Translation: ☆Taku Takahashi from m-flo criticizes the Japanese music scene

Here's a translation I did of the article, "☆Taku from m-flo says, 'Japan's music is 20 years behind Korea's'" [m-floの☆Taku「日本の音楽は韓国に20年遅れている」と指摘]

☆Taku, from the famous Japanese hip hop group m-flo, talked about how “Japan’s music is 20 years behind Korea’s,” which has been making waves in Japan.

Even though the K-POP boom has spread around the world with PSY’s “Gangnam Style,” etc., people are interested in groups that are active in Japan, which has raised questions about how the Japanese environment has ignored Korean music.

Recently, ☆Taku answered questions about K-POP in a media interview. “Korea has started to expand in the world because the scene is not only domestic. Japan currently resembles Korea 20 years ago, but it should be internationally aware. Even in Japan, when you compare it to Korean music, the sound is very different,” he said about Japanese music, which does not have a total advantage.

“Korean idols are good at singing and dancing, but there are people who say critically, ‘K-POP just imitates hits on the American Billboard Charts!’ However, there are many Japanese people who don’t have the ability to imitate current Billboard songs,” he harshly exclaimed.

☆Taku also answered questions about PSY’s popularity. “I think PSY’s popularity is good luck, but luck is simply not the issue. If he hadn’t thought about how his music would sell in foreign countries, he wouldn’t have emerged,” he pointed out.

“Kyary Pamyu Pamyu is a Japanese singer who is becoming more popular internationally. Her music is interesting, but she’s in a totally different league than PSY,” he said about PSY’s total dominance.

“In Kyary Pamyu Pamyu’s case, her producer Yasutaka Nakata likes Western music, and he blends Western dance music with Japanese melodies so that they’re hits in Japan and abroad. At first, he wasn’t thinking of doing business abroad, but people unexpectedly liked it,” which was a primary cause of Kyary Pamyu Pamyu’s success. “Korean idols are mainly kids from their own country, and for people who like American music to be introduced to their songs, they have to continue to be sent abroad. Not only Japan, but other Asian countries need to think of expanding as well. PSY’s success came from always thinking about the international market,” he said.

In ☆Taku’s interview, he said the insular Japanese music market needs to be thrown open. “Japanese singers only stay in Japan, but there should also be an environment of expansion in China, Korea, and Vietnam. Korea has been challenging Japan in that area. At the same time, for singers to come to Japan, the country should be musically open,” he emphasized.

Japanese people's response to ☆Taku’s interview has been intense. Many say it's correct that the music marketplace in Japan is limited, but on the other hand, VERBAL, who's one of the members of m-flo, is Korean-Japanese, so people wonder, “Was VERBAL brainwashed?” and “He's sold out his country.”

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