The new musical genre J-pop is becoming ever more present in both Japanese and worldwide charts, and is boosting the popularity of the new fashion coming the Rokyo area, Harajuku.
It looks that 2012 is going to be a year in which a new music genre will become a steady feature on the worldwide music scene: J-pop, i.e. pop Japanese style.
This genre has already achieved cult status amongst teenagers throughout the world (for instance the London New Bloomsbury Club has just started scheduling a regular Japan Underground night with live rock and pop gigs performed by entirely Japanese bands!) and besides having its own proper musical characteristics, it comes along with a bizarre fashion style typical of the Japanese street-scene, the one of the Harajuku girls we talked about some time ago on Japancoolture.com.
Japanese pop entered the Japanese musical mainstream in the nineties but has its roots in Sixties music coming from the West, taking inspiration from songs by the great bands of the time, such as the Beatles.
Japan’s music market is nowadays second only to the United States, and it’s not surprising since Japanese teen idols can be easily compared to celebrities such as Britney Spears as for fans and record-breaking album sales.
The J-pop top band is certainly Morning Musume, a group of nine girls formed thanks to a talent TV program at the end of which, as part of the five finalists, were challenged to sell 50.000 copies of their single “Ai no tane” in 5 days. By completing successfully the challenge, Morning Musume were given the chance to start a sparkling career with performances across Asia, America and Europa.
Their singles “Morning Coffee” and “Love Machine” have sold more than a million copies. At their shows the audience is entertained not only their bubblegum-style songs, but also by their eccentric clothing which makes them kawaii and fashionable at the same time.
This style brought to fame another all-girl J-pop/rock band, ALiBI, formed by three girls each one represented by a colour: their names are: Kai (yellow), Kae (red), and Fumiya (blue), colours used for their costumes, marketing material, album covers and anything that has to do with the band. The lead singer, Kai was once a fashion blogger.
This certainly had a great impact on the stylistic approach of the band.
The J-pop singer Ayumi Hamasaki, or Ayu (how her adoring fans call her), with 50 million records sold after her 1998 debut single “Poker Face”, has even been dubbed as “the J-pop Empress” for her exponentially growing popularity.
Ayu has been constantly changing her image over the years, launching musical and style trends that have been emulated in China, Singapore and throughout Asia in general. Her look is continuously evolving and has also earned her advertising campaigns for the Japanese market with make up giant Rimmel and fashion house Aquascutum.
Once again we see how music influences fashion and vice-versa, reinforcing the SWIFT nature of Japan.