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A Homecoming of the Heart: Shakuhachi Player Bruce Huebner

California native Bruce Huebner fell in love with the shakuhachi flute as a young man, and in the subsequent decades he has become an accomplished composer, performer, and teacher of the traditional Japanese woodwind instrument. A long-time resident of Japan, he spent many years in Fukushima, where he developed a deep affinity for the prefecture’s people and natural surroundings. Following the Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011, he has used his music to aid in recovery efforts and connect with people affected by the disaster.

Ocean Child: Reappraising Ono Yōko’s AchievementsKusumi Kiyoshi

For many years, Ono Yōko’s putative role in the breakup of the Beatles overshadowed her own achievements as an artist and activist. Now all that is changing. Art critic Kusumi Kiyoshi adds his own insights to the ongoing reappraisal of this much-misunderstood Japanese legend.

Japanese Pop Icon Amuro Namie to Retire Next Year (News)

Tokyo, Sept. 20 (Jiji Press)—Japanese pop icon Amuro Namie said Wednesday that she will retire from the world of show business in September next year. "I would like to write about something that I have carried in my mind and decided on the twenty-fifth anniversary of my debut," the 40-year-old singer, who celebrated her milestone anniversary on Saturday, wrote in her blog and indicated her inte…

Ōkura Shōnosuke’s Beat of Life (Video)Otome Kaita (video production and editing)

The tsuzumi hand drums used in Japan were originally instruments of prayer and invocation, and their natural timbre expressed a longing for a bountiful and peaceful life. The sound of the ōtsuzumi (hip drum), produced by those fully absorbed in their performance have, throughout history, been both electrifying and calming.

Ōkura Shōnosuke: Innovating with TraditionMiyazaki Yukio

Ōkura Shōnosuke is a virtuoso ōtsuzumi drummer in the tradition-bound world of the nō theater, but he is also an innovative artist whose powerful, pulsating rhythms resonate with nature and with life itself. Nippon.com explores the allure of this creative genius who continues to innovate with tradition.

Sony to Relaunch Vinyl Record Production (News)

Tokyo, June 29 (Jiji Press)—Sony Music Entertainment (Japan) Inc. said Thursday that it will make vinyl records for the first time in nearly 30 years as they are regaining popularity. The company, affiliated with Japanese electronics and entertainment giant Sony Corp., has introduced a pressing machine to cut grooves in records at a Shizuoka Prefecture plant operated by Sony DADC Japan Inc., a …

A Life in Music: An Interview with Composer and Producer Murai KunihikoMatsuki Naoya (Interviewer)

Composer, producer, and founder of Alfa Records Murai Kunihiko played a leading role in laying the foundations for J-pop in the 1970s. This included bringing the band Yellow Magic Orchestra to a global audience. In this interview, he shares his musical journey.

Keeping Japan’s Traditional Music Alive: Koto Player Curtis Patterson

Chicago-born Curtis Patterson has lived in Japan since 1986, dedicating himself to the koto, a traditional Japanese instrument something like the harp. In addition to composing and performing music for the koto, he is an avid teacher seeking to boost the dwindling number of koto players.

Five Japanese Albums from the 1970sNippon.com Staff

Not a top-five list, and not meant to be definitive in any way, but here are five albums that hit Japan’s record stores—and its charts—in the 1970s. Listen and enjoy! Translating roughly as “Windy City Romance,” weather is a theme that runs through several of the tracks on Happy End’s folk rock classic, including “Kaze o atsumete” (Gather the Wind), which featured on the Lost in Translation sou…

Singer Utada Hikaru Back in the Charts After Extended HiatusUno Koremasa

Utada Hikaru’s new album Fantôme, the singer’s first in close to a decade, has hovered near the top of the Japanese music charts since its release in September 2016. CD and digital sales of the album have topped one million, a mark it reached in January. Many in the industry consider this accomplishment par for the course for Utada, who set the sales record in Japan with her 1999 debut album Fir…

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