What Is Singer in Japanese?

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What Is Singer in Japanese?

What Is Singer in Japanese?

Japan has a rich and diverse musical culture, producing talented artists across various genres. If you’re passionate about music and interested in learning Japanese, you may be wondering how to express the term “singer” in the Japanese language. In this article, we will explore the different terms and concepts associated with singers in Japanese.

Key Takeaways:

  • The Japanese term for “singer” is “utahime” (歌姫) or “kaishi” (歌い手).
  • There are different types of singers in Japanese music, such as “idol,” “enka singer,” and “rock vocalist.”
  • Singing competitions play a significant role in the Japanese music industry.
  • Many famous Japanese singers have gained international recognition.

When referring to a singer in Japanese, the most common term used is “utahime” (歌姫). This word is composed of the kanji characters “uta” (歌), meaning “song,” and “hime” (姫), meaning “princess.” The term “utahime” often conveys a sense of reverence or admiration for female singers. For male singers, the term “kaishi” (歌い手) is generally used.

It’s interesting to note that in traditional Japanese music and theater forms such as Noh and Kabuki, the act of singing is often integrated into the performance. The singers in these contexts are known as “hayashi” (囃子) or “geza” (下座), depending on their role and specific art form.

Japanese music industry encompasses a wide range of genres and styles, and singers can be categorized accordingly. Let’s take a closer look at some popular types of singers in Japan:

Idol Singers

Idol singers are young, talented individuals who are carefully selected and trained by talent agencies. They often start their careers in teenage years and become multi-talented performers, focusing not only on singing but also on dancing and acting. Some prominent idol groups include AKB48, Nogizaka46, and Exile.

*Fun Fact: The idol culture in Japan is deeply rooted and has a massive influence on the music industry and popular culture in general.*

Enka Singers

Enka is a genre of traditional Japanese music that evokes deep emotions and nostalgia. Enka singers, such as Hibari Misora and Ichiro Toba, are known for their powerful and soulful vocals, delivering heartfelt performances with themes of love, loss, and perseverance.

Rock Vocalists

Rock music has a dedicated fan base in Japan, and rock vocalists are highly regarded for their unique style and energy. Bands like X-Japan and L’Arc-en-Ciel have produced immensely talented rock vocalists like Toshi and Hyde, respectively, who captivate audiences with their powerful voices and stage presence.

Japanese Singing Competitions

Singing competitions play a significant role in the Japanese music industry, providing aspiring singers with a platform to showcase their talent and gain recognition. Shows like “The Masked Singer” and “The X Factor” have gained immense popularity in Japan, paving the way for talented individuals to launch successful careers.


Famous Japanese Singers
1. Hikaru Utada
2. Ayumi Hamasaki
3. Kyary Pamyu Pamyu
Singing Show Popular in Japan
1. The Masked Singer
2. The X Factor
3. Japan Idol
Idol Group Members
AKB48 140+
Nogizaka46 46
Exile 19

From the traditional sounds of enka to the energetic performances by idol groups and rock vocalists, Japanese singers have created a diverse and vibrant music scene. Many of these talented artists have gained international recognition, attracting fans from all over the world.

In conclusion, if you’re looking to express the term “singer” in Japanese, you can use the terms “utahime” for female singers and “kaishi” for male singers. However, it’s important to note that the Japanese music industry has evolved, and various types of singers can be found within different genres.

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Common Misconceptions

Common Misconceptions

What Is Singer in Japanese?

There are several common misconceptions that people often hold regarding the term “singer” in the Japanese language. Let’s explore some of these misconceptions:

1. Singer in Japanese refers only to pop singers:

  • Japanese singers encompass various genres like rock, enka, jazz, classical, etc.
  • J-pop is popular worldwide, but there is a wide range of musical styles in Japan.
  • Artists like Utada Hikaru and B’z are renowned Japanese singers beyond the pop genre.

2. All Japanese singers write their own songs:

  • While there are singer-songwriters in Japan, not all singers compose their own music.
  • Many Japanese artists collaborate with songwriters and composers.
  • Hiring professional songwriters is a common practice in the industry.

3. Japanese singers primarily perform in Japan:

  • Many Japanese singers have international fan bases.
  • Artists like Kyu Sakamoto and Kyary Pamyu Pamyu have gained popularity overseas.
  • Touring and performing abroad is a regular occurrence for successful Japanese singers.

4. Singers in Japan are mostly solo acts:

  • Japanese music industry features various singer duos, groups, and bands.
  • Notable examples include groups like AKB48 and Arashi.
  • Collaborations and group formations are prevalent in Japanese music scene.

5. Japanese singers only sing in Japanese:

  • Some Japanese singers incorporate English or other languages in their songs.
  • Artists like Mika Nakashima and Hikaru Utada have released English language albums.
  • Japanese artists can also sing in other languages for special collaborations or performances.

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The Popularity of Singing in Japan

Japan has a rich cultural heritage that includes a deep appreciation for music and performing arts. Singing holds a special place in the hearts of many Japanese people, with countless singers enjoying immense popularity and success. The following tables showcase various aspects of the vibrant world of singing in Japan.

Top 10 J-Pop Solo Artists of All Time

Here, we present the ten best-selling and most influential Japanese solo artists in the history of J-Pop (Japanese pop music). These artists have captured the hearts of millions with their unique styles and catchy tunes.

Artist Total Album Sales
(in millions)
Years Active
Ayumi Hamasaki 56 1998-present
Hikaru Utada 52 1998-present
Namie Amuro 44 1992-2018
Ai Otsuka 22 2003-present
BoA 20 2000-present
Misia 19 1998-present
Kumi Koda 17 2000-present
Aimer 15 2011-present
Nana Mizuki 14 2000-present
Yui 13 2004-2013

Variety of Singing Competition Shows

Japan is known for its lively singing competition shows, which captivate audiences with their thrilling performances and impressive talent. Let’s take a look at some of the popular singing competition shows in Japan:

Show Title Years Active Format
Utawara Hot Hits 1996-2001 Music battle format with audience voting
Asayan 1995-2002 Search for new talent with viewer participation
THE@TER CHALLENGE!! 2011-present Anime-themed singing competition
JOYSOUND Karaoke Grand Prix 2004-present Karaoke competition with regional qualifiers
The Karaoke Battle 1992-1997 Head-to-head karaoke singing battles

Japanese Opera Singers Making Waves Internationally

Contrary to popular belief, Japan has a vibrant opera scene, and its talented singers have been gaining recognition globally. Let’s explore some accomplished Japanese opera singers and their notable achievements:

Singer Notable Achievements
Masako Deguchi First Japanese winner of the Queen Elisabeth Competition
Misako Ueda Performed leading roles at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden
Taro Ichihara Recipient of the Birgit Nilsson Prize
Akiko Nakajima Regularly performs at the Metropolitan Opera in New York

Musical Genres Dominating Japanese Charts

Japanese music charts are diverse, featuring a wide range of genres. However, some genres have consistently dominated the charts, captivating listeners across the nation:

Genre Well-Known Artists
J-Pop Ayumi Hamasaki, Hikaru Utada, Namie Amuro
Anison Nana Mizuki, LiSA, Aimer
City Pop Tatsuro Yamashita, Mariya Takeuchi, Anri
Enka Misora Hibari, Hikawa Kiyoshi, Sayuri Ishikawa
Indie/Alternative Radwimps, Asian Kung-Fu Generation, Sakanaction

The Rise of Virtual Singers

In recent years, virtual singers have become a significant trend in Japan, blending technology with captivating performances. Some notable virtual singers include:

Virtual Singer Fanbase Size
(in millions)
Debut Year
Hatsune Miku 2.5 2007
Kagamine Rin and Len 1.8 (each) 2007
IA 1.4 2012
Megurine Luka 1.3 2009
KAITO 0.8 2006

Singers Turned Actors in Japanese Entertainment

Many Japanese singers have successfully transitioned into the world of acting, showcasing their versatility and captivating audiences in both realms. Let’s explore some singers who have made a mark as actors:

Singer Notable Acting Roles
Takuya Kimura Long Vacation, Hero, Space Battleship Yamato
Ryoko Hirosue Wasabi, Departures, Hero
Kenichi Matsuyama Death Note, Norwegian Wood, Gantz
Shota Shimizu My Rainy Days, The Bride of Rip Van Winkle
Kanna Hashimoto Assassination Classroom, Sailor Suit and Machine Gun: Graduation

Record-Breaking Karaoke Performances

Karaoke is a beloved pastime in Japan, and some individuals have set astonishing records with their karaoke marathon sessions:

Individual Duration Year
Tatsuya Sato 101 hours, 59 minutes, and 15 seconds 2011
Tomoe Shinohara 66 hours, 58 minutes, and 58 seconds 2020
Setsuko Fujiwara 60 hours, 15 minutes, and 45 seconds 2018
Yasuhiro Takeda 52 hours, 1 minute, and 24 seconds 2009
Annia Jenkins 46 hours, 4 minutes, and 26 seconds 2015

Famous Singers Who Performed at the Olympic Games

The Olympic Games have often featured iconic musical performances by renowned artists, giving them a global stage to spread joy through their melodies. Here are some famous Japanese singers who have graced the Olympic Games with their performances:

Singer Olympic Game Year
MISIA Nagano Winter Olympics 1998
Ayaka Hirahara Athens Summer Olympics 2004
Kohmi Hirose Torino Winter Olympics 2006
Yuzu Beijing Summer Olympics 2008
Matt Aitken (As part of Stock Aitken Waterman) Barcelona Summer Olympics 1992

Evolving Beauty Standards of J-Pop Idols

The concept of beauty within the J-Pop idol industry has been subject to change over the years. Let’s take a look at the shift in beauty standards among J-Pop idols:

Decades Representative Idol Group Beauty Standard
1980s Onyanko Club Cute, innocent, girl-next-door
1990s Morning Musume Energetic, youthful, and healthy
2000s AKB48 Youthful, relatable, accessible
2010s Keyakizaka46 Cool, mysterious, individualistic
2020s NiziU Global appeal, diverse beauty, talent

In conclusion, singing in Japan has contributed to a flourishing music industry and captivated audiences across various genres and formats. From the dominating J-Pop solo artists to the fascinating world of virtual singers, Japanese voices have made an indelible mark on the global stage. Singing competition shows, successful singer-turned-actors, and the enduring love for karaoke further exemplify the nation’s passion for music. Whether rooted in tradition or embracing the latest trends, Japan’s singers continue to inspire and bring joy to the hearts of people worldwide.

Frequently Asked Questions – What Is Singer in Japanese?

Frequently Asked Questions

What does the term “Singer” mean in Japanese?

In Japanese, the term for singer is 歌手 (Kashu). It refers to a person who sings professionally or as a career. Singers in Japanese culture often perform in various genres including J-pop, Enka, and classical music.

What are some popular singers in Japan?

Japan is known for its vibrant music industry and has produced many popular singers. Some well-known Japanese singers include Hikaru Utada, Ayumi Hamasaki, Namie Amuro, Kenshi Yonezu, and AKB48. Each of these artists has made significant contributions to the Japanese music scene.

How important is singing in Japanese culture?

Singing holds a special place in Japanese culture. It is considered a form of artistic expression and is deeply valued. The Japanese have a long-standing tradition of incorporating singing into various aspects of their lifestyle, such as festivals, ceremonies, and traditional theater performances.

Are there any specific terms for different types of singers in Japanese?

Yes, Japanese language has specific terms to categorize different types of singers. For example, a female singer is called 女性歌手 (Josei Kashu), a male singer is called 男性歌手 (Dansei Kashu), and a solo singer is known as ソロ歌手 (Soro Kashu).

What is the difference between a singer and an idol in Japan?

While the term “singer” generally refers to someone who focuses on their vocal abilities and performs professionally, an “idol” in Japan is a term used for individuals or groups who are marketed as all-around entertainers. Idols often sing, dance, act, model, and have a devoted fan base.

Do Japanese singers write their own songs?

Many Japanese singers are involved in the songwriting process. While some singers write their own songs entirely, others collaborate with songwriters or compose music for themselves. It varies from artist to artist, but it is not uncommon for singers to have creative input in their music.

Are karaoke bars popular in Japan?

Yes, karaoke bars are extremely popular in Japan. Karaoke, which means “empty orchestra” in Japanese, allows people to sing along with instrumental tracks of popular songs. It is a favorite pastime for many Japanese people and a popular form of entertainment for social gatherings.

Can foreigners become successful singers in Japan?

Yes, foreigners have the potential to become successful singers in Japan. However, breaking into the Japanese music industry can be challenging, as it is highly competitive and requires understanding of the local music market and language. With talent, perseverance, and the right opportunities, foreign artists can achieve success in Japan.

What are some famous Japanese songs that singers often perform?

There are many famous Japanese songs that singers often perform. Some notable examples include “Ue o Muite Arukou” (known as “Sukiyaki” in English) by Kyu Sakamoto, “Lemon” by Kenshi Yonezu, “Pretender” by Official HIGE DANDism, “First Love” by Hikaru Utada, and “Heavy Rotation” by AKB48. These songs have gained immense popularity both in Japan and internationally.

Are there any specialized schools or training programs for aspiring singers in Japan?

Yes, Japan has several specialized schools and training programs for aspiring singers. These institutions provide vocal coaching, music theory, dance lessons, and overall training to help individuals refine their singing skills and prepare for a career in the music industry. Some renowned schools include the Yamaha Music Schools and the Vocaloid Music Academy.