If you’re about to purchase Japanese vinyl, which genre comes to mind first? Audiophiles tend to lean towards the Japanese pressing of rock and jazz music. However, other genres such as soul/funk, Japanese jazz, and city pop are attracting new buyers. As Japanese record collectors tend to have an eclectic taste in music, the amount of Western music available on Japanese vinyl is endless. From Queen, Pink Floyd, David Bowie, Stevie Wonder, Miles Davis, Bob Marley, Run DMC, etc.
Face Records would like to introduce the various genres on Japanese pressed vinyl.
Rock music has been the most popular music genre in Japan. Evidently, The Beatles are the best selling rock band in Japan. After their breakup, a report in 1975 concluded that over 9 million copies of their LPs and 18 million copies of their singles were sold in the Japanese market.
Although collectors outside of Japan may own American or UK pressings of their favorite rock band, they envy those who own Japanese pressings, renowned for their sound quality and their unique OBI strip. Japanese pressings often include Japan-only bonus items and exclusives. For example, the Japanese release of Ozzy Osbourne’s 1982 live album “Speak of the Devil” comes with a bonus 7 inch single and a special poster.
Rock music is our most extensive lineup available on our website.
Jazz has a strong following in Japan. In fact, the nearly entirety of Blue Note jazz records can be collected solely on Japanese vinyl. From early 10 inch records to fusion, Japanese record companies Toshiba and King pressed numerous albums from the 1970s to the 1990s. There were even sessions that were released exclusively on Japanese pressings.
Hank Mobley’s “Poppin’” session was recorded in 1957. Despite being an excellent recording, the album was not released till 1980 in Japan by King Records. The album artwork was designed by Japanese photographer Katsuji Abe, while the vinyl itself created an immaculate stereo sound.
Apart from Blue Note records, Japanese jazz releases have recently brought curiosity and strong demand.
Japanese jazz label: Three Blind Mice
In recent years, Japanese jazz music has received a great deal of attention. In particular, from Japanese label Three Blind Mice, also known as TBM, was established in
1970. TBM released hundreds of records during the 70s aimed to showcase Japan's emerging jazz artists. Despite its audiophile sound quality and vibrant music, the records were largely unpopular at the time of their release. Retrospectively, TBM’s music is considered to be pivotal in the development of Japanese jazz.
Nowadays, largely thanks to the internet, TBM releases have achieved cult status and are in high demand amongst record collectors, fascinated by the music and audio quality.
From the 1960s to the 80s, soul/funk records were issued on Japanese pressing with the OBI strips. Notable artists such as James Brown, Aretha Franklin, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, and so on have had their records pressed on Japanese vinyl.
Their Japanese singles were actually manufactured with original Japanese artwork, more visually stunning compared to their Western releases.
For avid fans of soul/fun music, Japanese pressings are must-haves.
Western pop music
There is a wide variety of Western pop albums on Japanese vinyl. For example, Madonna, ABBA, Pet Shop Boys, Linda Ronstadt, Sylvie Vartan, The Buggles, etc. As stated earlier, Japanese music fanatics are always curious and eager to listen to music from across the globe. With such dedication and passion, Japanese record companies introduced unfamiliar artists and bands to the local market.
Some artists made big hits in Japan, some made only one single record on Japanese pressing. Depending on the sales, the number of pressings either increased to the millions or was limited to a few hundred copies. This led to an abundance of rare Western pop records on Japanese pressing.
Needless to say, the majority of Japanese vinyl recordings are of Japanese music, with pop music being the most familiar and accessible. Even the latest pop groups still release their new material on vinyl.
Arguably the most popular genre of Japanese music by foreigners along with Japanese folk, City Pop has seen a resurgence in this digital age. Once again, the internet wins. A subgenre of Japanese pop music, mainly active during the 1970s – 80s. The sound is often described as a blend of yacht rock (or AOR), soul/funk, and disco.
Since the mid 2010’s, numerous videos of City Pop music have been uploaded on YouTube, including Mariya Takeuchi’s “Plastic Love”, considered as the quintessential City Pop anthem. Fun fact, “Plastic Love” was produced by the “king” of City Pop and Takeuchi’s husband, Tatsuro Yamashita.
Famous singers/artists associated with City Pop:
and many more.
Apart from the genres mentioned above, other genres such as blues, folk, latin, reggae, world music, classical music, movie/anime soundtracks, and more are available on Japanese pressing.
Face Records' wholesale service consists of a wide range of music genres just like we mentioned above and more. We deliver to our loyal customers around the world: North America, Europe, South America, Australia, Asia, and more. The infamous OBI strip, great sound quality, rare Red Vinyl, and Japan-only releases, they’re all waiting for you.