanese). J-Wave. 2009-05-02. Retrieved 2009-10-02.
- シティーポップ勢のベスト盤！ [Greatest-hits albums by City Pop musicians!] (in Japanese). HMV Japan. 2005-07-04. Retrieved 2009-01-07.
- "Ed Motta drops exclusive City Pop Vol. 2 mixtape of smooth and funky Japanese AOR - Wax Poetics". Wax Poetics. April 28, 2016.
- "The Alfee profile" (in Japanese). MSN Music. Archived from the original on February 7, 2009. Retrieved 2009-01-02.
- "Vol 2: The Special Topic of New Romanticism" (in Japanese). OnGen. August 2005. Archived from the original on 2008-09-25. Retrieved 2009-10-08.
- "EXILEがBOØWY以来20年ぶりに大記録達成" (in Japanese). natalie. 2008-12-09. Retrieved 2008-12-11.
- "Top 100 Japanese pops Artists - No.22" (in Japanese). HMV Japan. 2003-11-09. Retrieved 2008-11-21.
- "B'z" (in Japanese). goo. Archived from the original on 2008-03-03. Retrieved 2008-01-05.
- 嵐がシングル部門で年間１、２位を独占. Nikkan Sports (in Japanese). 2008-12-11. Retrieved 2009-07-23.
- "X、初期のリマスター再発商品2作が好調！" (in Japanese). Oricon. 2007-02-14. Retrieved 2009-07-23.
- "Hide". Allmusic. Retrieved 2009-07-23.
- ＴＯＫＩＯがジャニーズ名曲アルバム発売. Nikkan Sports (in Japanese). 2004-07-08. Archived from the original on 2004-08-05. Retrieved 2009-01-14.
- "Seiko Matsuda" (in Japanese). Universal Music Japan. Retrieved 2008-12-29.
- "21世紀のおニャン子になるか!? AKB48に話題集中！" [Can they become Onyanko Club of the 21st century!? AKB48 is in the news!] (in Japanese). Barks. 2006-10-03. Retrieved 2009-01-30.
- "Show biz exploits 'volunteerism' image in packaging of latest teen idol". The Japan Times. 2006-07-06. Retrieved 2009-01-26.
- 第2回 女性アイドル特集 [No. 2. Special of female idols] (in Japanese). OnGen. December 2007. Archived from the original on 2009-02-07. Retrieved 2009-01-14.
- 第６部・演歌巡礼＜２＞前川清 べたつかぬ距離感で歌う (in Japanese). Nishinippon Shimbun. 2006-12-13. Archived from the original on 2009-02-06. Retrieved 2009-01-20.
- "Oricon Weekly Single Charts for the fourth week of November 1989" (in Japanese). Oricon. Retrieved 2008-12-10.
- 山口百恵、松田聖子、安室奈美恵の中味 [Contents of Momoe Yamaguchi, Seiko Matsuda and Namie Amuro] (in Japanese). Nikkei Business Publications. 2007-08-06. Archived from the original on 2008-12-28. Retrieved 2008-12-21.
- "Being-kei artist" (in Japanese). uta-net. Retrieved 2009-01-15.
- ＺＡＲＤ坂井泉水さん病院階段から転落死. Nikkan Sports (in Japanese). 2007-05-27. Archived from the original on 2009-01-23. Retrieved 2009-01-04.
- ミスチル、聖子抜き歴代単独2位！25作連続シングル1位！！ (in Japanese). Oricon. 2006-11-21. Retrieved 2008-12-30.
- "高品質J-POPムーブメントを駆け抜けたWANDS" (in Japanese). Barks. 2008-01-12. Retrieved 2008-11-19.
- トレンディドラマとともに訪れた90年代のミリオンセールス時代 [The million sale age of the 90s as well as trendy dramas] (in Japanese). Oricon. 2006-06-14. Retrieved 2007-10-08.
- "PLAYSTATION®3・Xbox360ソフト「ソニック・ザ・ヘッジホッグ」の楽曲にDREAMS COME TRUE『SWEET SWEET SWEET－06 AKON MIX－』を収録！" (in Japanese). Sega. 2006-09-15. Retrieved 2009-01-12.
- "Music Timemacine of 1994" (in Japanese). MUSICO of NTT Communications Corp. Retrieved 2009-11-20.
- "Chage & Aska Talkasia Transcript". CNN. 2005-12-14. Retrieved 2009-01-03.
- "The billionaire bad boys' club". The Japan Times. 2008-11-16. Retrieved 2008-11-19.
- "Komuro arrested over contract fraud". The Japan Times. 2008-11-05. Retrieved 2009-01-12.
- "Top J-Pop producer arrested over alleged fraud". International Herald Tribune. 2008-11-04. Retrieved 2009-01-03.
- "Namie Amuro" (in Japanese). goo. Archived from the original on 2008-12-08. Retrieved 2008-11-17.
- "globe久々の全国ツアー詳細を発表！" (in Japanese). Famitsu. 2002-02-07. Retrieved 2009-10-16.
- "Transition of Recorded Music - Value Basis". RIAJ. Retrieved 2009-03-07.
- "The Day the Phones Died". Time. Time. 1998-03-09. Retrieved 2008-05-23.
- 第１５回 ＧＬＡＹ 「おれたち４人の"いま"伝えたい」 [No. 15. Glay "We want people to know the 'present' of our four members"]. Mainichi Shimbun (in Japanese). 2007-10-26. Archived from the original on 2008-12-26. Retrieved 2009-01-12.
- "GLAY、デビュー15周年の"特別な1年"の内容とは？" (in Japanese). Barks. 2009-01-05. Retrieved 2009-01-06.
- "Oricon Weekly Album Charts for the second week of July 1999" (in Japanese). Oricon. Retrieved 2009-01-09.
- 坂井さんを偲び、最後は3500人が「負けないで」を大合唱 (in Japanese). Oricon. 2007-06-28. Retrieved 2009-03-11.
- "List of million sellers in 1998" (in Japanese). Recording Industry Association of Japan. Retrieved 2009-03-11.
- "J-pop Divas Fight It Out". The Straits Times. Singapore: Singapore Press Holdings. Reuters. April 20, 2001.
- "Top 100 Japanese pops Artists - No.97" (in Japanese). HMV Japan. 2003-08-26. Retrieved 2008-11-21.
- "King Giddra" (in Japanese). Sony Music Online Japan. Retrieved 2009-01-12.
- レコード大賞、３年連続で浜崎あゆみに 史上初. Asahi Shimbun (in Japanese). 2003-12-31. Retrieved 2009-01-06.
- "浜崎あゆみ依存"解消で「健全になった」、音楽ビジネスの特殊性 (in Japanese). IT media: Business Media Makoto. 2006-09-14. Retrieved 2009-01-02.
- 着うたは着信メロディと何が違うの？ [How Chaku-Uta is different from a ringtone melody?]. Asahi Shimbun (in Japanese). 2006-06-22. Retrieved 2009-07-29.
- "EMI Music Japan launches its official mobile download site "MOBAEMI" on three mobile carriers on 3rd December". EMI. 2007-12-03. Archived from the original on December 24, 2008. Retrieved 2009-01-12.
- 宇多田ヒカル世界初の快挙！年間配信数が１０００万件突破 [Utada Hikaru became the world's first musician! To break through 10 million download sales for a year] (in Japanese). Sankei Shimbun. 2007-10-04. Archived from the original on 2009-02-07. Retrieved 2009-01-14.
- "Digital Music Report in 2009" (PDF). International Federation of the Phonographic Industry. 2009. Retrieved 2009-10-27.
- "Oricon Weekly Album Charts for the third week of November 2001" (in Japanese). Oricon. Retrieved 2009-01-31.
- 沖縄の「ＯＲＡＮＧＥ ＲＡＮＧＥ」ブレークの兆し (in Japanese). Sankei Sports. 2003-07-24. Archived from the original on 2003-10-03. Retrieved 2009-12-23.
- ヒップホップの童子―Ｔ 優しいラブソング集好評 [Hip-hop Musician Dohzi-T's Gentle Love Songs Collection Is Received Well]. Yomiuri Shimbun (in Japanese). 2008-11-08. Retrieved 2009-01-07.
- "Number of Domestic Debut Artists". RIAJ. Retrieved 2009-08-21.
- 紅白厳選26対戦、初陣14組で常連組は落選. Nikkan Sports (in Japanese). 2008-11-26. Retrieved 2009-01-05.
- ミスチル、シングル＆アルバム総売上枚数5,000万枚突破 [Mr. Children, single and an album break through 50,000,000 total sales!] (in Japanese). Oricon. 2007-03-19. Retrieved 2007-06-30.
- 〈回顧２００８〉ポピュラー ジェロ、サザン話題 本物志向 ベテラン人気. Asahi Shimbun (in Japanese). 2008-12-09. Retrieved 2008-12-10.
- "Eikichi Yazawa biography" (in Japanese). Barks. Retrieved 2008-12-29.
- "安室奈美恵 新作DVD発売！旧作もお買い得！" (in Japanese). HMV Japan. 2009-08-06. Retrieved 2009-09-15.
- 安室奈美恵４度目追加公演は台湾、上海. Nikkan Sports (in Japanese). 2009-03-23. Retrieved 2009-09-15.
- 小田和正、最年長1位で2冠！「ラブ・ストーリー～」以来、16年5ヶ月ぶり首位 (in Japanese). Oricon. 2007-08-21. Retrieved 2008-11-20.
- 竹内まりや、女性歌手史上最長キャリアでの首位獲得！ (in Japanese). Oricon. 2008-10-07. Retrieved 2008-11-21.
- "Oricon Weekly Album Charts for the first week of April 2001" (in Japanese). Oricon. Retrieved 2009-01-29.
- "デビュー以来シングル25作連続初登場1位――KinKi Kids、ギネス世界記録で表彰" (in Japanese). Oricon. 2007-07-22. Retrieved 2009-02-01.
- ＳＭＡＰが低迷紅白で"孤軍奮闘"視聴率３年連続トップ (in Japanese). Sankei Shimbun. 2008-01-05. Archived from the original on January 7, 2009. Retrieved 2009-01-07.
- "白組勝利！「NHK紅白歌合戦」大成功のうちに終了" (in Japanese). natalie. 2008-12-31. Retrieved 2008-12-31.
- "2009 Oricon Yearly Album Rankings" (in Japanese). Oricon. 2009-12-18. Retrieved 2009-12-23.
- "2006 Oricon Yearly Single Rankings" (in Japanese). Oricon. 2006-12-21. Retrieved 2009-02-15.
- "Ｈｅｙ！Ｓａｙ！最年少東京ドーム公演". NikkanSports. Retrieved November 15, 2016.
- "【年間ランキング】2008年のCDヒット総括" (in Japanese). Oricon. 2008-12-11. Retrieved 2009-01-01.
- "デビュー作初登場首位の最年少記録更新「中山優馬 w/B.I.Shadow」平均"14.6歳"" (in Japanese). Oricon. 2009-07-21. Retrieved 2009-08-10.
- "Oricon Weekly Single Charts for the fourth week of February 2001" (in Japanese). Oricon. Retrieved 2009-02-01.
- "Oricon Weekly Single Charts for the third week of April 2001" (in Japanese). Oricon. Retrieved 2009-01-31.
- 「千の風になって」は古来普遍の教え. JANJAN (in Japanese). 2007-12-31. Archived from the original on 2009-03-19. Retrieved 2009-02-06.
- "2007 Oricon Yearly Single Rankings" (in Japanese). Oricon. 2007-12-18. Retrieved 2009-01-31.
- 秋川雅史、ミリオン達成表彰式 [Masafumi Akikawa, million selling achievement awards ceremony] (in Japanese). Oricon. 2007-08-22. Retrieved 2009-01-31.
- "すぐに弾きたい、ちゃんと弾きたい J-POPヒットアルバム" (in Japanese). Zen-On Music Company Ltd. Retrieved 2009-02-01.
- 徳永英明、カバー作で15年10ヶ月ぶりの1位獲得！ [Hideaki Tokunaga get his first number-one in 15 years 10 months with his cover album!]. Oricon (in Japanese). 2007-08-21. Retrieved 2009-10-08.
- "ナタリー - 3作連続の快挙！Superfly最新作がオリコンチャート首位" (in Japanese). Natalie. September 7, 2010. Retrieved January 24, 2011.
- "Kobukuro". nippop. Retrieved 2008-11-19.
- コブクロ トリプルミリオン達成！！ [Kobukuro achieved three million copies!!] (in Japanese). Hot Express. 2007-10-16. Retrieved 2009-01-04.
- 步姊失聰拉低股價 冠軍紀錄喊卡 (in Chinese). Liberty Times. 2008-01-09. Archived from the original on 2008-12-07. Retrieved 2008-11-19.
- テクノポップが気になる！ (in Japanese). HMV Japan. 2008-02-13. Retrieved 2009-01-06.
- "Perfumeがテクノアーティスト史上初のシングル首位獲得！YMO以来25年ぶりの記録更新" (in Japanese). Oricon. 2008-07-15. Retrieved 2009-01-08.
- "08's J-pop Post-Perfume Divas" (in Japanese). All About.co.jp. (Translation)
- "Anime, J-indie equals 'Woodstock for geeks'". The Japan Times. 2006-06-22. Retrieved 2009-10-08.
- "Meet Japan's virtual idol". AsiaOne. 2008-05-13. Retrieved 2010-05-25.
- 音楽シーンに異変？ 「初音ミク」チャートインの理由 (in Japanese). Nikkei Business Publications. 2009-03-13. p. 3. Retrieved 2010-05-25.
- 音楽シーンに異変？ 「初音ミク」チャートインの理由 (in Japanese). Nikkei Business Publications. 2009-03-13. p. 1. Retrieved 2010-06-15.
- デビュー9年目の水樹奈々、声優史上初の首位獲得に「夢のような出来事」 (in Japanese). Oricon. 2009-06-09. Retrieved 2009-07-21.
- "けいおん！"の放課後ティータイム、アニメキャラとして史上初の1位 [Hōkago Tea Time of K-On! became the first anime characters to reach the number-one position] (in Japanese). Oricon. 2009-07-28. Retrieved 2009-07-28.
- 初音ミク"ボーカロイドアルバム"が徳永を押さえ、初首位 (in Japanese). Oricon. 2010-05-25. Retrieved 2010-05-25.
- "【オリコン年間】AKB48、史上初の年間シングルTOP5独占 総売上162.8億円で7冠" (in Japanese). Oricon Inc. December 19, 2011. Retrieved December 19, 2011.
"CDシングル 年間ランキング-ORICON STYLE ランキング / 2012年のCDシングル年間ランキング（2012年度）" (in Japanese). Oricon. Retrieved January 30, 2012.
"2013年のCDシングル年間ランキング（2013年度）" (in Japanese). Oricon. Retrieved January 24, 2014.
"2014 Oricon Yearly Single Ranking TOP50". toykohive. 6Theory Media, LLC. December 20, 2014. Retrieved January 9, 2015.
- "デビュー続々！ 2010年アイドル戦国時代 生き残るのはどのグループ!?".
- "Momoiro Clover Z dazzles audiences with shiny messages of hope". The Asahi Shimbun. 2012-08-29. Archived from the original on 2013-10-24.
- "Top 25 JPop Artists of 2011". Retrieved 12 January 2014.
- "ケイティ・ペリー、きゃりーを「連れて帰りたい」と大興奮 「Mステ」で念願の初共演" (in Japanese). 1 November 2013. Retrieved 24 February 2014.
- 米歌手アリアナ・グランデ、きゃりーぱみゅぱみゅにラブコール (in Japanese). 7 January 2014. Retrieved 24 February 2014.
- "AKB48よりももクロが上 コンサート動員力2014". Nihon Keizai Shimbun (in Japanese). 4 December 2014. Retrieved 16 September 2015.
- "Total sales for Hamasaki Ayumi's singles & albums reach 50 million mark - tokyohive.com". www.tokyohive.com. Retrieved 25 January 2018.
- Buckley, Sandra (2002). Encyclopedia of Contemporary Japanese Culture. Taylor & Francis. ISBN 978-0-415-14344-8.
- Atkins, E. Taylor (2001). Blue Nippon: Authenticating Jazz in Japan. Duke University Press. ISBN 978-0-8223-2721-9.
- Minichiello, Sharon (1998). Japan's Competing Modernities: Issues in Culture and Democracy, 1900-1930. University of Hawaii Press. ISBN 978-0-8248-2080-0.
- Yano, Christine Reiko (2003). Tears of Longing: Nostalgia and the Nation in Japanese Popular Song. Harvard University Asia Center. ISBN 978-0-674-01276-9.