Arts & Entertainment

Feel the Funk of 1980s J-Pop Again

Timothy W. Patterson

Imagine walking down the streets of Tokyo in the late 1980s. The SEGA Genesis is the hot new video game system, and your new favorite film is Studio Ghibli’s My Neighbor Totoro. Sony’s Walkman is the biggest portable music player and everything is great. What hot new cassette is loaded in your Walkman as you traverse down Shibuya Crossing on your way to a tea shop? Why, Mariya Takeuchi’s Plastic Love of course.

Check out this classic:


Plastic Love is a 1984 RCA release from Takeuchi’s album VARIETY according to It tells the story about a girl who wants to merely have fun, rather than committing to real love (hence plastic or fake love). In true city pop form, the track has a great electronic beat, with a runtime of 7 minutes and 56 seconds. Nearly 8 minutes of pure Japanese joy.



Variety, a 1984 Album by Mariya Takeuchi (Source: )

Miku Taniguchi, a recent DSU International Student from Akita Prefecture, related “her song is one of my favorite songs, as well as “a Cruel Angel’s Thesis” [sung by Yoko Takahashi].”

Songs such as “Plastic Love” and Tomoko Aran’s “Midnight Pretenders” have a funky pop style not heard in modern songs so much. ESL teacher and DSU alum Akil Smith told The Hornet “The old J-pop [Japanese Pop] is definitely the best. I’m glad people are rediscovering it.”

The Hornet reached out to music lover Charlotte Sasaki, who defined 1980s Japan and J-pop the best: “Japan during the 80’s really was fantastic, they had euphorically feel-good music, a booming economy, rising high quality entertainment of manga and anime, and fun, chill , colorful summer nights.”

It really takes you back to a simpler time, where the music was good, the food was good, and the future was bright. This nostalgic feel is almost non-describable, as experienced when watching a Hayao Miyazaki film for the first time.

“I recommend Plastic Love,” said Akil Smith. “I first discovered it accidently on YouTube, and it turns out a lot of people did too. It’s crazy. And now I’m hooked [on 80’s Japanese music].”


The good ol’ era of 16-bit games and good music. (Source: )

Other artists to check out include Akina Nakamori, Seiko Matsuda, Yukio Okada, and Kyoko Koizumi (otherwise known as Kyon Kyon.)

Chech out Tomoko Aran’s “Midnight Pretenders” below for a chill bop:

“I know at lot of Americans like K-Pop,” Miku Taniguchi expressed, “but I feel that Japanese music is really cool and deserves a listen.”




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