Otaku Superstars Dempagumi.inc Confirmed for HYPER JAPAN This Summer!

Dempagumi.inc

Super colourful, mega energetic idol group Dempagumi.inc will be heading to the HYPER JAPAN Festival at The O2 in London this summer! They will be performing for one day only, Sunday 12th July, and will have an art exhibition about them installed throughout the three days of the Japanese festival.

Dempagumi.inc is Mirin Furukawa, Risa Aizawa, Nemu Yumemi, Eimi Naruse, Ayane Fujisaki, and Moga Mogami. Every member is a hardcore otaku, whether for games, anime, manga or cosplay, and they all still actively pursue their various passions alongside their singing career. From their humble origins as performers at Akihabara’s idol live house Dear Stage, the girls have now hit it big internationally, and have performed at concerts throughout Asia and in the US. Their domestic popularity continues to soar as well; last year they performed a solo concert to an audience of 10,000 fans at Tokyo’s prestigious Nippon Budokan, and their recent music releases continue to rank well within the Top 10 in Japan’s music charts (see here for their British iTunes).

They do an absolute bonkers cover of Beastie Boys’ Sabotage, check it out here, while below is one of their latest music videos:

Hyper Japan Christmas Market 2014 to go Hyper for Japanese Music

Hyper Japan Christmas Marker 2014

With Hyper Japan Christmas Market only a matter of days away, we take a look at what the event has on offer for fans of Japanese music. Taking place between 14-16 November 2014 at Olympia in London, the Christmas Market sees the UK’s biggest J-culture event take a more relaxed approached than it’s massive summer event at Earls Court, focusing instead more on the market side of the event – yet, we’d say that the music line-up is equally, if not more, exciting than the summer’s event. Here’s why:

NeM: Japanese Fusion Band

NeMWhen: Saturday – 7:30pm
NeM is the combination of five traditional Japanese musicians living in the UK and Italy. Amongst their ranks is shamisen veteran Hibiki Ichikawa – the only qualified teacher of his instrument in Great Britain. The group’s name, NeM, holds the meaning of the sound of Japanese instruments dancing through peoples’ minds throughout the world – at least that’s what the Hyper Japan website says. Personally, we’re a sucker for the koto and can’t wait to hear what they have to offer. They’ll play a special collection of folk songs from all over the world, performed with a distinct Japanese flavour.

Naruto Singer Joe Inoue and Diana Garnet

Joe Inoue and Diana GarnetWhen: Sunday – 4pm.
Joe Inoue is probably best known in the UK for two of his songs being used in anime: “Closer” was used as the fourth Naruto Shippuden opening song, and “Kaze no Gotoku” was used for a season of Gin Tama. He’s also a regular part of J-MELO, a television programme by NHK World which airs in over 150 countries. You will be able to buy Joe Inoue CDs and merchandise from JPU Records’ booth throughout the event.
He’ll be joined on stage on Sunday with Diana Garnet who recently had her a major debut – the turning point for her was winning the Nihon TV 2013 “Nodojiman THE WORLD” contest.

SIRO-A

SIRO-AWhen: Friday – 2:30pm. Saturday: 12:00 noon. Sunday: 12-noon.
Tipped as Japan’s answer to the Blue Man Group, this team of techno wizards combine humour, music and live performance into a stage show that is a must to experience. They’re also the longest running commercial stage-show from Japan to ever hit London’s west end. Check out their YouTube channel for a taste of what to expect.

Anna Yano:

Anna YanoWhen: Every day.
Yano Anna is an Aomoji-kei model affiliated with ASOBISYSTEM, the same management company as Kyary Pamyu Pamyu. She’s also a singer, having combined her work with her love of anime by performing “All Over” and “Shape My Story”, the opening theme songs for Magica Wars and Stella Women’s Academy, Class C3 respectively. Don’t worry, we didn’t know what Aomoji-kei was either, so here’s what MTV81 had to say about it; “Aomoji is basically dressing the way you want as opposed to what society thinks looks good; in other words, it’s about dressing for yourself, and not for what the runway and chain shops dictate… and certainly not to please boys”.

Miyu Koike

Koike MiyuWhen: Sunday – 2pm
Having had her major debut with Victor Entertainment this summer, Idol Koike Miyu will now also be making her UK debut at Hyper Japan Christmas Market. As well as a singer with seven indie singles under her belt, Miyu is also a regular talent on Japanese TV and radio shows. She’s known for her quirky sense of humour and being a something of a “Dojikko” (extremely clumsy) personality. Let’s hope she doesn’t fall off the stage!

Tamashii Taiko Drumming

Tamashii TaikoWhen: Saturday – 8:15pm
Tamashii perform traditional and contemporary pieces using a variety of traditional Japanese rhythms while the players are allowed to explode into their own unique and colourful solos throughout the songs. The combination of uniformity and the individual freedom of expression is what give Tamashii its strength as a team and character as a performance group. The Group show that Taiko is not merely drumming, but an emotion that the whole body and mind can experience, apparently.

Nihon Buyo and Folk Music

Nihon BuWhen: Saturday – 2pm. Sunday – 10:30am
Nihon Buyo is a refined form of traditional Japanese dance and has been improved over four centuries. It has its strongest influence from Kabuki Buyo, but it was also influenced by the circular movements and props of Noh and the spinning and jumping expressions of Japanese Folk Dance. While performed independently by specialists, it is particularly known for being the style of dancing performed by geisha.
Make sure you check out the performance on Sunday, as shamisen star Hibiki Ichikawa and enka singer Akari Mochizuki will join the performance.

Of course! JPU Records will be another highlight – visit their booth throughout the event to buy and talk about music! They will also have a very special one-off clearance sale of third-party CDs. A great time to grab a bargain or just try something new.

KYARY PAMYU PAMYU Announces 2014 World Tour Dates

Saviour of Japanese pop KYARY PAMYU PAMYU has announced a new world entitled NANDA COLLECTION WORLD TOUR 2014. So far 13 dates have been announced, including an appearance in London on 29 April at the Shepherds Bush Empire. Tickets go on sale from 9am Friday 24 January from LiveNation.

16 February 2014: Club Nokia LA Live, Los Angeles (tickets) [USA]
7 March 2014: Sound Academy, Toronto [CANADA]
8 March 2014: Best Buy Theater, New York (tickets) [USA]
23 March 2014: Metro Theatre, Sydney [AUSTRALIA]
5 April 2014: ROTUNDA 3, KITEC [HONG KONG]
25 April 2014: Bataclan, Paris [FRANCE]
27 April 2014: Gloria, Cologne [GERMANY]
29 April 2014: Shepherds Bush Empire, London (tickets) [UK]
17 May 2014:  Zepp Tokyo, Tokyo [JAPAN]
18 May 2014: Zepp Tokyo, Tokyo [JAPAN]
30 May 2014:  Taipei International Convention Center, Taipei (tickets) [TAIWAN]
28 June 2014: Bangkok Convention Centre, Central Plaza Ladprao (BCC HALL), Bangkok (tickets) [THAILAND]
21 June 2014: TBC, Singapore/ Coming soon!

JAPAN UNDERGROUND: New Year Party + Tokyo’s AC/DC Tribute


AD/CDWhen: Thursday 30 January 2014 (7pm-10:30pm)
Where: The Pipeline, 94 Middlesex Street, London, E1 7DA. (map)
Nearest Tube/Train: Liverpool Street, Aldgate/East, Shoreditch High Street
Tickets: £5 on the door.
Bands: AD/CD, Of Fire and Flames, QWERTY.
DJ: Japanese rock, punk, metal and alternative
Facebook event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/663263117029722/

Right, let’s kick this new year in good and proper. Thursday, end of January, you, the craziest AC/DC tribute band Tokyo has to offer, upcoming melodic punk outfit Of Fire and Fate and Japanese singer-songwriter Yuma Imaoka with his band QWERTY and shiny green bunny guitar. Sound good? You betcha! Plus Japan Underground’s resident DJ spinning a mixture of tracks from Japan to get you headbanging, fist swinging and having a damn good time – just a fiver on the door! See you there.

Sponsored by JPU Records

Here’s a video from our events last year:

AN CAFE – Hikagyaku ZiprocK: the Review

AN CAFE: Hikagyaku ZiprocK

Hikagyaku ZiprocK is An Cafe’s first full length album in over four years. A lot has changed in the ‘Jrock’ landscape in those years, but this album shows that AN CAFE hasn’t changed a bit. If you liked them before, you’ll love the new songs. Similarly, if they irritated you before, we highly doubt any of the new offerings will win you over (but do listen to ‘O No Saki Ga Ienai’ just for the ‘lulz’.)

The album is  a mixture of styles. They have their ‘Harajuku’ high-tempo disco stuff with tracks ‘ROMAN’ and ‘Love Me Tender’ (our favourite on the whole album – and one of the European version’s three bonus tracks), Jpop-meets-Jrock with ‘Utsukushi Hito’, ‘Bee Myself Bee Yourself’, there’s some goofy chiptune fun with ‘Gendai Soldier Now’ and even a fair few ballads included too. Perhaps the most surprising element, at least for us, was the heavier approach on a few tracks. Just check out the video at the bottom of this review – that’s a little more ‘grr’ than we’re used to! And we’re liking it! Even if they do balance it out with a scary / cute girl-Miku.

Summary: Existing fans will love it. As for us, we’ve never been the biggest An Cafe fans (sorry Cafekko), and although ZiprocK certainly has its moments, it also has plenty more irritations. But that’s just us. 6/10

Hikagyaku ZiprocK is due for release in Europe from Friday 13 December (and 6 January 2014 in the UK, according to Amazon) and boasts three bonus tracks and an extra booklet with translated lyrics. Don’t forget the boys are also on tour in 2014. Click here for all the dates.

01. Juryoku Scandalous
02. ROMAN ~Let’s make precious love~
03. Hachimitsu+Lemon=?
04. Utsukushi Hito
05. Gendai Soldier Now.
06. O No Saki Ga Ienai
07. Shomi Kigen 2010.01.04
08. Itai Onna ~NO PAIN,NO LOVE ? JAPAIN GIRLS in LOVE~
09. Inazuma no Senritsu
10. Bee Myself Bee Yourself ~Jibun Rashiku Kimi Rashiku Umareta Story wa Hajimattenda
11. Kiminomachi ~5 person sing along ver.~
12. Itsumo no Kiss de / MaT [European Bonus Track]
13. Love Me♡Tender / Paku x2 Pakuchi [European Bonus track]
14. Merry Making ~Anti-aging ver~ [European Bonus Track]

Order from Amazon: Special European Edition, Japanese Limited Edition.

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