A Relative Listen to Japanese Music and Soutaiseiriron

A while back I won a giveaway for 3000 yens on iTunes. However, because I did not have any music I wanted to purchase at that time, especially from Japan, the gift certificate became a lost email in my inbox. I finally remembered to redeem the gift card today while adding some tracks to my playlists.

Soutaiseiriron Synchroniciteen cover

My knowledge of the Japanese music/ entertainment scene is limited at best. Recognizing only anime openings and endings, original soundtracks, and YUI, I have a narrow and skewed view of Japanese artists. Therefore, when I logged into the Japanese iTunes store, I was really curious about the various music present. I listened to many of the featured albums either in the sample clips or through Youtube/ Google. I had tapped into a new talented world of music and I wanted to explore it as much I could.

Japanese iTunes front page

Pop and rock are two of the most prevalent genres, although dance music also shows up quite a bit as well. Compared to the Japanese music industry, the US entertainment scene, which I do follow closely, seems to favor slightly different genres. In addition to the popularity of rock and pop music, R&B also regularly tops US charts. In contrast, R&B seems to have less presence in Japan.*

*That is not to say that R&B is absent in Japan. Koda Kumi and Crystal Kay are only two R&B artists I know of, and there are certainly more. While one could argue whether their music is considered genuine R&B, I would rather avoid that debate. Musical genres tend to be very ambiguous in certain cases. Pop is especially hard to define as it is so all encompassing.

iTunes top charts Japan US

There are also several overlaps that surprised me. Lady Gaga is quite popular in Japan as well as in the US, perhaps because she is an avid anime fan… Just kidding. Anyways, it is good to see her do well though since I am a fan.

Soutaiseiriron Synchroniciteen cover

After this brief exploration and further cross references with Oricon top charts, I decided to buy several tracks from an indie group, Soutaiseiriron (相対性理論), partly because of its awesome album art.

Miss Parallel World (ミス・パラレルワールド) by Soutaiseiriron (相対性理論)

With that, I still have quite a bit of money left in the account… Any suggestions?

Edit: 2DT’s comment notified me that the opening for the new anime, Arakawa Under the Bridge, is actually by Etsuko Yakushimaru, the lead vocal for Soutaiseiriron. I have very good timing indeed.

Venus to Jesus by Yakushimaru Etsuko

Edit: By the way, I feel like a complete jerk for accidentally leaving out my gratitude to OtakuDan and J-List for the kind gift. I had written something but it got lost after all the editing.
Anyways, thank you so much OtakuDan for hosting the giveaway and J-List for the certificate.

This entry was posted in Anime/ Manga, Arakawa Under the Bridge, Editorial, Music and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

70 Responses to A Relative Listen to Japanese Music and Soutaiseiriron

  1. schneider says:

    Wow, that song is deceptively catchy.

  2. 2DT says:

    I’m really digging Soutaiseiriron. Thanks a lot!
    I can’t quite tell your tastes, but as far as Japanese music, currently I’m listening to:

    Midori, a harsh jazz-punk fusion group.

    Advantage Lucy, light indie rock.

    There’s also a guy named Kaji Hideki who makes some gorgeous vintage-sounding tunes.

    I’m also a fan of FreeTEMPO, who does electro-jazz dance collaborations.

    And we can’t forget Genki Rockets! Manufactured pop to the extreme, and it’s all “English” to boot, but it’s quite catchy.

    … Whew. Hopefully there’s something in there you like. 🙂

    • Canne says:

      OMG, I immediately fell in love with FreeTempo’s music and I even ended up listening to all te available youtube vid! Thanks 2DT!

      • Yi says:

        @2DT: Wow so many suggestions! They’re all so good too.
        Right now I’m in love with Advantage Lucy, especially カタクリの花.
        Thanks so much for the exposure to the various artists, especially J-music that’s not so tied to anime.

        As for my tastes, they’re hard to define. It’s probably easier to define it by my distastes. I tend not to like rap or R&B. I do tend to favor indie groups though. I guess that’s why I’m really liking Advantage Lucy.

      • Yi says:

        @Canne: Agreed. FreeTEMPO is really nice too, and the PV is really awesome as well.

    • Yi says:

      カタクリの花 by Advantage Lucy

      Metro by Advantage Lucy

  3. Malene says:

    Hm, I don’t know if you will like this type of music, but here are some clips of my favorite Japanese musicians :
    Shogo Hamada / “Mightnight Train”

    Yutaka Ozaki / “Shelly”

    Yosui Inoue / “Kasa ga Nai” <<< I especially recommend this one. I personally think many studio songs tend to lose the emotions and soul due to all the editing and stuff that is being done to their voice, but this is pure gold.

    Takuro Yoshida and Miyuki Nakajima / "永遠の嘘をついてくれ" (don't know the romaji title for this one)

    I've been criticized for having "old and out-dated" music taste, but I hope you like it. ^^

    • Yi says:

      @Malene: Your tastes are definitely not out dated. I really enjoy some of the links posted.
      尾崎豊 has such a beautiful guitar music. I really enjoy it. Yosui Inoue is really awesome too.
      Thanks for the suggestions!

  4. softz says:

    I can’t really say much about the song. It reminds me of the song of Fruit Basket though. It’s the pretty slow type.

  5. Fabrice says:

    OMG, whats wrong with me,….i keep on replaying the song.
    Honto ni! XD

  6. Ningyo says:

    It took me about twenty seconds to fall in love with that song. Coupled with that cover… Will now explore it. Am still on a journey to concretely define catchy music as opposed to ‘good’ music.
    As for other works of Jpop, I’m probably half as knowledgeable as you were to start with, so I’ve really nothing to contribute. Am currently going through 2DT’s links to try to peer at a world through a window.
    Is Fujita Saki still kicking somewhere >.>?

    • Yi says:

      @Ningyo: That group was really kind of a shot in the dark. I loaded up iTunes and just started youtube-ing everyone I saw until I heard a group I really liked. Catchy and good music… That’s a fine but important distinction. For me, I think only time will tell if Soutaiseiriron is merely catchy or if it’s really good.

      I’m really loving 2DT’s links. Advantage Lucy is my favorite from the links he posted. Anyways, listening to all these links and different tracks seems like peering at the world through the keyhole. There’s just so much to see but so much more that are inaccessible.

      Not sure about Fujita Saki… But Wikipedia says she’s still doing stuff.

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  8. Ninjovee says:

    I’m with almost everyone else, I fell in love with the song! Thank you for sharing this! 😀

    I’m also guilty of knowing more artists because they have sung songs made into anime themes and video game themes… but one of the few artists that I do love that aren’t as associated to both is MONKEY MAJIK. I love their songs and don’t mind to putting them on loop. Some of what I can recommend are:

    Change: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5IWVq7zSBlA
    Aishiteru: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pwuzaGXxysk
    Pretty People: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tK_G4MrvbaI
    Picture Perfect: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PKWkWtIP8G8
    Around the World: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dDT06xdozsg

    • Yi says:

      @Ninjovee: MONKEY MAJIK is pretty awesome. Also, they have the coolest music videos.
      Around the World was such a creative PV combined with a really nice tune.
      Thanks for the great suggestions! I’ll definitely keep my eye out for them.


      How awesome is this PV.

      • Ninjovee says:

        Yes! I love how their music videos are always funky XD It beats the “boy bands” always doing their dance moves in music videos (although they’re still impressive).

        They recently had a new single out… Sakura. I actually learned of it because of your screenshots of the iTunes charts ^^;

        And a fun fact (if you haven’t learned of it yet): the two founding members of the group are actually Canadian brothers one of which actually went to Japan to teach English there XD it’s one of the things that made me love them more X3

        • Yi says:

          @Ninjovee: The Canadian thing explains a lot, such as their perfect English. Anyways, I didn’t see them on the top charts at first. I’m certainly going to check out Sakura.

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  10. lovelyduckie says:

    “My knowledge of the Japanese music/ entertainment scene is limited at best. Recognizing only anime openings and endings”

    Yup, that’s 100% all that I know. My MP3 player probably has about 20 Japanese songs on it that were all openings/endings to anime.

    • Yi says:

      @lovelyduckie: Same here. Right now almost all my Japanese music are associated with anime. I just found out that Soutaiseiriron’s lead vocal did the OP for Arakawa Under the Bridge.

  11. blur says:

    Just like to add, the opening photo is very beautiful. VERY!
    Lol… Nice choice.

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  13. 2DT says:

    Just curious: Are you aware of the opening for this season’s new SHAFT anime, “Arakawa Under the Bridge”? If not:

    Guess who the vocalist is. 🙂 You’re quite timely!

    • Yi says:

      @2DT: I heard the OP somewhere and I really enjoyed it, but didn’t make the connection between Yakushimaru Etsuko and Soutaiseiriron before this.
      I don’t like to brag, but I do have impeccable timing… Just kidding…
      What a nice coincidence though. ^ ^

  14. Reltair says:

    I agree with everyone about Soutaiseiriron being catchy. The illustration also helps to make it unique. Too bad almost all the Japanese music I know is related to anime. :O

    • Yi says:

      @Reltair: “Too bad almost all the Japanese music I know is related to anime. :O”
      I don’t think it’s a bad thing really. Almost all the J-music I know is anime-related as well.

  15. glothelegend says:

    That song is awesome. I listened to it a few days ago, and didn’t know where I listened to it……apparently it was here.

    I’m appalled to see that Chatmonchy doesn’t have at least 6 spots in the top ten, despite not putting out a song in a while.

    Glad to see that someone else thinks that the song from Awakawa Under the Bridge is GOOD.

    • Yi says:

      @glothelegend: Chatmonchy would most certainly deserve a top ten slot if they released something recently. Unfortunately, I think the thing is based somewhat on recency as well.

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  18. shijima says:

    Hehe, yes, that album art was very cute and unique.
    The songs are also a little different than what I usually listen to but I like it. =)
    Congrats on winning the prize and thank you again for introducing such great music.

    • Yi says:

      @shijima: I’m glad you enjoyed it. I would really recommend Advantage Lucy as well (see 2DT’s comment) as well as Monkey Majik (Ninjovee’s comment). Not sure if it will be something you enjoy, but you might. ^ ^

  19. anonymass says:

    if you’re in the mood for instrumentals:

    Takagi Masakatsu – ‘Girls’

    Shuta Hasumasa – ‘Discover Tokyo’

    Akira Kosemura – ‘Light Dance’

    • Yi says:

      @anonymass: Thanks for the links. I love piano music sooo much, so Light Dance was a huge hit for me. After listening to this piece, I searched for a bunch more of her piano pieces.

      So relaxing and so beautiful.
      Thanks for the suggestion. ^ ^

  20. anonymass says:

    also second Advantage Lucy, or something more mainstream, Chatmonchy:

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  24. Swordwind says:

    Well, I’m not much help here. Glad to see that most everyone else seems to have got it covered. I only really know a few Doujin groups that do (generally) instrumental tohou covers. Not that I’m complaining; they’re quite good.

    • Yi says:

      @Swordwind: The suggestions were all really good and really diverse too, so I got to pick and choose what I really enjoyed.
      Anyways, I listened to quite a bunch of doujin groups too, mostly associated with Vocaloid but some Touhou stuff as well. Very different but very good.

      • Swordwind says:

        I think ‘different’ is a bit subjective in this case. Most of the groups I like seem pretty normal, especially when one considers them relative to some of the aforementioned groups. But, I digress. Sorry for taking your time.

        • Yi says:

          @Swordwind: Different was not the best choice of words. I guess different from my perspective.
          “Sorry for taking your time.”
          Not at all. I love your comments and I enjoy the dialogues we have. In fact, I actually spend a decent amount of time replying to comments, and I do it because i really appreciate them and I love talking to you.

        • Swordwind says:

          I’m glad.

  25. Jo says:

    Thanks for the music. Really loving Soutaiseiriron and advantage Lucy…
    awesome stuff.

  26. koyote says:

    Thank you for these good recommendations. So far, I like Arwaka under the bridge OP and Genki Rockets.

  27. Kylaran says:

    Wow, this post (and the subsequent comments) is going to feeding my workout music lineup for a long long time. Thanks bunches!

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  30. Bizhaku says:

    Nice articles guys!!!! hihihihi

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  32. SabakuK. says:

    Look up Hello Project.
    If your into cute pop songs there the best to go.
    Morning Musume is their biggest group, but my favorite is C-ute, but I seem to be falling for a new unit called S/mileage (>////<)

    (Hello Project is the umbrella name for all female idol Japanese pop recording artists collective that are under contract with the Up-Front Group.)

    I just started reading your blog, LOVE it just to mention, im a big yuri fan and I can see you are too 😀

    • Yi says:

      @SabakuK.: Thanks for the great suggestions!!
      It’s been a while since this post, but I’m always in need of newer music. S/mileage is really good!

      Thanks for visiting, and I hope you continue to come back. ^ ^

      Cheers to yuri!

  33. Auptie says:

    I’ve come across so many wonderful groups and bands on this page (and I’m ashamed to say; this is my first time coming across your blog too, Yi. It’s almost feels like I’ve been living under a rock.), I’d feel guilty if I didn’t contribute a little. Apologies for the late arrival…

    Something a little “old and outdated”, as Malene would put it heheh: 大橋純子 (Junko Ohashi) – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4zTFaP3qahc
    DJ, composer, producer, arranger, god..you name it. I cried myself to sleep with the news of his passing. This guy was something special; he got me through a lot of rough moments in my life: Nujabes – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qjqTiQhOgU8 [Similar artists: Dj Okawari, Uyama Hiroto, Blazo]
    Some acoustic banter….:山崎まさよし (Yamazaki Masayoshi) – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k5dAR6f7TMA&feature=related
    FUCK YEAH, 70’s JPOP…:キャンディーズ (Candies) – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y7NnHnkZp-Y

    I hope my tastes aren’t too obscure \(-.-)/…

    • Auptie says:

      Ah-ha, I have been here before!!! I only just recoginised your “Finals Post”. Wow, it seems so long ago now. I had thought your blog inactive and so never bookmarked it. Shame on me!

    • Yi says:

      That really was a very long time ago. I didn’t even remember that post. I really appreciate your coming back and even leaving a comment.

      Anyways, thank you so much for the suggestions. I loved Nujabes, so that’s definitely a solid recommendation. Also, Yamazaki Masayoshi surprised me with how good he is. The acoustic and the song is really upbeat and fun to listen to.

      Anyways, hope you visit again. ^ ^

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  35. John Sato says:

    You should see if they have any KOKIA music on there. Finding her CD’s on Amazon is a nightmare, so if there’s an alternative…

    Anyways, I’d recommend looking her up on Youtube and seeing if you like her. First Japanese artist I liked for something other than an anime OP/ED.

    • Yi says:

      It’s been a while since this post, and unfortunately, I’ve used all the credits up. 😦

      But yea. KOKIA is another super lovely artist. I think she did the OP for Gunslinger Girl ~Il Teatrino~ which is now one of my–if not the–favorite OP. I really love her. And agreed. Her non-anime related music is just as nice.

      • John Sato says:

        Well, that’s too bad. Not having unexpected money is always kind of sad. 😦

        It’s cool that you like her! Not many people have heard of her, so it’s cool whenever I find a fellow fan. She also did the OPs for Break Blade and Phantom, which are probably my favorite songs of hers. I haven’t watched Gunslinger Girl (though I’ve been meaning to – it’s on my backlog), but I have heard the song before, and I do love it. Anyways, here’s hoping you win another giveaway – just because free money is awesome.

        • Yi says:

          Gunslinger Girl is one of my favorite anime ever, so yea, I’d highly recommend it. ^ ^

          “just because free money is awesome.”
          Haha, yes it is!

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