The best of J-Pop

YouTube Music Video Classics: Two current Japanese hits

By Jerrison Oracion, Senior Columnist


There is a debate over which type of music is better: J-Pop or K-Pop. While I like both types of music, I prefer J-Pop because there is a variety of different styles of music, unlike K-Pop which to me sounds like the music in the US except cooler and better.

In the past few months, a lot of great songs have been released in Japan. Two of them have gotten the entire country and possibly the rest of the world hyped. One is made by a group that released their first hit single after a long time, and the other song is made by a sister group of AKB48, which I’ve mentioned a lot in this column recently. Here are the music videos of those songs that will cause you to like J-Pop.



U.S.A.’ by Da Pump music video still

“U.S.A.” by Da Pump

Usually, every summer a song is declared to be the biggest song of the season. While there were a few hit singles last summer, there was not a lot of hype for them. The biggest song this year is a very American song by a group called Da Pump which consists of Issa, Daichi, Kenzo, Tomo, Kimi, Yori, and U-Yeah. The music video combines American elements with everything that makes J-Pop great, including Issa’s singing, the lights, a very interesting dance, a bit of M.C. Hammer in the end, and a chorus that will have you hooked: “C’mon, baby America”.

The person who got me hooked on the song is NGT48’s Fūka Murakumo. The version available on YouTube ends 30 seconds before it is done because they might have shown credits during that section of the music video, which is unusual. The missing section ends with the group doing a dab. Many people have been making parodies of the song by changing the word America with something else. If you’d like to see more of Da Pump, the group will perform on Songs of Tokyo which will air on NHK World this December.



Sekai no Hito e’ by NGT48 music video still

“Sekai no Hito e” by NGT48

This song’s title translates to “To the people of the world.” NGT48, which is based in Niigata, has made a lot of hit singles and set standards in the AKB48 world since they began in 2015. They take it to the next level by filming the music video of their recent hit single in Russia.

In the music video, Arinka, who is an actual fan of the band, wants to be part of a group. She sees a message from the lead member and my favourite member in the group, Ogino Yuka. Ogino tells her that she should pursue her dream. We see Arinka wearing the clothes from the video of NGT48’s “Sekai wa Doko Made Aozora na no ka?” We also see an aerial shot of the city leading to the group performing in the street with a huge crowd, and we see a circus at night. Arinka’s father provides comic relief because he is a circus entertainer.

This music video appeals to international fans because it shows that you can still try to see groups in person. The song is one of the reasons why I like J-Pop because it causes everyone to come together and have a great time. Currently, NGT48 is doing a project where people record themselves lip syncing to the song and post it on Instagram, which could be used for a video that will be put on their YouTube channel.