City pop

City pop (シティ・ポップ, shiti poppu) is a loosely defined form of Japanese pop music that emerged in the late 1970s and peaked in the 1980s. It was originally termed as an offshoot of Japan's Western-influenced "new music", but came to include a wide range of styles – including AOR, soft rock, R&B, funk, and boogie – that were associated with the country's nascent economic boom and leisure class. It was also identified with new technologies such as the Walkman, cars with built-in cassette decks and FM stereos, and various electronic musical instruments.

There is no unified consensus among scholars regarding the definition of city pop.[2] In Japan, the tag simply referred to music that projected an "urban" feel and whose target demographic was urbanites. Many of the artists did not embrace the Japanese influences of their predecessors,[2] and instead, largely drew from American soft rock, boogie, and funk.[7] Some examples may also feature tropical flourishes or elements taken from disco, jazz fusion, Okinawan, Latin and Caribbean music. Singer-songwriter Tatsuro Yamashita, who was among the genre's pioneers and most successful artists, is sometimes called the "king" of city pop.[3]

City pop lost mainstream appeal after the 1980s and was derided by younger generations of Japanese.[7] In the early 2010s, partly through the instigation of music-sharing blogs and Japanese reissues, city pop gained an international online following as well as becoming a touchstone for the sample-based microgenres known as vaporwave and future funk.


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