2.5-Dimensional Musicals and Anime Songs, and the New Band Exploding in Popularity, Nulbarich!
“Tokyo International Music Market” Report Part 2

On October 23 (Mon), 24 (Tues), and 25 (Wed), the “14th Tokyo International Music Market” (hereafter TIMM) was held in Shibuya and Ikebukuro with the goal of promoting Japanese music internationally. Music businesses from Japan and abroad were matched with one another, and various events, seminars, and live performances were held. In part 1 we picked up the topic of how 2.5-Dimensional musicals are on the rise and have huge potential; in part 2 we’ll be reporting on the potential of anime songs in the global market and TIMM LIVE, where the latest artists aspiring to an international debut have made appearances.


■Seminar:“Global Strategies of Anisong:The Current and Future Possibilities”

Here in March, the world’s first specialized fixed price delivery service for anisong (anime songs), know as “ANiUTa,” was introduced; this service was established by 10 music record and distribution companies. Speakers included founder Shiro Sasaki (CEO, ANiUTa.INC.) and Shunji Inoue (President and Representative Director, Lantis Co., Ltd.).


CEO, ANiUTa.INC. Shiro Sasaki

President and Representative Director, Lantis Co., Ltd. Shunji Inoue

 There are currently 60,000 anime songs registered on“ANiUTa.” Songs can be searched not only by title but also by name of anime. It’s also generally possible to display popularity rankings up to 1,000. This is a service that will scratch the greatest itch that anime fans have.
The price is 600 yen/month. This comes from a designation of 5 US dollars/month, and is designed with future overseas distribution in mind.


As a background to the start of this service, Mr. Sasaki came to believe in his global travels that “anime songs are sung in Japanese everywhere in the world. Perhaps the only songs that come from Japan and are sung in Japanese are anime songs.” Having experienced the challenges of taking Japanese anime works abroad, he no doubt had the goal of creating an environment that would facilitate such business.

Meanwhile, we were introduced to the fact that Mr. Inoue has been holding “Anisong World Matsuri” events worldwide, with the goal of spreading Japanese anime songs around the world. These were held in Los Angeles, Washington, and Shanghai etc., and boasted tremendous popularity.

Through “ANiUTa” and the “Anisong World Matsuri,” they are aspiring to pioneer into the global market with anime songs, which are a part of Japanese culture.





For the three days that TIMM was held, up and coming artists held live performances at Shibuya’s TSUTAYA O-EAST. 6 or 7 groups performed each day; the first day focused on female artists, the second day was male artists, and the third day focused on bands. With the understanding that day three in particular would include artists well-suited for the global scene, including English lyrics, this author decided to attend the performances on day three.

When I asked Makoto Kuwahara, executive director for the sponsoring Foundation for Promotion of Music Industry and Culture (PROMIC) how they made decisions with so many candidates, he stated “our criteria were that the location be one where many foreign buyers would gather, and that the artists have appeal to foreigners. To that end, we also had the foreign exchange students of the CoFesta Ambassadors (※1) participate and provide their opinions as well.”

On day three, 6 artists made appearances. All of them were fabulous; the crowd was high-energy and got really into it.

≪Artists on day 3 (in order of performance)≫
She, in the haze
I Don’t Like Mondays

Of these, the group that made a particular impression on me personally was “She, in the haze” (※2). By intermixing transparent-sounding melodious parts with heavier parts, they put on a live performance that evoked both beauty and madness.
They just debuted recently, but I have high expectations for their future.


TIMM LIVE artist “She, in the haze”

Another group was “Nulbarich,” who put on a wonderful closing (※3). I had heard that of all the artists performing in the three days, they had a reputation of standing out in terms of both ability and popularity, and it truly was a high quality performance that offered a sense of stability. JQ’s mix of English and Japanese lyrics was also unique. They have a feel-good sound that is rooted in African American music such as acid jazz, but also draw inspiration from the rock and pop genres.


TIMM LIVE artist “Nulbarich”


TIMM LIVE artist “Nulbarich”

It’s from here that Japanese artists will launch into the international market. I can’t help but hope that there will be some great matchups between businesses.

■Things I learned

The Japanese music industry has still not been able to expand into foreign markets. In such a climate, I felt that there is a great deal of potential for the so-called “otaku” culture, including these forms of Japanese entertainment such as “anime songs” and “2.5 dimensional musicals,” to be a successful strategy for entering the global market.

The event made me think that accentuating the strengths of Japanese originals may resonate with the rest of the world as well.

I hope to continue to focus on TIMM, the comprehensive international music market where more than 1,000 foreign buyers and media entities come in search of Japanese content and music.

>>Part 1

TIMM(14th Tokyo International Music Market)


Foundation for Promotion of Music Industry and Culture(PROMIC)

(※1)CoFesta Ambassadors
(※2) She, in the haze
(※3) Nulbarich

■Recommended Articles

・2.5-Dimensional Musicals Continue to Develop! What are their charms?
・Over 130,000 total visitors! Japan’s largest animation event “Anime Japan 2016”
・”Sanrio Danshi” First half – A new development for this veteran character company

(Article by:Kenichi Nakamura)

Fields Research Institute (FRI) conducts research in entertainment.
This article was written by a member of FRI, through the original coverage of his/her interests observed in their daily lives.


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