A Japanese Wave: Examining Japanese Popular Music in the West and its Influence on Western Popular Music

Date

2023-05

Authors

Hutcheson, Kyle

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Abstract

Beginning with the “British Invasion” in the 1960s and continuing throughout the 1990s, Western popular music from both the United Kingdom and the United States made its way to Japan and became immensely popular, essentially shaping the Japanese popular music industry into what it is today. However, several decades out from this phenomenon, with ample time for Japanese musicians to have developed their own styles and genres, and with the increasing globalization of the world in recent decades, is it possible that the reverse is occurring with Japanese popular music becoming increasingly popular in the West? In this thesis, I aim to describe the extent to which Japanese popular music has influenced Western musicians, especially within the past several years. With a focus on three genres that have their roots in Japan, namely chillhop (also known as lo-fi hip hop), city pop, and Japanese noise music, I examine both sonic and visual traits (specifically regarding things like album art and/or music videos) within these genres and connect them to similar traits that have emerged more recently within Western popular music. As this phenomenon of Japanese popular music influencing Western popular music is still in its infancy, the scale at which Western musicians have actually been influenced is still somewhat small, but there is also the possibility that as time goes on, further scholarly attention on this topic, especially focusing on different musical genres, may yield different or potentially greater results.

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Keywords

music, popular, Japan, western

Citation

Hutcheson, K. (2023). A Japanese wave: Examining Japanese popular music in the west and its influence on western popular music. Honors College, Texas State University.

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