After bursting onto the Japanese music scene in 2019, it’s perhaps no surprise that Yoasobi was picked to write the driving theme tune to “Oshi no Ko,” an anime set within Japan’s entertainment industry. The song, “Aidoru” (or “Idol”), also looks set to become the defining J-pop single of the year — an encapsulation of strategies that have helped push Japanese acts onto overseas music charts.

Yoasobi, a duo comprising two musicians known as Ikura, 22, and Ayase, 29, say the anime’s story hits close to home.

“Being in the industry, there are two sides to it — one is in the light, one is in the shadows,” vocalist Ikura (real name Lilas Ikuta) tells The Japan Times from a spacious photo studio befitting a modern-day idol. “There are a lot of unseen struggles the public doesn’t know about.”