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ronald taylor
Japan Times
CULTURE / Music
Jan 21, 2022
A J-pop origin story set in SixTones
The six-member Johnny's act marks two years of many firsts such as appearing on the YouTube channel The First Take and working with established artists such as Yoshiki and Daiki Tsuneta.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Music
Sep 10, 2021
King & Prince eye J-pop’s throne
The Johnny's boy band explores English lyrics on its third album, “Re:Sense,' and embraces showing the more personal sides of its members on social media.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Music
Jul 24, 2020
JP The Wavy: 'The culture of hip-hop unites us'
The prevalence of hip-hop on social media has thrust rapper JP The Wavy at the forefront of Asia's changing millennial culture.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Music
Feb 19, 2017
Asako Toki presents a more modern take on city pop on 'Pink'
Asako Toki "Pink" (Rhythm Zone)
Japan Times
CULTURE / Music
Nov 27, 2016
Capeson mixes R&B with U.K. indie on 'Hiraeth'
Capeson "Hiraeth" (Tokyo Recordings)
CULTURE / Music
Oct 23, 2016
Guests shine on Utada's return album
Utada Hikaru "Fantome" (Universal Music Japan)
Japan Times
CULTURE / Music
Sep 18, 2016
'High & Low Original Best Album' lives up to its name with definite highs and lows
LDH, the company behind Exile, Sandaime J Soul Brothers and E-girls, seems to be on a mission to win the J-pop crown. Its latest salvo is themultimedia project High & Low, which consists of a drama, film, album and tour.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Music
Sep 18, 2016
'Uma' brings Suiyobi no Campanella onto the mainstream stage
A quirky mix of electronica and hip-hop has taken Suiyoubi no Campanella from indie darling to major label signee (and "SMAP x SMAP" guest) in the course of three years. Major label debut "Uma" doesn't quite match up to the group's final indie effort, "Zipang," but it still shows a lot of promise.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Music
Jun 19, 2016
Nogizaka46 "Sorezore no Isu" (N46Div.)
You could say Nogizaka46 was born to fight. Created by Yasushi Akimoto and billed as the "official rivals" to his breadwinning AKB48 outfit, the group overcame an adultery scandal in 2014 and made its debut on NHK's yearend "Kohaku Uta Gassen" music extravaganza in 2015. Meanwhile, coincidentally or...
Japan Times
CULTURE / Music
May 22, 2016
Seiho's rise out of the clubs results in 'Collapse'
Seiho Hayakawa knows how to work a room. After his show at Black Bear Bar in Brooklyn — a performance that saw him thrashing his long hair back and forth to electronic beats — the Osaka-born musician takes a walk through the crowd. He chats with the locals and poses for selfies. The overall...
Japan Times
CULTURE / Music
May 15, 2016
Akiko Yano reflects on how music has changed after 40 years in the business
What would a U.S.A. Day look like in Japan? There would need to be American food, like hamburgers, and some kind of technological wonder, like monster trucks! Now imagine Kate Bush shows up.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Music
May 15, 2016
Perfume's back with 'Cosmic Explorer,' but I still miss them
Perfume's fifth studio album, "Cosmic Explorer," starts off with a stunner. "Navigate," with its intricate electronic atmosphere and inspirational melody, creates the sense that one of Japan's most innovative groups is on course to discovering new sonic territory. Then, the EDM iceberg hits. The title...
Japan Times
CULTURE / Music
Apr 13, 2016
Sandaime J Soul Brothers hope to seal their 'Legacy' on latest album
Sandaime J Soul Brothers from Exile Tribe — "The JSB Legacy" (Rhythm Zone)
Japan Times
CULTURE / Music
Apr 3, 2016
Japan's indie acts make an impact in New York without the help of 'Cool Japan'
Music industry extravaganza South by Southwest (SXSW) is over and, as always, some of the Japanese acts were able to make it to New York while they were in the country.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Music
Mar 20, 2016
Bump of Chicken keeps things nice on 'Butterflies'
Bump of Chicken "Butterflies" (Toy's Factory)
Japan Times
CULTURE / Music
Feb 19, 2016
The only thing Gesu no Kiwami Otome. is guilty of is padding 'Ryoseibai'
Gesu no Kiwami Otome. (the full stop is included in the name) entered the year fresh off a Japan Record Award nomination and a solid debut on NHK's "Kohaku Uta Gassen," the country's defining music program. With the band's second album, "Ryoseibai," set for release in mid-January Gesu was in the middle...
Japan Times
CULTURE / Music
Jan 17, 2016
Rockers back number slide toward becoming the go-to band for TV drama theme tunes
back number "Chandelier" (Universal Music Japan)
Japan Times
CULTURE / Music
Nov 27, 2015
J Soul Brothers winning the boy band war
Sandaime J Soul Brothers from Exile Tribe were on track to have the highest-selling album of 2015 with "Planet Seven," when Arashi swooped in and released "Japonism" in October. Arashi may have won this battle of the boy bands, but looking at the entire year — Sandaime may have won the war.
CULTURE / Music
Nov 15, 2015
Arashi tugs at the patriotic heartstrings on 'Japonism'
Arashi "Japonism" (J Storm)
Japan Times
CULTURE / Music
Oct 18, 2015
Wagakki Band album works best when the rock is held back
Wagakki Band
 ”Yasou Emaki”
 (Avex Trax)

Longform

The Japanese government updated its English education guidelines in 2017 to emphasize communication over grammar and memorization. Public school teachers are incredibly busy, however, which means schools haven’t been able to implement changes uniformly. Private and alternative schools are attempting to remedy this.
The language of opportunity: Bilingual education is on the rise in Japan