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Japanese Rock

Psychedelic rock was invented in the 1960s by American and British counterculture figures. Arriving in Japan, psychedelic rock took on a different flavour. Previously known for the drug intake of its performers leaving an impact on the hazy, drugged-out music, J-Rock performers tended to be drug-free, or even adamantly anti-drug (for example, Kosugi Takehisa, Haino Keiji, Nanjo Asahito).

Psychedelic rock first appeared in Japan in the mid to late 1960s. A few Group Sounds bands imitated their Anglo heros, including The Golden Cups, The Tempters, The Mops, The Dynamites and Jacks, whose "Karappo No Sekai" and "Marianne" were two of the first psychedelic recordings from the country.

Like in the UK and US, the psychedelic rock scene was linked to a political movement involving young, spirited students. An economic boom brought many young people to universities, where radical politics abounded. Central to this movement, arising from the late 60s Kyoto student revolts, was the band Les Rallizes Denudés and the Taj Mahal Travellers, followed by Lost Aaraaff.

In the 1970s, singer-songwriters like Kazuki Tomokawa and Kan Mikami became popular. As in the US and UK, Japanese rock spawned a folk-rock scene, there led by Magical Power Mako. At the same time, radical progressive rock was evolving, with distinctly Japanese bands like After Dinner and YB02, Kenso and KoenjiHyakkei.

From the late 1980s popular rock bands such as X Japan helped define the Visual Kei aesthetic in Japanese rock and pop music. "Visual kei" is often focused upon in the West as a uniquely Japanese part of the Rock music scene. Strictly speaking, however, "Visual kei" is not defined by its sound (which may or may not be "rock" music) but by the appearance of the bands.

A fringe movement from the late 1980s in Japanese alternative rock took the form of noise rock, a sound popularised by bands such as Boredoms.

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