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Deep in Tokyo’s indie music hub of Shimokitazawa, the twin venues of Three and Basement Bar often play host to some of the most diverse and offbeat expressions of Japan’s underground music culture.

Drifting between performances at both locations as part of the Mama’s Tattoo event this past summer, I saw everything from the avant-garde gothic-industrial vocal gymnastics of Dith to the more conventionally idol pop trio Avandoned, via the canine cabaret of Jon the Dog. As a one-night trip into music subcultures, Mama’s Tattoo was a success. But the event also serves as a fascinating showcase of the impact that women are having on the indie music scene.

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