I am currently duck taped to a kitchen chair, my mouth stuffed with a sock worn by Offspring #1 during a track meet from the weekend, my hair piled in the sloppy bun most favored by Offspring #2 for not bothering eyes, with directives from my various familial captors to “write a post on J-Pop or you’ll never see your J. Crew boyfriend jeans in one piece again…” Their suggestions as to a blog post on this pop culture topic have been ignored on several occasions given my disinterest in the topic of pop music thus the angry mob felt imprisonment their only recourse. Until I complete this daunting tome on Japanese pop music, I’m confined to the kitchen by this mutinous, attention seeking pirate crew, bound and gagged, unable to drink coffee or interact with anyone unless it can be accomplished via this computer. The messages in your in-box box with a subject header of “Help” are not a hoax.
J-Pop- the shortened form of “Japanese Pop” is a fascinating version- to some- of pop music in Japan. About which I was mercifully oblivious until my incarceration in the kitchen. Although inspired by the Beatles, not until the early 1990s did this genre emerge with its own name. J-Pop uses a special style of pronunciation that mimics English. Traditional Japanese music forms don’t contain sol and la (remember from fa sol la ti do fame? “Sound of Music”) however, J-Pop does. I didn’t know one could actually sing without using the major second.
All though none of us are fans of the genre, we watch with rapt attention the trappings of the show as this is part of the pop culture of Japan.
J-Pop bands are ubiquitous as the music market is the second largest in the world behind the US. Large trucks drive through Tokyo playing the latest hits.
Most quickly adopted Britney’s signature look en masse. Each girl group contains 5-20 girls, all dressed the same. CUTE is the signature look.
Some are starting to break with the traditional tried and true school girl look to show alittle leg- although a dusting of powder masks the legginess and keeps it sedate.
When viewed sideways it sounds like this:
Unfortunately for the J-Pop crew, the marketing savvy K-Pop crowd is a group of street fighters. The Korean Pop stars. These teenagers are hand-picked as kids by handlers, trained in voice and dance, and earn their stripes on tour in Korea and Japan. Once fully trained, the K-Poppers cross over to the US market where they and the male models lose the cute, some clothing, and join forces with the true titans of Pop- Disney stars and Justin Bieber.
And the guys:
Of course there are other genres emerging as well- J-Indie, J-Alternative etc….Based on traditional Japanese music- which is VERY different from Western music of all genres – it appears music in Japan has undergone quite a transformation in the last 50 years. But I’ll leave that for other bloggers- with musical expertise- to cover.
Now- if I’m not out of this chair in 15 minutes, I’m not doing any laundry or cooking for week.