Japan has a thriving music industry, which really should come as no surprise. Almost all genres, from r&b-infused J-Pop to traditional forms like anka (the Japanese equivalent to folk or country). There are saloon-style guys like Matsudaira Ken, a popular singer/actor who portrayed the lead in Abarenbo Shogun for years, and the gorgeous and funky Amuro Namie, who combines r&b, pop and hip hop.
With both a huge Yamaha musical instrument plant and one for Kawai, Hamamatsu is home to thousands of professional and amateur musicians. Practically every student at our school is either personally involved in music in some way, or else knows people who are. Classical and jazz, too.
And that's just the mainstream stuff. Japan has a vital underground scene. Punks, rockabillies, groups recreating the look and sound of those 60s British mod bands, grunge, straight up indie rock... you name it.
Two of my favorites are Boredoms, a noise/experimental group from Osaka and Melt-Banana, a blistering noise group from Tokyo I've seen live both in the States and here.
But I also love the lesser-known groups. Here's a video for Bleach 03, an all-girl semi-punk trio from Okinawa. The sound quality is bad, but listen to her shred the bass!
I'll be looting You Tube for more videos of Japanese bands and posting them here. You haven't even heard Electric Eel Shock or Go!Go!7188 yet.