Japanese Music Thread

Listening to music is a great way to immerse in a new language, so this is a thread to discuss Japanese songs as they relate to learning Japanese!


This topic actually came up in the chat on a Discord for the WK Movie Club so briefly summarizing my thoughts from there:

  • I don’t use Japanese music to learn because I often barely pay attention to lyrics in English, and my brain doesn’t really seem to treat Japanese in songs as ‘language’ as easily as spoken Japanese.
  • Sounds can be lengthened/distorted which is unhelpful
  • Songs are often much like poetry, so flowery words and less common pronunciations dominate. I swear I hear ゆく(行く) way more often in songs than in everyday Japanese

That said, some songs, especially slower songs with clear enunciation I can think of:

A level up in difficulty:

A song that I had zero idea what was being said the first time I listened:

Bonus! 80s cover of an English song:


I discovered character songs in college (the first was TeniPuri—Echizen Ryouma’s album RYOMA) and, looking up and following along with the lyrics, I actually picked up quite a bit. Of course, it was mostly readings, but some meanings too since I’d check the translation at least once for many of the songs. When I started “properly” learning in 2021, I was surprised how many kanji spellings that I’d grown used to from character songs aren’t all that commonly used, at least not without furigana. Prepared me for LNs though lol

I can barely do anything purely listening though since I have a problem with zoning out/tuning stuff out, even in English, but there are absolutely songs that I discovered years ago (some of which I even memorized, mostly phonetically) that I listen to now and realize I can actually understand a lot of it, and it’s kind of a weird—although nice, definitely nice—feeling.

Since I mostly just vibe to music, I rarely count it as listening practice. Only if it’s a song I’d never heard before or else one whose lyrics I’d never paid attention to, and I actually made an effort to pay attention to the lyrics without looking them up. But it’s nice when I can pick up the occasional line (or half-line, as the case may be lol) without having to try.

Except in ロビンソン:  ルララ 宇宙の風に乗る. There’s no wind in space! But I can’t just turn my brain off because I don’t even need it on to understand that line. It’s a nice song otherwise though… Or at least Ono Kenshou’s cover; I still haven’t gotten around to listening to the original.


Mention of the 80s reminded me of this song from the 70s by the Three Degrees, which is impressively good given that AFAIK none of them spoke Japanese so they’re purely singing from memory of having been coached through how to sing the lyrics: