How to Say Rock Music in Japanese

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Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,

How to Say Rock Music in Japanese

If you’re a fan of rock music, you might be interested in learning how to say it in Japanese. Here are a few tips to help you get started.


Japan is known for its huge rock music scene, with famous bands and artists such as X Japan, B’z, andglay. However, if you’re a foreigner wanting to get into the Japanese rock music scene, you might not know where to start.

One difficulty is that a lot of Japanese rock music is not accessible to foreigners due to the language barrier. Even if you can find Japanese-language videos or lyrics online, it can be hard to understand what’s being said.

This guide will help you learn some basic Japanese vocabulary related to rock music, so that you can start enjoying this genre of music even if you don’t know much Japanese.

The Japanese Language

Japanese is a language spoken by over 130 million people in Japan and in Japanese emigrant communities. It is a member of the Japonic (or Japanese-Ryukyuan) language family, and its relation to other languages, such as Korean, is debated. Japanese has been grouped with language families such as Ainu, Austroasiatic, and the now-discredited Altaic, but none of these proposals has gained widespread acceptance.

It is an agglutinative, mora-timed language with simple phonotactics, a pure vowel system, phonemic vowel and consonant length, and a lexically significant pitch-accent. Word order is normally subject–object–verb with particles marking the grammatical function of words, and sentence structure is commonly topic–comment. Sentences can end in a period, exclamation mark, or question mark.

Pronouncing “Rock” in Japanese

Rock music is a genre of music that originated in the United States in the 1950s. The term “rock” can refer to both the musical style and the culture that surrounds it. Rock music is generally characterized by a heavy guitar sound, strong vocals, and a fast tempo.

In Japanese, the word “rock” is written as ロック (rokku). The correct way to pronouncerock in Japanese is with a hard “k” sound, so it would be pronounced as “ロッKKU”.

The History of Japanese Rock Music

The history of Japanese rock music can be traced back to the early 1950s when American and British music started being played in the country. In the 1960s, Japan began producing its own version of rock music, which became known as Group Sounds. This style of music was often compared to British Invasion bands such as The Beatles and The Rolling Stones.Group Sounds fell out of popularity in the 1970s, but was replaced by another Japanese rock genre known as City Pop. City Pop combined elements of Western pop music with traditional Japanese music. It became very popular in the 1980s, but has since declined in popularity.

The Evolution of Japanese Rock Music

Japanese rock music has come a long way since the days of its inception in the post-World War II era. While the genre has been through many changes over the years, it has managed to maintain a strong following among music lovers in Japan and abroad.

For a long time, Japanese rock music was pretty much synonymous with what we now know as pop-rock. Bands like The Tigers and The Blue Hearts were popular in the 1980s and 1990s, and their sound was heavily influenced by British and American pop-rock bands of the time.

In recent years, however, Japanese rock music has begun to move away from its pop-rock roots and explore new sonic territory. Bands like Boris and Dir en grey are creating some of the most experimental and innovative music in the Japanese rock scene today.

If you’re interested in exploring the world of Japanese rock music, there are plenty of great bands to check out. Here are just a few that are worth your time:

Boris: One of the most well-known names in Japanese rock, Boris is known for their heavy sound and their experimental approach to songwriting. The band has been active since 1992, and they have released more than 20 albums over the course of their career.

Dir en grey: Dir en grey is one of the most popular metal bands in Japan today. Formed in 1997, the band has released nine studio albums and they show no signs of slowing down anytime soon.

The Gazette: The Gazette is a visual kei band that formed in 2002. Visual kei is a type of Japanese rock music that is characterized by its use of flamboyant fashion and makeup styles. The Gazette’s style is dark and gothic, and their music features elements of hard rock, metal, and punk.

The Influence of Western Rock Music

Western rock music has had a profound influence on Japanese popular music, particularly electric guitar-based music. Rock music first entered Japan in the 1950s with the importation of American and British recordings, and quickly became popular among young people. The advent of television in the 1960s brought Western bands and artists into Japanese homes, exposing a wider audience to rock music. By the 1970s, a distinctive form of Japanese rock was developing, known as Group Sounds (GS), which blended elements of Western rock with traditional Japanese pop music. GS bands such as The Tigers and The Tempters enjoyed considerable popularity in Japan during the 1970s.

The early 1980s saw the rise of visual kei, a style of rock music characterized by dramatic makeup and costumes inspired by Western glam rock and heavy metal bands such as Kiss and Alice Cooper. Visual kei bands such as X Japan and D’erlanger exerted a strong influence on Japanese popular culture, helping to spur the popularity of Western-style rock music in the country.

Today, Japanese rock bands such as One Ok Rock and Crossfaith continue to enjoy widespread popularity both at home and abroad. These bands have helped to keep alive the spirit of western-influenced rock music in Japan, ensuring that it remains an important part of the country’s musical landscape.

The Popularity of Japanese Rock Music

Japanese rock music, or J-rock, has become increasingly popular in recent years, both in Japan and internationally. While there are a variety of J-rock genres, the most popular type of J-rock is visual kei, which is characterized by its theatricality and flamboyant style.

J-rock bands have gained a devoted following both in Japan and overseas, thanks to their catchy tunes and captivating stage performances. Many Japanese rock bands have achieved mainstream success, such as X Japan, which is one of the most successful Japanese rock bands of all time.

Despite its growing popularity, Japanese rock music is still relatively unknown in the West. However, this is slowly changing as more and more people are becoming exposed to J-rock through the internet and social media. If you’re interested in learning more about Japanese rock music, here are a few resources to get you started.

The Future of Japanese Rock Music

Since the late 1990s, Japanese rock music has been in a state of transition. The “shibuya-kei” scene of the 1990s, which was influenced by British and American pop music, has given way to a new generation of Japanese rock bands that are influenced by a variety of genres, including metal, punk, and hardcore. These bands are helping to redefine what Japanese rock music is and pave the way for its future.


Rock music in Japan is called j-rock (ジェイ・ロック) or efu-roro (エフロロ). The term j-rock was coined in the early 1990s when Japanese music labels wanted to promote their artists to a Western audience. Efu-roro is a play on the English word “effervescent,” which describes the high energy and lively atmosphere of rock concerts.

Although the terms are used interchangeably, j-rock is generally used to refer to Japanese bands that play original music, while efu-roro is used for Japanese covers of Western rock songs. In recent years, the line between j-rock and efu-roro has become blurred as some bands have started to incorporate elements of both genres into their music.

Whether you call it j-rock or efu-roro, rock music in Japan is sure to get your blood pumping!


Looking to learn how to say rock music in Japanese? Here are some resources that can help:

-The Japan Times has an article with some basic phrases for talking about music in Japanese.

-For a more detailed look at how to say different types of rock music in Japanese, check out this blog post from Tofugu.

-If you want to learn more about Japanese culture and music, this book from Amazon is a good option.

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