Western Influence and History of Japanese Rock

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Since the begging of the "Rock Revolution" in Europe and the United States, rock musicians such as the Beatles, Led Zeppelin, and Cream toured constantly all over the world. This touring led to many effects in the countries and cultures they went to and helped pave the way for music to change in these regions. Japan has developed into a top five market for rock and heavy metal music, but it was these influences that created a similar but distinctive sound.

Just like western rock music, Japanese rock music evolved in a similar fashion. The psychedelic rock scene was the first western import into Japan and was brought to them by many cover bands and the successful band in the 1970's the Jack's. Because of the endless cover bands and original acts, the first documented Japanese rock band was formed; Hadaka no Rallizes (Scaruffi). This heavy guitar-based psychedelic band had their beginnings at Kyoto University in late 1967 with their first gig in 1968. While their recordings from this early period are still relatively controlled their live shows reputedly featured massive volume and the use of strobe lights and mirror balls to extreme levels. Obviously this brings to mind comparisons with the Velvet Underground and their Plastic Exploding Inevitable as well as Jefferson Airplane (Noise). Just as many rock bands in the western part of the world were, Hadaka no Rallizes also was involved with revolutionary causes. This support for revolutionary causes ran deep with the band, especially with original member Wakabayashi (Noise). This western view of freedom to speak in their music motivated the band even more and got them involved in the 1970 Yodo-Go incident where members of the Japanese Red Army hijacked a Japanese airliner to North Korea. Rumor has it that guitarist/group leader Mizutani Takashi was involved on some level with the Japanese Read Army and was asked to take part in the hijacking. Some years later the band were reported as putting on a concert on the...
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