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Ian Martin

Ian Martin is a freelance writer covering music and pop culture. He has been active in the Tokyo music scene as an indie event organiser, DJ and label owner since 2004 and has been contributing to The Japan Times music page for almost as long.

For Ian Martin's latest contributions to The Japan Times, see below:

| Feb 26, 2017

Music venue Three tries to up its numbers

Tokyo’s independent live music scene has always been somewhat dysfunctional. Complaints from performers about the prevalence of the ubiquitous pay-to-play ticket quota system — in which bands need to guarantee a minimum number of customers — have gone way past outrage and into the ...

| Jan 29, 2017

Happier times in the era of Tetsuya Komuro

A 58-year-old Japanese man with a dyed blond mullet in a thick, woolly sweater hunches over a series of a dozen keyboards. With a casual confidence his fingers trip through a few bright, up-tempo chords. There’s something familiar about the sound — a nostalgia ...

The best of Japanese indie in 2016

| Dec 25, 2016

The best of Japanese indie in 2016

While the J-pop mainstream seemed in 2016 to have finally and irreversibly consummated the awkward courtship of streaming technology, the year was business as usual for the basement-dwellers of the indie and underground scenes. And as usual, the result was a raft of terrific ...

A reading list for Japan's music scene

| Nov 27, 2016

A reading list for Japan's music scene

Sometime in the spring of 2014, a friend of mine who works for a small publishing company asked if I would write a book about the Japanese music scene for him. “Sure,” I told him, “I’ll have it ready in six months.” It’s now ...

Injecting a little music into Japanese politics

Aug 7, 2016

Injecting a little music into Japanese politics

“Let’s not put politics into music.” This seemingly innocent phrase rose to prominence in June as a lightning rod for social media protest against the appearance of student political leader Aki Okuda at the Fuji Rock music festival. It also taps into a popular ...

Afrirampo leads 'Zero Generation' into adulthood

Jun 26, 2016

Afrirampo leads 'Zero Generation' into adulthood

Anarchic, anything-goes garage-punk band Afrirampo is defined first and foremost by feelings: The feelings that drive the duo as artists and the feelings they evoke in audiences. As the band returns to the live circuit after a six-year absence, guitarist Mayumi “Oni” Saeki is ...

| Jun 26, 2016

Wrapping up a musical trip across Japan

When I first embarked on my attempt to visit every prefecture in Japan and learn about the local indie music scene in each one, the idea that I would be able to draw any meaningful generalizations from the adventure seemed ludicrous. The music scene ...