Patrick St. Michel
Patrick St. Michel is a Tokyo-based writer with a focus on Japanese music. He runs the blog Make Believe Melodies, which has focused on Japanese independent music since 2009. Besides The Japan Times, he also contributes to MTV 81 and The Atlantic.
For Patrick St. Michel's latest contributions to The Japan Times, see below:
Japan Times
Apr 3, 2023
Ryuichi Sakamoto, trailblazing musician and film composer, dies at 71
Ryuichi Sakamoto, an award-winning composer and member of pioneering electronic act Yellow Magic Orchestra, has died. He was 71 years old.
Japan Times
LIFE / Food & Drink
Apr 2, 2023
Lucky Pierrot’s anti-McDonald's approach makes it a Hakodate treasure
With an eclectic menu, eccentric decor and 35 years under its belt, Lucky Pierrot is a fixture of southern Hokkaido comfort food.
Japan Times
Apr 1, 2023
Planck Stars take their shenanigans on the road
The joke"s on the naysayers: The idol-pop band of pranksters goes global with a world tour.
Japan Times
Mar 24, 2023
Le Makeup gives himself a sonic glow up on 'Odorata'
The Kansai-based artist digs deep on his latest album, using sensory details as the backdrop for his self-reflection and exploring new sounds through rap collaborations.
Japan Times
LIFE / Digital / Japan Pulse
Mar 23, 2023
Tokyo gets on board the virtual YouTuber hype train
The local government"s move to recruit Gawr Gura, Mori Calliope and Miko Sakura to help promote tourism speaks to just how big the VTuber industry has become in Japan.
Japan Times
PODCAST / deep dive
Mar 15, 2023
Haruki Murakami’s new novel. Plus, allegations resurface in J-pop.
Celebrated author Haruki Murakami reveals the title to a new novel, “The City and its Uncertain Walls.” Also, the BBC puts out a documentary on J-pop titan Johnny Kitagawa.
Japan Times
CULTURE / TV & Streaming
Mar 4, 2023
'Aggretsuko' swansong urges youth to rage
The Netflix show"s fifth and final season turns its attention from workday dilemmas to death-metal outbursts aimed at the political state of modern Japan.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Music / Sound Off
Feb 25, 2023
Festival organizers hope to woo tourists with Lizzo, Blur and Kendrick
With Japan"s borders back open, major concerts have once again become a staple of the live ecosystem, and Fuji Rock and Summer Sonic are courting tourists to boost the festival industry.
Japan Times
Feb 23, 2023
Math rock act Jyocho provides a cheerfully chilling soundtrack to new Junji Ito series
The quartet brings its unique blend of frenzy and sweetness to horror artist Junji Ito"s new macabre Netflix series.
Japan Times
LIFE / Digital / Japan Pulse
Feb 11, 2023
Minami Minegishi: AKB48’s tear-stained pioneer
One J-pop idol’s shocking show of penance in 2013 foreshadowed the price of fame on the internet.
Japan Times
Feb 10, 2023
Shin-Okubo's Bacon serves up DJs and design
As the owner, interior designer and event organizer of the new music venue, Jae Won Koo brings a taste of Seoul and his family business to Tokyo"s nightclub scene.
Japan Times
Feb 6, 2023
‘Sakura’ musician Masa Takumi wins Grammy for best global music album
The 44-year-old creator, who won for his fifth full-length solo album, is the first Japanese artist to ever win the category.
Japan Times
Feb 3, 2023
Lizzo, Foo Fighters and The Strokes top Fuji Rock’s 2023 lineup
The premier summer festival will also feature names such as Weezer, Yo La Tengo and Denzel Curry, underlining the event’s return to showcasing non-Japanese acts.
Japan Times
LIFE / Digital / Japan Pulse
Feb 2, 2023
‘Sushi terrorism’ chips away at Japan’s harmonious reputation
It may have taken longer than other countries, but it turns out Japan is just as susceptible to the spread of social media-induced clout-chasing behavior as anywhere else.
Japan Times
LIFE / Lifestyle
Jan 28, 2023
Why Kyoto's 8-bit music artists call this humble cafe 'home'
It may look like any other retro arcade bar, but Cafe La Siesta means so much more to the artists who got their starts there.
Japan Times
Jan 26, 2023
What does 2023 look like for J-pop?
As virtual YouTubers give music a go, Japanese artists will seek out fresh inspiration from burgeoning music scenes in Asia as well as popular beats from farther afield.
Japan Times
Jan 15, 2023
Electronic music pioneer Yukihiro Takahashi of YMO dies at 70
Yukihiro Takahashiu2019s output for Yellow Magic Orchestra would go on to influence early New York rappers and techno acts from Detroit and the U.K.
Japan Times
Jan 6, 2023
J-pop vocalist Chara is ready to bloom again
Taking her cue from an ancient blossom, the singer returns with her new single, u201cAu00b7Ou00b7U.u201d
Japan Times
LIFE / Digital / 2022 in Review
Dec 29, 2022
Kizuna AI's departure marked a new era for virtual stars in 2022
Fans were shocked when the pioneering digital character stepped down in February, but virtual YouTubers are still proving to be one of Japan's strongest pop culture exports.
Japan Times
CULTURE / TV & Streaming / 2022 in Review
Dec 24, 2022
Everything old became new again on streaming platforms in 2022
This year, programming typically associated with traditional broadcasting u2014 variety shows, dramas and anime u2014 flourished on streaming platforms.


Hideo Shimoju points to a possible site that his fellow neighbors may relocate to. Such relocations have happened before, but not preemptively.
In disaster-prone Japan, some communities consider major moves