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Japan and the international music industry

9 Comments
By Michael Graham

I recently read a post on the blog superhappyawesome in which they spoke about how the video for the Black Eyed Peas song, "Just Can’t Get Enough," was filmed in Japan and may have elements taken from the film "Lost in Translation."

Well, this got me thinking about all the videos that feature or are inspired by Japan and as I was listing them, the videos just seemed to pile up. It seems that today’s music artists are queuing up to feature Japan or its pop culture in their videos.

From Lady Gaga to Kanye West, there are not many modern pop artists who haven’t done “the Japan thing.” This says a lot about how Japan is perceived to the rest of the world. It’s modern, it’s cool, and it’s fun. If you are trying to show your fans that you are the newest biggest thing, then you cannot go wrong with including Japanese style in your videos and why not?

Japan not only brings us some of the latest fashion, technology and art, but its music industry is one of the most sophisticated and cutting edge in the world.

One of my favorite videos is "Stronger" by Kanye West. Not only does this include an ultra-modern Japan-themed video but even the cover art of the single features artwork by Japanese artist Takashi Murakami. This video is full of shots of neo covered building and filmed on location in Harajuku clothing store Billionaire Boys Club/Ice and Aoyama-based clothing store A Bathing Ape, with constant flashing imagery of Japanese texts, including real motorbike gangs. The video also has a lot of scenes that pay homage to the 1988 anime film "Akira."

This trend in music and Japan continues to be ever more present in modern music and does not show any signs of going away. You can look back at earlier artists such as Gwen Stefani because her music videos were covered in Japanese art and style. Stefani even brought out a clothing range inspired by Japanese clothing and her backing dancers were the Harajuku Girls. Therefore, she could not have been anymore Japanese if she had tried.

The list seems to be endless of videos or artists that use Japan for style and image and it looks set to continue. I, for one, cannot get enough of it!

© Modern Tokyo Times

©2021 GPlusMedia Inc.

9 Comments
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eh, yes but mostly no! The musicians mgmt pushes this film J-stuff, BECAUSE, the japanese eat it up the most & it BOOSTS sales here in Japan, the J-effect is 95% for Japanese, the other 5% the rest of the world.

Sorry to burst your bubble there, but Japan is a huge market, #2 or #3 for most new foreign artists & #1 for those past their prime who can continually come back & make some ca$h, the classic example are the ventures & also many many Jazz artists make their living from Japan(and Europe) but usually cant make enough in their home markets.

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I like the one by Madonna best, jumping all around Tokyo.

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Reminds me of:

Alphaville - Big in Japan.

Deep Purple - Woman from Tokyo

Styx - Mr Roboto

etc, etc.

Not a new trend at all. ;)

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The musicians mgmt pushes this film J-stuff, BECAUSE, the japanese eat it up the most & it BOOSTS sales here in Japan, the J-effect is 95% for Japanese, the other 5% the rest of the world.

Nah. Putting your video or photo shoot in Japan is pure exotica for the overseas market. The Japanese market is big but domestic artists are far and away the biggest sellers.

the classic example are the ventures & also many many Jazz artists make their living from Japan(and Europe) but usually cant make enough in their home markets.

Very true, but that's just because jazz is much bigger here than in the west. There's tons of jazz bars everywhere in Japan but I would be hard pressed to name more than a few in my very large hometown in the US...

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20 years ago I was asked by a filmmaker to find him a Japanese actress who wanted to be in a 'Hollywood' movie. Why did the filmmaker want a Japanese actress? So he could make money in the Japanese market. Same now with music videos, I feel.

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Smorkian,

the blurb is about foreign artists not j-pop, while obviously j-pop is bigger then foreign acts in Japan, Japan is easily the #2 or #3 for almost ANY foreign rock/pop act, Japan in size rivals the UK & US for a lot of foreign acts, although that is starting to decline as younger Japanese arent as into foreign acts as the past

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So the Japanese music industry is the most cutting edge and sophisticated in the wrold? Well it is according to this Japanophile who shows absolutely zero knowledge of the music business.

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the blurb is about foreign artists not j-pop, while obviously j-pop is bigger then foreign acts in Japan

I know this.

Japan is easily the #2 or #3 for almost ANY foreign rock/pop act, Japan in size rivals the UK & US for a lot of foreign acts

May be true for the very largest acts but not for ANY act. Go look at the best selling foreign singles in Japan. Almost all of them are from the 60s and 70s with a few in the 90s. Nothing recent at all.

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NO! as sonmeone who Loves & knows alot about Japan. I HATE!! when they use a jp theme. its usually done in bad taste & very stupid. i say NO to promoting JP stars in the US. I LOVE America, BUT we over do things here on entertainment. Keep JP music on the underground scene. promoting in the us would TOTALLY RUIN it! if it became big in the us.

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