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20 Best Japanese Musicians That You Should Follow On Spotify To Spice Up Your Playlists

Best Japanese musicians

If the only Japanese musicians you know are ONE OK ROCK and LiSA, you desperately need to be exposed to other talented artists in Japan. Perhaps you will find a new favourite group to stan after going through this list.


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YOASOBI オフィシャルサイト

YOASOBI is a musical duo consisting of Ayase, who composes and produces their songs, and Ikura, YOASOBI’s vocalist.

Their first and most popular song to date is Racing into the Night (夜に駆ける; Yoru ni Kakeru), with over 264 million views on YouTube. The song, though upbeat, deals with darker and mature themes of suicide.

YOASOBI also sang the opening theme song for the second season of popular anime Beastars. The song, Monster (怪物; Kaibutsu), depicts the story of Legoshi – the main character of Beastars – who is a carnivore struggling to coexist with herbivores as his desire to protect a herbivore clashes with his true nature.

Video credit: Ayase / YOASOBI

2. Aimer

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Aimer (エメ, Eme) is a Japanese pop singer who derived her alias from the French verb “aimer”, which means “to love”. 

Aimer’s most popular song to date is Zankyousanka (残響散歌), which means “reverberant melody”. Zankyousanka is also the opening theme song for the second season of Demon Slayer, and currently has over 156 million views on YouTube. 

Video credit: Aimer Official YouTube Channel

Aimer is known for the tone of her voice as it is both gentle and husky at the same time. Her unique sound allows her to be a perfect fit for upbeat songs, as well as ballads.

3. Kenshi Yonezu

Image credit:
米津玄師 official site

Kenshi Yonezu (米津玄師) is a Japanese singer-songwriter who used to be a vocaloid – a voice synthesizer software – producer under the name Hachi. As Hachi, Kenshi Yonezu produced many hit vocaloid songs such as Sand Planet and Donut Hole.

Kenshi Yonezu’s most popular song is Lemon, with over 800 million views on YouTube. The soulful track is actually the theme song for a popular Japanese drama series, Unnatural. The song deals with sombre themes of death and having to process the pain of a loved one’s passing. 

Video credit: Kenshi Yonezu  米津玄師

Another popular track of Kenshi Yonezu is KICK BACK, the opening theme song of hit anime series, Chainsaw Man.

4. Chanmina

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Chanmina (ちゃんみな) is a South Korean-Japanese rapper and pop singer who debuted independently in 2016 before releasing her music with Warner Music Japan, a major record label. 

The talented musician often sings and raps fluently in Japanese, Korean, and English, and her boldness stands out from the typically gentle demeanour of Japanese musicians.

Chanmina’s charm is best seen when she performs Bijin (美人), a powerful song she wrote back when she was struggling with criticisms of her image and beauty. She hopes that her song will be able to help those who also struggle with an inferiority complex about their looks.

Watch Chanmina’s explosive performance of Bijin here:

Video credit: THE FIRST TAKE

5. Reol

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Reol オフィシャルサイト

Reol (れをる) is a multi-talented Japanese singer-songwriter, rapper, and music producer. She started out by creating and releasing music and song covers onto a popular Japanese streaming platform called Nico Nico Douga.

In 2018, Reol signed with major record label Victor Entertainment and released an album, Jijitsujo, in the same year. Reol signed with Sony Music Japan in May 2022 and released a new single album, Naked.

Reol’s most famous song to date would be LUVORATORRRRRY!, a collaboration with Nqrse, a rapper, and GigaP, who is a producer. The song has over 76 million views on YouTube, thanks to its lively beat and catchy tune – though the lyrics are slightly questionable. 

Reol also sang the theme song, Byakuya (白夜; White Midnight), for a popular role-playing game, Alchemy Stars, and her powerful vocals perfectly accompany the grandeur of the game.

Watch the trailer of the game here:

Video credit: Victor Entertainment

6. Zutomayo

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Zutto Mayonaka de Iinoni (ずっと真夜中でいいのに; I wish it was midnight all the time), or more commonly known as ZUTOMAYO, is a Japanese rock band that debuted in 2018. 

The band has never disclosed the full list of its members, but the only recurring member in all of their songs is their vocalist ACA-Ne (ACAね), a talented singer who hides her face.

Their debut song, Byoushin wo Kamu (秒針を噛む; “Biting the second hand of the clock”), was an instant hit, garnering over 200,000 views on YouTube in the first week upon its release and has over 123 million views today.

Although ZUTOMAYO is regarded as a rock band, they often explore and incorporate a variety of genres into their songs, including rap, jazz, and funk. Their musical creativity and unpredictability keeps us on our toes, while simultaneously impressing us with their technical skills on their individual instruments.

ZUTOMAYO sang the opening song, Can’t Be Right (正しくなれない; Tadashiku Narenai), for popular anime The Promised Neverland. Watch them perform the song live here:

Video credit: THE FIRST TAKE

7. Yama

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yama | ソニーミュージックオフィシャルサイト

Yama is a Japanese singer who quickly rose to fame after releasing their first digital single Haru wo Tsugeru (春を告げる; “Heralding spring”) which has amassed over 123 million views on YouTube.

Yama sang the ending theme song Oz for Ousama Ranking, a fantasy anime series about a deaf and mute prince trying to make a stand in his world.

Yama is adored by many for their extremely unique voice, which is mostly husky and deep. But their extensive vocal range allows them to reach high notes with ease. Watch them perform Haru wo Tsugeru live here:

Video credit: THE FIRST TAKE


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ONE OK ROCK is a Japanese rock band that was formed in 2005 and officially debuted in 2007. The band has 4 members, namely Taka the vocalist, Toru the guitarist and leader of the band, Ryota the bassist, and Tomoya the drummer.

The band rapidly grew to become one of the most successful Japanese rock bands, performing at large venues such as Nippon Budokan and Yokohama Stadium. They also have a successful international reach, and they performed the opening act for Ed Sheeran’s Divide Asia Tour.

ONE OK ROCK’s most popular song to date would be The Beginning, which was released back in 2012 and is perhaps the most representative of their aggressive rock style in the early days of their career. 

Video credit: ONE OK ROCK

Throughout the years, the band started to incorporate more English lyrics into their songs, before releasing music that were mostly in English, such as Stand Out Fit In. Although their music style has evolved, they continue to release stellar music that fans adore and love.

9. Yorushika

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Yorushika (ヨルシカ) is a Japanese rock duo consisting of n-buna, the duo’s music producer, and suis, the vocalist. The name Yorushika is derived from the phrase “yoru shika mou nemurezu ni” (夜しかもう眠れずに), which means “I can only sleep at night”.

Yorushika is known for their passionate and lively instrumentals that contrast with their deeper and heavier lyrics. Their songs often dwell on the philosophical aspects of life, love, and human emotion. 

For instance, the duo has a song named That’s Why I Gave Up on Music (だから僕は音楽を辞めた; Dakara Boku wa Ongaku o Yameta), which features a nihilistic outlook on the music industry and pursuing music as a career.

The duo’s most popular track to date is Just a Sunny Day for You (ただ君に晴れ; Tada Kimi ni Hare), a catchy song that is about the bitter side of memories because they highlight unwanted change.

Video credit: ヨルシカ / n-buna Official

10. LiSA

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LiSA is one of Japan’s most famous pop singers who is renowned and adored for singing the theme songs for many popular anime including Angel Beats, Demon Slayer, and Sword Art Online

LiSA’s amazing technical control of her vocal chords allows her to effortlessly belt out difficult songs flawlessly, and this can be seen in her performance of Gurenge (紅蓮華; Red Lotus), the opening theme song of Demon Slayer.

Besides singing passionate and spirited songs, LiSA is also more than capable of performing heartwarming and emotional ballads, such as Homura (; Flame), the theme song for the heart-wrenching Demon Slayer movie Mugen Train

Homura is LiSA’s most successful song – it broke many records and has over 286 million views on YouTube and counting. Watch LiSA perform the soulful Homura here:

Video credit: THE FIRST TAKE

11.  DAOKO

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DAOKO (だをこ) is a Japanese singer and rapper who rose to fame because of Uchiage Hanabi – a collaboration she had with Kenshi Yonezu. The song currently has over 543 million views on YouTube .

DAOKO’s musical style could be described as whisper rapping against an electro-pop backing track. Her soft, almost ASMR-like voice is a refreshing contrast against the strong bass and lively beat, and you can hear this in her older songs such as DAISUKI (ダイスキ).

DAOKO experimented with mainstream pop for a while, singing the adorable and peppy song, Bokura no Network, for the action role-playing game Dragalia Lost. Though it was relatively well-received, mainstream pop simply didn’t fit DAOKO’s vibe. 

It was only when she released her 2020 single, Ocharaketayo (おちゃらけたよ) that her fans felt nostalgic as the song had lingering remnants of DAOKO’s unique style of music that she was known for, prior to Uchiage Hanabi. Listen to Ocharaketayo here:

Video credit: Daoko

12. Mafumafu

Image credit:
まふまふ Official Website

Mafumafu (まふまふ) is a Japanese singer-songwriter who started out his career as a utaite (歌い手), a Japanese term that refers to singers who uploads their song covers on Nico Nico Douga, a popular video sharing website.

Mafumafu is most known for his insane vocal range that spans over four entire octaves, thus allowing him to cover difficult songs that most won’t be able to achieve. 

His cover of Kanzaki Iori’s Hated By Life Itself (命に嫌われている; Inochi ni Kirawarete Iru) has over 138 million views on YouTube, and it is not without reason. His amazing vocal capabilities and expression perfectly fit the despairing mood of the song.

Besides doing song covers, Mafumafu also composes original songs. For instance, his 2019 hit song, I Wanna Be a Girl (女の子になりたい; Onna no Ko ni Naritai), features his ability to sing adorably, and you can listen to it here:

Video credit: まふまふちゃんねる

13. ReoNa

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ReoNa オフィシャルサイト

ReoNa (レオーナ) is a Japanese singer who debuted in 2018 as the singing voice of Kanzaki Elza, a character in Sword Art Online Alternative: Gun Gale Online.

ReoNa sang the second opening theme song, ANIMA, for Sword Art Online: Alicization – War of Underworld, and you can watch her stunning performance of the song here:

Video credit: THE FIRST TAKE

ReoNa also sang the ending theme song – Time for The Seven Deadly Sins: Dragon’s Judgement, and her slightly raspy yet soothing voice complements the heavy mood of the anime series.

14. Minami

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Minami (美波) is a Japanese singer-songwriter who is currently signed to major record label Warner Music Japan. Minami is known for her explosive and emotional vocals that carry her songs to their full potential.

Minami’s most prominent song would be Crying for Rain (カワキヲアメク; Kawaki wo Ameku), which has amassed over 184 million views on YouTube. Fans absolutely adored the way she poured her heart out into singing the piece, as if she really was crying for rain.

In Hollowness (ホロネス), Minami managed to convey the empty and bleak mood of the song by using her breathy and compelling vocals. Her voice thus becomes a desperate cry for hope in the desolate place that the persona of the song is in.

You can listen to Hollowness here:

Video credit: Minami


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THE ORAL CIGARETTES (ジ オーラル シガレッツ) is a 4-member Japanese alternative rock band that was formed in 2010. The band comprises 4 members, namely Takuya the vocalist, Akira the bassist, Shigenobu the guitarist, and Masaya the drummer.

THE ORAL CIGARETTES is most famous for Kyouran Hey Kids!! (狂乱 Hey Kids!!) – the opening theme song for popular anime Noragami Aragoto. The song has over 147 million views on YouTube to date.

Video credit: A-Sketch MUSIC LABEL 

The band is known for their catchy guitar riffs that pull you in while Takuya seals the deal with his magnetising voice. For instance, THE ORAL CIGARETTE’s Kizukeyo Baby (気づけよBaby) not only has an addictive chorus, but also a charming bassline and a snappy guitar riff.

16. Hello Sleepwalkers

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Hello Sleepwalkers

Hello Sleepwalkers (ハロー スリープウォーカーズ) is a Japanese alternative rock band that consist of 5 members, including the leader, guitarist, and lead vocalist Shuntarou, guitarist and vocalist Narumi, guitarist Tasoko, bassist Makoto, and Yuuki on the drums.

The band is known for their song, Goya no Machiawase (午夜の待ち合わせ; “Midnight Appointment”), which is also the opening theme song for Noragami, a supernatural anime that features parallel worlds. 

Video credit: A-Sketch MUSIC LABEL

Although many of their songs are jam-packed with amazing guitar solos and riffs, they also have calmer songs that give their listeners a bittersweet, nostalgic feel. One of our favourite songs from them would be 23, a slower, emotional piece that greatly deviates from their usual fiery style.

The song starts off with the familiar sounds of a train departing, before the guitar strums in. 23 is the perfect song to listen to whilst on a long and wistful train ride to nowhere.


Image credit:
Mrs. GREEN APPLE official site

Mrs. GREEN APPLE (ミセスグリーンアップル) is a Japanese rock band that debuted in 2015 with EMI Records. The band consists of 3 members, namely vocalist and guitarist Omori Motoki, guitarist Wakai Hiroto, and Fujisawa Ryoka on the keyboard.

Mrs. GREEN APPLE is known for their hit song Inferno (インフェルノ), which was also the opening theme song for the action-packed fantasy anime series Fire Force. Omori’s crystal clear vocals cleanly cuts through the guitar-centric backtrack and heavy bassline, providing a refreshing feel for the catchy song. 

Video credit: Mrs. GREEN APPLE

The band also sang the opening theme song, Ao to Natsu (青と夏; Blue and Summer), for the Japanese live action movie Ao-Natsu: Kimi ni Koi Shita 30-Nichi (青夏 きみに恋した30日), or more commonly known as Blue Summer. Ao to Natsu is an invigorating piece that reminds us of the carefree days of summer, despite the sweltering heat.

18. Ikimonogakari

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Ikimonogakari (いきものがかり) is a Japanese pop-rock duo that started as a trio back in 1999. Yamashita Hotaka, who played the guitar, harmonica, and piano, and Mizuno Yoshiki, who also played the guitar, were childhood friends who had known each other since they were 6 years old.

Yoshioka Kiyoe, the vocalist, joined the two of them in the same year and the trio started to create music. Unfortunately, in June 2021, Yamashita left the band and the group continued on as a duo.

Ikimonogakari is most famous for singing one of the opening theme songs, Blue Bird (ブルーバード), for Naruto: Shippuden – one of the biggest anime series ever made. You can listen to Blue Bird and relive your childhood nostalgia here:

Video credit: いきものがかり Official YouTube Channel


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UNISON SQUARE GARDEN, otherwise known as USG, is a Japanese teen pop band that comprises 3 members, namely the vocalist Saito Kosuke, bassist and backing vocals Tabuchi Tomoya, and drummer Suzuki Takao.

USG’s Sugar Song and Bitter Step (シュガーソングとビターステップ) may sound familiar to you as it was the ending theme song of the adrenaline-fuelled science fiction anime series Kekkai Sensen (血界戦線; Blood Blockade Battlefront).

The ending theme for Kekkai Sensen was so popular that various fandoms started to redraw their favourite series using the animation sequence of the ending theme.

20. Honeyworks

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HoneyWorks Official web site

Honeyworks (ハニーワークス), also known as Haniwa (ハニワ), is a Japanese music group that started out as a vocaloid circle in 2010 that uploaded their original vocaloid songs onto Nico Nico Douga.

The group debuted professionally in 2014 and over time, they started to phase out using vocaloid to sing their songs and began to collaborate with singers like CHiCO. 

Songs by Honeyworks often include a mini romance storyline in their promotional videos. For instance, their most famous song, Sekai wa Koi ni Ochite Iru (世界は恋に落ちている) features two friends having a crush on the same guy.

The song is also the opening theme song for the heartwarming romance anime Ao Haru Ride (アオハライド; Blue Spring Ride).

Video credit: Sony Music Japan

Most recently, their song Kawaiikute gomen (可愛くてごめん) went viral on Tiktok, with many K-pop groups doing the cute dance challenge.

Best Japanese musicians to add to your Spotify playlists

From fiery rock bands to talented soloists, Japanese musicians never disappoint. Whether it is the catchy tunes, or the deeper and darker meanings hidden in their lyrics, there is just something different and alluring about their music.

Also check out:

Cover image adapted from: @chanmina_staff, @daoko_official, LiSA OFFiCiAL WEBSiTE