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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:

Kate Sikora carves out a space in Tokyo's indie scene

Music Oct 31, 2018

Kate Sikora carves out a space in Tokyo's indie scene

Kate Sikora is an odd sort of import. Brought up in New Jersey, cutting her musical teeth as a student on New York's live circuit and self-releasing her first album there in 2005, most of her musical career has nonetheless been carved out among the ...

Music | STRANGE BOUTIQUE 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 realm ...

Music | STRANGE BOUTIQUE 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

Music | STRANGE BOUTIQUE 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

Music | STRANGE BOUTIQUE 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 2½ years ...