Japan is a country where Punk is very popular and vibrant punk scene exists with many clubs hosting Punk concerts and you can see new bands and some of the old bands every weekend in here in Tokyo and the major cities.
Pairubu and I wanted to share some of our favourite Japanese punk tracks with you and so we decided to produce this joint post. We will follow a He said – She said format. So there will be a track from each of us with a brief discussion of the track by the person who chose it and also each of us also commenting on the other’s selection.
Pairubu – Bolshie – Robot in Hospital
This is the earliest example on offer, from ( I think) 1979 and very much ”of it’s time”. I would, perhaps, class this as “post punk” in that it has the elements that went on to , more or less, define that genre. The bass is prominent and the guitar used as much as “decoration” as to drive the song. I’m not totally sure but it sounds like this is a live recording which is pretty good for the time. And it’s got robots. What more do you want?
This was recorded live in January 21 1979 at Shinjuku Reich as part of the Tokyo Rockers Second Generation event but I can not find out anything about the band at all. I love this track, I thought it was really direct and simple and accessible and it is the type of track you know will have everyone in the room jumping up and down ! ! !
Sakura – Gauze – Kao O Aratte Denaoshite Koi (Go and wash your face then come back)
I like Gauze very much as they are what I think of as typical punk. They are a great old time punk band that formed in 1981 and are still playing and making records ! ! ! This song is from 1997 and was released as a 12 inch single. It is just so energetic ! ! ! They just make you want to shout along and punch in the air when they say “Kao O Aratte - – Denaoshite Koi ! ! ! “ It is just so much fun I think so ! ! !
I’d class this under “hardcore”, it’s a bit “heavier” and more serious in delivery than some of the others ( and none the worse for that). A definite “shout along with” number.
Pairubu – The Glash- I’ve got a gun (ch3)
An interesting one this. I’ve read, on the web, that they were a “joke” band but , to me, they have managed, perhaps inadvertently, to capture the true “spirit of 76″ better than any of the others here. There is a level of D.I.Y incompetence and a “let’s put on the show right here” element that really speaks to me. I saw loads of bands who played music just like this BITD and still recall fondly that time of spit, safety pins, amphetamines and noise.
This is a track from self made EP – Natural Born Punks and was released in 1993. This is a very rare record actually. It is actually completely home made as it was recorded in the band house and released on their own label. I think it is unfair to call them a joke band, they were simply enthusiastic amateurs and friends who put out their own record. I like it very much and it really is the spirit of punk ! ! !
Sakura – Stance Punks – Kuroi būtsu (Black Boots)
How can you have a post about Japanese punk and not have the Blue Hearts? Well you just have Stance Punks instead ! ! ! This band were formed in 1999 and are really very influenced by the Blue Hearts and have a very similar style. I like this track as it is not so raw as Mr P choices but it is not overproduced. I am sure you also thought it was going to be a version of “My Way” when you heard the first few minutes ! ! ! I like punk when it is not too serious and this is a fun track about one of the typical punk items of clothing, Black Boots, and how much pleasure they give the owner ! ! !
The Blue Hearts influence runs deep here ( even down to the singers actions) which is not a bad thing, if you’re going to “pay tribute” to a band why not go for one of the greats. I shall be looking out for more by this band.
Pairubu – Booted Cocks- For oneself. (Second version as requested by SpottedRichard)
A marvelous piece of “oiness” from one of the better known bands ( outside of Japan). They even, I believe, had some stuff released over here. This one interests me because of it’s “simple complexity”. It’s changes in pace and feel are quite “prog” ( for a punk band) . It’s like jigsaw, a big, noisy jigsaw put together by shouty me ( and one lady). It is, I feel , pretty irrisistable in it’s martial glory. Like being stamped on by size 10 Doc Martens but musically.
I do not know very much about this band but the track is from the 2004 début album For Oneself. I like the keyboard in this track as I think it fills the arrangement up and makes it more sophisticated somehow. I also think there is like a Celtic influence in this track that I like very much. I think it just drives along and makes you want to shout OI!
Sakura – The Discocks – Long Live Oi!
I am sure you were all singing “One two three – I love Oi” before the end of the track ! ! ! The Discocks are one my favourite punk bands. They formed in 1992 but split in 1998 but reformed with a different line up in 2003. This track is from 1997 EP Knock Out and so is the original band. I think this track is has great energy and is a lot of fun. When ever I hear this track I can not stop sing along with it ! ! !
What a lot of cocks there are in the Japanese punk scene ! Discocks, Booted Cocks even Cockney Cocks ! You can’t go wrong with the Discocks, You know exactly what you are going to get. Basic, shouty “Oi” with bundles of attitude.
Can we ask you to pause for a moment and gape in wide eyed wonder at just what this post represents. At no other time in the history of mankind would it have been possible for someone in Tokyo and someone in a tumbledown shack in Gloucestershire to have cooperated in this way. Isn’t the Internet the most awesome of things ?
We would both like to thank you very much for reading the post and we hope you enjoyed it and found it interesting.