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3 October 2014
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1Xtra in Japn
1Xtra in Japan
Raver in Japan
Black music in Japan

Rapper Ty on Japan

Japan has a rich musical history dating back many centuries. Enka is Japan's equivalent of soul music, with a hint of the blues' and a sense of melancholy. Min'yô is a form of traditional folk music. Sorrows are drowned in sake (rice wine).

Since the end of the Second World War in 1945, Japanese and American cultures have been intertwined. Japanese pop (called J-pop) and rock have emerged under the influence of the West. Japan has become a global centre for specialist music buyers.

Over the last two decades black music has also taken off in Japan: Hip Hop and Dancehall are huge. Elephant Man's Good 2 Go album went gold this summer and Japanese sound Mighty Crown hold their own in Jamaica. Japan's Dancehall singer Miki Douzan held the number 1 spot for weeks while DJ Krush has worked with The Roots, releasing seven albums worldwide.

The explosion of black music is particularly interesting because, unlike Britain or America, Japan hasn't seen significant numbers of the world's black community emigrate there. (Minority groups are mostly from Korea, China, the Philippines and Iran).

Ty talks about his experiences of Japan

listen "There's a massive Hip Hop culture..."
listen "It's an amazing place..."
listen "As an African person I felt like a God..."
listen "It was like jumping into a space film..."

Read more about Mighty Crown
Documentary: Land of the rising riddim
Read about Japanese social etiquette

1Xtra in Japan

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