J-Music Canon

Kotori Otonashi, former idol

Japan Time’s article here, via the last bastion of non-anison that anison familiars can tap into.

Without a canon, Japanese pop won’t blast off

Really? I mean, really?

I think the point is well-made in the article, about there is not much of a canon visible outside of Japan. I don’t necessarily disagree with that exactly. It’s just that with or without canon, J-music can make way into the rest of the world given enough support. The problem is there isn’t much support in terms of music-as-is from the labels and even artists. It’s totally a galapagos syndrome thing. Japanese pop won’t blast off with or without canon because the industry just doesn’t really care about this side of the Pacific.

Canon is something fans and press and critics can debate with each other with. We’re just not at the point where fans can, partly because of the fragmented nature of J-music as a result of lacking that direct support over the years. So to me the complaint about context is a bit putting the cart in front of the horse.

That said, the use case we’re talking about–how does someone begin to explore Japanese music–is big enough of a problem, but organically I think most people would deal with it the same way as with any other scene. Start with the popular stuff, branch out and explore. Access (if you can get around the illegal stuff without issues) is better today than ever before. The notion that this day and age people read books and magazines to discover music is as ludicrous as ever, anyway, so I assume the average teen in the USA has as much problem finding “canon” in English-language scenes as a Japanese teen in Japan. Which is to say, I guess this is why idol music is really big there, huh.

Context, however, is something I really enjoy studying these days, and it’s the greatest enabler. So I can see how not having it is a big issue. But we all had to start fresh somewhere. J-pop is shallow enough and sufficiently per se enjoyable that as a sell to your average, newly cultured middle class of East Asia, it works. Anime is a common sell overseas, too, precisely because of context. So I don’t see canon as context as necessary at first. It’s just when you obtain it, the feels come. This is where I agree with the original article.

Do give j1’s list a read, it’s obviously as debatable as any other list but mine probably overlaps a good deal. [Mainly because mine is comparatively miniscule LOL.]

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