Totally Random Post: Christmas Music Japanese Style!

24.12.11 ShaSha LaPerf 4 Comments


Woohoo another post! And indeed this one will be Christmas related--but the last post of this kind since it's Christmas Eve. As usual I'm big on introducing some new (and old) Japanese songs to folks so here are a few of my fave Christmas related Japanese videos and songs. And since I'm a big fan of hip-hop or R&B, the majority of these videos will be from artists in those genres, most of which I'm pretty sure I'd mentioned before. But before I get into them, let me give you some context of Christmas in Japan.

So while America has done a pretty good job in commercializing the hell outta Christmas, Japan takes this idea to a whole new level of WTF. Only about 2% of Japanese people are Christian, so there are very little references to the birth of Christ. It's often seen as a second Valentine's Day. Women expect to get nice (expensive) gifts from their men and it's the time of year where love hotels are booked throughout the night. Anyone who's seen an anime series that has a Christmas episode will notice the romantic tones the episodes tend to have. Anyway, those with families often celebrate Christmas with a nice dinner of fried chicken--no I'm really serious. In fact Christmas time is the ONLY I ever remember seeing commercials for KFC while I was in Japan. Additionally it's common to eat expensive sugary, yet beautiful decorated cake. Despite the things going on, Christmas is basically a regular day in Japan. My first year in Japan I actually worked on Christmas Day and went clubbing that night. Boring night because I was alone. The second year was went I was with my friend Terri. The third year ended up shelling out some bucks to fly home to see my family.

Now onto the music!

The Hilarious "Christmas Hates Single People" Videos


So if you're single around Christmas time, it's actually pretty shitty because you're constantly reminded that you're single. This is why Hyadain made the song "XMas!? I Don't Know Such a Thing!" The video explains how it sucks to be a single around Christmas time and makes references to some of the things I mentioned earlier. Another reference the video makes it that fact that single people are often expected to work on Christmas instead of their married counterparts. The video I think is pretty hilarious.


What's even funnier is that this was actually the second time Hyadain made this song. The release a version with slightly different lyrics on a year before. Here's a translation version of the song...Yes the original version really does consist of those manga images.



The "Christmas is for Lovers" Videos

Since Christmas is made for lovers in Japan, of course you can find tons of love videos that have Christmas or winter themes to theme. The first video is by COLOR and titled "Special Love." This video actually features the original member of COLOR including Atsushi from EXILE. This video is super Christmas-y. I chose it because it's just a damn good song and I love their vocals.



Next up is Full of Harmony. They did a remake of Dream Come True's "Yuki no Christmas" and gave it more of an R&B feel. If you listen closely you can hear a smaple of Bobby Brown's "Rock Wit'cha." LOL I don't know what that song has to do with Christmas, but I think the guys did a good job with this song overall.




The EXILE Christmas Videos
Pretty much every year EXILE makes some Christmas or winter song, so it was a bit tough for me to figure out which ones to choose. "Tada Aitakute..." is probably their most famous one because I think this song started their "sappy Christmas ballad every year" thing. I think this video was also the start of their "ridiculously long music videos" thing seeing as the video more like a short movie, and EXILE are nowhere to be seen in it. Still, it is a nice song and featured the vocals of not only Atsushi but his original vocal partner Shun.



Then we have "Last Christmas." Yes this is a Japanese remake of the WHAM! The song was never released with a video so I choose a video that was part of their 2008 concerts. One thing I really regret about my time in Japan is although I managed to see Chemistry twice and Skoop on Somebody three times, but I never got to see EXILE perform. EXILE's concerts are always a spectacle. This was after Shun had left the group, so Takahiro is in there scenes.




The "Oh Snap! They Brought Out The Choir!" Christmas Performances

These performances are kinda-sorta Christmas/Jesus relater performances that I needed to stick in here because they're just so damn good, and features vocals from who I'd say have the most soulful voices in Japanese music. First up is another video from the Skoop on Somebody concert that Terri and I went to. Personally TAKE from Skoop on Somebody is one of the best male vocalists in Japan to me. Seriously this guy could seem the phone book and I'll melt into happiness! Anyway, this clip I chose is Skoop on Somebody doing Joyful Joyful. See if you can't watch this clip with doing some form of a clap or hand wave.



Then there's MISIA. What makes this song awesome is that it was written by MISIA herself and really shows a gospel side of Japan that were rarely get to see. The Glory Day is not only the name of the song but the mini album she release in 1998. This performance really shows off MISIA's vocal talent including a few of her high notes.



The "Just Fun Christmas Songs" Videos
There are very rap songs about Christmas in the states, and I think Christmas Eve Rap by now defunct group Kick the Can Crew is the only Japanese rap song I can think of. This song was actually how I was first introduced to their music. The song samples a popular Japanese Christmas song titled Christmas Ever by Yamashita Tatsuro. The video is just a bunch of guys at a party so it's not a particularly interesting video. Nothing really Christmas-y about it, but the chorus is catchy and I like the flow rappers KREVA, MCU, and Little.



It's MISIA again! This is a very Christmas-like video but what really takes the cake is the Santa character. This Santa isn't oh so jolly and apparently comes from a place that's NOT the North Pole. And what is he eating for dinner? Yep FRIED CHICKEN!


Well that's it everyone. Marry Christmas! For those that don't celebrate, enjoy your weekend! :D

4 comments:

  1. happy Holldays and a imminent Happy 2012.

    I've always wondered what was the Japanese religious affiliations were? ,but far as X-mas..yeah just make it simple with a nice bucket of KFC. If it weren't for my younger family members, I would just treat X-mas as another day.

    I'm frustrated because the YT clips on my computer are moving very slowly and I'm not able to listen to these songs as I really want to. Maybe it work better later on. I'm quite sure that EXILE won't disappoint me. I'm looking forward to hearing them.

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  2. I kinda chuckled at santa with his fried chicken. DJM :P.

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  3. I really liked that first video haha. And MISIA with the choir. Reminds me of a time there was this choir group outside a train station. It was the first time I had seen gospel in Japan as well and they were really good!

    Yeah I got out of Japan for Christmas lol, no single hell for me. Gotta work on getting a man before next Christmas :P.

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  4. @Amanda, LOL don't let single hell get to you in Japan! Don't become Christmas Cake! J/K Just don't let that stuff get to you while you're there. Having my friends there did make it easier for me to get through the season, and as a result I really didn't think too much about being single at those times.

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