J-music discussion: anyone interested?

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J-music discussion: anyone interested?

Postby Kaori » Sun Mar 20, 2016 8:45 pm

So, I thought it would be nice to have some music discussion on this board, and recently I've really been wanting to broaden my horizons of Japanese artists that I listen to, and I also thought it would be neat to introduce other people to Japanese artists they might not have heard of, so I thought I would ask and see if there is any interest in this sort of thing.

My idea is for anyone who wants to do so to post an introduction, even if it's just a very brief one, to any Japanese music artist, limit of one artist per person per month (or if that ends up being too slow-paced then maybe every two weeks or so). Whoever else is reading can listen to whatever song(s) are linked and comment on what you like or don't like or whatever. Doesn’t have to be anything fancy, just any sort of comment or opinion.

For those who remember this, it would be sort of like the Manga of the Month Readership Circle from a few years ago only with no restrictions on who gets to choose and post about an artist/band.

Raise your hand if you are interested—that includes if you don’t plan on introducing any artists but would be interested in reading/listening.
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Re: J-music discussion: anyone interested?

Postby shooraijin » Mon Mar 21, 2016 7:48 am

I'd certainly be interested in listening. Actually, my most recent J-music pickup is Yellow Magic Orchestra. Reminds me of Kraftwerk but a bit richer and less ponderous. "Solid State Survivor" is probably the album I'd start with -- nearly everyone of a certain age will recognise "Rydeen."
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Re: J-music discussion: anyone interested?

Postby Rusty Claymore » Mon Mar 21, 2016 5:31 pm

Why not?

I'll put a word in for GOOSE HOUSE. This particular song was an ending theme to Silver Spoon, and its energy always made me smile. Seeing the group pop up again with "Hikarunara," opening for Your Lie in April, made me check them out and even buy an album. (which I almost never do.)
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Re: J-music discussion: anyone interested?

Postby Kaori » Wed Mar 23, 2016 4:23 pm

All right, full speed ahead!

Yellow Magic Orchestra: yeah, they are pretty famous and influential, I think. I've listened to a bit of their music, but they have a long discography, so thanks for the tip on which album is a good starting point. I don't recognize Rydeen, but it is a pretty nice piece.

Goose House: Wow, they look like they are having so much fun together! I can see why you like them. And chorus music seems to be really rare in Japanese music, so it is really interesting that they are doing what they are doing.

. . . . . . .

For my pick for March I'll start out with Zabadak (ザバダック). Just discovered this band a few weeks ago, but they have been around since I was born. Folk rock, but not Japanese folk music; it is mostly Celtic, with some other European influences.

二月の丘 is a good representative song (vocals start at about 1:20). Here is a playlist, but it has a ton of multiples, I think, so if you play it long enough you'll find yourself listening to the same songs several times over.
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Re: J-music discussion: anyone interested?

Postby shooraijin » Wed Mar 23, 2016 7:01 pm

I remember it from arcades. Only later did I discover the reference work.

I did enjoy the recorders in that piece. I wish I were better at playing mine. I can see some shades of enka and prog rock in the main theme.
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Re: J-music discussion: anyone interested?

Postby John_Smith » Fri Mar 25, 2016 7:19 am

I think I'll take this opportunity to share Kokia on this thread. Around here, some might be familiar with her from Tatta Hitotsu no Omoi, the second opening of Gunslinger Girl. However, my personal favorite of hers is True Sound.

There’s nothing more I can say about her that one can’t learn from wikipedia, so if you liked those two songs: here’s the link.
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Re: J-music discussion: anyone interested?

Postby Kaori » Sun Mar 27, 2016 11:51 am

@Shooraijin:

Yeah, they are progressive rock; that is what they usually get labeled as. Though I haven't been paying very close attention to song dates, there's a big difference between early Zabadak, which was a three-person group, and Zabadak from 1993, which was continued as a solo act after two of the members left. It seems from what I've listened to so far that the earlier stuff has a lot more of the folk influence, and the later stuff is more progressive rock with not quite so much folk.

I hadn't noticed the enka influence, though . . . . do you listen to enka?

@John Smith:

Thanks for the input!

Although Kokia seems pretty well-known among the American subculture of people who like anime and manga, and she's been mentioned on CAA pretty frequently, I just recently started listening to her.

She has a voice that really appeals to Western tastes, and I don't mean that in a bad way at all (I also like her voice a lot). But a lot of Japanese singers have a nasal quality that is just not appealing to Americans, and Kokia's voice is not like that. Also, the fact that she is a Christian is really neat. I wasn't sure whether she was or not until I read the Wikipedia article that you linked, but just from listening to the album of hers that I have, I could perceive the Christian influence and was wondering whether she were a Christian.

I only have one of her albums, but "Daiji na mono wa mabuta no ura" and "Transparent" are my favorites of her songs so far.
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Re: J-music discussion: anyone interested?

Postby shooraijin » Sun Mar 27, 2016 1:38 pm

do you listen to enka?


I listen to some. I don't know enough about it to recommend any particular songs or singers, but I find the genre fascinating.
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Re: J-music discussion: anyone interested?

Postby Kaori » Sat Apr 02, 2016 7:20 pm

So, considering the pace of this thread, I've been thinking maybe posting one band per month really would be too slow-paced (though the response in this thread has been great for the low-traffic condition of CAA these days!), so let's aim for every two weeks. Any more than that would probably be too much for me to keep up with.

Anyone else who wants to post another artist or band, please feel free.

ゲスの極み乙女 (Gesu no Kiwame Otome) is is a rock band that is pretty popular in Japan right now. The sound is fast-paced and fairly eclectic, with a lot of jazz and rap influences. The keys are the main point of attraction for me, since the keyboard line often has a completely different melodic line playing at the same time as the vocal melody (counterpoint!)

私以外私じゃないの is a song about the narrator wanting to become herself(?)* more fully and to live in the present rather than always waiting for things to be better in the future. For more songs, this playlist seems to be a collection of most or maybe all of their official music videos. As a side note, their songs have been used in commercials for the likes of Coca-Cola and Toyota, which I think it testifies to how high-profile this band is in Japan right now.

*Obviously the singer (who also writes the lyrics) is a guy, but not all of his lyrics are written from a male perspective. This one seems to probably be female, or maybe deliberately gender-neutral, though men can also use "watashi."
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Re: J-music discussion: anyone interested?

Postby shooraijin » Sun Apr 03, 2016 10:05 am

I found my single of Tomorrow Never Knows by Mr. Children, though I bought it mostly for the instrumental version, which I heard in one of the local hole-in-the-wall sushi joints. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tomorrow_ ... en_song%29

Kaori, since your Japanese is massively better than mine, what (grammatically or morphologically, since I am a linguist ;) ) about the lyrics suggests a female perspective? Is it the word choice or are there specific forms a male speaker wouldn't or shouldn't use?
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Re: J-music discussion: anyone interested?

Postby Kaori » Sun Apr 03, 2016 6:50 pm

Mr. Children: that band has been mentioned on both of the occasions when I asked Japanese business acquaintances for music recommendations; they are pretty well-regarded.

For future reference, do you read hiragana?

What I am looking at in the song mainly revolves around the narrator's use of pronouns, but English speakers who are learning Japanese tend to latch onto things like personal pronouns and honorifics but have only a basic understanding of them, so I'll give a full explanation (you personally might be aware of some of these things already, but there are probably a lot more people reading the thread than posting, not even counting spiders and bots, so maybe the information will be of use to some other people as well).

So, the basics of personal pronouns which Japanese-learners tend to already know are that there are different personal pronouns used in different situations based on things like gender and how formal you are being:

私(わたし) watashi (polite; gender-neutral, sort of; more on this later)
僕 boku (masculine; sort of polite but not as polite as watashi)
俺 ore (masculine; casual)
あたし atashi (feminine; casual; girly)
私(わたくし) watakushi (gender-neutral; very formal)
and so on.

This is going to be kind of a long tangent, but like I mentioned in my previous post, watashi can be used by men (I sometimes suspect that some Japanese-learners have the impression that for a guy to use watashi is effeminite or non-masculine, and that is not really true, though it depends on how it's being used). Actually, I've had a lot of conversations with Japanese men in which they used watashi while speaking with me. Usually this tends to be the case with men in their mid-forties or older who are being formal (there are a lot of generational differences in how Japanese is used). For example, I have a language exchange partner who is in his fifties, probably, and we are always using polite language with each other, and he always refers to himself with watashi when speaking with me. Also, like in romance languages that have a formal/plural form of speech (e.g. in French you would always use vous when addressing more than one person), in Japanese if you are addressing a group of people you would use polite language, so for example, when pastors are giving a sermon to the congregation, they usually use watashi, which is a bit more formal than boku. Even setting aside the cultural distinction that Japanese people really do not have anywhere near the complexes that Americans do about masculinity, being manly and not being effiminate, there is absolutely nothing un-masculine about a man referring to himself using watashi in these situations; it is a perfectly normal pronoun for men to use.

However, in casual situations, men usually will refer to themselves using boku or ore, depending on the situation.

Anyways, in the song 私以外私じゃないの (watashi igai watashi ja nai no), the narrator uses the first-person pronoun watashi and the second-person pronoun anata (like watashi, anata can be used by men if they are being polite; but a song using the second-person pronoun kimi would sound more like a male narrator). Since men can use watashi and anata sometimes, that by itself isn't really enough information to go by, but the song also uses plain form (no desu/masu endings), and it would be unusual for a male narrator to use watashi while otherwise using casual language.

I'm also considering the fact that this particular singer/lyricist has a lot of other songs in which he uses boku or ore, so I think if the song were from a male perspective he would probably use one of those; and the band also has one other song that uses atashi (despite being sung by a man) and which is definitely from a female perspective (in fact, it's the theme song to a J-drama and it is told from the perspective of the female main character of the show), so this male singer singing a song from a female perspective would not be anything new. (Side note: it also seems pretty common in Japanese music for female singers to use boku and kimi and sing from a male perspective.)

Also, the narrator uses -deshou, which is another thing that would be used by men in formal speech, but in casual speech like these song lyrics a man would be more likely to use -darou.

The narrator also uses the softening sentence ending -wa, which is yet another thing that men can use (I'm pretty sure I have had a Japanese man use that sentence ending in conversation with me on at least one occasion), but it is used more by women and comes across as being more feminine, especially if it is used frequently.

Finally, one really interesting thing about the lyrics of this song is that the narrator uses both sentences ending with the feminine-sounding -no ending (e.g. the song title and 生きてたいって思うの) and the -nda ending (e.g. 目を開けたんだ). Both patterns are casual and both have the same meaning, which is to give the statement an explanatory tone, but a statement ending in -no is more feminine and in -nda is more masculine. So you can make of that what you like. :shrug:

But you can take all of this with a grain of salt, as I am not 100% sure myself about whether the narrator is intended to be female; maybe it could be intended to be gender-neutral. I am pretty comfortable these days interpreting a technical conversation about consumer printers or projectors, but song lyrics are a totally different ball game and sometimes I don't understand them at all even after looking up all the unfamiliar vocabulary.

[/essay]
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Re: J-music discussion: anyone interested?

Postby shooraijin » Sun Apr 03, 2016 8:32 pm

For future reference, do you read hiragana?


はい、読めます。(And whatever kanji I can successfully look up in my SKIP dictionary.)

I guess there's a lot of cultural context necessary to make that determination. Some of what you've mentioned I've heard, and somewhere I remember reading that using -の as a sentence-final particle would be less typical of men. My schoolboy Japanese feels uncomfortable using ぼく with someone I don't know well, much as I don't like using «tú» when I speak (rather better) Spanish with people I'm dealing with purely professionally, but I'm not sure if the two directly parallel. One of my old Japanese grammar books suggested dropping pronouns wherever possible, which I guess could get around the problem, but is that really the case?

Anyway, yeah, Mr. Children. I rather liked the single. The vocals weren't that interesting, but the instrumentation was very nicely done. I think they used it for a TV series.
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Re: J-music discussion: anyone interested?

Postby Kaori » Sun Apr 03, 2016 9:29 pm

ぼく... Well, since I'm a woman, I don't really have to worry about when to use it and when not. (Actually, I do sometimes use it when interpreting for a male speaker, or speaking from the perspective of a male, but of course I never use it to refer to myself.) I have things really easy when it comes to first-person pronouns because I am not interested in sounding girly, so I just use わたし all the time no matter what the situation is and only recently have started to be aware that there are occasionally some times when わたくし is called for.

The main thing that would keep the distinctions between わたし・ぼく・おれ from being a direct parallel to the Spanish «tú» and, uh, usted? is that there are a lot more choices in Japanese. I only listed some of the more common ones; there are at least three other first-person pronouns that can be used by men.

Japanese, I find, has a lot of extremely subtle shades of distinctions of politeness; they are confusing to me, and some of them are even confusing to native speakers. So ぼく can be used with 丁寧語(ていねいご), which is normal-polite form, ~です・ます endings, and I have heard exactly that combination a lot from the Japanese men that come to my workplace for business trips. That would not be as polite as using わたし and 丁寧語。 So I would say that for you to use わたし with someone you don't know very well and are speaking politely with would be a pretty safe choice and would come across just fine. But using ぼく does not necessarily imply that you are being casual/intimate. (Using おれ、 on the other hand . . .) So, I guess to answer your question, it really isn't a parallel to using «tú» in Spanish because ぼく can be used both with normal polite form and with plain form.

I want to tentatively say that maybe you would want to avoid using ぼく if you need to talk up to someone, e.g. you are talking to someone who is not on the same social level as you but is in a higher position, a boss or someone, but again, since when to use ぼく to refer to myself isn't a situation that I ever face, that's a fine distinction that I'm not too familiar with. It would at least be safe to say that you would not want to use ぼく if you are in a situation where you ought to be using けいご。

About avoiding pronouns, generally speaking, when you are being polite it's good to avoid personal pronouns as much as possible. That's more the case for second-person pronouns, though. If you're speaking to one person (not a group), then you would preferably use the person's name and an honorific (〇〇さん) OR by their title, with or without their name (先生・せんせい、部長・ぶちょう、課長・かちょう、主任・しゅにん、博士・はかせ、etc.) If the person you're talking to is someone you're not acquainted with, then you would use a title if you know what it is (e.g. 運転手さん・うんてんしゅさん = driver), or if you don't, then you can fall back on things like おねえさん、おにいさん、おばさん、おじさん、おばあさん、おじいさん。 I think the only case where it would really be necessary to use a second-person pronoun like あなた is if you are addressing a large group of people or in the case of song lyrics, like the song that I am posted, where of course the narrator does not know who is being addressed because it's the anonymous listener. And even in the case of addressing a group of people, it would probably be most common to address the group itself as みんなさん、 and something like あなた would only be used when the speaker wants to use a singular "you" to say something that is addressed to people individually (e.g. in a sermon). (I guess the other situation where people would use second-person pronouns would be in intimate relationships, like a boyfriend/girlfriend/spouse, but that is a different matter.)

First person pronouns, though--of course, since Japanese is speaker-oriented, it's usually understood that the subject of the sentence is the speaker unless it is clear from the context that you are talking about someone else, so quite frequently you can omit the first-person subject. There are also some times when you can use じぶん to get around the use of the first-person pronoun, for example, 「いつか自分の店を持つために、一生懸命働いています」 (いつかじぶんのみすをもつために、いっしょうけんめいはたらいています) was an example sentence used in my textbook. "I'm working hard in order to open my own store someday"--but instead of "my own" the speaker says "one's own," 自分の、 and it is understood to mean the speaker's own.

However, the main thing about first-person pronouns is that although it is good to avoid them when they can be avoided, it is neither necessary nor possible to avoid them all the time, and native Japanese speakers do use them regularly, so you should not feel like you are doing something wrong if you have to use first-person pronouns.
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Re: J-music discussion: anyone interested?

Postby shooraijin » Mon Apr 04, 2016 10:40 pm

Yes, «usted» would be the polite form in Spanish. But my personal pronoun doesn't vary for me regardless of my relationship to the other part(y|ies) in the conversation, so that distinction is obviously only a small part of Japanese's possible pronoun combinations ... thank you for the detail. Candidly dizzying but still fascinating. :)

Anyway, to get back on topic, I need to dig through my box'o'weird CDs and see what other J-music discs I have. I know I have others (that aren't merely anime soundtracks).
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Re: J-music discussion: anyone interested?

Postby Rusty Claymore » Tue Apr 05, 2016 10:08 am

I prefer to use わっし.

Next from me is Kalafina. People may be familiar with them from series such as Fate/Stuff and Aldnoah Zero. While once again I can't vouch for the actual meaning behind the lyrics, their music has that large feel to it that envelopes you as you listen. Great for college angst or jump-starting your imagination. The more I look into them the more anime they've themed: Madoka Magica, Black Butler, others I haven't watched. I've just been listening to the collection CD I bought my dad over and over. n_n/)
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Re: J-music discussion: anyone interested?

Postby KazeShiki » Tue Apr 05, 2016 2:25 pm

Kalafina! I've seen them live a couple times and even got their autographs. I love the harmony of their voices in their songs. Ongaku is the song that sold me on them. I honestly don't like their newer stuff as much. Pretty much all their Kara no Kyoukai songs are amazing though. If you like Kalafina, are you perhaps familiar with Fiction Junction? Basically Yuki Kaijiura is the mind behind both Kalafina and FictionJunction as the composer and the one who chose the vocalists for her music, so you will find similarities in the music.

But that's not my choice of introduction.

I obviously have to start with my favorite artist ever Nana Mizuki. Her concerts are just so epic, and her vocal strength is incredibly impressive, though that's to be expected since she's had over a decade of enka training. Whether you want exciting, cheerful, or beautiful, she can do it all. What I like most about her though is her personality. See my signature below, but she's a really inspiring person because of all the hardships she went through as a child which probably contributed to her being a super humble person despite all her popularity. Talking to fellow fans, I find she really does inspire a lot of people to better themselves. So that + amazing music = a very happy Kaze.
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Re: J-music discussion: anyone interested?

Postby Kaori » Tue Apr 05, 2016 5:53 pm

@Shooraijin: Oh yeah, I guess I was so fixated on whether the politeness level of ぼく or other pronouns match the politeness levels of «tú» and «usted» in Spanish that I failed to point out that ぼく and the other choices I mentioned are first-person, not second-. I just assumed that when you asked whether it were a parallel you were asking about the level of politeness compared to the Spanish casual/polite forms.

Candidly dizzying but still fascinating. :)

Welcome to my world. ;) "Dizzying" is a pretty good way to describe the endless complexities of Japanese.

On the subject of Kajiura Yuki, I recently found out that she is also one of the members of the band See-Saw (the band that did the opening and ending theme songs for .Hack//Sign). This makes sense because she is the composer for the .Hack//Sign soundtrack anyways, so she wrote the soundtrack and her band performed the OP/ED. Anyways, she seems to be involved in a lot of things.

And artists/composers that are involved with anime--it is often (not always) the case that if they are involved with some anime music, they're involved with a lot of anime music. That's true for my personal favorite J-pop singer, it's true for Kokia (she seems to have quite a few anime/game songs), and it's especially true for Mizuki Nana, who in addition to being a singer is also a voice actress who acts in anime (and seems to be more known in Japan as a voice actress).

Kaze, nice to see you, and may I just mention that I really love "Eternal Blaze"? Fantastic song.
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Re: J-music discussion: anyone interested?

Postby shooraijin » Tue Apr 12, 2016 8:27 am

Picked up Katamari Fortissimo Damashii on CD. That's not really this topic since it's more a VG OST, but it does allegedly have some J-pop artists on it.
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Re: J-music discussion: anyone interested?

Postby John_Smith » Thu Apr 14, 2016 6:28 am

Kaori wrote:
Although Kokia seems pretty well-known among the American subculture of people who like anime and manga, and she's been mentioned on CAA pretty frequently, I just recently started listening to her.

She has a voice that really appeals to Western tastes, and I don't mean that in a bad way at all (I also like her voice a lot). But a lot of Japanese singers have a nasal quality that is just not appealing to Americans, and Kokia's voice is not like that. Also, the fact that she is a Christian is really neat. I wasn't sure whether she was or not until I read the Wikipedia article that you linked, but just from listening to the album of hers that I have, I could perceive the Christian influence and was wondering whether she were a Christian.

I only have one of her albums, but "Daiji na mono wa mabuta no ura" and "Transparent" are my favorites of her songs so far.


So interestingly enough Kokia is one of the few Japanese artists who I wasn’t introduced to because of an anime. Instead, I came across one of her songs from youtube, which was used in a Chinese drama. Also, I hadn't seen anyone else talk about her, until I randomly decided to browse through the ‘What are you listening to?’ thread, yesterday.

Very, very rarely, do I translate lyrics, because I prefer to take to take the opportunity to interpret the emotion and meaning solely from the song itself. However, True Sound is such a song that inspired me to find a translation, and assumed her faith from that. But also, I think many an artist can also quite easily connect to the lyrics.


Rusty Claymore wrote: Kalafina

Wow, that’s pleasant and serene. Having watched Madoka, I presumed all their songs were heavier rock and with a hint of creepiness like Magia is. Not that these are bad qualities.

*listens to Kaze’s link*

…Yeah, a bit like that.


KazeShiki wrote:I obviously have to start with my favorite artist ever Nana Mizuki. Her concerts are just so epic, and her vocal strength is incredibly impressive, though that's to be expected since she's had over a decade of enka training. Whether you want exciting, cheerful, or beautiful, she can do it all. What I like most about her though is her personality. See my signature below, but she's a really inspiring person because of all the hardships she went through as a child which probably contributed to her being a super humble person despite all her popularity. Talking to fellow fans, I find she really does inspire a lot of people to better themselves. So that + amazing music = a very happy Kaze.


Congratulations, you earned Mizuki another fan.
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Re: J-music discussion: anyone interested?

Postby KazeShiki » Thu Apr 14, 2016 2:44 pm

John_Smith wrote:Congratulations, you earned Mizuki another fan.

Welcome to the Nana fandom ^_^
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Re: J-music discussion: anyone interested?

Postby Kaori » Fri Apr 15, 2016 8:04 pm

Thanks to everyone for the input! It's now the second half of April, so new artist, anyone?

Angela Aki, a J-pop singer and pianist, is interesting among other reasons because she is half-Japanese, half-Italian. After growing up in Japan she went to high school and college in the United States, so both her Japanese and English are excellent. Also I'm still unable to escape anime/game music, as she has notably sung "Kiss Me Goodbye" for FFXII and a cover of the FFVIII theme song "Eyes on Me." She also did a cover of "Honesty" by Billy Joel (in English) and was chosen to sing the Japanese version of Bob Dylan's "Knockin' on Heaven's Door," among other things. (All of these can be found in the YouTube list below.) So she has one foot firmly in each world, English music and Japanese.

There's a lot of Angela Aki that can be listened to online, but I want to particularly highlight 手紙 ("Letter," first song in the list I linked), which is a song that a Japanese friend of mine recommended to me. I thought this song was just okay the first time I listened to it . . . and then I read the lyrics and realized how profound it is. It's a song in which there is a back-and-forth between a 15-year-old young man who is feeling overwhelmed with troubles and writes a letter confiding in his older self and asking what to do. The adult self answers with a reply letter and shares his words of encouragement (side note: definitely "his," as this is another example of a female singer singing a song using the male pronoun ぼく). Overall very emotionally powerful, so I very much recommend looking at the lyrics while listening (just scroll down for the English).


. . . . . . . .

@shooraijin:

So, there was a Japanese guest at my workplace this week who at one point was doing one of those things where you start to say a sentence but you're not quite sure how you want to phrase it so you stop and start again a few times, and the interesting thing was that as he kept starting and stopping and restarting, he also was switching back and forth between ぼく and わたし. It was very endearing. :3 Anyways, I thought about this conversation and your question about those first-person pronouns when he did that.


shooraijin wrote:Picked up Katamari Fortissimo Damashii on CD. That's not really this topic since it's more a VG OST, but it does allegedly have some J-pop artists on it.

Actually, I hadn't particularly planned on excluding soundtracks. So far we've been squarely within the borders of rock and pop, but "J-music" logically could include any kind of Japanese music. On the other hand, there are other threads for "favorite video game music" and "favorite anime soundtrack" and so on. But on the other other hand, for example, would we allow Japanse composers of classical music but not, Kanno Yoko, who has mostly composed soundtracks but has also composed orchestral works? Or would we have to exclude The Black Mages (band) because of excluding video game music? There's also volcanoid: you can list composers who compose volcanoid, but volcanoid is also sort of its own category (BTW I am planning on introducing a volcanoid composer at some point.)

I think that what I would like is for the thread to stay focused on whatever person or people are the primary creator(s) of the music in question, whether it is a band or an artist or a composer, and to not merely list specific soundtrack albums. That should help keep the thread organized clearly (so that we don't have one person introducing "The soundtrack to GitS:SAC" and then the next person introducing "The soundtrack to Wolf's Rain," both of which are composed by Kanno Yoko) and also keep it distinct from the "What's your favorite anime/game soundtrack?" threads. Also, volcanoid is in, but human beings please (the composer, not "Hatsune Miku").

Anyways, re: Katamari Fortissimo Damashii, if there is a particular J-pop artist or composer whom you think is worthy of attention, by all means please feel free to introduce them.
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Re: J-music discussion: anyone interested?

Postby shooraijin » Sun Apr 17, 2016 8:53 pm

I wish I'd brought it on the plane! I'm on my way to foreign climes for a couple weeks, though I'll still be checking in here to clean out the spam and cast watchful eyes. Wikipedia has a few of the artists listed and some actually have some level of legitimate fame (Charles Kosei I'd actually heard of). Others appear to be specific to the album itself. It's very infectious, like the game.

the interesting thing was that as he kept starting and stopping and restarting, he also was switching back and forth between ぼく and わたし. It was very endearing. :3


Interesting. I wonder if his anxiety is trying to determine the social context and which pronoun is appropriate?
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Re: J-music discussion: anyone interested?

Postby John_Smith » Mon Apr 18, 2016 6:02 pm

Kanon Wakeshima

Some people may have heard of her from the ending theme of Vampire Knight, called Still Doll. Or like me, first heard her music from the WIXOSS series, killy killy JOKER and world's end, girl's rondo. I’m not linking, because while the songs themselves are fine, curse the youtube side bar. Those two songs were hard to find as it was.

She’s also a cellist, so naturally the instrument shows up in a lot of her songs.

This is a side note, but I love how Wikipedia describes her genre as “Baroque Pop” and “Neoclassical darkwave.” These are terms I’ve never heard mashed together like that.

shooraijin wrote:Katamari Fortissimo Damashii


I googled this and found this. Wasn't sure what to think, but I did like Lonely Rolling Star.
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Re: J-music discussion: anyone interested?

Postby KazeShiki » Mon Apr 18, 2016 10:07 pm

Kaori wrote:Angela Aki, a J-pop singer and pianist, is interesting among other reasons because she is half-Japanese, half-Italian. After growing up in Japan she went to high school and college in the United States, so both her Japanese and English are excellent. Also I'm still unable to escape anime/game music, as she has notably sung "Kiss Me Goodbye" for FFXII and a cover of the FFVIII theme song "Eyes on Me."

Ohhh Angela Aki. I haven't listened to much of her stuff, but I definitely know her best from Final Fantasy. I vaguely recall that fact about her being half-Italian since I was so impressed by her English at first. I love learning about bilingual Japanese singers.

Kaori wrote:I think that what I would like is for the thread to stay focused on whatever person or people are the primary creator(s) of the music in question, whether it is a band or an artist or a composer, and to not merely list specific soundtrack albums. That should help keep the thread organized clearly (so that we don't have one person introducing "The soundtrack to GitS:SAC" and then the next person introducing "The soundtrack to Wolf's Rain," both of which are composed by Kanno Yoko) and also keep it distinct from the "What's your favorite anime/game soundtrack?" threads. Also, volcanoid is in, but human beings please (the composer, not "Hatsune Miku").

Hmm well let me try to do a broad game music choice by introducing this, and we'll see how it goes. Falcom Sound Team JDK has been producing game music for Falcom for years. Possibly best known in the West for their Ys series, they took their music to the next level with the Kiseki series, especially the 2nd and 3rd games. The Kiseki games have only recently begun to get popular outside Japan due to localization issues, with the second chapter being released late last year. I've been working through them in Japanese, and the music is indeed fantastic, though I feel like after the 2nd and 3rd games, even "good game music" now feels underwhelming. Silver Will is probably my favorite. I will paraphrase my friend's words when he explained how Silver Will is used so sparingly in the series, that every time it plays, you know that the situation has gone full serious mode. As I've only just started Ao no Kiseki (the 5th game in this series), I'm not sure how the newer game music compares other than hearsay that it still has a good reputation or a few songs I've heard, but SC, the 2nd game, easily has my favorite collective OST of them so far. They also have concerts like this.
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Re: J-music discussion: anyone interested?

Postby shooraijin » Wed Apr 20, 2016 3:51 am

John_Smith wrote:
shooraijin wrote:Katamari Fortissimo Damashii


I googled this and found this. Wasn't sure what to think, but I did like Lonely Rolling Star.


Yep, that's the one. If you've played the game, you'll recognize that as one of the early level music tracks.
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Re: J-music discussion: anyone interested?

Postby Kaori » Wed Apr 20, 2016 6:32 pm

Thanks again, everyone, for the contributions.

shooraijin wrote:Interesting. I wonder if his anxiety is trying to determine the social context and which pronoun is appropriate?

I wouldn't say "anxiety," but he was trying to figure out what would be most appropriate in the social context, definitely.

For anyone still curious about this, I asked a Japanese friend (same one who introduced me to Angela Aki) about whether she thought the lyrics to "Watashi Igai Watashi Ja Nai No" are from a female or a gender-neutral perspective, and she said the narrator in that song is definitely female. In particular it's the phrases that end with the softening sentence-ending particle わ (wa) that set it apart as definitely female. So that's that.

She also commented that it's very common for male artists to write lyrics from a female perspective (I was familiar with the opposite case but not so much with this, probably because the majority of my Japanese music is sung by female singers, and the one male J-pop singer I listen to invariably writes from a male perspective).

Also, because I mentioned thinking (about the same song) that a male speaker wouldn't use わたし with informal language, only with formal language, she commented that わたし would be used for business situations and ぼく would be used with people that you're close with. That's kind of a broad generalization but is probably a pretty good guideline; "business situations" would be formal things like representing your company or speaking with a client and doesn't mean you have to use わたし when talking with your co-workers.

John_Smith wrote:I’m not linking, because while the songs themselves are fine, curse the youtube side bar.

For Wakeshima on YouTube, how about this? Try clicking on that and let me know if the sidebar content is still objectionable for you. I'm getting perfectly unobjectionable sidebar things, but it also has to do with my browsing history (I'm seeing Ceui, Utada Hikaru, and Angela Aki because I listened to them in the last few months).

This, by the way, is my first time hearing of Wakeshima Kanon, and although her voice itself doesn't strike my fancy, I do like what is going on with the combination of classical instruments and other sounds.

@Kaze: I haven't gotten a chance to listen to the pieces you linked yet, so I'll probably drop in again with a comment once I've done that.
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Re: J-music discussion: anyone interested?

Postby John_Smith » Thu Apr 21, 2016 10:49 pm

Kaori wrote:For Wakeshima on YouTube, how about this? Try clicking on that and let me know if the sidebar content is still objectionable for you. I'm getting perfectly unobjectionable sidebar things, but it also has to do with my browsing history (I'm seeing Ceui, Utada Hikaru, and Angela Aki because I listened to them in the last few months).


I applaud you for finding the very same video I was going to link too. It may depend on what counts as ‘objectionable.’ I see two links to shows that I know to be ecchi, and I preferred to play it safe.

Funny thing, I decided to clear my cookies and refresh the page… only for youtube to give the same videos, but in a different order. Same thing when I checked with my phone.

Kaori wrote:This, by the way, is my first time hearing of Wakeshima Kanon, and although her voice itself doesn't strike my fancy, I do like what is going on with the combination of classical instruments and other sounds.


Really? Did you find killy killy JOKER? Before I simply gave up because I wasn’t happy with the results I was getting for the other two, but I tried again and found it on jpopsuki. Why yes, that is a large rabbit playing poker.
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Re: J-music discussion: anyone interested?

Postby Kaori » Fri Apr 22, 2016 3:55 pm

KazeShiki wrote:Silver Will is probably my favorite.

Oh man, that is gorgeous. I was sold on that one within the first few seconds. By the way, I've heard good things about the music for the Y's series, too (though I am under the impression that those games, also, are much more of a big deal in Japan than in the States).

Just as a tidbit, here's something I read on the Japanese Wikipedia page for Falcom Sound Team JDK (which does not exist in English):

Japanese Wikipedia wrote:Although it is confusing that there is a "J.D.K. (jdk) BAND" that has the same "J.D.K. (jdk)" in its name, it is a completely different organization from "Falcom Sound Team jdk." J.D.K.BAND is a band that performs arrangements of Falcom music at concerts and so on; the band members are not employees of Falcom and do not compose game music.


I think anyone would be confused.

John_Smith wrote:I applaud you for finding the very same video I was going to link too.

I just pulled the kanji for her name from the Wikipedia page you linked and pasted it into the YouTube search box. Finding this kind of thing is always easier when you search in Japanese.

A couple of other things that could be causing the discrepancy in what we're seeing (today I am seeing different videos in the sidebar but still nothing really objectionable):

- I have my YouTube region set to Japan.
- Don't know about you, but when I am viewing YouTube I am logged in with my joint YouTube/Google/whatever account, and that's affecting what I'm seeing. Not that I think that you have a viewing history of ecchi videos. :p Probably the objectionable ones are just associated with other non-objectionable videos you have watched by the "If you like this, you might also like this" sort of association that YouTube does. Viewers who watched Wakeshima Kanon videos also watched ecchi maybe? I don't know.

John_Smith wrote:Did you find killy killy JOKER?

I hadn't, thanks. Nice strings in that song.
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Re: J-music discussion: anyone interested?

Postby KazeShiki » Fri Apr 22, 2016 11:33 pm

Kaori wrote:Oh man, that is gorgeous. I was sold on that one within the first few seconds. By the way, I've heard good things about the music for the Y's series, too (though I am under the impression that those games, also, are much more of a big deal in Japan than in the States).

Yeah I've heard good things about the music in the Y's series, but I'm not too familiar with it as I've only recently gotten into the Kiseki games and soundtracks. There have been timesI put Silver Will on loop and just listened to it for hours while I work on something.

Kaori wrote:Just as a tidbit, here's something I read on the Japanese Wikipedia page for Falcom Sound Team JDK (which does not exist in English):

Japanese Wikipedia wrote:Although it is confusing that there is a "J.D.K. (jdk) BAND" that has the same "J.D.K. (jdk)" in its name, it is a completely different organization from "Falcom Sound Team jdk." J.D.K.BAND is a band that performs arrangements of Falcom music at concerts and so on; the band members are not employees of Falcom and do not compose game music.


I think anyone would be confused.

That is confusing, but thanks for the info.
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Re: J-music discussion: anyone interested?

Postby Kaori » Mon May 02, 2016 9:52 am

New month, so the thread is open for new submissions. I'll go ahead and post the Volcanoid composer I had in mind, since that topic came up.

Sasakure.UK is a Volcanoid producer who makes electronic, chiptune-influenced music. One interesting point of his music is that he apparently animates the videos to his songs himself (quite skillfully), so to get the full experience you really have to watch the video, not just listen. Lyrics usually revolve around fables and science fiction.

Far and away my favorite so far is the light, jazzy, idと人類模型, with its electronica and chip-tune accents glimmering over the top of everything. And here's a long playlist featuring more of his music. He uses a variety of Volcanoid vocals, so your mileage may vary depending on which voice is being used in the song.
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