There is currently deep interest in older, mostly obscure Japanese music from the 1980s going on in the West. I dug into it for The Japan Times.
Fans of Japanese vinyl have good reason to be happy. HMV recently opened a store in the Kichijoji area dedicated to selling records — the third such establishment in Tokyo — and April 22 is Record Store Day. What started in 2012 as four artists putting out special releases has evolved into a day featuring rare items and numerous in-store performances.
Not reflected by any limited-edition 7″ or gigs, though, is a trend playing out on the other side of the world. Last month, Japanese artist Midori Takada’s 1983 album “Through the Looking Glass” was reissued by American label Palto Flats in conjunction with Switzerland’s WRWTFWW Records to much fanfare. But it was just the latest bubble-era rarity to be praised by critics: Last year, Amsterdam store Rush Hour launched a Japan-centric series of vinyl reissues, while the label Music From Memory reissued lush pop duo Dip In The Pool’s 1989 track “On Retinae.” Plenty of other albums relegated to record store bargain bins also found a second life, highlighted by Palto Flats’ 2015 rerelease of “Utakata no Hibi,” a sought-after LP by the group Mariah.