Japan Beat

Shockingly experimental or blandly mainstream, the Japanese music scene reflects the tastes of a music-mad populace that supports the world’s second largest music market.

One of Japan’s most impressive acts is the Kodo drummers.They opened up at their remote base on Sado Island on answering the call of a challenging life.

Earth Celebration

Taiko drums and communal life on a remote Japanese island

CNNGo, August 31, 2010

Photo by Dan Grunebaum.

As Japan Ages, Pop ‘Idols’ Aren’t as Spry as They Used to Be

A look at how the rapid aging of Japan is beginning to transform its youth-obsessed pop culture.

The New York Times, October 7, 2010

Evergreen pop idol Seiko Matsuda.

In addition to interview features, I have edited a number of comprehensive overviews of Japanese music that celebrate the J-wave and consider how it has resonated with Westerners:

Pantheon of Japanese Rock Babes

“When I finally got to see them live, I was transformed into a hysterical 9-year-old girl at a Beatles concert.”—Kurt Cobain on Shonen Knife

What turned suicidal heroin addict Kurt Cobain into a gibbering goofball when he first experienced the storied Japanese rock trio live? This, in essence, is the question we asked a cast of writers, to help us compile our roster of Japanese Rock Babes.

Metropolis, August 28, 3009

Working with Karl Lagerfeld on spreads for Interview magazine’s Japan issue was a learning experience in terms of layout, photography – and the eccentricities of New York fashion culture.

More articles:
Jazz Art Sengawa

Japan Beat

cellist hiromichi sakamoto and japan’s avant-garde build a home of their own

Metropolis, Aug 25, 2011


Japan Beat

the young shinjuku rock squad hits the big time

Metropolis, Jun 23, 2011


Japan Beat

the jamaican dj and record retailer talks two decades of reggae in japan

Metropolis, Jun 9, 2011

Pantheon of Japanese Rock Gods

Japan Beat

metropolis celebrates the japanese men who rocked the planet

Metropolis, May 19, 2011


Japan Beat

the tokyo group’s new album price fluctuates with their egos

Metropolis, May 6, 2011


Japan Beat

catharsis amid crisis for japan’s entertainment biz

Metropolis, Apr 12, 2011

Morgan Fisher

Japan Beat

after mott the hoople and queen, the british keyboardist was ready for something different

Metropolis, Mar 24, 2011


Japan Beat

the former model is equal parts pixie and operatic howler

Metropolis, Mar 17, 2011

Akihiro Namba

Japan Beat

the punk icon says only rock can cure japan’s ills

Metropolis, Feb 17, 2011

Maywa Denki

Japan Beat

nobumichi tosa’s whimsical creations sound the battle squeak against digital music

Metropolis, Nov 25, 2010

Yolz in the Sky

Japan Beat

the hard-driving osaka quartet just became a trio

Metropolis, Nov 11, 2010


Japan Beat

japan’s music scene opens its arms to a foreign startup

Metropolis, Sep 23, 2010


Japan Beat

24h follows a day in the life of the sampling wunderkinds

Metropolis, Sep 9, 2010

Tokyo Symphony Orchestra

Japan Beat

conductor hubert soudant says japan’s orchestras must battle to survive

Metropolis, Sep 2, 2010

Kazumi Watanabe

Japan Beat

four decades on, the jazz icon plays the role of elder statesman

Metropolis, Aug 26, 2010

Please Please

Japan Beat

four indie boys are out to prove that rock doesn’t have to be “pretty”

Metropolis, Aug 19, 2010


Japan Beat

kaoru watanabe takes taiko into uncharted waters

Metropolis, Aug 5, 2010

Exercise in Futility?

Japan Beat

as the nation’s tech giants battle the iphone, we attempt to download our favorite songs to our japanese keitai

Metropolis, Jul 15, 2010

Boom Boom Satellites

Japan Beat

the veteran dance rock duo drop the electro

Metropolis, Jun 24, 2010


Japan Beat

the up-and-coming trio show off their groove

Metropolis, Jun 3, 2010

Benjamin Skepper

Japan Beat

past and present, east and west collide in the japanese-australian composer’s strange creations

Metropolis, May 27, 2010


Japan Beat

the metropolis-endorsed trio mulls life as female rockers

Metropolis, May 13, 2010

De De Mouse

Japan Beat

the diminutive gunma native might just be japan’s next big electropop export

Metropolis, May 6, 2010


Kaikoo Popwave Festival ’10

Japan Beat

a new bayside event serves as a platform for alternative japanese music

Metropolis, Apr 1, 2010

Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra

Japan Beat

they aren’t purists, but 20 years on the road testifies to skapara’s obsession with jamaican dance music

Metropolis, Mar 4, 2010

Qomolangma Tomato

Japan Beat

the indie rockers may seem dark and introspective—but they point to the light

Metropolis, Feb 18, 2010



Japan Beat

the nagoya three-and-a-half-piece is setting the indie scene on fire

Metropolis, Feb 11, 2010


Japan Beat

a near-death experience informed the metal quintet’s new album

Metropolis, Jan 28, 2010

Scott Murphy

Japan Beat

the former allister singer strikes gold with a series of j-pop cover albums. just don’t call him “the white jero”

Metropolis, Dec 3, 2009


Japan Beat

the “yanki” imposters walk a risky line between homage and parody

Metropolis, Nov 19, 2009



Japan Beat

instead of saving the world, the “japanese queen” decided to shake its booty

Metropolis, Nov 5, 2009


Open Reel Ensemble

Japan Beat

with wit and a usb switch, ei wada conjures new music from an outmoded technology

Metropolis, Oct 22, 2009

The Beat Ahead

Japan Beat

a new collaboration seeks to drum up the future of taiko

Metropolis, Oct 8, 2009

Kansai Music Conference & Japan Music Week

Japan Beat

two new foreign-led powwows try to shake up the industry

Metropolis, Sep 10, 2009