JaME's 2010 Overview

file - 12.30.2010 05:00

An overview of the most impressive J-music happenings according to JaME.

As each year comes and goes, it is during this time when we reflect on some occurrences that have taken place in the Japanese music scene across the globe.

For the overseas Japanese music scene, it was a rather rocky year. At JaME, we noticed that in 2009, the interest in Japanese music slowly started to decrease and as 2010 reaches its conclusion, the interest continues downward. Although artists still went overseas for various events and performances, it was less exuberant than years past. We can only hope things will improve in 2011, and that Japanese music will continue to spread and earn itself a place in overseas charts with mainstream fame.

For this article, we have selected what we felt are the twelve most important happenings this year. So here are the twelve happenings of 2010 that stood out most to us.

January: An Cafe’s Final Live

Although An Cafe had already announced they would stop activities the previous year, they held their last live at the Nippon Budokan on January 4th. After they ended their activities as An Cafe with a spectacular live, all band members popped up with a new project. Vocalist Miku with the band Lc5, guitarist Takuya as a support member of Piko, bassist kanon as label owner, producer of a video game and part of a unit with Kanon Wakeshima, Yuuki as support keyboardist of Dacco and Teruki as the support drummer of Spyralcall, DOG in The Parallel World Orchestra to name a few.

If you want to know more about what the An Cafe members are up to now, be sure to keep an eye on JaME as there will be more coverage on this!

March: CHATMONCHY at Japan Nite at SXSW

One of the most popular music festivals in the USA is SXSW in Austin, Texas. The festival has artists all over the world from the far east to the far west. During that festival, an event that has made a name for itself throughout the years is Japan Nite, which features a variety of Japanese bands. Not only is Japan Nite a successful event at SXSW, it has also become a popular tour in the USA reaching major cities.

This year’s line-up for Japan Nite included JinnyOops!, RiddimSaunter, OKAMOTO's, Red Bacteria Vacuum, Omodaka, CHATMONCHY and Dolly. Major all-girl band CHATMONCHY gave several riveting performances in front of Japanese music enthusiasts along with an audience not already into the JMusic scene. During their stop at SXSW, JaME had the chance to speak to the three ladies for an in-depth interview.

June: Akanishi Jin in the USA

This has been a very active year for Akanishi Jin in terms with his involvement with the American audience as well as the American music industry. First, as an extension of his Japanese solo tour You & Jin, he held his first USA performances in June in California. After being with the popular boy band KAT-TUN for nine years, it was announced that Akanishi Jin would be leaving the band to focus on his solo career in the USA. To show just how serious he is, he returned to the States for a six-date tour in November and signed with Warner Music.

July: the studs’ Daisuke passes away

This year did not only bring good news, but also some very tragic announcements. A major shock hit the JMusic scene in July when it was announced that Daisuke, ex-vocalist of popular kagerou and vocalist of the studs, was found in his apartment after passing away during the night.

Not only did fans had to deal with such news, but again later that month when Zill from Moran also passed away. Unfortunately, these were not the only musicians who passed away this year. Those who have passed on will always be remembered.

July: Japan Expo in Paris, France

The eleventh edition of Japan Expo took place in Paris once again in early July.

Known as the most important and largest Japanese culture event in Europe, the organisation brought an interesting array of artists to appear or perform. The line-up consisted of a large variety of artists in different styles, with even Morning Musume making their European debut. As always, the French JaME team was there to cover the event, with many interviews and live reports.

July: Anime Expo in Los Angeles

Around the same time as Japan Expo, Anime Expo (AX) took place in Los Angeles, United States. Unlike other American conventions, AX has one of the most highest turnout rates in the country. Next to various anime and Japanese culture-related events they brought once again, they gathered an impressive line-up.

This time, the Japanese artists invited to perform or make an appearance at the convention were AKB48, BENI, RSP, May’n, Megumi Nakajima, MELL and SOPHIA.

August: Ken Hirai in New York

One of the most well-known R&B artists in Japan is Ken Hirai, who gave American fans a nice surprise when he travelled to New York City for a two-concert event.

The concerts themselves took place at blues club B.B.Kings at the end of August. Dressed in elegant tuxedo attire and a leopard print tie, it was the blond hair that stood out the most. For an audience ranging in age from young to old, Ken Hirai gave a magnificent performance both nights.

September: X JAPAN World Tour

Despite the amount of cancellations done in the past by X JAPAN, the notorious band finally made it through a world tour successfully. In August, the band had their first live performance in the USA at the well-known event Lollapalooza in Chicago.

That performance was followed by a eight-location tour in North America, which consisted of two dates in Canada, beginning at the end of September. We had the chance to hold an exclusive interview with band leader YOSHIKI before the tour, and reported on their concert in Los Angeles.

October: MIYAVI in Australia

With so much attention to his international fans, MIYAVI is surely an artist that is not to be missed in our yearly overview. The year 2010 brought a handful of releases for MIYAVI, a second baby girl, a collaboration with Good Charlotte and another tour in the United States as well as various performances in Japan.

But what was most interesting to see, was how he branched out to new territory, specifically Australia. A vast amount of Australian fans who have been waiting for years while many artists perform in Europe and the USA, got the chance to see one of their favorite artists live in an EMI showcase. Whether MIYAVI’s endeavors down under will result in him visiting the country more often, or that he will inspire other popular artists to also give Australia a try, is still unknown. But one thing is for sure: this first step for Australia is surely a positive one.

November: Suga Shikao Back in the UK

In November 2009, pop/funk star Suga Shikao already made his European debut in London, and once again he returned to England’s capital, this year, in November for the beginning of his Japan-UK Circuit 2010 tour. The attendance doubled since last year’s performance, showing just how many people were excited about this FUNKASTiC event.

Due to a busy schedule, we were unable to speak with Suga Shikao during his first visit in 2009, but this year he made it up to us by granting an exclusive interview.

November & December: LUNA SEA Revival World Tour

One of the most exciting events this year, not only for overseas JMusic fans, but also for Japanese fans, was LUNA SEA’s world tour. In recent years, the popular band has started up activities again after a break of nearly ten years, but this would be the first time for them to perform on American and European soil.

The tour covered five countries, including Japan, and will end with a countdown live on the 31st. JaME was able to cover the majority of their performances either with interviews or live reports.

December: Kamei Eri, JunJun & LinLin's Graduation from Morning Musume。

Morning Musume, known as Momusu to their fans, is a pop idol group who has built the career of several female idols for the past twelve years. With a continuously changing line-up, Momusu has become a household name in Japan. This year, fans experienced yet another line-up change with the graduation of Kamei Eri, JunJun and LinLin.

Unfortunately, these were not the only departures this year. Due to various illnesses, several popular musicians or bands have had to take a break, or ended up ceasing activities. A few bands bands that had to deal with such misfortune were D’espairsRay, Plastic Tree, Vidoll and Kra. Another shocking announcement was made as Kagrra, announced their disbandment in December, adding to the countless disbandments announced this year.

Let us know your opinion on this article, or what you consider as the most impressive JMusic moments of 2010. Please don't hesitate to leave your comment!

As always, the JaME staff has also put together their own personal favorite happenings of 2010, you can find this in our weblog. Feel free to let us know your picks of 2010.

Finally, we would like to wish all of you a fantastic 2011!
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