J-pop

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J-pop

Mesaj  CookiZz la data de Dum Sept 09, 2007 5:45 pm

J-pop can be traced to jazz music which became popular during the early Shōwa period (i.e. the reign of emperor Hirohito). Jazz introduced many musical instruments, previously used only to perform classical music and military marches, to bars and clubs. It also added an element of "fun" to the Japanese music scene. As a result "Ongaku Kissa" (音楽喫茶 – lit. "music cafe") became a very popular venue for live jazz music.

Under pressure from the Imperial Army during World War II, the performance of jazz music was temporarily halted. After the war ended 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. Songs like Shizuko Kasagi's "Tokyo Boogie-Woogie" (1948), Eri Chiemi's "Tennessee Waltz" (1951), Misora Hibari's "Omatsuri Mambo", and Izumi Yukimura's "Omoide no Waltz" became popular. Foreign musicians and groups including JATP and Louis Armstrong visited Japan to perform. 1952 was declared the "Year of the Jazz Boom" but the genre itself demanded a high level of technical proficiency and was difficult to play. As a result many amateur Japanese musicians turned to country music, which was far easier to learn and perform. This in turn led to a proliferation of country-based music.

In 1956 the rock-and-roll craze began thanks to a country music group known as Kosaka Kazuya and the Wagon Masters and their rendition of Elvis Presley's Heartbreak Hotel. The rock-and-roll movement would reach its peak in 1959 with the release of a movie featuring performances by a number of Japanese rock-and-roll bands. Some performers attempted to merge traditional Japanese pop music with rock-and-roll. One of few musicians to be successful in this effort was Sakamoto Kyū with the song "Ue wo Muite Arukō" (lit. "Let's Look Up and Walk"), known in other parts of the world as "Sukiyaki". The song was the first Japanese song to reach #1 in the United States (four weeks in Cashbox Magazine and three weeks in Billboard magazine) in its native language in America and also to receive a "Gold Record" for selling one million copies.[1] Other performers learned to play the music and translate the lyrics of popular American songs, resulting in the birth of "cover pop." However, the popularity of these acts faded as radio and television gave every household the opportunity to watch the original musicians perform. The concept of karaoke and its subsequent popularity can arguably be attributed to the cover pop phenomenon.

From the early 1970s to the mid-1980s the emphasis shifted from simple songs with a single guitar accompaniment ("folk") to more complex musical arrangements known as New Music. Instead of social messages, the songs focused on more personal messages, such as love. Takuro Yoshida and Yosui Inoue are two notable New Music artists.

In the 1980s the term City Pop was used to describe a type of popular music that had a big city theme. Tokyo in particular inspired many songs of this form. It is difficult to draw a distinction between City Pop and New Music and many songs fall under both categories. Wasei Pop (lit. Japan-made pop) quickly became a common word to describe both City Pop and New Music. By the 1990s, J-pop became the common term to describe most popular songs. Rockers like Eikichi Yazawa, a singer who remained popular for decades with a rabidly loyal fan following, loosely fell into this category, along with more mainstream female pop idols such as the "Dance Queens" Yoko Oginome and her successor, singer/songwriter Chisato Moritaka. Hikaru Genji, the highly influential rollerskating boy band, also became popular during this time, with some of its members growing up to fame on their own. In 1980, Eikichi Yazawa, seeking worldwide success, 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. Mega-idol Seiko Matsuda, extremely popular through the 1980s, saw a bit more success with English-only songs released on her 1991 album "Eternal", and was hounded by U.S. tabloids for having a relationship with then red-hot Donnie Wahlberg of New Kids on the Block, who sang the duet "The Right Combination" with Seiko Matsuda. Seiko used to hold the record for most consecutive number 1 singles for a female artist in Japan. That record was recently shattered by the singer Ayumi Hamasaki. Along with Matsuda Seiko, the latter 1980s were dominated by idol singers such as Nakayama Miho, Nakamori Akina, Moritaka Chisato and Kudo Shizuka.

The late 1980s saw the emergence of one of Japan's most famous rock groups of all time, Chage & Aska. A massively popular male singer/songwriter duo consisting of Chage (Shuji Shibata) and Ryo Aska (Shigeaki Miyazaki), they released a string of consecutive monster hits throughout the 1980s and 1990s, establishing themselves as Asia's most popular rock group. Their "Asian Tour II / Mission Impossible" tour was the single largest concert tour ever put on by a Japanese group – the tickets for all 61 concerts in Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore and Taiwan sold out on the first day. Ryo Aska is widely considered today to be one of Japan's greatest songwriters. However, with the advent of the Japanese dance-pop music pioneered by Namie Amuro and Tetsuya Komuro in the mid- to late-1990s, the popularity of rock groups like Chage & Aska has declined. It also saw the rise of the female duo Wink (J-Pop). Wink debuted in 1988, rising far above the popularity of the then most popular female duo, BaBe.

In the early 1990s, the music scene can be split up into different parts. 1990-1993 was dominated by the Being artists (ZARD, Wands, Deen), B'z, and the Southern All Stars. 1994-1997 was dominated by the TK (Komuro Tetsuya) family. 1996 is known as a year where the Okinawan Actors School became dominant, with Amuro Namie, MAX (The Super Monkeys) and SPEED leading the charge. 1997 saw the introduction of Morning Musume, and 1998 saw visual kei starting to make it on the top of the charts with Shazna reaching number 1. In 1999, the era of domination by divas Utada Hikaru and Ayumi Hamasaki began.

The boy band SMAP hit the J-pop scene in a major way in the 1990s through a combination of TV "Talent" shows and singles, with one of its singers, Kimura Takuya, becoming a popular actor in later years known commonly as "Kimutaku". By the late 1990s an all-female band, Morning Musume, became wildly popular, with a string of releases that were sales hits before even being released. Female pop groups like SPEED, ZONE and Morning Musume sold millions of records with their pop-techno sounds. Following the pattern set a decade before by the 1980s all-female Onyanko Club, Morning Musume spawned several splinter bands whose members continue to be popular.

R&B became popular in Japan in the late 1990s, when young singer-songwriter Utada Hikaru debuted with her first single Automatic / time will tell. Her first album, First Love, sold around 9,500,000 copies, making it the best-selling Japanese album of all time, and the best-selling debut album ever in the country.[citation needed] While she sold millions with her R&B sounds, pop music was still popular in Japan with solo female singers such as BoA, (one of the few foreigners to successfully break into the Japanese music industry), Mai Kuraki, Ami Suzuki and Ayumi Hamasaki.

Currently, in the mid-2000s, Rhythm and blues and Hip hop music influences in Japanese music are stronger than ever. In 2000, Southern All Stars's Single CD Tsunami recorded 2,934,965 million sales.[1]

J-Hiphop/rock bands such as ORANGE RANGE and Ketsumeishi have been at the top of the Oricon charts, with more established artists such as Spitz, Mr.Children, B'z, Southern All Stars and L'Arc~en~Ciel. The current charts are mainly ruled by male-only bands and solo male singers such as Ken Hirai[citation needed]; female pop has declined greatly since the 1990s, but pop singers such as BoA, Kumi Koda, Ayumi Hamasaki and Utada Hikaru, still manage to reach the number 1 sales slots with most of their releases. [citation needed] In 2007 Japanese rock artist Mr.Children passed 50 million albums and singles sold, making them the second highest selling artist of all time in Japan after B'z, who has sold more than 75 million albums and singles..[
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