What is J-Pop, and What are Its Artists?

J-pop is one of the modern music genres in the Asia-Pacific region. It has been widely distributed since a long time ago (the initial existence of such a genre, in fact, preceded that of J-rock). Its development, however, was mostly shaped in the past 10 years since the dawn of this millennium, right after the emergence of DVD and Internet culture.

J-Pop Definition

What is J-Pop? The term is used to describe popular songs in Japan. The term first entered the mainstream in the 1990s and has since become synonymous with many types of music. Its roots can be traced to rock and pop music from the 1960s.

The early 1970s saw the emergence of New Wave groups and were a crucial influence in the development of modern J-pop songs. In the late 1980s, the term replaced “kayokyoku” in the Japanese music scene. It became a cliché in Japanese media to distinguish Japanese music from foreign sounds.

The concept of J-pop has a long and varied history. The modern version of the genre has been influenced by Chinese immigrant jazz musicians who fled from Shanghai during the communist takeover and collaborated with U.S.-occupied forces.

The U.S. has also adopted J-pop, and it has become popular in Europe and the U.S. However, it has been a relatively new trend, thanks to the internet. While many Japanese bands tour Asia, some even go to Australia.

The term J-pop was introduced to Japan in the 1980s and soon became a blanket term for other genres of music. It replaced “kayokyoku”, a word used for Japanese pop music from the 1920s to the 1980s.

Later, J-pop was adopted by other countries to separate J-pop from foreign styles. Nowadays, it is a global phenomenon. Besides influencing different cultures, the type, and name of the genre have inspired other countries to adopt the class and use it as a template for their music.


J-Pop History and Origins

J-pop roots are believed to be Chinese jazz musicians who escaped Shanghai during the communist takeover and collaborated with U.S. forces to introduce a new genre to the Japanese public. The Communist Party denounced popular music as decadent in 1949 and focused on Chinese revolutionary songs. Pop and folk music continued to be suppressed, but the Japanese embraced it as a form of art.

The rise of the city pop movement in the 1970s was another significant development in J-pop history. The 1980s saw the rise of the singer-songwriter as the singer-songwriter. However, the emergence of new music in Japan also impacted the genre’s evolution. The term “City Pop” became common in the late 1980s, while “New Music” has a similar meaning. The term J-pop has since become commonplace.

Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, Japanese popular music began to move away from traditional styles. The popularity of rock music grew, and rockabilly was reintroduced to the mainstream. This new style of the genre, often referred to as “j-pop“, was first produced by the group Yellow Magic Orchestra. In the 1980s, the group influenced the popularity of pop music in Japan. It was also the first band to introduce American-style rock music.

Seiyuu (voice actors in Japanese anime) gained popularity in the 1970s. The same happened to singers who had made their debut in the J-pop scene. Although this style of music was born from the anime culture, its roots go back to pre-war Japan. The history of J-pop music includes a variety of artists. For instance, the 1980s saw the introduction of the subgenre.

J-pop genre

J-Pop Groups and Singers

The list of popular J-Pop groups and singers varies from country to country. It includes Aya Ueto, Kou Shibasaki, Jackie Chan, and many more. Voters decide the order. Bump of Chicken is one of the most popular groups, and their songs are fast and metaphorical. The following are some best-selling albums in Japan. Listed below are some of the most popular J-Pop Groups and Singers.

The group Perfume, formed in 2000, resembles the f(x) band from the U.S. Their sound is reminiscent of CNBLUE and FTISLAND, although they were not widely recognized until 2011. Their hit song “Polyrhythm” was included in Pixar’s “Cars 2“. They represented Japan at the 2011 Asian Song Festival in Daegu. Another group that has enjoyed international success is ONE OK ROCK, whose sound is similar to CNBLUE, DAY6, and FTISLAND. The members of this band sing in both English and Japanese.

In Japan, the electro-pop duo FEMM is considered the most popular J-Pop act. Their name is derived from Louis Armstrong‘s nickname, “Satchmo“. Their music is heavily concept-driven. The group has released two albums and has gained international attention for their single “Eye of a Mannequin“. They are the only group to bring western influences to J-Pop.


Japanese pop is more like a general umbrella term for the wide range of musical genres in Japan. Since music and dancing are both popular pastimes, there is no shortage of musical groups or soloists in Japan. This can lead to some confusion or overlap from time to time when comparing one band to another.

Most J-Pop comes from Tokyo, but the genre tends to flourish throughout the entirety of Japan. Major television networks have dedicated programming blocks to showcase this genre, and there are even several radio stations based solely on J-Pop.