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The J-POP Hits Songbook: Songs From the Land of the Rising Sun

The J-POP Hits Songbook: Songs From the Land of the Rising Sun

Japan’s vibrant music scene continues to captivate audiences worldwide with its infectious beats and unique blend of pop culture. In this edition, we bring you a curated list of the hottest J-Pop songs that have been making waves in the industry and winning the hearts of fans around the globe. From upbeat melodies to impactful ballads and to hardcore rock songs, J-pop offers all types you’re bound to like.

Let’s have a taste of what J-POP has in store for us: 

1. “Kirari” by Fujii Kaze

   Let Fujii Kaze’s mesmerizing “Kirari” illuminate your playlist with its radiant melody and uplifting energy. Its energy just makes it the perfect song to listen to while on a road trip. But you’ll never think that this song was written for a TV commercial for Honda.

2. “Pretender” by Official髭男dism (Official HIGE DANdism)

    Embark on an emotional journey with “Pretender,” a soul-stirring track that showcases Official髭男dism’s prowess in crafting heartfelt ballads. This is a melancholic love song about a man who thinks he is not worthy of the woman he loves. The lyrics express his feelings of inadequacy and self-doubt, leading him to give up on his love and say goodbye. It’s a poignant portrayal of the pain and heartbreak that can come with unrequited love.

3.  “Magic” by Mrs. GREEN APPLE 

    Experience the enchantment of “Magic” as Mrs. GREEN APPLE weaves a musical spell that captivates and delights. This J-pop song is the embodiment of pure joy and optimism. Especially when the main singer hits the high note in the chorus perfectly. It would be a dream to hear them sing this song live.

4.  “夜に駆ける (Yoru Ni Kakeru/Racing into the Night)” by YOASOBI 

    YOASOBI takes you on a lyrical sprint through the night with this dynamic and evocative track, a modern classic in the making. Becoming popular in social media, this song features a story about a brief and fleeting romance between the narrator and their lover. The lover repeatedly attempts to take their own life, which is a recurring theme throughout the story. The contrast of the sound and the lyrics of the song just makes this song one of a kind.

5.  “絆ノ奇跡/Kizuna no Kiseki” by MAN WITH A MISSION×milet 

    Feel the power of connections with MAN WITH A MISSION and milet’s collaboration, delivering a message of hope and unity. Associated as the opening theme song for the TV anime ‘Demon Slayer: To the Swordsmith Village’, this song definitely made an impact in the anime community and to J-pop.

6.  “One Voice” by ロクデナシ/Rokudenashi 

    Rokudenashi strikes a chord with “One Voice,” a compelling anthem that amplifies the strength of a single voice. This song is about overcoming life’s challenges and the importance of having support from loved ones. It’s a powerful message of hope and resilience.

7.  “Starmaker” by KANA-BOON 

    KANA-BOON takes you on a celestial journey with “Starmaker,” a rock-infused track that reaches for the stars. Another song associated with an anime called ‘My Hero Academia’. This upbeat song captures the hopeful and lively energy of youth. The song is a powerful message of resilience and optimism that inspires listeners to keep moving forward, even when things seem bleak.

8.  “Time Warp” by Perfume 

    Step into a sonic time machine with Perfume’s “Time Warp,” a futuristic and energetic J-pop experience. It’s very colorful and contemporary sound and visual-wise. The lyrics express the desire to revisit the past and cherish the little moments that make life special. The song encourages listeners to treasure their memories of the past and look forward to the future with optimism.

9.  “Yesterday” by Official髭男dism (Official HIGE DANdism) 

    Official HIGE DANdism’s “Yesterday” invites you to reflect on the past with its melodic charm and nostalgic undertones. This song was featured in an anime movie titled ‘Hello World’. The protagonist of the song is determined to make amends for his past mistakes by proving to his partner that he can be a better person. Despite the world’s criticism of their love as selfish and misguided, he is willing to do whatever it takes to be with her and protect her.

10.  “真夜中のドア / Stay With Me (Mayonaka no Door)” by 松原みき/Miki Matsubara 

     Miki Matsubara’s timeless classic “Mayonaka no Door” is reimagined, creating a seamless blend of the old and the new. Even with its dated production and quality, it still evokes the same feeling as it did when it was released. This song was one of the keys in popularizing the genre of ‘City Pop’ on the internet and J-pop itself.

11.  “言って。/Say It.” by ヨルシカ/Yorushika 

     Yorushika’s hauntingly beautiful “Say It.” captivates with its emotional depth and introspective lyrics. The lyrics encourage listeners to treasure the moments they have with their loved ones and not take them for granted. It’s a beautiful reminder of the importance of appreciating the people in our lives and letting them know how much they mean to us.

12.  “恋するフォーチュンクッキー (Koisuru Fortune Cookie)” by AKB48 

     Join the infectious rhythm of AKB48’s “Koisuru Fortune Cookie,” a feel-good anthem that never fails to get the crowd dancing. The lyrics of the song are about a girl who is in love with someone who doesn’t seem to reciprocate her feelings. She prepares herself to confess her love, but is too shy to do so. The song encourages listeners to take a chance on love and express their feelings before it’s too late.

13.  “すずめ (Suzume) ft. 十明 (Toaka)” by RADWIMPS 

     RADWIMPS collaborates with Toaka in “Suzume,” delivering a melodic and heartfelt ballad that tugs at the heartstrings. Featured as the main song of a movie by the same name, the song’s lyrics express the protagonist’s deep love for his partner and how she has helped him grow emotionally. He acknowledges that their love is more profound than just tears and that he feels incomplete without her.

14.  “クラクラ(Kura Kura)” by Ado 

     Ado’s “Kura Kura” offers a dizzying yet exhilarating experience, showcasing the artist’s unique and experimental style. The song’s lyrics explore the themes of duality, uncertainty, and the struggle to find stability and authenticity in life. The lyrics depict a world that is divided and filled with conflicting values and perspectives. Also used as an opening in ‘Spy Family’.

15.  “紅蓮華 (Gurenge)” by LiSA 

     LiSA’s powerful vocals shine in “Gurenge,” the iconic opening theme of a popular anime (Demon Slayer), creating an anthem of strength and resilience. The song’s lyrics convey the emotions of joy and pain that arise from creating something that one wants to protect. The lyrics describe this as the “reason to become strong”.

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16.  “Wild Side” by ALI 

     Feel the adrenaline surge with ALI’s “Wild Side,” a high-energy track that sets the stage for epic adventures. The song’s lyrics describe the protagonist’s inner turmoil and his journey towards self-discovery. The lyrics also touch upon the themes of freedom, self-expression, and living life to the fullest. The song also featured as an anime opening for ‘Beastars’.

17.  “No.1” by mona (Shiina Natsukawa) 

     Mona enchants with “No.1,” a melodic journey that showcases the artist’s emotive vocals and storytelling prowess. The song’s lyrics reflect the protagonist’s inner turmoil and his journey towards self-discovery. The lyrics also touch upon the themes of freedom, self-expression, and living life to the fullest .

18.  “ピースサイン(Peace Sign)” by 米津玄師/Kenshi Yonezu 

     Kenshi Yonezu’s “Peace Sign” resonates with its anthemic quality, delivering a message of optimism and determination. Another opening song from ‘My Hero Academia’, it perfectly hypes up the show for the viewers. The lyrics of the song convey a message of perseverance and courage, which perfectly resonates with the anime it associates with.


     ATARASHII GAKKO! brings a fresh vibe with “OTONABLUE,” a catchy tune that infuses youthful energy into the J-Pop scene. The song describes the feeling of frustration when one’s attempts to act like an adult are not recognized, and they are still seen as a child. This struggle to be seen as mature can lead to feelings of sadness.

20.  “Universe” by Official髭男dism (Official HIGE DANdism) 

     Close the musical journey with “Universe,” a celestial masterpiece by Official HIGE DANdism that explores the vast expanse of sound. The lyrics pose questions about the future, ideals, and self-perception. It also explores the concepts of anxiety and doubt, with the lead character having knowledge of the truth, yet being overwhelmed by fear. Despite this fear, the song motivates the listener to continue, underlining that life goes on and the future is always unfolding.

21. “DADDY! DADDY! DO!” by Masayuki Suzuki ft. Airi Suzuki

     Masayuki Suzuki and Airi Suzuki join forces in “DADDY! DADDY! DO!” delivering a dynamic collaboration that’s both energetic and catchy. The lyrics convey an intense yearning for affection and intimacy. The vocalist articulates a deep-seated desire for someone’s love, accepting the possibility of deception or pain. They are eager to explore every facet of love, embracing its beauty as well as its perils.

Feel free to listen to the song in the list by clicking this LINK.

From heartwarming ballads to high-energy anthems, these J-Pop sensations promise a diverse and captivating listening experience. Though most of these have motivational themes, maybe the world needs them. So, tune in and let the melodies of Japan’s musical landscape transport you to a world where each note tells a story.

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