Top 10 J-Pop Group & Songs to Learn Japanese
Do you love Japanese pop music? Want to use it to learn Japanese? In this article we recommend some of our favorite artists and songs to use for Japanese learning.
J-pop has long been one of the most popular exports from Japanese popular culture. In this blog we will give a list of some of our favorite Japanese music that you can use to learn the Japanese language.
Artist: 宇多田ヒカル (Utada Hikaru)
Song: First Love
「Ashita no imagoro ni wa
Anata wa doko ni irundarou
Dare o omotteirundarou」
「About this time tomorrow
I wonder where you’ll be at
and who you will be thinking about」
One of her most well-known and popular songs, First Love is not to be missed in this list! This emotional classic that can teach you lots of romantic vocabularies. Many of her songs are slow-paced and clearly sung which makes it easy to follow and learn Japanese!
Artist: Kyary Pamyu Pamyu
「PonPon dashite shimaeba ii no
zenzen shinai no tsumaranai deshou」
「PonPon set it free. Come on, let the crazy show
Because if you don’t, life would be so dull, you know」
She is a classic example of J-Pop culture. She has been recognized as the “Harajuku Pop Princess” and “J-Pop Princess”. Some might have known her through this song or even her catchy fashion style. Due to her catchy fashion sense, she has been often called “Japan’s Lady Gaga”. PonPonPon is a well-known song and has appeared on TV and karaoke as well as radio stations! Her songs are confusing at first and you might feel lost. But if you are up for a challenge, why not?
Song: ヘビーローテーション (Heavy Rotation)
「Poppuko-n ga hajikeru youni
‘suki’ toiu moji ga odoru」
「Like popcorn popping
the words ‘I love you’ are dancing」
AKB48 definitely would have caught your eyes due to their huge number of members. AKB means Akihabara and 48 means they have 48 members. But, as of 1 October 2019, they currently hold a total number of 99 members! They divide their humongous group into sub-groups for better management: Team A, K, B, 4 and 8. Heavy Rotation is the group’s most famous and well-known song due to its catchy tune. It is fast-paced so it might be a bit difficult to catch the words at first.
Artist: 嵐 (Arashi)
「Kimi no sakebi de boku wa mezameru
koyoi no yami e kimi o izanau monster」
「I’m awakened by your scream
into this evening’s darkness a monster luring you in」
The group often does solo things outside besides singing together like acting and tv shows. Even so, they are considered as ‘idols’ in Japan. The group rose to success due to one of their hit songs, Love So Sweet, being used in a hit-rating drama, Hana Yori Dango. One of the members, Jun Matsumoto, was the main character! Arashi’s songs are family-friendly, catchy and great for a car ride! They are easy to understand, making it easier to learn Japanese. Also, this song definitely has the Halloween mood to it!
Song: 瞬間センチメンタル (Shunkan Sentimental)
「Donna shunkan datte unmei datte
Hitotsu dake tashika na mono ga aru to shitta」
「I knew that every moment was meant to be and
there was only one thing that was certain」
If you watch the anime Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, you should have listened to this song before. Being one of the top girl’s band groups in Japan, Scandal is not to be missed. Not only are they known in Japan, but also globally. Formed in Osaka in 2006, their genre consists of J-Pop and hard rock. Their song, Shunkan Sentimental, has the highest views on YouTube! The songs are easy to learn Japanese especially their song, Standard, which they list out different vocabularies.
Artist: One Ok Rock
Song: Clock Strikes
「Eien nante iikitte shimattara
Amarinimo sabishikute setsunai deshou?」
「if ‘eternity’ was declared as non-existent
wouldn’t it be just too lonesome, and painful to be as?」
Known locally and globally, One Ok Rock has set the bar for J-Pop music high. Their songs carry meaning behind. For example, Stand-Out-Fit-In speaks about typical Asian stereotypes and how society tells you to be things that you don’t want to. Clock Strikes reflects on the younger generation about what they believe in, talking about how cruel reality is. Most of their songs have English lyrics, making it easy to follow. Definitely a band to check out!
Song: キセキ (Kiseki)
「Itsumo kimi no migi no te no hira o
tada boku no hidari no te no hira ga」
「Just having your right hand softly
wrapped in my left hand」
This single was ranked #1 on JPN Oricon, JPN Hot 100 and also, RIAJ Digital Tracks. It was also their top-selling song. All the members; identities are still unknown as they have never been made public. This is to protect their career as dentists which explains their band’s logo. Their logo is seen as a smiley with ‘e’ as teeth. キセキ (Kiseki) is generally slow-paced and it is easy for beginners to catch. Check out their other hit songs: 愛唄 Love Song and 遥か Far Off.
Song: イマジネーション (imagination)
「Never give up このまま走らせてくれよ
「Never give up konomama hashirasete kure yo
kono imajine-shon no saki e to」
「Never give up. Let me run like this
toward the horizon of this imagination」
イマジネーション (imagination) should ring a bell if you watch the anime “Haikyuu”. This song made it to the top 3 songs on Japan’s Billboard, making it one of their top-selling songs too! Spyair is a rock band from Nagoya. The songs are catchy and upbeat which makes learning Japanese more fun! It is easy for beginners to follow too! Other songs for recommendations are「Last Moment」,「サムライハート」Samurai Heart and their recent song「I wanna be….」
Artist: 初音ミク (Hatsune Miku)
Song: ワールドイズマイン (World is Mine)
「Ichigo no notta sho-toke-ki
kodawari tamago no torokeru purin」
「Shortcake with strawberries on top
custard made with only the best eggs」
This is not just your normal J-Pop culture. Being the first Vocaloid phenomenon, 初音ミク (Hatsune Miku) is a singing voice synthesizer. 初音ミク (Hatsune Miku) means the first sound from the future. Rather than the typical J-Pop groups, why not try something out of this world? Her songs carry a range of genres, ranging from pop, rock, techno, etc. ワールドイズマイン (World is Mine) remains to be one of her top songs. Other songs for recommendation are「Tell Your World」and「Rolling Girl」
Song: Lovers Again
「Mouichido aitai to negau no wa
itami sae itoshii kara」
「My wish to meet once again is
more lovely than pain」
Exile is the most popular boy band for R&B genre music. Their studio album, Lovers Again, have over 1 million copies sold locally. They have a total of 19 members with 15 currently still active. Some of their songs are rather fast-paced but a challenge is always fun, right? Other songs for recommendations are 「愛すべき未来へ」Aisubeki Mirai E and「こんな世界を愛するため」Konna sekai o ai suru tame.
Artist: ビーティーエス (BTS)
Song: Crystal Snow
Ah, どこまでま舞い上がる Crystal」
「Kimi o dakishime tai kiete shimau mae ni mouichido
Ah, dokomade mo maiagaru Crystal」
「I want to hold you one more time before you disappear
Ah, Crystal flies high wherever it goes」
ビーティーエス (BTS) is a K-Pop group which consists of 7 members. In 2017, they surpassed themselves when they released Love Yourself: Her album. Thus, making them the 1st K-Pop group to be on American Billboard and worldwide best-selling album. They sing to socially relevant topics such as mental health, LGBT rights, and women’s emancipation.「Crystal Snow」is one of their most popular Japanese version song. It is rather slow-paced and easy to catch the words, except the rap part which might be a little challenging for beginners.
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