As I’ve entered my senior year at NC State and am taking my final Japanese class of college, I am reflective on all that I’ve gotten to do and learn so far during my college experience, especially getting to take courses in Japanese language and history that has led me to appreciate the culture more deeply. I have always been a fan of non-Western artists and wanted to share some of my favorite Japanese musicians. Hopefully you can be led to some cool new music.
An Okinawa native who married a New Yorker, Awich weaves together Japanese and English language to create her own unique style of music. She seamlessly switches between genres throughout her discography between rap and pop, and any other genre she wants to explore. Most recently she created her own Tokyo Drift freestyle which you can find on 88Rising’s YouTube.
Hikaru Utada is an extremely popular Japanese artist, loved by a wide variety of fans including my Japanese professors at NC State and my 30-year-old uncle. I first fell in love with Utada’s voice in her track “traveling” – which is still to this day one of my favorite Japanese songs.
Found on music streaming platforms as “satomoka”, Sato generally creates bubbly, sweet JPOP that is perfect for a relaxing listen. With vocal talent and a melodious background, I especially recommend giving her a chance if you enjoy dreamy pop. Aside from her music, Sato generally has an impeccable Instagram aesthetic and is delightful to follow there.
A badass Japanese girl group – what more could you ask for? CHAI self-describes their band as “redefining kawaii” and promoting women empowerment with their lyrics. Their songs are musically complex and vocals maintain your interest. I especially love their utilization of the electric guitar, which gives their soft voices a harder edge.
I hope you enjoyed my list. Keep on the lookout for more of my top choices in music.