10 Best New Japanese Rock Bands You Need to Listen to

In this article, I look at Japanese rock and pop rock artists/bands that have risen to fame in the past decade in the era after the Japanese “band boom.” Artists who, to this day, still possess a growing fanbase and are garnering a global following for recent hits.


BBHF is a band made up of core members originally from the band Galileo Galilei, formed in Hokkaido in 2018 by the Galileo Galilei brothers, frontman Ozaki Yuuki, drummer Ozaki Kazuk and accompanied by guitarist DAIKI. They are seriously underrated in the Japanese rock scene; however, I believe with such a talented roster of experienced musicians, the band will only continue to grow and make more hit songs like “メガフォン”. 

Sound-wise, this band fulfills the traditional elements of rock with a guitar-led sound but deviates from the traditional message of rock music and the visual kei era of Japanese rock music.

Songs to check out:

  • Simple
  • 愛を感じればいい
  • メガフォン

2. Official Hige Dandism / Official髭男dism

Official Hige Dandism is a pop-rock band from Matsue, Shimane formed in 2012. The band comprises lead vocalist and pianist Fujihara Satoshi, drummer Matsuura Masaki, bassist and saxophonist Narazaki Makoto, and guitarist Ozasa Daisuke.

The band made their official debut with the label Lastrum in 2015 with the hit mini-album “Love to Peace wa Kimi no Naka” (ラブとピースは君の中). They would go on to release the single “No Doubt” and the album “エスカパレード” (Escaparade) in 2018, followed by the critically acclaimed single “Pretender” in 2019, which would lead them to become nationally renowned.

Pretender would rank number one for seven weeks on the Billboard Japan Hot 100 and would spend thirty-four weeks at number one on the streaming chart.

They would gain further global recognition with the song “Cry Baby” featured in the album “Editorial” in 2021. The song would become the opening soundtrack to the popular anime Tokyo Revengers.

Their hype is well deserved as their sound is carefully crafted to capture pop rock’s essence.

Songs to check out:

  • White Noise
  • Subtitle
  • Cry Baby

3. The Peggies 

The Peggies is an all-female Japanese rock band formed in 2011 in Kawasaki, Kanagawa. Initially signed to Poppo Express, the band now releases under Epic Records Japan. They would release their first album in 2014, “Goodmorning in Tokyo,” establishing themselves in the rock scene.

The Peggies are most recognized for their contributions to anime soundtracks; many of their songs have become worldwide hits in popular animes like Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai, Rent-A-Girlfriend, and My Hero Academia.

Songs to check out:

  • Centimeter
  • Kiminosei

4. My First Story

My First Story is a Japanese rock band formed in 2011 in Shibuya, Tokyo, by vocalist Hiro, bass guitarist Nob and guitarist Teru who would later be joined by drummer Kid’z. The band debuted in 2012 with the album “My First Story” under Label INTACT RECORDS. They have since released 12 albums, one EP and 19 singles and have risen to fame, making several performances across Japan and even playing as a supporting act for Fall Out Boy’s “Mania Tour.”

Songs to check out:

  • Love Letter
  • Kimi no Inai Yoru wo Koete (君のいない夜を越えて)
  • King & Ashley

5. The Oral Cigarettes

The Oral Cigarettes are a Japanese alternative rock band formed in Nara Prefecture in 2010, making it one of the older bands in this list. The band would debut in 2013 with the mini-album “オレンジの抜け殻、私が生きたアイの証” and would sign with the label A-Sketch, releasing three EPs, 11 albums, one compilation and 20 singles.

One song, “Kyouran Hey Kids!!,” would be used as the opening soundtrack for the viral anime Noragami, garnering over 150 million listens on Spotify alone. 

Songs to check out:

  • Kyouran Hey Kids!!
  • Kizukeyo Baby
  • Miss Tail

 6. Cö Shu Nie

Cö Shu Nie is a Japanese rock duo formed in Osaka in 2011. The duo includes vocalist, guitarist and keyboardist Miku Nakamura, bassist Shunsuke Matsumoto, and previously included members Kōjirō Yamazaki and Ryōsuke Fujita. 

Cö Shu Nie would sing with Sony Music Japan in 2018, making their debut with the label with the hit single “Asphyxia”. The song would be used for the opening soundtrack of Tokyo Ghoul:RE, leading them to chart on japans standard singles popularity chart, the Oricon Chart. The duo would continue releasing successful rock songs that would chart on the Oricon and Billboard Japan charts, with popular singles used in hit anime like Jujutsu Kaisen and Promised Neverland. 

Songs to check out:

  • Asphyxia 
  • Miracle 
  • Zettai Zetsumei

7. Indigo la End

Indigo la End is a Japanese alternative pop-rock band including singer-guitarist Enon Kawatani, drummer Eitaro Sato, guitarist Curtis Osada and bassist Ryosuke Gocho. The band was formed in Tokyo in 2010 and would sign with Warner Music Japan and make their major debut in 2014 with the album “あの街レコード.”

The lead singer of the band, Enon Kawatani, would play an important role in the creation of many other bands such as Gesu no Kiwami Otome, Dadaray, Genie High, and Ichikoro. The band would differentiate itself with a unique alternative pop-rock sound.

Songs to check out:

  • 瞳のアドリブ
  • 華にブルー
  • 想いきり

8. Ryokuoushoku Shakai

Ryokuoushoku Shakai is a Japanese pop-rock band formed by high school classmates: vocalist and guitarist Nagaya Haruko, guitarist Kobayashi Issei and keyboardist Peppe, along with Kobayashi’s childhood friend bassist Anami Shingo. The band was formed in Aichi prefecture in 2012 but would only debut in 2017 with the album “Nice To Meet You??” under record label Epic Records Japan.

The band would gain recognition in 2020 for their song “Shout Baby” used in the shonen anime My Hero Academia’s season 4 ending soundtrack.

Songs to check out:

  • Shout Baby
  • Metal
  • White Rabbit

9. Kinoko Teikoku / Mushroom Empire

Kinoko Teikoku is a Japanese shoegaze/dream pop rock band consisting of vocalist and guitarist Satou, guitarist Ah-chan, bassist Taniguchi Shigeaki and drummer Nishimura “Kon.” The band was formed in Shinagawa prefecture in 2007 but would only make their official debut in 2012 under Daizawa Records with the release of album “渦になる” and would later disband in 2019 when bassist Taniguchi Shigeaki left to support his family.

The band differentiated itself by following the path of the alternative shoegaze genre. Next Music From Tokyo describes how the vocalist, Satou, deviates from traditional shoegaze “Some songs harbour the soft ethereal drone of classic shoegazer, but their hallmark is the dynamic range of Sato’s hauntingly beautiful vocals that soar skyward with passion and intensity.”

Songs to check out:

  • Why
  • &
  • クロノスタシス

10. Sumika

Lastly, Sumika, a Japanese rock band formed in Kawasaki, Kanagawa, in 2013. The band would act as an indie rock band, releasing several independent albums and EPs until 2018, when they signed to the major label Sony Music Entertainment Japan. The band comprises vocalist and guitarist Kataoka Kenta, drummer Arai Tomoyuki, keyboardist Ogawa Takayuki and the now-deceased guitarist Kuroda Junnosuke.

Sumika is most commonly known for contributing to the anime series Wotakoi: Love is Hard for Otaku and the anime film I Want to Eat Your Pancreas.

Sumika differentiates itself with the use of the keyboard to create distinct and often upbeat melodies, for example, a combination of the keyboard and drums in the hit song “フィクション.”

Songs to check out:

  • フィクション
  • ファンファーレ
  • 秘密


Official HIGE DANdism | Jpop Wiki | Fandom. (n.d.). Jpop Wiki. https://jpop.fandom.com/wiki/Official_HIGE_DANdism

NoMusicNoReason. (2022, August 21). the peggies enters indefinite hiatus in September. 

JROCK NEWS. https://jrocknews.com/2022/07/peggies-indefinite-hiatus.html

The Peggies. (n.d.). Discogs. https://www.discogs.com/artist/5997396-The-Peggies

MY FIRST STORY music, videos, stats, and photos | Last.fm. (2022, October 29). Last.fm. https://www.last.fm/music/MY+FIRST+STORY

THE ORAL CIGARETTES. (n.d.). Discogs. https://www.discogs.com/artist/6211180-THE-ORAL-CIGARETTES

Cö Shu Nie. (n.d.). DBpedia. https://dbpedia.org/page/C%C3%B6_Shu_Nie

indigo la End. (n.d.). Deezer. https://www.deezer.com/en/artist/4512694/biography

Ryokuoushoku Shakai | SONGS OF TOKYO | NHK. (n.d.). SONGS OF TOKYO | NHK. https://www.nhk.or.jp/songsoftokyo/regular/artist/ryokushaka/#:~:text=Ryokuoushoku%20Shakai%2C%20also%20known%20as,Shingo%20(bass%2Fchorus)

KinokoTeikoku hometown, lineup, biography | Last.fm. (n.d.). Last.fm. https://www.last.fm/music/KinokoTeikoku/+wiki

きのこ帝国 (Kinoko Teikoku) — Next Music From Tokyo vol 15. (n.d.). Next Music From Tokyo Vol 15. https://www.nextmusicfromtokyo.com/kinokoteikoku

sumika (band) – generasia. (n.d.). https://www.generasia.com/wiki/sumika_(band)

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