MISIA to Perform at Opening Ceremony

Anticipation was high about who would perform at the Opening Ceremony of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. However, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic and Japan’s mismanagement of the Olympics, that anticipation is now a whimper. There is now some good news though: MISIA will sing the Japanese national anthem!

MISIA has been involved in several charitable efforts throughout her career, including as of late supporting medical staff during the pandemic. Last November, she fractured two vertebrae after falling off of a horse while filming a segment for the TBS news program “news23” about mentally disabled atheletes. She recovered in time to close the “71st NHK Kohaku Uta Gassen.” MISIA has a voice that represents Japan to the world, which can bring light in these dark times.

Ichikawa Ebizo will also appear in the Opening Ceremony, in a role that will showcase Japanese culture to the world.

The fact that there is still an Opening Ceremony is a miracle. With the recent resignation of Cornelius and the firing of Kobayashi Kentaro, the situation was troubling. About 20 members of the Olympic organizing committee requested that the Opening Ceremony be canceled or simplified. This simplified ceremony would consist of only the march of the athletes into the stadium, the lighting of the Olympic cauldron, and the Olympic opening declaration.

Kobayashi Kentaro Fired as Director of Olympic Ceremonies

The day before the Opening Ceremony of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, another scandal has surfaced! Kobayashi Kentaro, the director of the ceremonies, has been fired for making a joke about the Holocaust in 1998. During a comedy show that year, he used the Holocaust as part of his act, including the phrase “Let’s play Holocaust.”

“We found out that Mr. Kobayashi, in his own performance, has used a phrase ridiculing a historical tragedy,” organizing committee president Hashimoto Seiko said. “We deeply apologize for causing such a development the day before the Opening Ceremony and for causing troubles and concerns to many involved parties as well as the people in Tokyo and the rest of the country.”

After a video and the script for Kentaro’s performance surfaced, social media became abuzz.

Ryuji Imaichi Falls in Love with a Robot in “FUTURE LOVERS” MV

On July 21, Ryuji Imaichi of Sandaime J SOUL BROTHERS will release his third solo album, “CHAOS CITY.” This release comes about a year and half after his previous album, “ZONE OF GOLD.”

“CHAOS CITY” is a conceptual album that tells the stories of the fictional city that the album is named after. The lead song from the album is the 80s-influenced “FUTURE LOVERS.” Ryuji was inspired to write the song by the Hajime Sorayama statue “Sexy Robot.” The song is based on the theme of forbidden love between man and robot.

In the music video for “FUTURE LOVERS”, Ryuji falls in love with an android in the futuristic CHAOS CITY. “Sexy Robot” is one of the prominent features of the city and of Ryuji’s album cover, which can be seen below!

Shota Shimizu and ONE OK ROCK’s Taka Team Up for “Curtain Call”

On July 21, Shota Shimizu will release his ninth album, “HOPE.” This is his first album since June 2018’s “WHITE.”

A number of guests are featured on this album, including Taka from ONE OK ROCK, Aimer, ASOBOiSM, and Kouichi Arakawa. Shota and Taka launched [re:] Project last year, and their song on Shota’s album, “Curtain Call”, is a continuation of that patnership. [re:] Project also lead to Shota collaborating with Aimer for this new album, on the song “Prologue.”

The music video for “Curtain Call” was recently released and can be seen below, along with more information on Shota’s new album!

Snow Man’s “HELLO HELLO” tops the charts with over 800k units sold

Johnny’s group Snow Man continues their winning streak with the release of their latest single “HELLO HELLO“. It has topped both the Oricon and Billboard charts selling over 800k copies, with Billboard listing 820k units sold. The last time a male artist sold over 500k in the first week for three consecutive releases was Arashi, who accomplished this over 10 years ago.

Snow Man joins the very elite group of other male artists who did this including Mr. Children, B’z, GLAY, and L’Arc~en~Ciel. The MV for the track is also a hit digitally, almost hitting 14 million views on YouTube alone.

Snow Man’s official YouTube channel recently uploaded an alternate version of “HELLO HELLO” featuring recording footage and alternate scenes from the MV. Check it out below:

McDonalds celebrates 50 years in Japan with new CM starring Yoshiko Miyazaki

Back in July 1971 American fast-food giant McDonalds opened their very first restaurant in Japan! To celebrate this milestone a brand new CM campaign starring veteran actress Yoshiko Miyazaki was released.

Just like many other food franchises, Japan has become renowned worldwide for it’s set of exclusive items which appear as limited edition seasonal items and on their standard menu. These include Teriyaki Burgers, Fries with Chocolate Sauce, Melon Fanta pop, and the Cheesecake McFlurry. When the first McDonalds opened in Japan however it just included the standard burger and fries.

ENHYPEN, UraShimaSakataSen, BTS, and YOASOBI Top the Oricon Charts for the Week of 7/5 – 7/11

This week, ENHYPEN topped the Combined Single chart with their Japanese debut single “BORDER : Hakanai”, with 210,301 points in its first week.

UraShimaSakataSen topped the Combined Album chart for with their new album “L∞VE”, with 67,010 points in its first week.

ENHYPEN also topped the Single chart with “BORDER : Hakanai”, selling 200,424 copies in its first week.

UraShimaSakataSen also topped the Album chart with “L∞VE”, selling 66,376 copies in its first week.

BTS topped the Digital Single chart with their new digital single “Permission to Dance”, selling 39,871 copies its first week.

YOASOBI topped the Digital Album chart with their mini album “THE BOOK”, selling 1,621 copies in its 27th week, topping the chart for the 11th non-consecutive week.

BTS also topped the Streaming chart for the eighth consecutive week with their digital single “Butter”, with 12,972,460 streams in its eighth week.

Oricon Flashback: Week of 7/12

We’re back with this week’s edition of Oricon Flashback. This is where we look back on what topped the charts this week 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, and 30 years ago. Think of it as a way to reminisce and learn about the past of Japanese music.