Ryotaro Aoki

For Ryotaro Aoki's latest contributions to The Japan Times, see below:

Guitarist Inoran gets personal on 'Beautiful Now'

Aug 27, 2015

Guitarist Inoran gets personal on 'Beautiful Now'

Kiyonobu Inoue, more commonly known as Inoran, is a very busy man. Aside from his day job, in which he plays to sold out arenas as a guitarist for rock band Luna Sea, he juggles being a producer, playing in a handful of other ...

Industrial-metal act Godflesh teams up with Daymare for tour

Jul 14, 2015

Industrial-metal act Godflesh teams up with Daymare for tour

Often cited as influencing acts such as Ministry and Nine Inch Nails, as well as post-metal bands from the 2000s like Isis and Pelican, industrial metal band Godflesh are coming to Japan for a three-city tour from this Friday. The shows are being staged ...

City pop revival is literally a trend in name only

Jul 5, 2015

City pop revival is literally a trend in name only

City pop is the latest trend to hit Japan’s indie-music scene. Well, not the musical style, just the words. The term was originally used to describe an offshoot of the emerging Western-influenced “new music” of the 1970s and ’80s. “City pop” referred to the ...

Pirokalpin gets a taste of the majors and opts for indie

May 29, 2015

Pirokalpin gets a taste of the majors and opts for indie

Getting signed to a major label is a goal many bands aspire to, but what happens when your contract ends halfway through the making of your sophomore LP? You start your own label and put it out yourself. That is what guitar pop band ...

Awesome City joins a major club

Apr 24, 2015

Awesome City joins a major club

Bassist Takumi Matsuzaka had a clear plan in mind when he launched his band, Awesome City Club, in early 2013. “From the start I knew I wanted it to be two girls and three guys, and we’d play the songs at slower, danceable tempos,” ...

CQ will take you to the world's end

Apr 3, 2015

CQ will take you to the world's end

Music genres can sometimes be helpful guidelines for a band, but they can also end up being an albatross around a musician’s neck, especially if they’re part of your group’s moniker. Just ask Hiroshi Sasabuchi, drummer for rock band CQ and formerly of Tokyo ...

Negoto's 'Vision' sees beyond genres

Mar 17, 2015

Negoto's 'Vision' sees beyond genres

It’s an origin story that sounds like something out of a coming-of-age film: On a whim, four friends decide to enter a battle of the bands-style competition; not necessarily to get signed or to “make it,” but to have something fun to do together ...

Perseverance wins Ningen Isu an encore

Jan 20, 2015

Perseverance wins Ningen Isu an encore

Kimonos and heavy metal. It’s a combination that few groups have pulled off convincingly. While the aesthetic may have been used last year to turn (or bang) more than a few heads in the West by heavy metal idol unit Babymetal, the tiny trio ...

Rock, J-pop and dance: Albums we liked in 2014

Dec 16, 2014

Rock, J-pop and dance: Albums we liked in 2014

The year-end album charts in Japan have a tendency to prop up the same acts year after year: Exile, anything that ends in a “48,” and almost every group from the Johnny & Associates stable of boy bands. Writers at The Japan Times, however, ...