Japan sings out for attention at France's MIDEM

25th January 2005, Comments 0 comments

CANNES, France, Jan 25 (AFP) - After taking the world by storm with its video games, manga cartoons and cars, Japan now wants to its get music better known around the globe.

CANNES, France, Jan 25 (AFP) - After taking the world by storm with its video games, manga cartoons and cars, Japan now wants to its get music better known around the globe.

And where better to try and grab the attention of the music industry's movers and shakers than MIDEM, the hugely influential music trade fair that is currently being held here in the glitzy French Rivera resort of Cannes.

This year, the Japanese government has stepped in to help boost the profile of the country's music industry at the MIDEM, which runs from January 23-27.

For the first time ever, the Japanese export body has grouped together its 57-strong group of exhibiting countries in an elegant red and white pavilion for maximum impact. It will also showcase the best of its large pool of vibrant musical talent this evening at a "Japan Night".

"We want to promote our music more vigorously to the rest of the world," the President of Japan's external trade organisation, JETRO, Hiroshi Tsukamoto told AFP in an interview here. He noted that although "in France, our "manga" cartoon strips are very well known but our Japanese music is not."

The growing international interest in Japanese animation and its popularity on kids TV channels, particularly in the United States, however, is helping the government's efforts to help its music break into overseas markets.

Language has been one of the big barriers to Japanese musicians making a big splash outside of Asia. But many of the country's young musicians are now comfortable singing in English, the international language of the music world.

The rise in the number of "crossover" musicians on the Japanese scene is one of the reasons why the government feels the time is right to try and conquer other music markets. Another is that many Japanese music stars are starting to become well-known around Asia, Tsukamoto said.

However, not many Japanese artists have managed big hits to date outside of their home country. Crossover New-York born singer Hikaru Utada's first English-language debut album, Exodus, did not do as well in the United States last year as hoped.

A few musicians, however, have made it globally in recent years. They include rock guitarist Tomoyasu Hotel, who has built on the success of his "Battle Without Honour Or Humanity", which featured on the soundtrack of Quentin Tarantino's film "Kill Bill". Another is young jazz pianist Hiromi Uehera who has started to make a name for herself on the international jazz scene.

The three young Japanese artists hoping to be discovered here by the rest of the world cover three of the most popular styles of music today in the country: pop, romantic and traditional.

That way, "we hope that that the world's music buyers who are gathered here at Cannes can find something they like," the Tsukamoto said with a smile. Just in case they do make it big, the names to remember are Bonnie Pink, Tokyo Ethmusica and Satomi.

© AFP

Subject: French News

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