Music

Japanese Slit Drum Inspired By Traditional Garden Ornament Makes Beautiful Otherworldly Sounds

When you think of Japanese instruments, you may be familiar mostly with the koto, shakuhachi, and shamisen, as well as how they can be used to give popular music a beautiful and traditional Japanese twist. Thanks to Twitter user @wyrm06, many even in Japan are now discovering an otherworldly rippling instrument that they had never heard of before called the Hamon Slit Drum. With 70,000 tweets, many are surprised to find out that the pings and echoes of the Hamon Slit Drum actually come from a Japanese instrument. 日本にもヤバい金属楽器はある!という事で「波紋音」です。あまりにも豊かな倍音成分がヤバくて無限。Rav drumと同じ金属製のスリットドラムですが作品ごとにランダムな切れ込みになっており、完全に自分だけの楽器になります。この個体はオーナーが中に鎖を仕込んでいてビビり音が出ます。 pic.twitter.com/0gW0R3gvsz — サカン@世界の打楽器 (@wyrm06) 2017年9月17日 Of course, the Hamon is very similar to the Russian RAV Drum (seen below), along…

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This Inspirational Dancer Isn’t Bound by her Wheelchair

Meet Ayananana. She dances as an odorite, following a performance genre that has blossomed in the past ten years. Fans of mostly Vocaloid or J-pop upload dance videos to popular video sharing sites like NicoNico Douga and YouTube. Here she is performing “Onegai Daarin” (Please, Darling) by ONE: Ayananana was already interested in dance since she was 13, although she didn’t perform for the public. However, she later faced a life-changing event which cast a shadow over her aspirations. She was diagnosed with Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS), a rare disorder in which the body’s immune system attacks part of the nerves, causing numbness in limbs and other parts of the body….

9:53 PM


Foxy Kitsune-Mask Band Rocks Out To Utada Hikaru, Lupin, Arrietty, and More On Traditional Japanese Instruments

We’ve seen the wonderful sounds of traditional Japanese instruments fuse old and new in fantastic ways before, with several artists treating us to traditional Japanese instrumental renditions of Michael Jackson’s “Smooth Criminal”, “Welcome to the Jungle” by Guns N’ Roses, and an awesome medley of nostalgic Nintendo music. As Japanese Instrumental Ensemble band Mahora (真秀) is showing us, however, adding Shinto-style fox spirit masks to the mix makes for a killer aesthetic. Lupin the Third Mahora is a group of five graduates from the Tokyo University of the Arts, and they’ve taken to YouTube to show off the awesome sounds of traditional Japanese instruments such as the koto, shamisen, shakuhachi,…

5:34 PM


Give Your Music Sessions A Fantasy Feel With Elf Earphones

If you’ve been aching to scratch the fairly niche itch of giving yourself an Elven makeover while listening to music at the same time, Japanese Akihabara-based retailer Thanko may be offering your two-birds-with-one-stone chance with these “Elf Earphones”–a set of earphones that let you slip on pointy elf ears. The fantasy-themed earphones have an instant appeal to cosplayers and fans of all things Elven, but can also make for just a quirky aesthetic when listening to your tunes. Source: Thanko Source: Thanko The earphones boast a quick and comfortable (supposedly) elf transformation, and are equipped with a toggle switch and mic. Unfortunately, they only appear to be available in one…

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Perfect Pitch! Pianist Turns Cringe-Worthy Press Conference Into A Musical Performance

Do you have absolute pitch or perfect pitch? Perfect pitch is a rare auditory phenomenon that is characterized by the ability of a person to identify a given musical note without the benefit of a reference tone. Some people are born with that ability, but some acquire it through continuous training. One pianist demonstrated this kind of ability by performing the exact pitch from a press conference involving a Japanese congressman apologizing for his wrongdoings. In the video, the pianist not only amazingly plays the exact speed and pitch of the speech but also remembers to turn the speech of the reporter into musicical notes. Although the combination of the…

10:19 PM


Awesome Grandma Dances Into Grandson’s Room And Rocks Out On His Electric Guitar

Metalheads who grew up in a small house probably have this one thing in common — they’ve been yelled at by a sibling, parent, or grandparent to turn the music down. But heavy metal just isn’t the same when played at a low volume, and truthfully, annoying the heck out of family members was all part of the fun anyway. However, there are always anomalies, like when Japanese Twitter user Yuhei (@gypsyheart3) was a hardcore metalhead living under the same roof as his grandmother. One day when he was still in high school, he was in his room playing Slipknot on his guitar. After a while, his grandma (who was…

2:17 PM


Credit Card Forms Japanese Idol Unit Out Of Company Employees

At initial glance, you might mistake Higashi-Ikebukuro 52, Japan’s latest mega-member idol unit, to be a sister-group or spinoff of other popular acts such as AKB48 or Keyakizaka46. Outside of having a lot of singing (liberal use of the term) and dancing members, they’re actually unrelated, though. That’s because Higashi-Ikebukuro 52 is an idol group made up of a credit card company’s employees! Source: YouTube Many Japanese Idol groups also have a sports-team sort of representation of areas in Japan (such as with AKB48 and Akihabara), and that’s no different with Higashi-Ikebukuro 52, who represent Eastern Ikebukuro in Tokyo. The 24 member group is comprised all of employees for Japanese…

2:30 PM


Japanese DJ Produces Catchy Dance Song With A Bunch Of Pubic Hair

Yes, you read that right — Japanese DJ ☆Taku Takahashi of hiphop group M-Flo just came out with a song made with pubic hair. The song, In Motion, was created as part of the Pubic Hair Grooving project, for which the pubic hairs of 15 female participants were collected and generated into sound according to their various “waveforms.” ☆Taku Takahashi then made magic by adding some rhythm and catchy beats, ultimately producing a groovy dance song we could totally imagine hearing at a Tokyo nightclub: Not all that surprisingly, the project was sponsored by Datumou Recipe, a research team specializing in hair removal. Although what anyone decides to do with…

4:16 PM


Japanese Idol Group Puts On Hazmat Suits To Hug Fans At Event

It would probably be an understatement to say that Japanese idol and pop groups attract some very passionate fans. Many dedicated fans travel and follow their favorite regional or local idol groups on tour, but some go the extra step and participate in bonus services provided by the idol group’s management, some of which include paying large fees for three minute phone calls, or collecting raffle tickets (which necessitates buying multiple copies of the same CD) to win a chance at shaking the hands of their favorite group members. Fortunately, this month’s Budokan Idol Expo 2017 provided an opportunity for fans to meet up and interact with their favorite idols….

6:09 PM


A Hip Hop Reimagining Of The Scores To Hayao Miyazaki Films

With it’s 15th anniversary recently completed, there have been a lot of recent efforts to celebrate Studio Ghibli’s classic Spirited Away. Melbourne-based Andrei Eremin (Ghosting) may have come up with one of the more creative ways to do so, composing a full album inspired by the works of Hayao Miyazaki. Titled “Reimagining Hayao Miyazaki”, the project takes the classic tunes of Ghibli favorites such as Princess Mononoke, My Neighbor Totoro, and Spirited Away, and fuses them with a brooding but pleasantly calming hip hop beat that makes one think of Samurai Champloo. Read up more on the project, to be released May 12th, here, and check out the first track–a…

12:15 PM


82-Year-Old DJ Is A Nightclub Sensation In Tokyo’s Red Light District

Age shouldn’t matter when doing what you love, and for 82-year-old Sumiko Iwamuro — known as DJ Sumirock — it certainly doesn’t. Known as Japan’s oldest DJ, Iwamuro has become a nightclub sensation as she hits the turntables to spin some killer beats in Shinjuku’s DecaBarZ once a month. Along with techno music, she also mixes genres like jazz, French chanson, and classical music, and crowds young and old enjoy her inimitable style like a breath of fresh air. Born in 1926 to a father who was a jazz drummer, music undoubtedly runs in Iwamuro’s veins. But that’s not the only thing her father passed on to her — though…

5:40 PM


Radio Ghibli Gives Studio Ghibli Fans Their Music Fix In Memorable Playlists

Whether it’s checking out amazing Joe Hisaishi concert footage or this amazing Castle in the Sky music box, there are plenty of awesome ways to enjoy the charming and nostalgic music of Studio Ghibli films. For those looking to get an assorted mix of those beloved tunes in one place, the Radio Ghibli music mix just might be the fix you’re looking for. Originally released in January, NTS Radio put out this 1986-1992 one hour play list of music featured from the soundtracks on several classic Studio Ghibli films, mixed by Sega Bodega. This initial release contains music from My Neighbor Totoro, Castle in the Sky, Kiki’s Delivery Service, Grave…

5:44 PM


Shelter: The Six Minute Anime Short That Will Always Make You Cry

We’re not sure if the friendly duo of electronic music producer Porter Robinson and French musician Madeon set out to deplete the world’s supply of tissues when they teamed up with Japanese anime studio A-1 Pictures and Crunchyroll to make hit anime short-music video hybrid for the song “Shelter”, but there’s definitely been some collateral damage of the tissue kind. Porter tells The Japan Times that he’s actually very invested in Japanese animation, and that “if I could convert 100,000 people worldwide into anime fans, I feel like it would really make an impact.” The video debuted on a billboard in Tokyo in October, and only needs six minutes to…

4:21 PM


Chara-ben: The Bento That Are Just Too Cute To Eat

We don’t need to tell you that bento, or Japanese packed lunch boxes, have become popular outside of Japan not only for their many delicious varieties, but charming aesthetic appeal as well. While most bento are appreciated for their convenience and variety, those who have the time for preparation and artistic spark can explore the world of chara-ben, or character bento. Recently, Great Big Story sat down with a seasoned character bento artist, and her bento look just too good to eat! Source: YouTube Tomomi Maruo is an enthusiast for chara-ben, having a special knack for crafting out the fine details of popular anime characters and even celebrities into the…

3:51 PM


Buddhist Temple Offers Psychedelic Memorial Service To The Beat Of Techno Music

Buddhist temples are the last place you’d imagine going to enjoy techno music and bathe in a kaleidoscope of psychedelic lights, but at Shōonji in Fukui Prefecture, there’s a rather unique memorial service held to the smooth beats of techno tracks. Since October 2016, abbot Gyosen Asakura has been holding techno Buddhist memorial services at his temple, which began as an effort to attract more visitors and evoke the interests of Japan’s younger generations toward religion. Combining multicolored lights, projection mapping, and techno music, Asakura has conjured up a modern, quite unconventional way to make his temple and services feel more accessible to the wider public. Source: Ready For For…

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