Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Where to buy Japanese music online in English

by craig


These days, it is easy to legally purchase and download mp3s. Although the quality is still not usually as good as a CD, it is instant; you don't have to wait for shipping, and it is usually cheaper.

For super-convenience, of course there is the iTunes store, but their choice is rather limited when it comes to Japanese stuff. The same can be said for Rhapsody,

HearJapan has some a nice selection of Japanese albums and songs on mp3 that you can't find in the iTunes Store. They have mostly indie and electropop stuff, as well as visual-kei and JRock.

JapanFiles is similar, and has a good selection of indie songs for 99c per mp3.

Physical CDs and Records

Sometimes we still want an actual CD or record that we can hold in our mitts and file alphabetically on our jam-packed shelves.

Let's start with the big guns.

Amazon Japan is good for those living in Japan as their website is available in English. For international orders, their shipping rates are very high though. Same goes for HMV.

If you live in Japan and can read Japanese, Disk Union is a good place to look.

If you are in the US, you can find a pretty good selection on Amazon.com.

You can find quite a bit of good stuff from a variety of genres on CD Japan or YesAsia. They also sell movies and anime and stuff.

For more specialised music, and of course to support the little guys, I recommend the following:

Otonson has a great selection of experimental and electronic music searchable by label. They also have reasonable shipping costs.

Sonore is based in France and has an interesting choice of electronic and experimental Japanese music. You can see a list of artists Sonore stocks here.

Das Gemeine have some good psych and experimental stuff. Their website is closed for maintenance right now though.

Jetset Records is a cool little record store in Shimokitazawa and Kyoto which also has an online store in English stocking a lot of Japanese and International electro, dance and indie-pop CDs and records.

Tokyo Recohan (Tokyo Record Hunting) specialises in cheap second-hand Shibuya-kei and Japanese pop CDs which you buy using PayPal. They have low shipping costs and the website is in English and French.

In England, there is Far Side Music, stocking mostly older Japanese music like YMO.

You can often order directly from the labels you like. Check out the links page for some record labels.

Some other record stores in Japan like Vinyl Junkie and Onsa can ship internationally and accept orders in English even though their websites are not in English.

Feel free to leave any other recommendations in the comments.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

My name is Marty and I run PACIFICTION RECORDS, an online CD shop specializing in Asian indie music with a growing number of Japanese items. The site is not genre specific, but I gravitate more towards garage, punk, experimental indie and post rock. I buy direct from bands and labels and negotiate to keep prices down for American audiences.

Also, I occasionally help out bands with touring and have worked with notable acts including Flight of Idea, Falsies on Heat and Head Phones President.

Feel free to take a loot at the Pacifiction Records site here:


We also have pages on Myspace and Facebook:



1:38 pm, November 15, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can you help? Any idea how I can get my music blog noticed in Japan?

Find it here - http://therecommender.net

It's big in Europe and receives press from the UK, but I'm trying to see if Japan would also enjoy it...

Any thoughts would be very welcome.

10:42 pm, November 17, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i tried to look up the mp3s that i want but couldnt find it..any otehr suggestion of websites that sells mp3 instead of cds?
i'm trying to find:
ayaka - winding road, anata to
aoyama thelma+soulja - koko ni iru yo, soba ni iru ne
soulja - sotsugyo

if anyone can help, it'll be great =] thanks a bunch!

5:19 am, November 25, 2008  
Blogger mr craig e said...

hi marty,
thanks for the comment. i see you have the great aussie band baseball on pacification records!

the recommender,
try adding some japan-related content or writing things in japanese.

all of those songs can be found in the itunes store.

10:04 am, November 25, 2008  
Blogger La Societe said...

www.idaistore.com/radio is good for older japanese music. Definitely some great mixtapes to download.

12:24 pm, April 01, 2009  
Anonymous Detroit Jack said...

Hey guys I have a blog now go check it out!


adding your site now too

Detroit Jack

2:30 am, June 21, 2009  
Anonymous gid said...

seems like it is quite hard to find a place that serves mainstream japanese music downloads for purchase...at least in english. They are either all indie/obscure stuff...or badly sorted/categorized

10:10 am, May 09, 2010  

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