For most, the holiday season has started with the Christmas days coming up. Time to listen to some music to get you in the right mood, right? If you don’t mind to skip another round of the typical Christmas songs of Mariah Carey or Wham! and mix it with the not typical Japanese songs inspired by the Christmas spirit, please check out this list below.
Christmas is not an official holiday for Japan, but they do love to get inspired by it with the fitting Winter illumination, Christmas decorations and music. You can always expect to hear the typical Christmas songs of Mariah Carey or Wham! if you shop in the big malls. But there are also enough Japanese songs made for this period. Perhaps the most popular Japanese Christmas song is the song Christmas Eve by Tatsuro Yamashita, released in the early 80s. It is something that according to many can be heard a lot around this period of time. But what about いつかのメリークリスマス (Itsuka no Merry Christmas) by the rock band B’z? The song is very fitting for the Christmas period, as it is a ballad. Or are you more interested in the romantic vibes that the song Hurry Xmas from L’Arc~En~Ciel, released in 2010, gives?
There are many songs that come to mind to those who think about Japanese Christmas songs, but what about the following songs? They may differ from your current list of Christmas songs.
1. YeYe – He Doesn’t Have Christmas
He Doesn’t Have Christmas was the first Christmas song written by singer-songwriter YeYe and is sung in English. The music video is filmed while the musician is walking around with her acoustic guitar, while walking further in the shopping mall, she gets joined by the other musicians. The music you hear comes directly from when they filmed it.
The song was released a few days before Christmas in 2014 and was a present from the musician as you could download it for free. He Doesn’t Have Christmas consists a bit of the dreamy Pop-Rock vibes that YeYe normally incorporate in her music. The song is more upbeat which fits perfectly with the typical Christmas songs that we hear daily around this time of year.
There is also a live video of the same song where YeYe is joined by many more musicians to give the song a more Christmassy feel to it. YeYe is currently working a lot on making music for commercials and performing live shows. YeYe’s latest album came out in 2017, via Rallye Label, titled Mottainai.
2. X Made Alcoholic Santaclaus – THE GIFT
Maybe not directly a Christmas song, but since the band name of this Loud Rock band is very fitting for this season in combination with the song title, it can’t be ignored at all. X Made Alcoholic Santaclaus got a music video for this song on the first of January in 2016, but the song itself was spread around by the band on Christmas Eve in 2015. The video contains live footage of the band performing during the tour final in December 2015 supported by an emotional rock song that is titled THE GIFT. It was certainly a gift for the fans of this band from Yokohama.
Although an emotional song, the song still contains the loud sound of the guitars that might be interesting for those who have enough of the happy-go-lucky Christmas songs we all hear every year. In 2017, X Made Alcoholic Santaclaus released the album Espèce à l’aventure which includes THE GIFT.
X Made Alcoholic Santaclaus, shortened to XMAS, have been active since 2013 to bring share something special and joyful to everybody in the world. They have toured Europe a couple of times and are currently on a hiatus. Another reason to give THE GIFT another (digital) spin.
3. 羊文学 (Hitsujibungaku) – 1999
The Alternative Rock band 羊文学 (Hitsujibungaku, sheep literature) is a trio consisting of guitarist and vocalist Shizuka Moeka, bassist Yurika and drummer Fukuda Horoa. The band started out as a cover band in 2012 with five members, but had to stop since the band members decided to focus on school. In 2017 羊文学 (Hitsujibungaku) became an official band with the current band members and they directly started to release original music. Although, they have been releasing original music before, such as an EP in 2015, a few years later in 2017, they released their debut EP through the label felicity.
The band released their first album in 2018. The Christmas song that received a music video on 4 December 2019, titled 1999, was originally released in 2018 as a single, but got a limited Christmas release a year later with an extra track and a video. The video directly conveys the feelings that are connected with the Christmas season, snow is falling down, it is getting colder and we are enjoying the Christmas decorations. A perfect fit for a slow song that does give some melancholic vibes, while still be an easy song to listen to.
4. emmurée – Christmas Eve に生まれた古時計 (Old clock born to Christmas Eve)
On the album EMMURÉE, that was released in November 2012, Nagoya Kei Gothic Rock band emmurée with their Post-Punk and Deathrock influences, thought it was a good idea to put the song Christmas Eve に生まれた古時計 (Old clock born to Christmas Eve) on that is in the typical dark and gloomy style that can also be found in other songs of emmurée. It doesn’t make the song directly a typical Christmas song, but there’s a presence of some bells to strengthen the Christmas spirit and the chorus in which the singer Sou sings ‘Silent Night’. It is approved for a Christmas song.
No official music video on YouTube, although the video linked below, is provided by TuneCore Japan. A short while ago a few albums by emmurée are put on Spotify, including the eponymous album. This year, emmurée celebrated their 20th anniversary with a best-of album and national tour.
5. ティンペッツ (TYINPETS) – クリスマス (Christmas)
With クリスマス (Christmas) as a title, we can definitely say that this song is a Christmas song. The rather young Pop-Rock band ティンペッツ (TYINPETS) is behind this song, who started out in the Autumn of 2017. The band consists of vocalist Shohei Yoshida, guitarist Namae, bassist Maeji Makahiro and Tayura Sora on the keyboards. The band has released a single and 3 EPs, it is now waiting for a first album.
We are at Christmas Eve in this video, released on 12 December, the song has been written and composed a while ago on Christmas day by the vocalist Shohei, he explained in the video description. At that time he was home alone, although he was not conscious about the fact of being ‘Home Alone’. A reference to the film. It is a song where a triple-guitar interweaves with a gentle arpeggio (broken chord) that gives the vocalist a reminder to his childhood. In the video you see a girl lying around in bed, being bored with nothing to do, while a video with moving images of the Winter illumination and people being together walking around is projected on her. She does move around in her house, while the video is still projected on her. Although the song and video do give a sad feeling, it isn’t exactly a sad song overall.
There are of course many more suggestions that can be done and you are more than welcome to drop suggestions. Have a lovely Christmas season!