Veritable business machines, j-pop groups fuel the music industry in Japan. Boy and girl bands are taking over the Japanese media to the delight of their millions of fans.
For good reason, these artists are overseen by super talent agencies that have the power to transform them into multitasking stars (singers, dancers, actors, models).
AKB48, Morning Musume, Arashi… who are these Japanese music groups that are causing hysteria and scandal in the archipelago and even internationally? Here it is 15 Absolutely Unmissable J-Pop Bands.
1. morning musume ?♀️
Born in 1997, from a hook show on Japanese television, Morning Musume is at the origin of the success of the young, fresh and innocent idols of the late 90s. The teenage band is led by Tsunku, the creator of the Hello project, which also included girl groups C-ute and Berryz Koubo. Since their formation, Morning Musume has had at least 40 stars regularly replaced as soon as they reach their twenties. Note that it is the fans who choose the new members. Morning Musume enjoyed huge success since 1999 with the hit Love Machine and exploded with their first Best of in the 2000s. More than twenty years after their debut, the group is still very popular in Japan.
two. AKB48 ?
Considered the biggest Japanese girl band, AKB48 now brings together no less than 86 singers with a sexy schoolgirl look, divided into 5 teams. Formed in 2005, the ever-changing J-pop group has distinguished themselves by being close to their audience. AKB48’s national idols are based in the Akihabara district, they even have their own theater where a team performs every night. With 160 million profits in 2020, 4 times more than our beloved Lady Gaga, the group breaks all records. If AKB48 is a true phenomenon in Japan, perhaps it is partly thanks to their fans, mainly men, who support their favorite idols at all costs 😉
3. 46 ??
Created in 2011 by Yasushi Akimoto, the rival group AKB48 is made up of 36 girls. His name Nogizaka46 refers to the location of his last audition at Sony Music Japan and sounds like a challenge to his opponents. Like the latter, idols string commercials, TV shows, clips, and other marketing events. Their popularity continues to grow and they collect the top positions on the charts. So, are you ready for the Nogizaka 46 vs AKB48 battle?
Four. sakura gakuin ?
This idol group created in 2010 is made up of 8 (very) young people from 12 to 16 years old. The concept ? Reproduce school life through a group of little singers who dance in uniform. Sakura Gakuin also consists of many theme-based subgroups of after-school activity clubs, which are very popular in Japan. Also, the famous Babymetal trio comes from the Heavy Music club. Upon finishing college, the girls get a diploma and must leave the group. Yes, that’s the rule!
5. babymetal ?
If you mix the explosiveness of metal with the directness of three lovable Japanese idols, you get a unique genre: kawaii metal. Babymetal is a group formed in 2010 by three young women nicknamed Su-metal, Moametal and Yuimetal. A surprising mix of J-pop and heavy metal, the group made a name for themselves thanks to their single Doki Doki Morning. Three years later, Babymetal and its Gothic Lolita are all the rage in Japan and around the world. Who would have thought that this trio of stars would perform at the Heavy Montreal Festival alongside Metallica and Iron Maiden?
6. Scandal ?
Made up of 4 young women, this rock-influenced J-pop group was formed in 2006. Haruna on vocals, Tomomi on bass, Mami on guitar, and Rina on drums. They met at a singing school in Osaka and have not been apart since. Their career began when independent label Kitty Records noticed them while they were giving a street concert. Thirteen years after their first album, the group is still a success in the archipelago and has a large community of fans internationally.
7. e-girls ?♀️
E-girls for “Exile Girls Unit” represents the female version of the Exile boy band, run by the LDH agency. Born in 2011 from the merger of the idols of Dream, Flower and Happiness, from the Avex trax label, E-girls only became an official group in 2017. Since its debut, the single Celebration was a bestseller. A year later, his title Follow Me joined the Top 3 of Oricon (Japanese statistics company). In 2013, his first studio album ranked #1 in weekly sales. Since then, the group has been collecting records.
8. gang maid ?♀
Band-Maid is a Japanese rock girl group embodied by five maid-like youths: Saiki, Miku, Kanami, Akane, and Misa. It all started when the singer Miku, ex-host of Maid Café, decided to form a musical group in 2013. Result? A fusion of rock and the kawaii style of the maids. With a genre that ranges from hard-rock, Japanese pop, and heavy metal, Band-Maid performs in Japan and abroad. In addition, the artists announce an upcoming US tour in 2022.
9. Fragrance ?
Perfume is the story of 3 friends: Nocchi, Kashiyuka, and A-chan who decide to fulfill their dream by forming a J-pop group. His style? A mix of electro and J-pop straight out of the world of video games. The group launched in the early 2000s, but it wasn’t until 2008 that their career took a real turn, when they were highlighted by an NHK environmental campaign. Subsequently, their music will be a big hit in Japan and around the world.
10 BiSH ?
BiSH is an all-female punk rock band that currently has 6 girls with funny names: Aina the End, Momoko Gumi Company, Cent Chihiro Chittiii, Hashiyasume Atsuko, Lingling, and Ayuni D. BiS’s successor band was formed in 2015 by producer Watanabe Junnosuk. During this event, the idols were fully revealed to the public after reaching 4,444 followers on Twitter. BiSH is a mix of racy voices in a dark, alternate universe.
eleven arashi ?
Arashi is a group of Japanese singers that exists since 1999. Signed by the famous agency Johnny & Associates, the boy band is the most popular in Japan. Mixing J-pop and R&B, Arashi has known glory since its inception but it won’t last. In 2007, the 5 johnny’s came back with a bang with the single Love So Sweet. Like a true storm, Arashi sweeps the 10 million albums sold in 2016 and remains in the top 10 sales in 2020. After 20 years of career and many albums to their credit, the members decide to take a break in 2020.
12 AAA ?
“Triple A”, that’s how the name of “Attack all around” is pronounced, is a J-pop group that appeared in 2005. Originally made up of 5 men and 3 women, this co-ed group is still very famous in Japan, even after 17 career years. It must be said that their singles have been found many times in the top 10. AAA’s success is such that it will participate seven times in NHK Kōhaku Kōhaku Uta Gassen, the most watched program of the Japanese New Year. In 2020, the five members decide to embark on a solo career.
13 Frederick ?
This slightly icy j-rock group formed in 2009 and became famous in 2014 with oddloop, their first opus. Made up of the Mihara twin brothers, guitarist Ryuji Akagashira and drummer Takeshi Takahashi, the group mixes musical influences to create a unique universe. We love its humorous original music and wacky clips.
14 Why? ?
This punk rock band has the gift of putting us in a good mood with these rhythmic titles. The 3 artists Kenta, Ko-shin and Fuji offer a supercharged cocktail of J-punk and ska. No wonder the title of your answer appears in the ad for Weider in Jelly energy drink. Formed in 2010, the trio collect chart toppers and perform in 2019 for the One Piece: Stampede soundtrack.
fifteen. oral cigarettes ?
This alternative rock group created in 2010, has 4 boys represented by the A-Sketch label since 2012. They are famous for their song Kyōran Hey Kids! who signs the credits of the cartoon Noragami Aragoto. The group regularly lights up the stage as they distinguish themselves with their live performances and dark lyrics. Also, their latest album won first place on the Oricon chart.
Whether you are more of a rocker, metalhead or electro, you will inevitably find in this Top15, the j-pop group that will give you the catch ? for the whole day. We can already see you dancing the fun choreographies of Japanese boy bands 😉