Japanese songs released during the pandemic
By Jerrison Oracion, Senior Columnist
Like every country in the world including Canada, Japan had to go through the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic this summer, and more. The Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo were delayed to next year, heavy rainfall went through the southern part of the country, two typhoons happened, and a well-known actor and singer named Haruma Miura committed suicide which caught the entertainment industry off guard. Even the Prime Minister of Japan, Shinzō Abe, stepped down again for the same health reasons that he had in 2007.
On the bright side, many musicians in the country thought of ways to present their music including concerts online which look like live concert films, live streams on YouTube, creating trends on social media, a variety of summer songs, and releasing charity singles for coronavirus relief. Here are some of those songs that helped the country get through their hardships.
Nogizaka46 – “Neighbors Around the World”
The music video of the group’s charity single for coronavirus relief begins with member Mai Shiraishi singing in her apartment followed by former and current members singing at home during the lockdown while shots of the empty streets in Tokyo are shown. The video ends with them singing on a screen in an empty baseball field, encouraging people to stay home during the lockdown.
AKB48 – “Even When Apart”
After the state of emergency was lifted, AKB48 reopened their theatre with no audience and only two members performing for the music video. We see the members perform by themselves in an empty theatre as well as them adjusting to the new normal in restaurants, grocery stores, movie theatres, and at work. The video includes a shot of fighter jets flying across Tokyo when the state of emergency ended—the most patriotic shot of the video. Former members including Atsuko Maeda make an appearance while still focusing on the current members. Right now, the AKB48 Theatre is open to the public with a 27-seat capacity instead of their usual 250 person capacity.
Gen Hoshino – “Halfway”
In this music video, Gen is at home during the lockdown trying to work but is experiencing writer’s block. He sits around his house looking at his phone and in one part of the video, he is so distracted he almost spills his tea. He has a friend who is in the other side of town and decides to make a song for her, which is this song. The song has a 1980s electronic sound which is a recurrent style in his recent music.
Official Hige Dandism – “HELLO”
The band’s recent hit single from their recent EP of the same name is, in my opinion, the summer song in Japan this year. The music video features the band playing in an enclosed space and shows other people living inside their homes through their windows, representing the lockdown. When they go outside we see the band on top of a building, showing that people are allowed to go outside now and are happy. The video ends abruptly with the guitarist Daisuke making distortion with his guitar. The song is the type of music that we need during this time with its feel-good sound that’s easy to jam to.