The Best Japanese Music in 2018

I have been listening to a lot of Japanese music this year, as I imagine most of you have as well. I wanted to share my own personal thoughts and opinions of the best Japanese music in 2018.

I’ve compiled a list of seven Japanese bands, artists and musicians that are really freaking good!

Check out the list below, learn a little bit about each one and their type of music, and then check out the YouTube video that I’ve selected of one of their songs.

And as a final note before we begin, I wanted to let you know that I created a walk through on how to learn Japanese through songs a little while ago, if that’s something you’re interested in doing.

Alright, let’s begin!


BABYMETAL is a fusion of Japanese Pop music and heavy metal.

Yeah, you read that right!

The three girls are known as Su-Metal, Yui-Metal, and Moa-Metal and serve the Fox God in their mission to spread “Kawaii Metal” across the world.

They’ve got a couple of albums out and have been insanely popular in both Japan and internationally over the past couple of years.

I really enjoy them because you get the awesome beats and guitar riffs from the Metal-genre, but there none of the deep, hardcore screaming which I can never seem to comprehend.

Instead, it’s lots of cute Japanese girls singing and dancing. Do Like!


SKY-HI is actually the newest Japanese artist that I’ve been listening to lately (new to me).

I was introduced to his stuff by my brother who had found one of his older songs to be really good. And after hopping on to YouTube and listening to it myself, I had to agree!

I got his latest album off of iTunes and I’ve been listening to it and enjoying it this entire last week.

It’s mostly hip-hop / rap music, but there are a lot of other elements in his songs, so the chances of finding something you like out of his music are pretty good.


BAND-MAID is a really good rock / hard rock band that is entirely made up of girls!

Freaking sweet!

As you may have guessed from the name, the theme of the band is that of “maids” like you would see in a typical Japanese Maid Café over in Japan.

This is kind of similar to how BABYMETAL has a “story” or “theme” of the young girls being chosen by The Fox God in order to share their music.

Leave it to Japan to combine fiction writing with music (~_^)

As a person who’s played guitar since high school, I absolutely LOVE the riffs and melodies that you get to rock out to in the majority of the songs. If you enjoy the rock genre, this band is a must!

4. Hatsune Miku

Remember way back when (two seconds ago) when I was talking about how Japan comes up with some really interesting things with their bands and music? Well I’ve got another one for you: Vocaloids.

A vocaloid is a “singing voice synthesizer software.” In other words, not an actual human being, but a “program run by a computer” is the singer for any music that falls into this category.

Why do I bring this all up? Well, because Hatsune Miku is by far the most popular and successful vocaloid out there.

If you’ve been catching up on Japanese culture and such, then you may have seen a concert performed by a blue haired holograph who was dancing and singing to the cheers of tens of thousands of fans.

There are other vocaloids out there besides Hatsune Miku, but she’s really the only one that I’ve listened to so I recommend that you do too when you’ve got the chance…

Like right now! Video below, just press play!!!

5. T.M.Revolution

The first song that I ever listened to by T.M.Revolution was when he sang the opening song in the Soul Eater anime, and I instantly fell in love!

With the song, not him… come on!

Interestingly enough, it wasn’t until I listened to his song at the end of one of the Bleach movies that I finally decided to look him up and get one of his albums.

TM Revolution will always have a special place in my heart as his album was the first “Japanese only” one that I ever bought and listened to.

I can remember way back in the days when you could really only get a CD or (*gasp*) cassette tape from your local store. If you wanted something from Japan, you either had to go there yourself or “know a guy” who could get you one.

Nowadays it’s as easy as press a few buttons on the phone and and voilà!

6. Gesu no Kiwami Otome

Alright, so Gesu no Kiwami Otome means “Girl at the Height of Rudeness” (spelled in Japanese as ゲスの極み乙女) and they are a band of four total rockers, two guys and two girls.

They play a lot of rock type music, although much more on the lighter side of things when compared to BAND-MAID from earlier.

One of the things that I really enjoy about them in particular is the amount of piano that is present in their songs.

Another thing I like, and could be used to help improve your Japanese, is just how many words there are in a typical song. I printed off the lyrics to a song and it seriously turned the entire paper black!

OK, a little too dramatic? My bad.

7. Prof. Sakamoto

We have arrived at the last Japanese musician that I wanted to share with all of you: Prof. Sakamoto!

This guy is really frickin’ cool because his music has that old, “Super Nintendo” feel to it that we all (just me?) used to jam out to when we (just me, still?) were kids and would spend an entire weekend doing nothing but playing video games.

Oh the nostalgia… THE FEELS!!!

I’ve got three of his albums and each one centers around a certain type of game. The first one is like a Zelda-type of adventure , the second one is like a space shoot-em-up, and the third one is like a classic ninja game.

Listen below to a sampler of one of his albums and see how you like it.

Who Is Your Favorite Japanese Musician?

So there you have it. You now know what I’ve been listening to this year, and will continue to listen to as time goes on.

What do you guys think of these one? Like em?

What other Japanese bands and such do you listen to? Let me know in the comments!


  • Fred Patterson

    I have never thought of listening to japanese music. I must say that you do explain the different types well enough to get a person interested! Hatsune Miku definitely caught my eye after listening to her music video on your site. I have been searching to for music outside of my normal and this seems like something that is worth a try. Thank you.

    • Nick Hoyt

      Haha, yeah Hatsune Miku is pretty cool both in concept, and also listening to the music. 

      I think that not a lot of people are familiar with Japanese music due to several reasons such as the language barrier, the laws surrounding digital music sales, and just a general lack of international renown.

      Having said that though, there are some pretty incredible musicians so they are definitely worth checking out!

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