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I made my first trip to Japan just over 10 years ago to see concerts by Morning Musume and AKB48, two of the country’s biggest idol-pop groups this century. What struck me most about the experience was the camaraderie among the fans, it was a closeness that was unlike anything I’d seen with Western pop music at the time. I recommend experiencing at least one idol show if you’re a music fan, and here are five acts worth checking out if you can:

Minyo Girls: Formed in 2015, Minyo Girls originated as a preteen enka-idol group whose aim was to represent Japan at the Tokyo Olympics in 2020. Their original material sounded like traditional folk music done in a more contemporary style, but recent releases have skewed more pop with hints of enka. Currently a 10-piece, their most interesting point is their use of traditional instruments.

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