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There are many factors to keep in mind when trying to break into the Japanese music industry as a non-Japanese person. One that might be easy to overlook but ultimately rings true: You’re going to have to work hard.

“I wouldn’t say Japan or Tokyo is welcoming. Nobody is going to be like, ‘Oh, you’re a foreign person who wants to work in music! Here’s a bunch of money and contacts. Do you need anything else?'” says Ricky Wilson, manager of independent idol group Necronomidol. “But if you really want to do it, you can pull it off.”

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