Here are some basic definitions for anyone new to Japanese popular music;
Chaku-uta – Ringtone songs, which has it’s own digital-download market.
CM – Japanese abbreviation for commercial.
Handshake event – Similar to a meet’n’greet, a promotional event where artists will shake hands with their fans.
Harajuku– Famous for it’s unique street fashion and a fashion capital of the world. It refers to the area near Harajuku Station in Tokyo and has a large shopping district with local and international brands. On Sundays young people socialise in the area, dressed in different fashion styles including gothic lolita, visual kei and cosplay.
Live – Refers to concerts or performance.
Kei – Generally means ‘style’ or ‘genre’. Similar to the UK London or Manchester ‘sound’, certain musics are associated with areas in Japan such as Harajuku and Shibuya (see individual listings for more information). Some styles may have similar characteristics (such as theatirical costumes) but will visually or musically sound different.
Nippon Budokan – A music venue in Tokyo, originally built for the judo competition for the 1964 Summer Olympics. Both national and international artists have performed here, the equivalent of Wembley Stadium or Madison Square Gardens.
One-Man Live – A concert/performance where the artist is the main performer.
ORICON– A company that supplies the statisitical information on the sales of music CDs, DVDs, electronic games, and other entertainment products, but does not include download sales. It complies data drawn from some 39,700 retail outlets (as of April 2011) and announces the results every Tuesday by subsidiary Oricon Entertainment Inc. Here is their website (in Japanese naturally).
Oshare Kei – Perfomer’s style is very colourful and vibrant but little make up apart from occasional eyeliner or coloured contacts. The musical themes are happy, positive and can discuss topics such as friends and relationships. Examples of artists include LM.C. and SuG.
Para-Para – Specific synchorised group dance gaining popularity since the 1980’s. Similar to line-dancing, the styles consists mainly of arm movements with very little lower body movement (apart from possible hip movement or stepping on the spot). Examples include Gyaruru’s Boom Boom Meccha Maccho!
PV – Promotional Video, commonly known as music videos.
seiyuu – A voice actor/actress working in animation, radio or dubbed non-Japanese films. Examples include Hirano Aya, Horie Yui and Miyano Mamoru.
Visual kei – A genre of rock with origins in heavy metal, punk and glam rock. Perfomers use make-up, elaborate hair styles, flamboyant or theatricial costumes, occasionally with androgynous looks. Early artists include X Japan, Buck Tick, Luna Sea, Glay and Malice Mizer. Current artists include Versailles -Philharmonic Quintet-, D’espairsRay and Alice Nine.