Five recent reads on Japan’s music scene, from classical to electro-pop:

  • The popular New Year’s Eve “Kohaku Uta Gassen” music show will feature some notable first-time performances: Babymetal — who surely need no introduction? — and NiziU, a nine-member girl group formed via a joint project between South Korean and Japanese music label companies, NHK has announced.
  • During a year in which most international performances have been canceled or postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Vienna Philharmonic’s Japan tour took a considerable amount of effort to pull off, writes Chiho Iuchi, showing that where there’s a great amount of will, there’s a way.
First Contact: Album Trailer | LASTLINGS
First Contact: Album Trailer | LASTLINGS
  • In his latest Culture Smash column, Roland Kelts meets the half-Japanese, half-Australian siblings who comprise Lastlings. Having experienced relentless teasing while growing up in Australia, they explain how they took refuge in music and created their own blend of electro-pop.
  • Cuushe, aka Mayuko Hitotsuyanagi, has been releasing music from her record label home, Flau Records, since 2009, garnering attention both in Japan and overseas for her synth-laden dream pop and airy vocals. But as she explains to Rebecca Saunders for 20 Questions, her overseas fans tend to be a bit more vocal.
  • The final holdout may be about to give in: Japanese music enthusiasts, loyal to CDs long after the rest of the world went online, have begun reaching for the eject button and switching to streaming services as artists cancel in-store events and fans stay home because of the pandemic, Reuters reports.