7 Things You Should Know About J-POP

Am I the only one who thinks J-POP kinda sounds like a G-Rated rapper on a Kidz Bop CD? Rest assured, we won’t be discussing any kid-friendly party anthems today. J-POP is simply an abbreviation for Japanese Pop music. Despite the pop-centric name, J-POP is really a great big musical umbrella that includes genres like rap, rock, dance, soul and of course, pop. If you’re already in the know, you might’ve heard that there’s going to be a J-POP Summit Festival going down in San Francisco from July 19th – 20th. The festival, whose line-up was just announced last week, celebrates all aspects of Japanese popular culture – from music and film to food and fashion. Even if you aren’t well-versed in Japanese culture, or even if you don’t live in San Francisco, I think there are several things you should know about J-POP.

1. The Akabane Vulgars on Strong Bypass are pretty awesome

Their name might be a mouthful, but this three woman rock band from Tokyo should not be underestimated. The band formed in 2005 and is led by the gravelly vocals of Yumi Uchizono. Her sister, Miki, is on bass and their former classmate, Kei Sofue is on drums.
They’ll be performing at the J-POP Festival on Saturday, July 19th. More details can be found here.

A clip of their performance at last year’s J-POP Festival is right here. Who else feels like they’ve just been transported back in time to the ’90s?

2. Everything about the itty bitty middle aged man

The itty bitty middle aged man, also known as Chicchai Ossan is one of the “Yuru-Chara” in Japan. Yuru Chara stands for “Yurui Character,” which refers to an “easy-looking, heart-warming mascot-like character” that represents cities and organizations. Although Chicchai Ossan doesn’t represent any particular organization, he was made in honor of the performer’s late father. Chicchai Ossan has been known to lovingly scold people, so be on your best behavior.

Catch him at the festival on Friday, the 19th!

3. Daichi, the Japanese human beat-boxer

Daichi first gained world recognition when he posted this video on his YouTube account five years ago. Since then, he’s been a beat-boxing sensation, and rightfully so. If you can form an entire song just using your mouth, I’d say you deserve some recognition too.

Daichi will be performing on both Saturday the 19th and Sunday the 20th. Here’s a more recent video of him showing off his skills.

4. There’s an ODOTTEMITA dance contest…and you can enter it

ODOTTEMITA is an Internet dance phenomenon where people film themselves dancing like their favorite Japanese pop idols and upload them for public viewing. The word “ODOTTEMITA” literally translates to “I tried dancing it”. Hey, at least it’s modest. Now let’s skip to the fun part and watch some of the contest submissions.

Here‘s information on how to enter. No pressure.

5. Kidz Rock is a style…not a Kidz Bop genre

Is it just me or are there a lot of Kidz Bop references coming up in this post?

Kidz Rock is a fashion movement that’s been made famous by Japanese models like Ayumi Seto. The style appears to play with the modesty of childhood clothing while still remaining true to the colorful, urban street style of Japan. Seto has even started her own fashion line, “Aymmy” to reflect her own Kidz Rock style.

Ayumi will be making a guest appearance on the 19th for the HARAJUKU KAWAii fashion show. The rest of the details for the show can be found here.

6. There’s going to be a Pocky eating contest

Talk about sharing happiness. The winner of the Pocky eating contest will win a prize of 365 boxes of Pocky – one for each day of the year. Let’s hope the winner shares happiness too.

7. The Pop Gourmet Food Festival

Japanese gourmet, sake tasting and a variety of food trucks will be there for the entire weekend. If this isn’t reason enough to go, I don’t know what is. I think we’re all a little envious of you San Franciscans.

Stay updated on all of J-POP Festival events here!