Survey to find Japan’s 50 favorite Western musical acts now on

Survey to find Japan’s 50 favorite Western musical acts now on

TOKYO —

On their Premium satellite channel, Japan’s national television broadcaster NHK is currently offering an online survey for people to vote for their favorite musicians from Western culture.

This is in preparation for its 50 Best Western Music Artist’s Japanese People Love program on Feb 26. During the show, NHK will present the results along with archive footage and interviews.

However, Oricon Style released the top five candidates according to votes counted as of Feb 8, giving us an idea of how the final list will turn out. You can probably imagine a few of the musicians on the list, but a couple might surprise some and delight others.

First here’s the list:

Here’s to you, Simon & Garfunkel. Japan loves your dysfunctional folk duo more than you will know wo wo wo.

#5 Simon and Garfunkel

Japan really digs their folk duets by ranking Carpenters in the number four spot. 

#4 Carpenters

This is your captain speaking. We’ll be entering obvious airspace for the next few choices. If you look out your left window, you’ll see international pop icon Michael Jackson.

#3 Michael Jackson

…and on your right none other than the Fab Four.

#2 The Beatles

On their Premium satellite channel, Japan’s national television broadcaster NHK is currently offering an online survey for people to vote for their favorite musicians from Western culture.

This is in preparation for its 50 Best Western Music Artist’s Japanese People Love program on 26 February. During the show NHK will present the results along with archive footage and interviews.

However, Oricon Style released the top five candidates according to votes counted as of 8 February, giving us an idea of how the final list will turn out. You can probably imagine a few of the musicians on the list, but a couple might surprise some and delight others.

First here’s the list:

Here’s to you, Simon & Garfunkel. Japan loves your dysfunctional folk duo more than you will know wo wo wo.

#5 Simon and Garfunkel

Japan really digs their folk duets by ranking Carpenters in the number four spot. Just like me, they long to be close to them.

#4 The Carpenters

This is your captain speaking. We’ll be entering obvious airspace for the next few choices. If you look out your left window, you’ll see international pop icon Michael Jackson…

#3 Michael Jackson

…and on your right none other than the Fab Four.

#2 The Beatles

The number one spot, meanwhile, is reserved for one of the most loved western artists in Japan…

#1 Queen

Queen is not surprising from the killer combination of Freddy Mercury’s vocal range and Brian May’s unforgettable riffs. However, it is a little shocking how much they were on the radar of Japanese voters.

You can either write in or choose from a list of popular acts that have visited Japan in the past 50 years. From the list we can also see who has visited Japan most often in their career. These numbers aren’t guaranteed accurate though.

1) The Ventures (65 times)
2) Eric Clapton (19 times)
3) Bon Jovi (19 times)
4) Chaka Khan (18 times)
5) Dionne Warwick (17 times)

Voting is still ongoing, so these rankings will probably change before the end of the month. If you’d like to participate, you can respond to the online survey here.

I suppose from the title of the program this is only open to Japanese people, but if you have a working knowledge of the language you can join in to either support or attempt to overthrow Queen’s reign over the rankings.

I voted for Huey Lewis and the News. They’re due for a comeback and this could help trigger it.

Source: NHK via News47, News109

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  • 1

    incognito12

    It's no secret the Japanese were truly in love with the Carpenters.

  • 1

    Saulo Akazawa

    Just like the economy, our heart and soul belongs to the last century!!!

  • 0

    Zybster

    If you ask this questions at a place where people are able to afford both the time and extra money to watch Premium TV, these are the answers you get. Go to different places and you'll get different answers.

    I got no problems with Freddie and the rest, but the choice of the place of the questionnaire = the choice of the answers. He is NOT the most popular Western musician among the people I hang out with.

  • 1

    zenkan

    It might be interesting to see which artists are on the list, but the top 5 are hardly a surprise. I wonder how the survey questions were asked. A lot of people have heard of the top 5, but how many regularly listen to them? Also, it would be interesting to know the demographics relating to the results.

  • 0

    kurumazaka

    Nothing against them, but I've never understood why the Carpenters are still so big here. Would expect to see the Beatles at number 1. Clapton will probably make top 5. Where is Zep and Def Leppard? IMHO High and Dry is amongst the best rock albums ever, with Pyromania not too far behind.

  • -8

    Pidestroika

    This survey just confirms how poorly musically educated is the majority of the Japanese. Really pathetic. "Carpenters"? I've never met even one Japanese who doesn't know them. Unfortunately I've met A LOT who don't know Deep Purple, Bob Marley, Black Sabbath/Ozzy, Jerry Lee Lewis, Simply Red, Thin Lizzy, Pink Floyd, Lynyrd Skynyrd,...even Led Zep and The Doors. It's really depressing to try to start a conversation about music with a Japanese and all you get is "Carpenters". And "world music" TV programmes keep playing Chaka Khan (who?), Boz Scaggs (what?), Billy Joel (Hoooonestyyyyy)...seriously?. PATHETIC!!!

  • -1

    Ewan Huzarmy

    I've yet to meet any Japanese citizen, who likes, or has even heard of 'The Cardiacs' ........ doubt they'll ever appear on a list like this.

  • 2

    Jimizo

    In general the Japanese tend to prefer strong melody and sweet voices and so it's no surprise to see Simon and Garfunkel and the Carpenters. For example, McCartney's songs are usually more popular than Lennon's ( Imagine being an exception ). I thought ABBA would be higher. I don't see why people need to get uppity about the choices. A poll in the UK put Robbie Williams above The Beatles, Dylan, The Rolling Stones, The Clash and The Who - sacreligious to me but it depends on the demographics as zenkan pointed out.

  • -2

    smithinjapan

    There should be separate votes for "of all times" and "current artists". I could have told you who the top five would be before looking.

  • 0

    Lew Archie

    Pidestroika

    It's really depressing to try to start a conversation about music with a Japanese and all you get is "Carpenters". And "world music" TV programmes keep playing Chaka Khan (who?), Boz Scaggs (what?), Billy Joel (Hoooonestyyyyy)...seriously?. PATHETIC!!!

    Wow! Very emotional. I hope you don't actually listen to Simply Red, but I like some of the bands you mentioned. I'm pretty sure Deep Purple did have a following in Japan at some stage. They titled their live album Made in Japan. As a fan of Iron Maiden I know they're regulars to Japan also but metal is just not mainstream enough to make the top of the charts. I agree with other posters with their point about the audience being polled affecting the results. It's definitely not representative of the entire population.

  • 0

    Pidestroika

    @Lew Archie Emotional. Well, I do like music. I mentioned some really famous artists, very little known in Japan, not so much what kind of music I like. Elvis, for example. Everybody knows him in Japan. If you ask them to tell you the title of even one of his songs, nobody will be able to anwer. But EVERYBODY knows "Honestyyyy". I believe there are three reasons for this. 1. "people" like songs they can sing in karaoke. So Pink Floyd are too "difficult". 2. there are no dedicated music programmes on TV or radio. They always try to play music "everybody" will know and like or whatever play-list the music companies will give them. 3. Programmes, like Kobayashi Katsuya's, rely mostly on the Billboard and the US tops. Nothing else.

    Check some the bands in the NHK list of 50. ABC (a basically 1-hit band) but they don't include the Human League, Kajagoogoo (another 1-hit band), Michel Polnareff (who? A Billboard guy), Todd Rundgren (????), The Nolans (????), Three Dog Night (??????)

    Nick Cave, Leonard Cohen, Sisters of Mercy, Motorhead, Dead Can Dance, Procol Harum, Tool, Frank Zappa etc etc are not in the list.

    By the way, nobody's out there to fix the article?

  • 0

    Jimizo

    @Pidestroika I couldn't imagine 'Shine on you crazy diamond' at karaoke. Would you insist on both parts? It's all subjective. I love music too but I despise the pretentious Nick Cave and for me Lynyrd Skynyrd is sub-Wayne's World. That's just me. It's a little arrogant to take the attitude of 'educating' the Japanese ( who incidentally have their own popular music tradition ) in your own personal tastes.

  • 0

    Pidestroika

    @Jimizo * It's a little arrogant to take the attitude of 'educating' the Japanese ( who incidentally have their own popular music tradition ) in your own personal tastes*. Nothing to do with my personal tastes (read again my second posting). All I'm saying is that this survey reveals how little the average Japanese knows about music outside Japan. Subjectivity. It's one thing to know a band/artist, another to like them or not. You know Cave even if you don't like him. And I'm not trying to "educate" anybody. Just stating my conclusions based on the survey so far. It's not that the Japanese simply love Carpenters and Billy Joel. It's that they don't know anything else. It's a typical answer, like in the "do you eat nato?" question. I've asked personally groups of 12 Japanese (various ages) to tell me some of their favorite foreign artists. Every time the answer is Carpenters, Billy Joel, Eric Clapton, Michael Jackson. Not because they really like them (nobody was able to tell me even one song title of Eric Clapton, for example) but because they don't know anyone else. Madonna, for example. An artist with dozens of huge hit songs. Ask any Japanese which Madonna songs they know. They answer is always: "Papa don't preach" and "Material girl". Why? Because these are the only songs the radio stations play. And they play them because everybody knows them.

  • -1

    Kimokekahuna Hawaii

    NHK is a great channel .. but interesting to see the aging psychographics of its viewers .. must be old baby boomers who watch a lot of TV... never go to a concert or club ... listen to Japanese country songs or JPOP/Kpop No one under 50 in America knows or cares about Simon/Garfunkel. Beatles are of course #1, Rolling Stones, Queen is ok but no Monkeys, Led Zeppelin, Elton John, Bee Gees, Beach Boys .. no Earth Wind & Fire, no Elvis, Sinatra, Madonna? No Bob Marley? I realize that there has not been any good music after mid '80s and it is good that Japan is not into Rap, gangsta, grunge or glam music of the lost decades. I thought Japanese were into black soul bars. Young people are into JPop/KPOP? I think artists now are highly overrated.. none of them are worth paying for their albums or go to a concert. Trance music is the future because it is not about an artist.. more about movement and dance.. multi sensory experience.. the beat.. OH yeah.. you are not allowed to dance in clubs in Japan.

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