Friday, 4 November 2011


Hey there, it's been a while since I've done a post.
About a week I think? Apart from not being able to finish video subtitles quicker, I basically just couldn't really think of something that I wanted to write about. Ha..... There should be some more videos in the next 2~3 days though.

Well anyway, I've got some motivation to write a bit now, so here we go.

My favourite Japanese guitarists.
This doesn't really have anything to do with skill or level or technique and isn't a list saying who are the best guitarists in Japan. The reason being, I don't really know enough about all that to make a proper judgement. I'll leave that for people who know about that stuff.

No, instead my list is basically one of the guitarists that I enjoy and find most interesting listening to.
Ahem, so let us begin.....Oh, and it's not necessarily in any order. Just whoever I think of first.


Hotei Tomoyasu is a legend of Japanese music. At first he was part of the band Boowy in the 80's, a hugely popular rock group that started up a band making craze in Japan at the time. He was also part of a two man unit called Complex with the singer Kikkawa Koji, which is also considered legendary, as they only worked together for 2 years and 2 albums. He has also had a successful solo career with his music being a massive influence on many of the modern musicians. He'd be most well known in the West however for his song 'Battle For Honour and Humanity' which was used as a theme song on Quentin Tarantino's film, Kill Bill.

His music is usually very fast paced and energetic, and his live shows are great because of this. 
Beat Emotion is probably a good example:

 Here is a video of a great guitar solo of his from the song Fly Into You Dream. There's supposed to be a part where he sings before this but I think it's been cut straight to the solo. 


Hide of the super influential rock band X-Japan. He along with the rest of his band popularised the Visual-kei movement and started a Visual-Kei band boom in the early 90's. Although in his X-Japan work he plays more of a melodious speed metal style, his solo stuff is a little more varied, which I like. The way he plays guitar is kind of strange too. Well it's not strange but while other guitarists move around a lot with exaggerated movements and head banging, Hide barely moves at all. Even his hands seem to have minimal wastage of movement. I like how his songs are one the verge of crazy but still has a melody to it unlike some other insane and incomprehensible rock musicians. It's too bad that he died so early though, as he only left behind 3 albums.

This is a song of his that I like called Pink Spider. This and probably Doubt '97.

And 紅 (Kurenai) with X-Japan. I came across this song when I didn't even like rock music and found their appearance gross, but still found it really good.


Asai Kenichi is the vocalist/guitarist of 3 man band, Blankey Jet City. This is another band considered legendary in Japan, although barely even heard of by most Western fans of Japanese music. I suppose that's because they're not really the type of music that most of these people like (probably) but oh well. His singing is also one of those types that is hard to get used to, and may even be unlistenable to most. He doesn't hit his high notes properly and has a nasal almost monotone whine like Bob Dylan. I took a while to get used to it...but now I really love his music. It helps that the instrumental backing are very cool too though.

Well, so what I like about his guitar playing.....well it's quite unusual. I think. It's often very simple especially in the album he did with the singer UA as the group 'Ajico', where it is quite moody and eerie. With Blankey Jet City it's very Rock'n'Roll with elements of Jazz sometimes. 

Arrrghh there are so many songs of theirs that I want to introduce that it's hard to limit it to 2~3...

Omaega Hoshii ("I want you") is one of my favourites. It starts off as a Jazz track but suddenly turns into Rock in the last minute or so.

A more typical Rock tune of theirs is the song 'Romeo'

Here's one with the group Ajico I mentioned just before. He teams up with the singer UA which incidentally have also done a post about (here). The song is called Shinryoku (深緑) which means dark green. It's very different to his Blankey Jet City stuff.


Abe Futoshi is the guitarist for the rock band Thee Michelle Gun Elephant. I've written about them before (here) and have also subtitled a video of them on Heyx3 Music Champ (here). He's well known in Japan for his faced paced and rocking cutting skills (a guitar technique, not what you do with sharp objects hehe). Apparently he has never used an effector before, unlike most other rock musicians nowadays. Unfortunately, he has also passed away, fairly recently in 2009.

'Rhapsody' is a very fast paced tune and features a lot of the signature 'cutting'.

'Give the Gallon' is one of my favourite songs of theirs.


Ukigumo is the guitarist for Tokyo Jihen, the band lead by the singer Shiina Ringo. It's a very cool band that plays various types of music. 

Song- Killer Tune



Well that's as much as I can bother to do. You probably noticed that I barely wrote anything for the last guitarist. That's because I've gotten tired of writing....hehe. I don't really know much about him either so I can't write a lot without doing some research too so......sorry about that.

So who are your favourite guitarists and why? I suppose it doesn't have to be Japanese like the people I've mentioned.


  1. Good idea of post.

    Seriously it would have shocked me if you have done this list without mentioning Hotei, especially seeing the numbers of videos with him that you have subbed lol

    As non-Japanese guitarists, I like a lot the style of Paco de Lucia. This is still amazing to see and to listen to how he plays flamenco guitar.

    Narciso Yepes was also great.

    And I've discovered Andy McKee 2 or 3 years ago on youtube:

    The Japanese guitarist with skills that I know (and like) is Kazumi Watanabe.

    There are Chage and Miyavi who have talent too.

    And lesser known, Hiroaki Tsutsumi who is the guitarist of the band Shikinami. I don't know very much his work but I like a lot the instrumental of the song Ne no Uta (根の歌) with arrangements more acoustic from his band.

  2. As far as Japanese guitarists go, I like Char. Miyavi too, though he's on a whole other playing field than most.

    - Danisha

  3. @ Tako: Wow thanks for your reply. I looked up the people you meantioned on youtube. I was so impressed with some videos of Paco de Lucia that I got goosebumps! His fingers move so fast!

    Narciso Yepes reminds me a little of Andre Segovia. I suppose because they both play classical music...

    Ahhh I've heard about Kazumi Watanabe but never checked him out till now

    And do you mean Chage from 'Chage and Asuka'?
    And Miyavi yeah, I know of him

    I can't find anything of the last person though! Do you know where I might be able to?

  4. @Danisha

    Oh Yeaahh forgot about Char lol. I wonder why haha...oh well. Miyavi is good yeah, although I don't like him as much as other people. haha

  5. Dude! Long time no Hotei request :) Look what I found:

    if you have the time, would it be ok for you to sub this clip please? :D

    - Danisha

  6. @GodzillaRadio Indeed, Chage from "Chage and Asuka". The few videos that I saw from him were nice.

    The instrumental version of Ne no Uta is included in this link (I know Hiroaki Tsutsumi and his band Shikinami contributed to the arrangements of Ne no Uta)

    I think I've found their website (but I guess they usually do small gigs):

    About Miyavi's guitar technique on an acoustic guitar (I don't judge him about his personality because I know nothing about him), as demonstration he usually plays with slaps. For the first video, it was nice to see him playing like that but after watching a couple of videos of him still doing slaps with his acoustic guitar, it was rather repetitive. No idea but maybe for electric guitars he plays with more various techniques(?)

    Paco de Lucia is amazing! He makes you want to learn arpeggio!

    I agree about Narciso Yepes and Andres Segovia.
    By the way did you watch this video? (I've discovered it yesterday and there is an English translation in the description of the video)
    We can guess they have a mutual respect for each other.

    And about Kazumi Watanabe, I've got a video of him playing a duet with Char. I will send you the video by email when I will re-found it (I don't know in which folder I classified this video! lol)

  7. @Danisha: Sure. There'll be some of the Hotei concert voice over video's up soon too...finally


    - Ahh thanks for the link to the Shikinami song!
    -I agree with you about Miyavi completely. I think he's good and sounds good, but a lot of his songs sound the same and gets boring for me too. He slaps for electric too by the way haha...

    -It's nice to know that those two great guitarists had a respect for each other. I'd be surprised if they didn't though. From reading comments and stuff it just seems like their fans who have made them as kind of rivals.

    There were a few Kazumi Watanabe x Char video's on youtube. I don't know if they're the same one as yours though..

  8. I don't know if you saw this article, recently there was a poll about guitarists who could be a potential representative for Japan:

    Interesting to see the point of view of Japanese audience about Japanese guitarists.
    (No Miyavi in this poll, maybe there are some people who probably think the same about his slap technique like us)

  9. Yeah~ theres a lot of people that I've never heard of that I should check out. I'm not surprised that Matsumoto from B'z is at the top. Everyone in Japan likes him. And yeah, Miyavi is very good but I think a lot of the exaggerated movements just make what he's doing seem harder.

  10. @GodzillaRadio Yeah I'm surprised that Matsumoto wasn't on your list either!

    When I first read this article, first person I was expecting was Matsumoto, but he didn't end up being there.

    Maybe cause my experience in Japanese rock music, or music in general isn't deep yet, mainly due the fact that I nearly only listen mainstream and haven't "broaden" my horizons yet.

    Btw, Tomoyasu and Hide were the only guitarist I know from your list (-_-;)

    1. Yeah, Matsumoto is generally considered the best in Japan. I'm just basing this list on who I like rather than who's the best. To be honest I've only really started to like B'z fairly recently. I'm not sure why, maybe too much keyboard for my previous tastes? lol. Well I've been listening to them a lot more than before anyway.

      And yeah, the ones you didn't know aren't as well known.

  11. Japanese guitarist! Wow! I never came to know about those guitarists. But my sister who lives in Japan told me about the fun she is having in their concerts. These are really one of the greatest guitarists. I cannot tell you guys how much I am excited to joy their live performances.