Formed by the characters邦 (Kuni – country) and 楽 (Gaku – music); 邦楽 (hogaku) is the term used to indicate Japanese music.
Since the Meiji era with the introduction of western instruments, Japanese artists mixed traditional tunes with them. In this way, they’ve created something new that could be enjoyed both by old and new generations. With the opening of new venues in which people could drink, eat, and listen to music; in the whole country places like the 名曲喫茶 (Meikyoku-Kissa – famous-melody cafes) flourished for the happiness of the ones who couldn’t afford the expense for an audio system and the vinyl discs.
Reproducing mainly classical music; through the decades these cafes evolved into a vast number of different types such as ジャズ喫茶(Jazz-Kissa), 歌声喫茶 (Utagoe-Kissa), and many other ones.
Reaching all the social strata, thanks to these cafes a lot of genres became popular and new ones were created. Genres like Shibuya-Kei, Kawaii Metal, or Visual kei are renowned and beloved among Japanese people and extremely popular in the rest of the world. Strictly related to the anime and video games industries; it’s not uncommon for famous superstars “lend” their voices to sing theme songs.
In any case with hundreds of genres at our disposal; one of the most popular is without any doubt Citypop!
This kind of music is strictly connected with the Bubble Economy era. It’s the period between the 80s and the 90s, in which Japan was under the effect of a booming economy that placed the country at the first position among the major industrial nations of the world. Unfortunately, so much wealth cannot last forever. In fact, only 10 years after Japan encounter a big stagnation known as the Lost Decade…
The genre clearly reflects the spirit of an optimistic period where all was possible. At the very beginning, Citypop was called simply “new music”. Actually, the term “City” started to appear during the 70s< when the band Happy End’s released their best album entitled “City” and when they held their last concert “City-Last Time Around”. Thanks to this band the Japanese music scene has been enriched with a brand new style whose success continues unabated!
We share happiness!
Fascinated by lifestyle magazines like Popeye and by the college life of America. Citypop slowly but relentlessly made its way to capture the hearts of Japanese young people. And as the artist & producer Toshiki Kadomatsu remember, during the 80s “…there was an atmosphere in which new things were always being made. Citypop emerged in this stream, and the people who were listening were loving every minute”. Like a fine cocktail, it mixes funky, poppy, tropical, and urban rhythms. And this refreshing sound acquired more and more popularity. Especially thanks to the dynamic duo composed by Tatsurō Yamashita and his wife Mariya Takeuchi!
Continuing to reach the top ten of the most listened to songs; still nowadays titles like Plastic Love, Single Again, Genki wo Dashite & Iro White Blend dominates the Japanese pop culture appearing in commercials, movies, dramas, and obviously radio shows.
If you never heard these hits; you can fill this gap with the vinyl releases of Mariya Takeuchi.
Bringing us a massive dose of optimism, 80s style + Japanese pop-coolture. Each song is like a time machine that allows us to run out from our world, and to create new memories in which the past help to create an alternative future!
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