Shihori Her Journey in Japanese Anime Pop Music

Shihori Her Journey in Japanese Anime Pop Music

As a J-POP singer songwriter, I usually write lyrics first, and write melodies along with them because the messages are the most important for me, like about love or life to encourage listeners, and this procedure can make melodies more free from common theories of writing habits.

Jacqueline Jax logo photoInterview by Jacqueline Jax
host of A.V.A Live Radio

Person Interviewing: Shihori Nakane
Song name: Kimi Emi no Hana -Bloom Like Your Smile-
Music Genre: J-Pop, Japanese Anime Pop
 This song is a theme song for Japanese Horror Fantasy Video Game “Iwai Hime”, Shihori wrote and sang in 2016. The story is about the curse and mystery transmitted in generation after generation in a small old village, and this song is played at the happiest scene of the climax. In this scene the main characters are holding each other and kissing together, and the petals of full bloom cherry blossoms are falling down behind them.The beginning part of lyrics mean Japanese traditional, religious way of counting which is pronounced like as
“Hi, Fu, Mi, Yo, I, Mu, Na, Ya, Ko. To, Mo, Chi, Ro, Ra, Ne”
They mean,
“1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 100, 1000, 10000”
not just as numbers, but they represent Japanese religious(called as Shinto) pray for God as well.This song relates to the heroine’s feelings such as “I wish to be with you for 100 years, 1000 yeas, 10000 years…”With this song I want to show listeners how Japanese sound is simple and beautiful. I want listeners to be able to picture the beautiful Japanese spring scene.

 My music is Japanese POP based on classical music. I was raised listening to pieces of Beethoven’s Piano Sonata and Anime Songs. This specific background built up my unique style as a J-POP artist and it lead me to the success in Anima Game music industry especially as a songwriter this past decade.
I believe my songs’ crucial core is consisted of Good Melodies and Good Lyrics, those are supposed to be impressive even if they’re sung in a cappella.

As a J-POP singer songwriter, I usually write lyrics first, and write melodies along with them
because the messages are the most important for me, like about love or life to encourage listeners. This procedure can make melodies more free from common theories of writing habits.

But at the same time, when I write for Anime or Game products, each client has specific stories, goals, images, messages and worldview so we, as Anime song writers, try to represent their products, therefore those kinds of theme songs tend to have very dramatic melodies with plots.

That’s the unique element of Anime, Game Songs.

I was totally impacted by these kinds of melodic music, (Anime and Beethoven as well) naturally combine some genres such as Pop, Classical (Baroque to Romantics), Rock, Metal, Gothic, Ethnic into one song with a specific story. This is what inspired my music.

 I think this song represents my current concept in US,  which just has started since after moving to NY this January, as a Japanese Pop singer songwriter.

This field has a huge fan base worldwide, and has very specific character and background. Recently Japanese people have lost identical confidence, they tend to believe they’re inferior to Western Countries, that have to be Americanized. Actually many people warned me to Americanize my music when I decided to move to US because Japanese music struggles to make it in the US.

Of course I need to brush up on more brilliant mixed style as a Japanese artist in the US, but I believe my originally unique Japanese style of music can attract a worldwide audience as well, and possibly result in the US helping Japan get back the lost confidence. That’s my concept named as Share The American Dream Project.

I create my music everywhere! In the bathroom, on the street, in a train, at the cafe with pen and notebook. I don’t use equipment to write songs because they come to my head. After finishing writing, I make arrangements using piano and Logic10.

I stay focused by listening to my heart and listening to my body.

 I once worked with Yoko Kanno who is a worldwide famous Anime music producer(Ghost in the Shell etc), she picked my lyrics up via competition, we collaborated together. This experience was quite thrilling and awesome, she is highly respected as a genius, and I had admired her as a “God” since I was a high school girl. (I know many people are same as me even in US) I had no specific career at that time and had totally lost my confidence in musical activities. But this Dream Collaboration with Yoko Kanno blew my mind. She highly admired my lyrics and required me to be more and more freedom from any commonsensical thought.

She said to me:
“Correct ordinal expressions are totally boring.
It’s meaningless if we create things which someone has already created. I don’t need right things but want something new, strange, funny, eccentric, those are quite unexpected instead, even can be odd. That’s what I want.”

Meaning, anything is OK! There is no rule. Just be in the universe. She smiled to me playfully like a 10 year old kid! I was very impressed because her idea was totally opposite to ideas which so many adults surrounding me had advised me,  ( Like “don’t too much artistic, nor too strong, nor too eccentric” because my music was like that too unique in Japanese Pop Music Industry at that time around 2001~2005.) and then I realized it was the one which my soul had been longing for.

She required so many difficult skills and rich imagination with creating, I tried very hard during the collaboration and finally we did it, and I saw my lyrics were reflected perfectly as pictures on the movie at the movie theater a year after. This experience changed me forever I have created many hits since, and the idea is now the core of my life itself.

I live in NY, moved here in this January. But I had live in Tokyo for 17 years before NY. I have been working for Japanese Anime, Game and Idol music industry as I wrote above, they have developed in very unique way, compare to other genres. Now actually Anime songs attract so many enthusiastic fans in the world, I am surprised and impressed that I often meet people who know some or one of my songs, or songs which my friends created. This shows big potential of our music scene. And this music scene is now leading the whole Japanese music industry, I want to be the one of them that can show Japanese unique sense to the world.
Website & social media links:
Instagram @shihori94