O!SUSUME RADIOBEAT

Want to check out more Japanese music, but don’t know where to start? We’ve got an o-susume (recommendation) for you! Every month, Erin and I publish short articles about a Japanese artist or band we’ve loved for a long while or just got into. We’re no music critics, just fans who want more people to enjoy jrock, jpop and beyond!

This the page for O!susume RadioBeat, a Japanese music recommendation blog  co-produced by Nagi and Erin @thekniterin.

SEE ALL OF OUR BROADCASTS HERE!

When Nagi was a shy, impressionable 13-year old, he was going through the collection of CDs for sale at his local anime shop, which he was able to visit every Wednesday due to his dad’s grocery shopping schedule. This was back in the early 00’s, before the days of streaming Crunchyroll or massive anime cons or more than a few decent dubs. He would rent one DVD from an anime series every week, and thus made his way through classics like Neon Genesis Evangelion and Revolutionary Girl Utena, as well as lesser-known titles like Steel Angel Kurumi, Pretear and Peacemaker Kurogane. (It was also the time before he had a comprehensive understanding of what the shojo genre was, but so much the better).

He flipped through the shrink-wrapped jewel cases in the wooden box that organized the CD collection, small but also sizable for the times, trying to identify the few stray kanji he thought he knew. Finally, he found something he recognized: a CD containing the track “Loop and Loop”, whose music video he had watched many times over on Bento Beat Box, an obscure on-demand channel that had been part of their cable package for some reason. Many years later, Asian Kung Fu Generation’s Sol Fa rests in the stack of CDs in Nagi’s current vehicle, the cracked case humbling its significant role in spurring its owner’s lifelong marination in jpop, jrock, jmetal, jfolk, and every other genre of dubious authenticity.

When Erin was in elementary school, she would often choose one of the hand-marked CDs among the many Japanese albums that her older brother had burned for her and she would listen to it on her portable dark-periwinkle CD player on the bus while watching the trees blur by. In those early days, Erin especially loved trying to sing songs from J-pop artists such as Do As Infinity, Hikaru Utada, and Ayumi Hamasaki.

In middle school, Erin was exceptionally excited the first time her mom took her to Hot Topic to purchase Withering to Death by Dir En Grey. This was the first time Erin was able to purchase a physical CD from a Japanese artist in person, all the way in her hometown in Alaska. Soon afterwards, Erin’s musical world expanded again when her parents gave her a bright red mp3 player for Christmas. The ability to keep all of her music in her pocket made it easier for her to relax to Dir En Grey on the way to her school orchestra concerts; to attempt to play the string parts from Gackt’s songs on her violin; and to get lost in X Japan’s masterpieces while laying out on her roof, watching the birch trees overhead swaying overhead from left to right.

Continually inspired by others’ recommendations throughout the years, music has always been a vibrant world where Erin could explore different emotional landscapes. Eventually she was able to develop preferences of her own and she has been able to accumulate a unique mixture of Japanese artists in her library from over 20 years of listening.

While neither of us claim to be anything close to experts of the J-music industry, O!susume RadioBeat is about each of us getting the chance to introduce a band we like to a wider audience. Each post, or “broadcast”, is dedicated to a particular artist or band, with an overview of who the artists are, how they got their start, and what they’re doing now, along with several recommended tracks (with MVs) and accompanying descriptions of their particular musical style. We’re ideally looking to sample a wide selection of genres from a time period of about 30 years (late 90’s to current year), although the majority will fall in line with our personal tastes. We encourage anyone who’s come this far to dive in and hopefully discover your next favorite band!

O!susume Spotify & YouTube Playlists

Other J-music Blogs and Resources

~ Yotsuo J-music tumblr blog

~ Ongaku To You music blog

~ Tokyo ON J-music playlists

~ JaME music news and interviews