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Japanese singers who sing in English


19 Apr 2004
Hi, I'm a newcomer and want to ask about something.
What do you think about Japanese singers who sing in English.
Isn't it strange?I mean not only about their pronunciations (because some of them pronunce very well) but also about the porpose that they sing in English for.
Probaby you had this kind thread already before, as I wrote above I'm a newcomer so I just want to what you guys think about this.In addition, I'm a Japanese guy and looking forward to hearing your opinions.
Lol We've been talking about this topic in the french section.
Anyway I think it's normal because they wanna be known outside Japan.
English is the most used language contrary to japanese.
By singing in english I think the singers are trying to reach more people...
Welcome aboard, Yu.

Not sure i totally agree with you, dreamer. It might be a small part of the reason though.

The main reason, i think, is that anything that sounds Western is attractive for (most) Japanese. Thus it's commercially more interesting. Often the pronunciation is pretty bad, but that wouldn't bother a Japanese audience. It just makes a song sound more sophisticated.

That said, there are indeed many Japanese artists that have (near) perfect pronunciation. They could make it internationally, if they wanted to (and if their recordcompany would let them, but that's a totally different discussion).

I remember one song from Siam Shade that contains both English and German in one sentence. Pretty hilarious to an international crowd, but in Japan this doesn't matter.
Yikes. I think a lot of the time, the English pronunciation sounds pretty bad. If I had to listen to it for some reason(because I usually don't listen to any J-music voluntarily), I'd rather listen to them singing in Japanese. Of course, Twisted is right. To the Japanese audience, they don't care if it's not grammatically correct or if it's not pronounced correctly. They just think it's stylish to use English, and not just for lyrics, but for a lot of other things too.
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It depends on the singer, and the song. If it's a slow song, then I can understand what they're singing. Whereas a fast paced song....oh geez I wouldn't know the difference between the Japanese lyrics and the english ones. :eek:
just like Yu said, i also think they sing with a very good english, compared to the english accent of some of the japanese I have met, those singer have a very good english, it surprise me at the beginning
I think they are not singing in English to be famous outside Japan, because a lot of Japanese artists singing in English never go abroad and keep making that kind of songs in only Japan.I also think some of them know that they can't sell many records if they try in other countries, but when they are in Japan they are sort of sofisticated to Japanese people.
Besides when they sing in English it sounds like singing without any emotion I mean without putting heart into singing,because it's not their own language, for example, I like Ken Hirai very much(does anyone know him?) He is one of really famous singers in Japan.
He sometimes go abroad such as attending the MTV unplugged.
I admit he shoud sing in English or even in other languages when he goes in some foreign country.I've got some CD which has his live songs performed in Japan and I like most songs in this CD but when he sings in English he sounds a bit different from singing in Japanese.I sometimes think that generally he should sing in just Japanese when he performs in Japan.
This is kind of extreme opinion which some Japanese people have about Japanese artists, but if you have some CD by Japanese singers who sing in English you should check.
yes. ken hirai sings in very good english..but i think 'tatsuro yamashita' has the best english pronounciation for japanese male singer.. his first song i've ever heard was 'mermaid' and at that time i haven't known whose the singer yet, i really didn't even know it was sung by a japanese! i love tatsurou!
Most Japanese singers that actually have good pronunciation have studied abroad or at an international school. Look at M-Flo, Heartsdales, Hikaru Utada, Olivia, etc...
I to agree that Utada Hikaru sings very well in english. But if you listen to Koda Kumi's 'Real Emotions' and BoA's '#1' carefully you'll easily pick out mistakes. (For people who are going to tell me that BoA is not Japanese: I KNOW!) I think that might have something to do with the fact that Utada Hikaru was in US for along time growing up and that she now is studying/ or was studying there (I dont know). But Japanese singers singing in English has to do with that in english they can express them self a bit diffrent. I dont know
BoA is not Japanese! :p

Yeah, actually Hikaru Utada was born in the US. It's amazing she speaks Japanese that well. :D

Olivia (Lufkin) is half American, half Japanese.

Personally, i don't really care what language they sing in, as long as the whole package sounds good. Most songs are just about love anyway, so we won't actually miss any deeper meaning.
Sometimes I don't even realize that some of them are speaking english. I'll look up the lyrics and be like "hey! they speaking in engrish!" you have got to love it. ^-^
Personally, i don't really care what language they sing in, as long as the whole package sounds good.

I agree. The music is more important than the language.

Then there are those fans that refuse to listen to a Japanese band that sings in English. I don't think it has much to do with the music but the novelty they feel that comes from listening to a band from another country.
I just started listening to jrock about a month and a half ago.I am so so suroprised to hear so much of it sang in almost perfect english.I would have never guessed that so many japanese singers sing in english.I was expecting it to be all in japanese.
I dunno, personally most of the time I can't tell if they're singing in Japanese or English. The pronounciation is usually so off. It's even worse when you look at a lyric sheet and it's just a random english word stuck in there, that has nothing to do with the song.

Oh well. I don't listen to j-pop very often, so it doesn't really matter.
Ken Hirai

checkout his album 'Ken's Bar', most of the songs of that album are English songs,
his pronounciation is quite good among the people who speaks English as their second language
To me, it seems that putting some English in the J-music is pretty trendy. There are many Japanese people that have an interest in English, but there are a lot of Westerners who have an interest in J-music. For those who don't know a lot of Japanese, sometimes Westerners appreciate that there is some English interwined in the songs. However, many of the J-groups that I hear, don't even put English sentences together. The song majority of it is in Japanese, and then they throw in like two or three English words. It's like in some of the Japanese commercials where they try using some English, and even Japanese people are using more slang like ハッピー(Happy) instead of ureshii. I guess many Japanese people like the Western appeal.

I do have to respect the artists that do have the ability to sing in English. However, I think that these English phrases sometimes detracts from the songs (I guess that's just my opinion). It just depends on the song I guess, and how well it cordinates with the lyrics. For Example, the group "Love Psychodelico," in some of their songs, the first half of the lyric is in Japanese, and then it suddenly switches to English. Therefore, that gets kinda confusing to follow sometimes.

I was talking to a Korean friend, and she was telling me when BOA first was coming on the scene in Japan, that she didn't know hardly any Japanese, and that she basically memorized all of her songs. Therefore, she could sing the songs, but BOA probably didn't know the meaning of her lyrics. I know she can speak better Japanese now though. Therefore, I think that this supports the theory that in order to appeal to another group of people she had to sing in their language. However, there are many Japanese that love Western music, and it doesn't really matter to them if it's all in English. It must mean that English is more trendy in Japan than Korean :?
I like it when Jrockers (and Jpop stars, I guess...) put English in their songs. I especially like to hear Kyo (Dir en Grey ppl, get with the program) and Miyavi (The artist formerly known as Prince, er, um, Miyabi...) talk in English in their songs because...

a) It's pretty funny some of the stuff Miyavi can some up with.
b) I actually like to believe I understand at least SOME of what Kyo is screaming about...


c) Their accents really get me sometimes. I just love them.
Soundclip of Hyde (from LEC) asking the audience "DID YOU EAT CRABS?!?!?!", oh it's gold. (It's in english too and you can hear all the rabid fangirls screaming)
bill_cosby said:
Soundclip of Hyde (from LEC) asking the audience "DID YOU EAT CRABS?!?!?!", oh it's gold. (It's in english too and you can hear all the rabid fangirls screaming)

Gawd, that's good for a laugh or 5. See, ya gotta love stuff like that. Genius, pure genius.
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