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Japanese Pop Music
aka: J Pop

An umbrella term for certain music in Japan, with the genres it covers largely analogous to pop music in the US. Nicknamed "J Pop", it is most known to fans outside Japan for Idol Singers and that many such songs are often featured in Anime openings and endings due to alliances between certain animation studios and record companies (i.e. lots of Sony artists have tie-ins with shounen anime produced by Sony). That is to say nothing of the copious amounts of Gratuitous English that are a hallmark of the genre. Also note that many voice actors have singing careers too but most focus on the niche anison market and a rare few actually attempt to break into the mainstream market.

Japanese popular music until J-Pop truly "became" a genre was called kayokyoku ("Lyric Singing Music"). Kayokyoku usually didn't include Gratuitous English like many J-Pop bands. Kayokyoku continued to last until the 1980s. Artists of kayokyoku were heavily influenced by western jazz and rock n' roll.

A notable movement in kayokyoku in the late 1960s into the early 1970s is the "Group Sounds" movement. Influenced heavily by groups such as The Beatles, The Byrds, and other such groups, group sounds bands were characterized by their reliance on Psychedelic Rock and Baroque Pop influenced instrumentation and featured Bishonen lead singers usually, such as Kenji "Julie" Sawada from The Tigers.

The process of releasing singles & albums is usually the opposite of the way it works in the West: Instead of artists releasing albums, then singles from those albums, labels tend to release a steady stream of singles, then compile those (along with other tracks) into albums—sometimes many months after the original singles. This sometimes gives labels/artists the opportunity to create a separate "album mix" of those singles.

J-pop technically isn't a genre and only tells one where the artist is from. Some music fans get irritated by its treatment as a defined genre as it is really just regular pop, but happens to be Japanese. Same goes for J-rock, J-urban, J-metal and any other genre that has the letter j thrown in front of it to describe Japanese artists. Of course, the same can technically also be said of anime, manga, toku and the like. It's not as if we have a different word for Japanese video games. Except when concerning RPGS (JRPGS.)

Notable J Pop artists:

Alternative Title(s): J Pop