Old Japanese Soul Music: The Best of the Best

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

Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,


Looking for some good old Japanese soul music? Look no further than this blog post, where we’ve compiled the best of the best for your listening pleasure.


Old Japanese soul music, or enka, is a genre of popular music that originated in the 1940s. The term “enka” is derived from the Japanese word for “orchestra”, and the music is typically sentimental and emotional in nature.

Enka is similar to Western pop music in many respects, but there are also some important differences. For one thing, enka songs are usually much longer than pop songs, and they often tell stories or paint pictures of everyday life in Japan. Enka lyrics are also often written in a very old-fashioned style, making them seem almost like folk songs.

Despite these differences, enka has become extremely popular in recent years, both in Japan and abroad. In fact, it is not uncommon to hear enka songs played on the radio in Western countries such as the United States and Canada.

If you’re interested in learning more about enka, or if you simply want to enjoy some great music, then you should check out the following three albums. These are considered to be among the best of the best when it comes to old Japanese soul music.

What is Old Japanese Soul Music?

Old Japanese soul music, also called enka, is a genre of music that originated in the 1960s. It is a ballad-style form of music that is typically sung by male artists. Enka was popularized by artists such as Hiroshi Itsuki and Jouji Yamamoto.

The Best of the Best

When it comes to old Japanese soul music, there are a lot of greats. But, who are the best of the best? In this article, we will countdown the top five old Japanese soul musicians of all time. These musicians have influenced countless other artists and their music will stand the test of time.

Toshiki Kadomatsu

Toshiki Kadomatsu is a Japanese singer, songwriter, and record producer. He made his debut as a member of the folk duo Trace in 1977, but his career truly took off when he released his first solo album, Toshiki Kadomatsu, in 1982. Kadomatsu has since released over twenty albums and has written songs for many other artists, including Kome Kome Club and Hikaru Utada. He is considered one of the pioneers of Japanese city pop, and his music has been highly influential in the development of the genre.

Kenichi Matsubara

Kenichi Matsubara was born into a musical family in Osaka, Japan, and began playing the piano at the age of four. He started his professional career as a jazz pianist in the early 1950s, and also began composing music for film and television. In the 1960s, he became known for his work on the soundtracks of popular anime series such as Astro Boy and Kimba the White Lion. Matsubara’s unique style combines traditional Japanese music with Western jazz and pop influences, and his work has been highly praised both in Japan and abroad.

Matsubara has won several awards for his work, including the prestigious NHK Award for Best Music in 1968. He was also nominated for a Grammy Award in 2001 for his work on the soundtrack of the animated film Spirited Away. In addition to his work in film and television, Matsubara has also released several solo albums, most notably Kenichi Matsubara Plays Bach (1967) and Jazz Soul of Japan (1969).

Kenichi Matsubara is widely considered to be one of the greatest Japanese composers of all time. His work has had a profound influence on Japanese popular music, and he continues to be highly respected by musicians both in Japan and abroad.

Haruomi Hosono

Haromi Hosono is often cited as one of the most important figures in the history of Japanese music. His work spans a wide range of genres, including pop, electronic, ambient, and traditional Japanese music. He was a founding member of the influential bands Yellow Magic Orchestra and Happy End, and has released a large number of solo albums. Hosono’s work has had a major impact on contemporary Japanese music, and he is widely considered to be one of the country’s most important musicians.


In conclusion, old Japanese soul music is some of the best music out there. It has a unique sound that is unlike anything else, and it is sure to please any music lover. If you have never heard of this genre before, I highly recommend you check it out. You will not be disappointed.

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