Japanese Folk Music Gets a Remix

This article is a collaborative effort, crafted and edited by a team of dedicated professionals.

Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,


Japanese folk music is getting a remix! These traditional tunes are being given a modern twist by some very talented musicians. Check out some of the best remixes of Japanese folk songs below.


Japanese folk music is steeped in tradition, but a new generation of musicians is giving it a fresh twist.

Instrumental trio Yasuda Dai Gassen, for example, takes old songs and revitalizes them with rock and roll energy. The band members dress in traditional clothing, but they play their electric guitars with the enthusiasm of any modern rock band.

Yasuda Dai Gassen isn’t the only group putting a new spin on Japanese folk music. Other groups are fusing it with genres like hip hop and electronica.

This new wave of Japanese folk music is attracting attention both at home and abroad. At a time when Japan is often associated with cutting-edge technology, these musicians are helping to remind the world of the country’s rich cultural heritage.

Traditional Japanese Folk Music

Japanese folk music is known for its traditional sounds and instruments. The music is often used for ceremonial purposes, such as weddings and funerals. Japanese folk music has been around for centuries, and it is still popular today.

What is Japanese Folk Music?

Japanese folk music (Min’yō) is music that developed in various regions of Japan. In asense, Japanese folk music encompasses all non-elite music in Japan. The term for “folk music” (minzoku-ongaku) was coined in the Meiji period (1868–1912) to refer to music of the masses, as opposed to that of the upper classes or the palace. Folk music came to be contrasted with classical forms of music (gendai Minzoku Ongaku), which were developed by educated elites such as court musicians and those trained in Western traditions.

The instruments used in Japanese Folk Music

The three main instruments used in traditional Japanese folk music are the shamisen, the shinobue, and the taiko. The shamisen is a three-stringed instrument that is plucked with a plectrum. The shinobue is a flute-like instrument that is also known as the “bamboo flute.” The taiko is a type of drum that is often played with two sticks.

The history of Japanese Folk Music

Folk music of Japan includes a wide variety of styles that reflect the diverse backgrounds of the Japanese people. Many folk songs are related to work, such as those sung while rice planting or fishing, while others are love songs, ballads telling historic tales, or children’s songs. The commonality between all these types of folk song is that they were created and sung by the common people, reflecting their everyday lives.

The history of Japanese folk music is deeply entwined with the history of the country itself. In the early days of Japanese history, folk music was used in court ceremonies and religious rituals. As time went on and the country became more unified, folk music began to be used for entertainment purposes as well. The Meiji period saw a decline in interest in folk music, but there was a revival in the Taishō period thanks to ethnomusicologists such as Yanagida Kunio. Since then, Japanese folk music has continued to evolve, incorporating elements from other genres such as pop and rock.

Today, Japanese folk music is enjoyed by people of all ages and can be heard in a variety of settings, from concerts and festivals to TV commercials and video games. Whether you’re a fan of traditional sounds or modern remixes, there’s sure to be something for everyone!

Contemporary Japanese Folk Music

Amidst the hustle and bustle of big city life, it can be easy to forget about Japan’s more traditional side. However, there are those who are keeping the country’s folk music scene alive and well. by remixing it for a modern audience. Thanks to them, contemporary Japanese folk music is thriving.

What is Contemporary Japanese Folk Music?

Contemporary Japanese folk music is a genre that fuses traditional folk music with contemporary styles and instrumentation. The result is a sound that is both fresh and familiar, blending the best of both worlds.

Russian composer Dmitri Shostakovich once said, “A folk song is the purest and most direct expression of the national soul.” This is certainly true of traditional folk music, which often reflects the history, culture and values of a particular people or region.

In recent years, there has been a growing interest in contemporary Japanese folk music, as more and more people are drawn to its unique sound. This genre is sometimes referred to as “neo-folk” or “world music,” but whatever you call it, there’s no denying that it has a powerful appeal.

If you’re curious about contemporary Japanese folk music, there are a few artists you should check out. Ryoko Moriyama is one of the leading figures in the genre, and her work often draws on traditional Japanese instruments and themes. Other popular artists include Misako Sakamoto, Kogen Yonemitsu and Takeshi Terauchi.

Whether you’re already a fan of Japanese music or you’re just starting to explore this fascinating genre, contemporary Japanese folk music is definitely worth checking out.

The instruments used in Contemporary Japanese Folk Music

The traditional instruments used in Contemporary Japanese Folk Music are the shamisen, the koto, and the shakuhachi. The shamisen is a three-stringed instrument that is plucked with a plectrum, and the koto is a stringed instrument that is played with 13 strings. The shakuhachi is a flute that has five holes.

The history of Contemporary Japanese Folk Music

In Japan, folk music, or min’yō, has been passed down through the generations orally, from mother to daughter, father to son. The first written record of Japanese folk music dates back to the 8th century, when Johnathan Creek Buddhist monks brought music and instruments from China and Korea. In the 12th century, court music and theater flourished under the ruling class of samurai warriors. The instrumentation of Japanese folk music includes a wide variety of string, wind and percussion instruments. The three-stringed shamisen originated in China and was introduced to Japan in the 16th century. It quickly became the most popular instrument in folk music and is still widely used today. Other common instruments include the flute, taiko drums and the koto (a zither-like instrument).

With the Meiji Restoration of 1868 came a sudden Westernization of Japanese culture, including music. Western instruments were adopted by traditional ensembles (such as Gagaku orchestras), while Western genres such as blues and jazz began to influence Japanese musicians. In the early 20th century, composer Rentarō Taki penned “Kojo no Tsuki” (“The Moon over Ruins”), which quickly became one of Japan’s most popular songs. Influenced by French Impressionism, Taki’s composition marked a departure from traditional folk music stylings.

During World War II, American troops stationed in Japan introduced even more Western influences into the country’s musical melting pot. In particular, rock ‘n’ roll took hold among young Japanese listeners in the 1950s and 1960s. These disparate musical influences began to coalesce in what is now known as contemporary Japanese folk music (or simply “J-Folk”). J-Folk artists often fuse traditional folk melodies with modern pop sensibilities, resulting in a unique and accessible sound that has won them a wide listenership both at home and abroad.


In conclusion, contemporary Japanese folk music is a vibrant and evolving genre that combines traditional sounds with modern influences. This makes it an exciting and accessible form of music for both Japanese and international audiences. While it may not be as well-known as other genres, it is definitely worth exploring for its unique blend of cultures.

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