Looking for music recommendations

So, I’m looking for ideas of Japanese music to listen to, but I’m not sure how to look. I’m old enough (nearer 50 than 40) that most modern music doesn’t really do it for me anymore, sad to say, Western or otherwise. I don’t have the skills to find things more suitable in Japanese though. Cross language doesn’t seem to be a thing with music recommendation sites, at least not that I’ve found. So I’m hoping someone more in the know might be able to point me in useful directions.

So, mostly what I listen to is classic rock (Eagles, Fleetwood Mac, that kind of stuff) and folk rock. I like acoustic music, singer/songwriter stuff as well. I had my teenage years in the 80’s, but while I view the music of that era with a certain nostalgic fondness, I don’t listen to it much anymore. I have a few anime soundtracks from the 80’s/early 90’s though.

I really like/am looking for music with strong melodies and harmonies, especially vocal harmonies. I have no idea if Japan ever went through a phase where such things were popular, or if there was a niche somewhere along the way that included influences, but I’d love to find out.

Anyway, any pointers would be welcome. Thanks!


Ningen Isu
Kazuki Tomokawa


I listen to mostly upbeat pop-y Japanese music that you’d probably hate, but I think Kokia is kind of folky. Here’s one of my favorites of hers.

She even did a cover of a song by Simon and Garfunkel.


I’ve been trying to rack my brain to think if I’ve heard anything around that.

Best I can say is use Spotify, Apple Music (maybe Pandora, or Amazon music, I don’t know about them, I don’t use those two.) You’re able to like/dislike songs and it tries to find something you like. It may take a few hours of disliking or liking before it starts to get an idea of what you’re into.

As far as Eagles, Fleetwood Mac I’ve always kind of considered them easy listening. In that case… Try Gesu no kiwami otome, Dadaray, Indigo la end (They have some hardish tracks but for the most part I use them to chill out and relax)

I’m in my early thirties and grew up with Fueled by ramen artists (what can I say they all get me). Hope I could help at least a little bit…

You might like Kalafina?
This is one of my favourites of theirs.


The problem is the language jump. I’ve done a lot of music mining with those systems, but I’ve found it really rare for them to jump from one language to another. Sometimes a translated cover, but that’s as far as you get, mostly. I think all the algorithms assume you want to stay in the source language. So finding music in Japanese using those sorts of tools generally doesn’t work. At least, hasn’t worked for me.

But thanks for the idea.

I was listening to a bunch of Japanese music on Apple Music a while ago, and it suddenly started playing a song in Hebrew. I think that’s the only time it’s ever jumped languages on me…

In your case, you just have to find one or two of our recommendations you actually like and then let these algorithms take it from there.


Yup. That’s the plan! If I can get just a few good seeds, I can then explore outwards.

I was getting that at first. I just kept overloading it with Japanese music, eventually it stopped doing that. The most I get is a Japanese rock band that’s made the switch to English music, that’s the only Band it does it for.

Spotify specifically now, has all my recommended music bundled by language. Looking at it now, I have English, Japanese, Spanish, Korean. The first three it actually has multiple genres broken up. It maybe the fact that I rarely listen to music in one language for long it’s gotten used to it.

Good Luck in your search!

Exactly. I figure once I get a few recs from people here, I can use them to find new stuff. But getting that first link has defied me so far.

But a lot of what people are recommending are hitting the mark, or at least promising. It takes a long time to sample music. I’m just going to set up a few stations with the recs above and see where it takes me.

Thanks all!


Got a couple if you wanna give them a try:

BAND-MAID: (very strong vocals with a powerful rock&roll vibe, oozing with passion)

Babymetal (this song is my personal favorite):

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Odd name, but try giving Glim Spanky a listen. Very 60s inspired rock.

Utada Hikaru’s Deep River. Truly a beautiful song.

Sorry for the double post. I don’t want to edit history. Anyway, I came across Yuming Ballad over a decade ago and think about them from time to time. I wasn’t able to find the discography I listened to, but I did find a playlist on YouTube. Maybe this is your taste?

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Here is a little list of things you may like,

If you like classic rock,

1980s classic

None of them are sung in Japanese but are still Japanese. The last one being a UK/Japan fusion.

Hope you enjoy.

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Give Susumu Hirasawa’s work a try. He worked on the soundtrack to a lot of Satoshi Kon’s films, but also has an extensive solo discography and an even more extensive discography (a few hundred albums strong) as a member of the band P-MODEL.

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This might make you giggle. They have a lot of original songs if you like the okinawan traditional style. I love them. Come back to me if you want more of the stuff :smiley:

Additionaly, you should try typing City Pop in youtube, that’s the name of the 80s anime music style you might be referring to. Here’s a link to a short youtube playlist I’ve made, pretty much a few basics of the genre https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLFl-QZvQQFrGu2XSO03N8-5lo1BNKLAas

It’s not exactly folk rock, but you might want to give 森田 童子 a try:
A Boy (full album)

I think it’s simply beautiful. And the lyrics are rather easy to understand (well, I guess for someone with a better knowledge of Japanese than me).

Some Japanese City Pop from the 80’s?

In this mixtape:
Chakra - Free [3:36]
Casiopea - Take me [8:26]
Takako Mamiya - Tasogare wa Ginpaku no… [12:50]
Taeko Ohnuki - Summer Connection [17:19]
Tomoko Aran - ひと夏のタペストリー [21:48]
Takako Mamiya - Mayonaka no Joke [26:33]
Toshiki Kadomatsu - If you… [31:13]
Miharu Koshi - さりげなくジンジャーエール [35:05]
Tatsuro Yamashita - Bomber [40:44]
Taeko Ohnuki - からっぽの椅子

シシドカフカ is a good start. You can explore many bands from there.