For many people on the internet, Japan is synonymous with anime, bizarre youth trends, wacky adverts and some really eccentric music videos. When we in the West watch something from Japan, on YouTube for example, we are often drawn to the wackiest stuff. Thats totally understandable - it's really entertaining. However, this means that a lot of really good stuff passes us by. For example, many of us know about musicians like Kyary Pamyu Pamyu (see above image) and the eccentric music video for her viral hit Pon pon pon. Many Western metal fans know about Babymetal, the unholy alliance between metal and Jpop. However, most of us would be hard pressed to name other famous Japanese musicians. So, compiled here is a list of great Japanese musicians you should know about. The list is completely random and follows no particular music genre. They all just happen to be musicians the writer likes. If you happen to know of another great Japanese musician, please put their name in a comment.
10. Rekishi ()
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mixIvfqjiFQ Rekishi is the stage name of Ikeda Takufumi. Before going solo, he was the keyboardist for Super Butter Dog, a popular funk band active from 1994-2008. In Japan, Rekishi is something of a musicians musician. Hes not as popular as the massive pop groups like AKB48 but he does have a cult following amongst musicians, including a few of Japans most famous ones, artists and other indie types. This is largely due to the humour in his songs and videos and, possibly, his impressive afro. Rekishi means history in Japanese and all of Ikedas songs involve a historical theme around which he crafts witty lyrics and funky melodies. The theme could be anything. In one song he sings about ninjas. In another one he raps about the rice tax (nengu)
Japanese peasants owed their feudal overlords during the Edo period (1603-1868). The song attached to this article is called Shikibu. Its about Murasaki Shikibu, a famous author from the Heian period (794-1185). She wrote the worlds first novel, the Tale of Genji
, in the early eleventh century. In the video, shes chased around many of Kyotos, Japans old imperial capital, many historical districts, shrines and temples. Rekishi plays Murasaki Shikibu, face painted white with his signature afro slicked down, in the music video - which ends next to a statue of the author.