The Best of Japan Indie Rock: A Comprehensive List

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

Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,


Looking for a taste of the best that Japan’s indie rock scene has to offer? Look no further than this comprehensive list of essential artists and bands. From the classics to the cutting edge, these are the acts that define Japanese indie rock.


Finding good music can be hard, especially if you’re burned out on the mainstream offerings. If you’re looking for something different, why not try Japanese indie rock? This genre is full of great bands that are flying under the radar.

To help you get started, we’ve put together a comprehensive list of the best Japanese indie rock bands. We’ve included a little bit of everything, so there’s something here for everyone. From well-known acts like Orange Range to up-and-comers like Bear’s Den Club, this list has it all.

So whether you’re a longtime fan of Japanese music or you’re just getting started, this list is a great place to start your search for new bands to love.

The Best of Japanese Indie Rock

Japanese indie rock is a genre that is often overlooked. However, there are many great Japanese indie rock bands out there that are worth listening to. In this article, we will be covering a comprehensive list of the best Japanese indie rock bands.


Spitz is a Japanese rock band formed in 1985. The band members are Masamune Kusano (vocals, guitar), Kazuo Ogino (bass), and Hiroaki Katayama (drums).

Studio albums
-Kiiroi Osora de BOBO (黄色い大空でBOBO, “In the Yellow Sky, BOBO”) (1992)
-Hachimitsu no Shugosha 美味しい蜜を求めてる (“In Search of Delicious Honey”) (1995)
-Te wo Tsunagou 天使のような君へ (“To You, Like an Angel”) (1997)
-Atarashii Toki アタラシイトキ (“The New Times”) (2000)
-Ai ga Tomaranai あいがとまらない (“Love Won’t Stop”) – only available on cassette and online

Mr. Children

Formed in 1989, Mr. Children (stylized as Mr.Children) is a Japanese rock band from Tokyo. The band consists of Kazutoshi Sakurai (vocals, rhythm guitar), Kenichi Tahara (lead guitar), Keisuke Nakagawa (bass guitar), and Hideya Suzuki (drums). They made their major label debut with the release of their self-titled album in 1992, which was followed by the release of their second album, InitiAition, in 1993.

Mr. Children has been one of the most successful rock bands in Japan since the mid-1990s. They have released nineteen studio albums, eight live albums, and forty-seven singles. Their 1995 album Kiseki no Hoshi became the best-selling album of all time in Japan, with sales of over 4 million copies. They have sold over 44 million records in Japan, making them one of the best-selling artists in the country.

The band has won numerous awards, including the Japan Record Award for Best Album three times and the Japan Record Award for Best Group twice. In 2009, they were nominated for the Grammy Award for Best Pop Vocal Album for their album Supermarket Fantasy.

Southern All Stars

One of the most popular, and famous, Japanese bands would have to be Southern All Stars. Formed in 1976, the group has undergone several lineup changes but has always been fronted by Keisuke Kuwata. With a sound that lies somewhere between classic rock and power pop, the group has found massive success in Japan, with several of their albums being certified million-sellers. They continue to be one of the country’s top acts, still packing arenas and stadiums nearly four decades after their formation.


Radwimps is a Japanese alternative rock band from Kanagawa Prefecture, formed in 2001. The band consists of four members: Yojiro Noda (lead vocals, rhythm guitar), Akira Kuwahara (bass, backing vocals), Satoshi Yamaguchi (drums, percussion), and Makoto Okada (lead guitar, keyboards).

Their music is a mix of alternative rock, power pop and punk rock, with often complex arrangements and Noda’s unique and distinctive vocal delivery.

Over the course of their career they have released seven studio albums, three compilation albums, one live album and twenty-one singles. They have sold over 1.5 million records in Japan.


We hope you enjoyed our comprehensive list of the best Japan indie rock bands! Whether you’re a fan of punk, ska, math rock, or anything in between, there’s something here for everyone. Be sure to check out some of these bands’ music if you’re looking for something new and exciting.

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