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Japan, the Land of the Rising Sun, is a country with a rich cultural heritage that has inspired many artists across the globe. From its bustling cities and vibrant streets, to its picturesque countryside and beautiful temples, Japan has long been a source of inspiration for musicians. In this article, we’ll take a look at the Top 20 songs about Japan, a compilation of songs that capture the essence of this intriguing country. From pop to rock, from electronic to classical, these songs showcase the diverse musical landscape of Japan, and the influence that it has had on various genres of music. Whether it’s the lush landscapes, the vibrant cities, or the rich cultural heritage, these songs will transport you to the Land of the Rising Sun and provide a glimpse into the fascinating world of Japan. So sit back, relax, and enjoy this musical journey to one of the most intriguing countries in the world.
1. “Big in Japan” by Alphaville
“Big in Japan” by Alphaville is a synth-pop classic from the 80s. The song features haunting vocals and an upbeat melody that create a unique atmosphere. Lyrically, the song is about feeling out of place and longing for a sense of belonging, as the narrator sings about wanting to be “big in Japan”. The song became a hit in Europe and is still popular today, known for its memorable chorus and catchy synth hooks. With its timeless sound and relatable lyrics, “Big in Japan” remains a beloved classic of the 80s synth-pop scene.
2. “My Private Tokyo” by Vicious Pink Phenomena
“My Private Tokyo” by Vicious Pink Phenomena is a synth-pop song released in the 80s. The song features electronic beats, shimmering synths, and dreamy vocals that create a futuristic atmosphere. The lyrics talk about escaping reality and finding solace in a private world, as the narrator sings about their “private Tokyo”. The song is known for its catchy chorus and upbeat energy, making it a popular dance track. With its iconic 80s sound, “My Private Tokyo” is a classic of the synth-pop genre and continues to be enjoyed by fans of electronic music.
3. “Tokyo Kid” by Jean Michel Jarre
“Tokyo Kid” by Jean Michel Jarre is an electronic instrumental track released in the 1980s. The song features Jarre’s signature sound, with a mixture of electronic beats and synth-pop elements, as well as an eclectic use of Japanese instruments. The track has a futuristic, experimental vibe, and its driving rhythm makes it a popular dance track. The song was one of Jarre’s early works, and it helped establish his reputation as a pioneering electronic music composer and performer. With its innovative sound and memorable melody, “Tokyo Kid” remains a classic of the electronic music genre, and continues to be enjoyed by fans around the world.
4. “Japanese Boy” by Aneka
“Japanese Boy” is a synth-pop song by British artist Aneka, released in 1981. The song features catchy synth melodies and upbeat electronic beats, showcasing Aneka’s pop-influenced approach to electronic music. The lyrics of “Japanese Boy” describe a love affair with a Japanese man, capturing the excitement and uncertainty of a new romance. The song’s upbeat energy and catchy chorus make it a timeless pop classic, and its synth-driven sound remains influential in contemporary electronic music. Despite being released over 40 years ago, “Japanese Boy” remains popular and continues to be enjoyed by fans around the world.
5. “Mr. Roboto” by Styx
“Mr. Roboto” is a synth-pop song by American rock band Styx. Released in 1983, it’s a standout track from their album “Kilroy Was Here”. The song tells the story of a rebel in a futuristic society, who is caught and put in a robotic body. The upbeat, futuristic sound is a contrast to the rest of the album’s darker themes. The lyrics, sung by lead vocalist Dennis DeYoung, are delivered in a robotic voice, adding to the song’s unique sound and helping it to become a classic of the new wave genre. The repetitive chorus of “Domo arigato, Mr. Roboto” has become one of the most recognizable and memorable lines in popular music.
6. “Outside Tokyo” by The Stranglers
“Outside Tokyo” by The Stranglers is a powerful rock song that takes listeners on a musical journey to the streets of Tokyo. With its driving bassline, electrifying guitar riffs, and intense vocal performance, this track is a musical ode to the vibrant energy and eclectic culture of one of the world’s most fascinating cities. The song’s unique blend of punk, rock, and new wave elements make it a standout track in The Stranglers’ discography, and its catchy chorus and memorable lyrics make it a fan favorite to this day. Whether you’re a die-hard fan of The Stranglers or simply a lover of great rock music, “Outside Tokyo” is a must-listen.
7. “Woman from Tokyo” by Deep Purple
“Woman from Tokyo” is a classic rock song by British band Deep Purple. The upbeat tune features a driving guitar riff and energetic drum beat. The lyrics tell the story of a mysterious woman from Tokyo who captures the narrator’s heart and imagination. The song’s energetic instrumentals and captivating storyline make it a staple of classic rock radio to this day. The song was a commercial success for Deep Purple, reaching the top 20 in several countries.
8. “Japanese Sunshadows” by Rick Wakeman
“Japanese Sunshadows” is a song by British keyboardist Rick Wakeman, known for his work with the progressive rock band Yes. The song is a haunting instrumental piece that showcases Wakeman’s mastery of the synthesizer, blending together a blend of Eastern and Western musical elements to create a unique and evocative soundscape. With its delicate melodies and intricate arrangements, “Japanese Sunshadows” transports listeners to a world of tranquil beauty and serene contemplation, making it a true musical gem. Whether you’re a fan of progressive rock or simply enjoy instrumental music, “Japanese Sunshadows” is a must-listen for anyone looking for an uplifting and transformative musical experience.
9. “Godzilla” by Blue Öyster Cult
“Godzilla” by Blue Öyster Cult is a classic rock anthem that tells the tale of the iconic movie monster. With its driving beat and powerful guitar riffs, the song celebrates the destructive power of Godzilla while also paying homage to the creature’s larger-than-life presence in pop culture. The song’s catchy chorus and memorable lyrics have made it a staple of the classic rock genre, and it remains a popular choice for fans of the Godzilla franchise and the legendary band. With its classic rock sound and memorable lyrics, “Godzilla” is a must-listen for any music lover.
10. “Love Letter to Japan” by The Bird and the Bee
“Love Letter to Japan” by The Bird and the Bee is a catchy and upbeat pop song that pays homage to the vibrant culture of Japan. The song features playful keyboard melodies and playful vocals that express the singer’s love and admiration for everything from Japanese cuisine to the bright lights of Tokyo. With its catchy chorus and upbeat instrumentation, “Love Letter to Japan” is sure to get stuck in your head and leave you feeling cheerful and nostalgic for the Land of the Rising Sun.
11. “Alone in Kyoto” by Air
“Alone in Kyoto” is a atmospheric, dreamy track by French electronic duo Air. The song’s melody is buoyed by an array of electronic instruments, including synths and keyboards, and features a reflective, nostalgic tone. Lyrics speak of longing and wanderlust, as the singer finds themselves alone in Kyoto, Japan. The music video for the song features picturesque views of the city, adding to the song’s ethereal atmosphere. This song is an electronic pop gem and a standout track in Air’s discography, showcasing the duo’s ability to create lush, otherworldly soundscapes.
12. “Lost In Japan” by Shawn Mendes and Zedd
“Lost in Japan” is a pop song by Canadian singer-songwriter Shawn Mendes and Russian-German DJ Zedd. The song was released in 2018 and features a catchy beat with a mix of electronic and pop elements. Lyrically, the song is about falling in love and feeling lost in the moment with a special someone in the city of Tokyo. The song’s upbeat energy and upbeat lyrics make it a popular choice for fans of pop music.
13. “Tokyo Girl” by Ace of Base
“Tokyo Girl” by Ace of Base is a nostalgic dance-pop song that captures the essence of the city of Tokyo and its vibrant culture. With its upbeat and catchy melody, the song tells the story of a young girl who dreams of exploring the bustling city. The production features prominent synthesizer sounds and a driving beat that builds towards a soaring chorus. The lyrics describe the excitement and energy of the city and the freedom the protagonist feels when she’s finally able to visit. With its infectious hook and upbeat energy, “Tokyo Girl” is a celebration of the city that never sleeps and a testament to the power of dreaming big.
14. “Kyoto” by Phoebe Bridgers
“Kyoto” is a song by American singer-songwriter Phoebe Bridgers, released in 2017. The track is a hauntingly beautiful ballad that showcases Bridgers’ powerful vocals and introspective lyrics. The song is a personal reflection on lost love, with Bridgers singing about the pain of letting go of someone she loves and the memories they shared together. The melody is simple yet impactful, with delicate piano and guitar accompaniments that serve to underscore the raw emotions expressed in the lyrics. “Kyoto” is a touching and melancholic tune that provides a powerful glimpse into the mind of the singer and her experiences.
15. “Somewhere Near Japan” by The Beach Boys
“Somewhere Near Japan” is a nostalgic, dreamy ballad by The Beach Boys. With its soft melody and harmonies, it transports the listener to a romanticized vision of Japan, with the lyrics reflecting on memories of past love and longing for a distant place. The song’s ethereal quality is accentuated by the use of lush instrumentation and the signature Beach Boys vocal style. It’s a perfect representation of the surf rock genre, evoking feelings of longing, wanderlust, and romanticism. This song will take you on a journey to a magical, mystical place, somewhere near Japan.
16. “Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots pt. 1” by The Flaming Lips
“Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots pt. 1” is a song by The Flaming Lips, released in 2002 as part of their album “Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots”. The song is known for its blend of psychedelic rock, electronic music and its quirky lyrics that tell the story of a young girl named Yoshimi who battles against evil robots. The song features prominent synth sounds and electronic beats, creating a futuristic and dreamy soundscape. The lyrics and music come together to create a unique, imaginative experience that is signature to The Flaming Lips’ style. Overall, “Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots pt. 1” is a standout track that showcases the band’s creativity and musical prowess.
17. “Turning Japanese” by The Vapors
“Turning Japanese” is a pop rock song by The Vapors, released in 1980. It features catchy guitar riffs and upbeat vocals, accompanied by upbeat drums and bass. The song’s lyrics express the narrator’s infatuation with Japanese culture and the desire to escape reality by “turning Japanese”. Despite its upbeat tone, the lyrics have been the subject of much speculation and interpretation, with some suggesting it to be about masturbation or drug use. Nevertheless, the song remains a popular classic of its era and is widely recognized as a standout track in The Vapors’ discography.
18. “Chicken Teriyaki” by Rosalía
“Chicken Teriyaki” is a fast-paced, electrifying song by Spanish singer-songwriter Rosalía. The song features a combination of Spanish flamenco-style guitar and upbeat electronic beats, creating a unique and lively sound. Lyrically, the song is about a break-up and the narrator’s attempts to forget their former lover through food, specifically chicken teriyaki. The lyrics are sung in both Spanish and English, showcasing Rosalía’s versatility as an artist. The song has a catchy chorus that is sure to get stuck in your head, making it a perfect addition to any playlist. With its high energy and memorable melody, “Chicken Teriyaki” is a standout track from Rosalía’s impressive body of work.
19. “Crystal Japan” by David Bowie
“Crystal Japan” is a song by British singer-songwriter David Bowie, released in 1980. It’s an instrumental track that features traditional Japanese instruments such as the koto and the shakuhachi flute, blended with electronic beats and synthesizers. The song creates a serene and dreamy atmosphere, evoking the beauty and mystery of Japanese culture. The track was recorded as a tribute to Bowie’s fans in Japan and has since become a cult favorite among his fans worldwide.
20. “Love From Tokyo” by Rita Coolidge
“Love from Tokyo” is a song by American singer-songwriter Rita Coolidge, released in 1979. The track features a mid-tempo, soft rock melody with a mix of Japanese instruments and traditional western elements, showcasing a blend of eastern and western cultures. The lyrics are a love letter to Tokyo, with Coolidge singing about the city’s beauty, mystery, and allure. Her smooth and soulful vocals give a dreamy feel to the song, capturing the essence of the city’s vibe. The song’s instrumentals are comprised of delicate acoustic guitar strums, elegant piano notes, and a gentle rhythm section. “Love from Tokyo” is a charming and nostalgic tribute to the city, a perfect blend of traditional and modern elements.