Songs About Japan: An Exploration of the Country’s Musical Influences

Japan is a country known for its rich culture, delicious food, and stunning landscapes. It’s also a place that has inspired countless artists and musicians over the years. From traditional folk songs to modern pop hits, there are plenty of “songs about Japan” that showcase the country’s unique influence on music. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at some of the most popular examples and explore what makes them so special.

But before we dive into the music, let’s take a quick look at Japan’s musical history and why it has been such a strong force in the global music scene.

Traditional Japanese music has been around for centuries, with roots in both Shinto and Buddhist religious ceremonies. The instruments used in traditional music include the koto (a stringed instrument), shakuhachi (a bamboo flute), and taiko drums. These instruments are still used today, both in traditional performances and in modern music.

As Japan became more modernized in the early 20th century, Western music began to make its way into the country. Jazz, in particular, became popular, with Japanese musicians putting their own unique spin on the genre. In the decades since, Japanese musicians have continued to blend traditional and Western styles to create their own distinct sound.

Subheading 1: The Most Famous Songs About Japan

Song Title Artist Year Released
Sukiyaki Kyu Sakamoto 1961
Tokyo Imagine Dragons 2018
Turning Japanese The Vapors 1980
Haru Yo Koi Utada Hikaru 2018
Sakura Ayumi Hamasaki 1999

One of the most famous songs about Japan is “Sukiyaki” by Kyu Sakamoto. Released in 1961, the song became an international hit and reached number one on the charts in the United States. Despite its catchy melody, the song is actually quite sad, with lyrics that reflect on lost love and longing.

Another recent hit that pays tribute to Japan is “Tokyo” by Imagine Dragons. Released in 2018, the song features lyrics that celebrate the city’s energy and unique culture. The music video for the song also showcases some of Tokyo’s most famous landmarks.

“Turning Japanese” by The Vapors is a classic ’80s new wave song that has become somewhat controversial over the years. Some people believe that the song is actually about a sexual fetish, rather than a genuine appreciation for Japanese culture. Regardless of the true meaning, the song remains a popular example of Japan-inspired music.

On the more contemporary side of things, “Haru Yo Koi” by Utada Hikaru is a beautiful love song that references cherry blossoms (a common symbol of Japan) in its lyrics. The song was released in 2018 and was part of a tribute album to the late singer-songwriter Ozaki Yutaka.

Ayumi Hamasaki’s “Sakura” is another popular song that pays tribute to Japan’s iconic cherry blossoms. The song features a mix of traditional Japanese instruments and modern pop beats, creating a unique and memorable sound.

Subheading 2: Why Japan Has Such a Strong Influence on Music

So why does Japan have such a strong influence on music? There are a few possible reasons. For one, Japan has a rich cultural history that has been celebrated around the world. From samurai warriors to geisha dancers, Japan’s cultural icons are instantly recognizable and lend themselves well to artistic expression.

Additionally, Japan is a country that has always been open to outside influences while also maintaining its own unique identity. This has led to a blending of different styles and cultures that is reflected in Japan’s music scene. From J-pop to anime soundtracks, Japan has created its own distinct musical genres that are beloved by fans all over the world.

Subheading 3: Frequently Asked Questions

What are some other popular songs about Japan?

Other popular songs about Japan include “Big in Japan” by Alphaville, “Cherry Blossom Girl” by Air, and “Japanese Boy” by Aneka.

What is J-pop?

J-pop (short for Japanese pop) is a genre of music that originated in Japan in the 1990s. It is characterized by upbeat and catchy melodies, high-pitched vocals, and a wide range of instrumentation.

What is an anime soundtrack?

An anime soundtrack is the music that accompanies an anime TV show or movie. Anime soundtracks often feature a mix of different musical styles, ranging from orchestral pieces to J-pop and rock songs.


Japan’s influence on music is undeniable, with countless songs paying tribute to the country’s unique culture and history. From traditional folk songs to modern pop hits, there is something for every music lover when it comes to “songs about Japan.” Whether you’re a fan of anime soundtracks or classic ’60s pop, there’s no denying the impact that Japan has had on the global music scene. So next time you’re looking for some new music to listen to, why not check out some of these great songs about Japan?

Thank you for reading, and we hope to see you again soon for more interesting articles!

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