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J-POP & POPULAR CULTURE

J-pop music is an integral part of Japanese popular culture. It is used everywhere: anime, stores, commercials, movies, radio shows, TV shows, and video games. Some television news programs even run a J-pop song during their end credits.

J-pop songs are often played at a very rapid frantic pace, making them difficult to enjoy for some people. In anime and television shows, particularly dorama, opening and closing songs are changed up to four times per year. As most programs have both opening and closing songs it is possible for one show to use 8 tracks in a single season. In comparison the hour-long American show Buffy the Vampire Slayer, which ran for a total of seven seasons (1997-2003), has only 30 songs on its two albums released in the United States. An anime series of the same length could have up to 56 full songs, at least one single, and it would only fill 30 minutes on TV.

The sheer number of songs that are released means the faces of J-pop are constantly revolving. Many artists will only release one album and several singles before fading back into anonymity. It is very difficult to stay prominent for longer than this and artists who sustain their popularity for a decade are considered outstanding. Groups like Dreams Come True, Chage & Aska, B'z, Southern All Stars, the pillows, and TUBE that have been popular for over 15 years are considered to be phenomenal successes.

The last five years have witnessed a new and strange phenomena emanating from West Japan. Centering on Fukuoka and Oita, a surge in popularity has been noticed amongst bands and groups featuring both foreign and Japanese musicians. This popularity has sparked the attention of several large music corporations, including Sony Japan. Notable band names include Bump of Chicken, Fever, Dr. Funkinstein, Cut Flowers, The Routes, F8, and The James Heneghan Acoustic Roadshow.

(Article based on Wikipedia article and used under the GNU Free Documentation License)

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Japanese posters & prints