Japanese music can be hard to find, particularly if you do not speak or read Japanese. However, there are some ways for you to find out more and access it within the U.K., other than this site of course! If you know of another place to get information, feel free to use the contact page to let me know and I will add it to this page.
J-Melo (NHK World)
J-Melo is a TV show, hosted by May J, which aims to show off Japanese music to the rest of the world (their catchphrase). The general format of the show is a general overview of current hits, moving to focus on a specific artist. Sometimes the show focuses on an area or event in Japan, showing it gives a range of information about the Japanese music scene. What I love about the show is it purposely covers all range of genres, so it is always worth watching.
The show is entirely in English, spoken or subtitled, with the channel being on Virgin Media (Channel 625), Sky (Channel 507), and Freeview (Channel 209). Or simply watchable on the NHK website online! Click here for more information.
An event in London in July and November. As you can imagine from the title, this event covers all things Japan. This includes music! A couple of Japanese artists perform at this event on the Hyper Live stage, or J-Culture Showcase. It is also worth noting the artists may put on extra shows around the time while they are here so it is always good to keep an eye on the artists announced. Click here for more information.
A record label based in the U.K., focused on selling Japanese music. Their catalogue features a range of artists of different genres, expanding all the time. I would recommend liking their facebook page or following their twitter to keep up to date with their future releases. Their cd’s are stocked on Amazon and HMV, plus they sell on their website and at events such as Hyper Japan and London MCM Expo. Click here for more information.
JaME is a music news website that focuses on Japanese music. The articles are avaliable in many languages, and have extra features such as interviews and so forth. It is definitely worth a follow as they will inform you of when artists are touring the U.K. and new releases! Click here for more information.
The Japanese Music Experience (Facebook Group)
If you have facebook, there is a group that talks about anything Japanese music related. It is a great way not only to find out about new artists but also talk to others about it as well! Click here for more information.
You’re probably thinking, Anime? You serious? Yes. Unlike in the west, Anime opening themes are rarely made just for the show. They tend to be general songs that are put in for promotion. So if you really like an anime opening or ending, look up the artist! Some long running series do compilations of the songs used, so it is always worth noting if you do find yourself jamming to them while you watch!
An easy one to miss. Although not all of it is avaliable due to licensing restrictions, you can find most artist’s music videos. The other problem is you need to know the Japanese symbols of some artists, as putting it in English does not always work. Generally, if you know of an artist is allows you to listen to them for free. There is a trend of putting a random silence or like a extra scene to interrupt the music, presumably to stop people downloading it, but it is not always the case.