Is Japan the Future of Rock?

The holiday issue of Classic Rockwell, you can read. If you don’t like links, the title of this post is the same question they posed.

I think they wanted to be a little bit provocative, and goodness knows how much the Team Rock crew over at Metal Hammer loves them some Babymetal, so they posed a question that’s guaranteed to get their readers all in a lather. Sell some online ad space, establish goodwill with more Japanese talent management, etc. Profit.

But how would that question best be answered? Obviously, the opinion of this website is that Japan and rock have a very interesting relationship right now, and I don’t think that anybody will be shocked to learn that I’m personally a big proponent of the potential of idolcore specifically, with idol metal trailing not far behind, to break through in the West — not as Japanese acts, but as Western acts picking up the model and running with it.

But is Japan the future of rock? In a general sense … look, define that. For every ONE OK ROCK U.S. tour and that weird place between idol and rock that Momoiro Clover Z sometimes occupies (that is, for every seriously Big Deal coming out of the Japanese rock scene), there’s a Maximum the Hormone (not even on this list!) or Man With a Mission or Fear, and Loathing in Las Vegas — that is, a legitimately really good Japanese band that has a genre international following — or a Doll$Boxx/Gacharic Spin or BAND-MAID — that is, a very good all-woman hard rock  band that’s a little too uniquely Japanese one way or another to garner more than niche support in North America and Europe despite the fact that they’re way more interesting than 90 percent of what’s on the radio.

Japan has a ton of really interesting rock music happening right now, and it’s all over the musical map and some of it is legitimately awesome and original.

But does that mean that the Japanese scene is the future of rock, period?

I’m honestly interested in your thoughts; this dovetails nicely with last week’s post on the next potential Western breakthrough.


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