Music Briefs: Japanese City Pop


Japanese City Pop, AKA City Pop or Shiti Poppu, is a loosely-defined Japanese pop genre featuring American influences. The sound emerged in the ’70s and grew as technology boomed. Thanks to the introduction of the Walkman and car tape players, it reached its peak popularity in the ’80s. With innovation in its musical DNA, Youtube algorithms and TikTok have once again reawakened City Pop’s relevance and fame. So, we’re calling for hot new City Pop tracks!

In short, it’s Western music adapted by the Japanese. Most Japanese City Pop artists sought inspiration from American soft rock, funk, or boogie rather than Japanese tradition.


Why City Pop?

Thanks to social media, music-sharing blogs, notable artists, and Japanese reissues, it’s in demand. The genre has also become a touchstone for the sample-based microgenres known as vaporwave and future funk.

Get inspired by the most influential artists in Japanese City Pop. These include Tatsuro Yamashita, Toshiki Kadomatsu, and Mariya Takeuchi. More recently, Miki Matsubara’s “Mayonaka no Door (Stay with Me)” became a fan sensation on TikTok in 2020 when Japanese users recorded and shared their parent’s responses to the song.


Pond5 Library Examples of Japanese City Pop

Submission Ideas

  • Upload tracks that are between 3 and 6 minutes long
  • Use a tempo between 80 and 120 BPM.
  • Play with typical instruments for Western 80’s pop, such as synth, electric (triggered) drums or regular drum sounds, bass guitar, and affected guitar sound (e.g., fusion jazz, where some use saxophone)
  • Experiments with Japanese vocals or without vocals
  • City Pop is a mix of genres, overlapping R&B, jazz, or 80’s pop. Whatever the influence, the result oozes a glamorous, urban feeling.



  • Take advantage of the 50-keyword limit and add both broad and specific keywords. On the other hand, do not use recognizable band or artist names, please!
  • We encourage you to submit separate :15 and :30 versions of these tracks for social media use.
  • Moreover, please note you can apply tags to existing tracks in your portfolio.

Top Image: OSAKA, JAPAN – NOVEMBER 21, 2016: Night city lights of Dotonbori street in Osaka, Japan by citylife.