Posted on May 16, 2018
Japan has the largest music market in Asia, and the second largest in the world. Japan’s music market is noteworthy not only due to its size, but also its depth of diversity. Since pondering which bands we should introduce among numerous Japanese bands, we decided to divide the Japanese music scene into several different parts. The first is our very favorite, ‘girl bands of Japan.’
Source: CHAI official website
The band CHAI was formed in Nagoya in 2012. It is a four-piece band composed of twin sisters Mana (vocals / keyboard) and Kana (guitar / chorus), their high school friend Yuna (drums), and college friend Yuki (bass) who joined later. Their true charm comes from their cute and exciting music scenery compiled from kitsch B-class chords.
In 2017, CHAI was invited by SXSW, the largest showcase festival in the United States, to play at ‘Japan Nite’ in seven US cities. This year, they will appear as headliners in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Long Beach, San Diego, and SXSW. Also, last January, they held a concert at CJ Azit in Seoul, Korea, with the local band Sultan Of The Disco. It is said that the venue was packed with people who had come to see those two fascinating bands.
Their high quality music video is quite captivating, so I highly recommend taking a look at it!
Source: FINLANDS official website
FINLANDS is a two-piece rock band consisting of Shioiri Fuyuko (vocals / guitar) and Koshimizu Kayo (bass). Building on the experience of winning the ‘RO69JACK’ prize sponsored by Japanese music magazine ‘Rockin’on’, they have appeared multiple times at many promising festivals, events and large circuit festivals all over Japan. Apparently their music quickly became a hot topic through word-of-mouth.
They released two EPs [ULTRA] and [JET] in 2015, and the full-length album [PAPER] in 2016. They gained popularity, as the track ‘Hi Propeller’ from the EP [JET] was used for a Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters’ TV commercial.
They are also well known for doing live performances without taking off their thick Winter coats, even in blazing summer weather.
Source: Hump Back official website
Hump Back is a three-piece band formed in 2009, in a pop music club at a high school in Osaka. The members have changed since then, but their line-up has stayed the same since 2015. They consist of Hayashi Momoko (vocals / guitar), Pika (bass) and Misaki (drums).
In 2016 they released the EP [When The Night Comes], and appeared at big music festivals such as Odd Number Festival Summer 17 and MONSTER baSH 2017.
Source: SHISHAMO official website
Three-piece band Shishamo was formed in 2010, consisting of friends from the same high school, Miyazaki Asako (vocals / guitar), Matsuoka Aya (bass), and Yoshikawa Misaki (drums). In 2012, they won the Excellence Prize and Best Vocal Prize at the High School Amateur Band Contest, and released their first single ‘Homework Is Not Over’ that year.
After the former bassist Matsumoto Aya left the group, Matsuoka Aya took her place in 2014. The vocalist Miyazaki Asako is well known as a versatile artist, since most of SHISHAMO’s songs are written and composed by her, and she also (having majored in design) created the character designs of the band members and their album cover design.
SHISHAMO is beloved in Japan for their uniquely sweet, adorable music. Their third album [SHISHAMO 3], released in 2016, reached Number One on the Oricon Weekly Indie Album Chart.
Last year at NHK ‘Kohaku Uta Gossen,’ the biggest year-end song festival in Japan, they appeared with Korean girl group Twice. SHISHAMO’s momentum as Japan’s most popular three-piece girl rock band is yet to diminish.
Source: Lucie, Too tumblr
Originating from the Utsunomiya region, three-piece pop-rock band ‘Lucie, Too’ derived their name from American indie band ‘Now, Now.’ Although it has only been a year since their debut, their popularity in Japan is impossible to ignore.
Their music seem to resemble that of Hump Back and SHISHAMO, but incorporates more freshness and transparency. After the release of their first EP [Lucky] in February, Lucie, Too went on a tour of Japan, and a Canada tour in May. It seems Lucie, Too is establishing a robust position not only in the Japanese music market, but also in the world music market. The members consist of Kanako (bass), Chisa (vocals, guitar) and Shibahara Naho (drums).
The Wisely Brothers
Consisting of Haruko Madachi (vocals / guitar), Izumi Wakuri (bass) and Akane Watanabe (drums), The Wisely Brothers is also a three-piece band like the bands above, but they project comparatively calm and slow music.
They were first formed as a Chatmonchy cover band during their high school years. In 2016 they released their first EP [HEMMING EP] and they released their first album [Yek] this February. They are currently participating in diverse concerts and music festivals, and in June 2017, they visited Korea for the first time to perform at Live Club Day.
Written by: Jin Kim, Jihye Jang
English Translation: Robin YeongGuk Jo
Edited by: Rock 'N' Rose