Music is a universal language that unites cultures and soothes the soul, and Japan has long held onto an extensive musical culture that spans various genres.
While there are many Japanese musicians specializing in theme music for anime, tokusatsu, and dorama series, there are also a handful of up-and-coming artists creating innovative new tracks.
1. 4ngel Kidz
Hikam and Hana Watanabe of 4ngel stand out as one of Japan’s finest collections of DJs. Boasting an eye-catching new home for them to play their sets in, Hikam and Hana take great pleasure in providing mouth watering DJ sets at just the right place and time – which could soon have your mouth watering in no time at all! A little pre planning could soon have you on your way to an unforgettable night on the town – whether that means intimate romantic dinner for two or partying it up in a bustling metropolis setting – Hikam & Hana have it covered – whatever your pleasures lie ahead awaits among these lush flowers & fauna!
Akie Nakata’s animal paintings exude childlike wonder. Each tiny painting fits snugly into your palm for viewing pleasure and she uses acrylic gouache to transform ordinary rocks into adorable animals that look remarkably realistic and sweetly childish – as shown here from her Instagram account!
Akie, an independent artist since 2011, began painting stones since 2011. Her passion for drawing animals stemmed from walking the riverbanks and finding pebbles that looked just like rabbits.
At that moment, she discovered her passion for turning stones into art. Since then, she’s been doing this and never alters any stone she finds; instead she sees each creation as “life newly born in her hands through dialogue with [its] stone.”
Her work is filled with expression, texture and detail that brings lifelike creatures to life. Additionally, she has an incredible talent for seeing potential in even the ugliest stones to make her paintings even more lifelike than they would be otherwise.
She paints these stone creatures using acrylic gouache, a medium she describes as being like paint but more translucent. Her goal is to make these stone animals as life-like and realistic as possible – often by adding natural markings onto rocks with natural markings as eyes or creating pointed edges into noses.
With acrylic gouache as her medium, she uses a brush to add lines and details on stone with detail that would be impossible to replicate with oil or acrylic painting. This allows for an unprecedented level of detail that is virtually unrivaled in either oil or acrylic paintings.
Akie’s intricate animals feature highly realistic features and never use paints with lead content; her goal is to maintain their natural features so they may be enjoyed for many years by future owners.
She’s one of Japan’s most versatile DJs, having a firm grasp on both a turntable and USB stick – known for her eclectic and quirky dance selections at events across Japan and supporting international artists – so if you want a unique night out make sure you check her out.
Japan is no stranger to dance music, being one of the last countries to reopen its borders after World War II and quickly adopting new trends and talent, such as hyperpop singers and rappers, bass music, gqom DJs pushing boundaries, etc.
Tokyo, its capital, is the epicenter of dance music culture in Japan and an incubator for young producers and artists looking to make an impressionful mark in dance music. Tokyo clubs provide a vibrant landscape of sonic experimentation ranging from hip-hop to drum and bass and beyond.
Beijing-born DJ Loci, co-organizer of Ether party series. Her sets aim to entice dancefloor visitors and her eclectic music selection features everything from Cantonese rock through ghetto house genres.
Evanora:unlimited is a label she co-owns with Hong Kong based artist Edamame and their debut release Ochre was recently featured at Art Basel; making this release essential listening for anyone wanting to explore electronic music.
SAMO, another selector specializing in trance music, has become a mainstay in Tokyo club culture due to her bass-heavy sets. One such song that perfectly displays her talents is ‘Dance with Devils’ which builds slowly before dropping straight into sub bass sound with wordless war chanting for added effect.
Feline stands out with a diverse set of deconstructed club, techno and more music that spans deconstructed club, techno and more – an impressive setlist is testament to this. She knows her way around a turntable well while possessing musical chops necessary for producing USB sound while her setlist shows she knows her way around clubs while not shying away from unveiling unfamiliar tunes that might surprise audiences.
Her recent collaboration with London-based electro duo Stratus on their ‘The Diver’ mixtape stands out among her discography. She was instrumental in their growth, and it is her unique songwriting approach which stands out. This record not only sounds amazing, but leaves an indelible mark on your brain!
4. Mondo Grosso
Shinichi Osawa is known as producer MONDO GROSSO; an internationally acclaimed musician known for experimenting with various genres and styles of music. Combining signature beats with orchestral arrangements to produce music that sounds as natural as though traditional instruments had coexisted for millennia – this unique sounding production is produced under his moniker.
Osawa emerged from his time with acid jazz band MONDO GROSSO to begin his own solo career soon after it disbanded, releasing an R&B album entitled CLOSER and beginning collaborations with established musical entities throughout Japan. Additionally, his material featured artists like Monday Michiru, Amel Larrieux, UA Chara Dragon Ash and Ayumi Hamasaki among others.
Osawa also earned international renown as an accomplished DJ and producer, touring worldwide with artists such as U2, K-Pop BoA, UA and CHAI. His most recent album ‘BIG WORLD’ includes an array of collaborations which will inevitably transform Japanese music.
The album, produced with renowned professionals, features many artists that had not participated in previous MONDO GROSSO albums such as Takao Tajima (Original Love), Ryuichi Sakamoto, Yoshie Nakano (EGO WRAPPIN’), Asuka Saito (Nogizaka46), Hikari Mitsushima RHYME Dongurizu Mika Nakashima Yorushika and ermhoi (Millenium Parade & Black Boboi).
Osawa has joined forces with an all-star cast of collaborators on his latest release. Notable names include actress Hikari Mitsushima who performs on the title track of ‘Labyrinth’; as well as the singer being featured in its accompanying music video shot in Hong Kong.
This track from Osawa’s album, ‘BIG WORLD,’ stands out among its peers due to its familiar riff. Mitsushima dances gracefully against a backdrop of theater where she feels at ease while Osawa blends his electronic sounds with other musicians’ voices seamlessly. The video portrays Mitsushima dancing midair amidst theater scenery – an indication of Osawa’s prowess at blending electronica with vocal artists’ work.
Osawa has returned with an album and song sure to draw dance music fans worldwide! His ‘BIG WORLD’ album showcases an eclectic group of vocalists including Hikari Mitsushima and Mika Nakajima as well as an engaging electronic tune paired with Mitsushima’s beautiful voice; making this album and track must-listens for music enthusiasts everywhere!