I was at my brothers for a cookout and ended up running my niece to the store. On the way there I was playing some J-pop and I was asked a simple and valid question. “Do you understand what they are saying?” I said yes and back came a reply “Do you really?” (My niece knows me too well.) I said no and was asked why I listen to it then. All I could come up with was that I liked the melody of the instruments and flow of the Japanese language.
My own answer got me thinking. Is J-Pop popular in America? Living in a smallish town with more farms than you would want to count, I was unsure. In my town you can buy Anime in the local Walmart, but it is the most popular ones. You would never find Fuuka in a local store. As for J-Pop records.. I have never even seen one in a music store. So I did some research to find an answer and here is what I found.
There is a place called The Hi-Dive. It is located in Denver, Colorado. The Hi-dive is a bar and stage with live music. I heard about them when I came across this article. A Primer on Japans Strange Fantastic Musical Exports . It talks about different Japanese bands playing there. However, all of them seem to be more of a mix of J-Rock than J-Pop, and other styles. So I didn’t get a real feel for how popular J-Pop is from them. That being said, what I found next surprised me immensely.
Pop singer Hatsune Miku was taking over America. For those of you who do not know, Hatsune Miku is a digital pop star. That’s right; she is not a real live person. Her voice is synthesized. I have heard her sing before (not in person unfortunately) and I can tell you she is amazing. She did a ten city tour back in 2016. You can check out the article about it here: Japanese pop star Hatsune Miku taking over America never mind shes not human
What I have found in my research is that J-Pop is not that popular in America. It does however have a growing fan base. I believe given time J-Pop will be very popular in America. Every year there is a J-Pop Summit in San Francisco. The site for it is here: http://www.j-pop.com/ . The summit is billed as a cultural festival to showcase the latest in music, fashion, etc. It is my hope that more “summits” are held around the USA. I would love to see a J-Pop song break the charts on the POP music Billboards.