Is Rap Popular in Japan?

Rap music has undoubtedly transcended borders and gained immense popularity across the globe. From its roots in the Bronx, New York, in the 1970s, it has evolved into a global phenomenon, influencing music, fashion, and culture worldwide. While it has enjoyed tremendous success in Western countries, one might wonder: Is rap popular in Japan?

Japan has a rich musical history and a vibrant music industry that has embraced various genres over the years. While J-pop (Japanese pop) remains the dominant force in the country’s music scene, other genres, including rock, electronic music, and hip-hop, have also found their place. Hip-hop, in particular, has gained considerable traction in Japan, with rap music becoming an integral part of the Japanese music landscape.

The origins of rap music in Japan can be traced back to the late 1980s and early 1990s when it was introduced to the country through the influence of American rap artists. At that time, Japanese rappers primarily imitated the style and flow of their American counterparts, adapting the genre to their own cultural context. However, over the years, Japanese rap has developed its own unique identity, blending elements of traditional Japanese music, anime culture, and contemporary hip-hop.

One of the pioneers of Japanese rap was Hiroshi Fujiwara, who introduced rap music to Japan in the late 1980s. He brought the essence of American hip-hop to the country, laying the foundation for the genre’s growth. As the years went by, more Japanese artists emerged, including Scha Dara Parr, King Giddra, and M-Flo, who contributed to the evolution of Japanese rap and helped establish its credibility.

The popularity of rap in Japan experienced a significant boost in the early 2000s with the emergence of a new generation of artists. Artists like Rip Slyme, Teriyaki Boyz, and Ketsumeishi achieved mainstream success, gaining recognition not only within Japan but also internationally. Their catchy beats, clever wordplay, and incorporation of elements from Japanese culture appealed to a wide audience.

Today, Japanese rap continues to flourish with a diverse and thriving scene. Many talented artists have emerged, each bringing their own style and unique perspective to the genre. Artists such as KOHH, AK-69, and Ken the 390 have made significant contributions, pushing the boundaries of Japanese rap and gaining recognition both within and outside of Japan.

One of the reasons for the popularity of rap in Japan is its ability to address social issues and provide a platform for self-expression. Japanese rap often tackles topics such as identity, social inequality, and the struggles of everyday life. It has become a voice for the younger generation, reflecting their experiences and aspirations.

Furthermore, the influence of rap culture extends beyond music in Japan. Fashion trends influenced by hip-hop, such as streetwear and sneaker culture, have also gained significant popularity. Japanese youth have embraced the style and attitude associated with rap, creating a unique fusion of fashion and music that is distinctly Japanese.

While rap might not dominate the mainstream music charts in Japan as much as J-pop does, its impact and popularity cannot be overlooked. Japanese rap has carved its own niche within the broader music industry, attracting a dedicated fan base and inspiring a new generation of artists.

In conclusion, rap music has indeed found a place in the hearts of many in Japan. It has become a dynamic and influential genre, fusing elements of both Western and Japanese culture. With its ability to address social issues and provide a platform for self-expression, Japanese rap continues to evolve and resonate with a diverse audience. So, the next time someone wonders if rap is popular in Japan, the resounding answer would be a definite “yes.”







高校生になると、自分で曲を作り始めました。『BAZOOKA!!! 高校生RAP選手権』にも出場し、ステージの経験も増えてきます。そして、2017年には『未成年』というアルバムでメジャーデビューを果たしました。





社会的なメッセージや女性のエンパワーメントを訴えるものも多く、「PAIN IS BEAUTY」では、自分の苦しみを乗り越えて美しくなることを歌っています。「I’m a Pop」では、自分のスタイルやジャンルにとらわれないことを表現しています。「Never Grow Up」では、大人になっても夢を追い続けることを語っています。






I’m a Pop

Never Grow Up


New Zorn Track “いたいのとんでけ”

Some might already noticed that the Japanese rap and hip hop artist Zorn have recently released a new track called “いたいのとんでけ” (itai no tondeke), translated to, “pain, go away!”, and it has been topping the charts for many days! It already have 1 million views in 11 days. If you haven’t heard it yet, please do!

“Itai no tondeike” is something parents and such tells children when they got hurt to make the pain go away.

The lyrics of itai no tondeike is just about that – pain, and it is although dark, beautiful; it provides those we can relate to this song comfort. We might translate the lyrics if there is interest.


An unprecedented collaboration between three highly talented artists will highlight diversity while staying true to their creative spirit.

The bpm plus asia project & Brooklyn Yas furthers the pursuit of bridging cultures and heritages across Asia. In the previous projects/songs of this project, M.A.U Collective connected 10 artists from all over Asia with different backgrounds, energy and brought them to bpm plus asia with the hope of uniting Asian artists and showcase the next generation of Future Shock.

The new tune “Rocka Bye” brings together three artist with cross-cultural backgrounds: Al Cizarr, Mixed Miyagi, and Ankhten Brown. They are integrated to lead the way to the new wave of artists with more diversity in music. Produced by Jamaica native Tu Finga, “Rocka Bye” digs deep into a trap-dancehall vibe to channel a laid back, island vibe.

Though each artist’s heritage is unique, their shared experiences come through via the seamless cooperation on the track. Al Cizarr’s enigmatic vibe fusing with Mixed Miyagi’s edgy dynamic sound and Ankhten Brown’s smooth flow, accompanying a catchy melody, the song promises to conquer any hip hop heads’ hearts. By surviving and thriving as artists who live lives in-between cultures, “Rocka Bye” can hopefully breathe life into music through their stories and energy.

Al Cizarr is a one-of-a-kind artist whose motivation is to bring a new sound to the world, blending Jamaica and Japan. His music is a combination of dancehall and rap which is the way for him to express his stories.

Originally from Can Tho, Viet Nam, Miyagi was raised in Florida, where he was captivated by Hip-Hop culture. As a biracial immigrant, his music expresses passion for social justice, cultural awareness, lyricism and clever wordplay.

Ankhten Brown is a rapper, singer, songwriter and producer from Manila, Philippines. He experimented with hand percussion, native Filipino, African, Caribbean instruments and singing.

Stream now: 

Source: Lifted Asia , Thailand News

japanese rap yokohama

Best Japanese Rap songs 2021

Here we are again and talking about the best Japanese rap songs in year 2022, as the year is coming to an end. Don’t forget to let us know what your favourite Japanese rap songs are too! These are ours.

Jin Dogg – ” 街風 ” feat. REAL-T

ZORN – Stay Gold

ZORN brings music that is on a completely different level compared to a lot of other artists where he often get praised for being a humble down to earth person, and here he is back with another great track called Stay Gold from the album 925. Also worth checking out the track Lost too from the same EP.

KOHH – John and Yoko

Not too unexpected perhaps, that this would be included in the top list. John and Yoko from KOHH touches on history about the story of, well, John and Yoko and does it with dignity. This track was on the album from worst (2020) but released a music video this year illuminating the great song, which we believe makes it okay to add it for this years list!

KOWICHI Rockstar

From the most recent album Higher, KOWICHI is brining more quality than ever, with beats that still feels like KOWICHI, but with this up-tempo track called Rockstar featuring JP THE WAVY and T-Pablow there is a new sound that makes the list for sure. KOWICHI has more great songs on the album such as Rich and Self Made 2 which might be for more regular KOWICHI fan which makes it a tough decision to chose between the tracks.

KEN THE 390 – Verses feat. GADORO,NORIKIYO

JP THE WAVY – WAVEBODY (Remix) feat. OZworld, LEX & ¥ellow Bucks

FNCY – TOKYO LUV (Prod. : Jengi)

FNCY that features the artists ZENLAROCK, GRINA and 鎮座DOPENESS. This song TOKYO LUV really hits in a positive way and makes it one of our favorites for the year! Feels like a song you could play when the weekend hits.


MIYACHI, famous for the “I don’t Understand”-track, called WAKARIMASEN and also the same YouTuber who created videos named “KONBINI CONFESSIONS”, have released a new track called CHU-HI and it is a banger! A recommendation for sure. If you are curious a about the meaning of CHU-HI, it means a canned drink that includes alcohol, traditionally made, from a distilled beverage called shochu, sparkling water and flavouring. This might be the ultimate party music.

KREVA – タンポポ feat. ZORN

KREVA, also known as Dr. K, together with ZORN with the track tanpopo (english name dandelion).

Kvi Baba – Too Bad Day But…

Kvi Baba is someone not that many know of (yet!) but he is for sure worth checking out and Too Bad Day But… is really good. There are two versions of the track, the more famous one featuring AKLO and KEIJU, then there is the original version if you prefer that! Be sure to check out the other tracks from Kvi Baba also because there is a lot of gems.

Leon Fanourakis – SHISHIMAI

SHISHIMAI was released on January 22 2021 by Leon Fanourakis, an album you shouldn’t miss! Leon Fanourakis is certainly keeping up with his atmospheric underground rap style. We want to highlight this album since we’ve believe this is an undervalued album which you might like if you haven’t already.

Meaning of SHISHIMAI is that lion dancer figure you can see on the picture above.

Follow Leon Fanourakis on Twitter.

View on