first_imgThe other day, when I was at a CD shop in Shibuya, I saw several travelers from overseas. When I asked what they were searching for, and it appears that recently there are foreign artists that only sell CDs in Japan, and they like seeing their favorite artists being sold in stores. And when I asked what they thought about Japan’s CD shops, they said things like, “There are a lot of genres, which is fun”, “the stores are very well organized”. There certainly are a lot of genres in J-pop, with CDs sold with only songs that match the season, or ones with only songs that were previously used in Commercials, a lot of which can only be found in Japan.Amidst it all, I found several fans from abroad carefully searching the J-POP section. When I looked at what they were browsing, it was Kyary Pamyu Pamyu and BABYMETAL. They said they don’t really understand all of the lyrics, but they like the rhythm and feel happy when they hear it. It’s true that they have great rhythm; Japanese fans often find themselves humming along.Have you ever wanted to know what the lyrics mean? If you like a song, it makes sense that you would want to translate it into your mother tongue and sing it. When you feel like that, most people would try a translation app or site. But once you actually try it, there are always parts left untranslated or parts that are just not done perfectly.However, there is a group that provides J-POP that has been translated by simply typing the lyrics into Google translate, and then broadcasts it to the world without changing anything. In other words, what is going around are not perfect translations, but rather slightly flawed translations. These are brought to us by the group we are introducing today, a group called UNDER COVERS.Listen to one of their songs!Let’s listen to the first song released by UNDER COVERS, “PONPONPON”.How was it? The rhythm is the same as “PONPON”, but it’s completely different from the song that Kyary Pamyu Pamyu sings. It looks like a new and interesting “PONPON” even to Japanese listeners.When the singing starts, you can tell they are using the lyrics as they came out of Google translate.Kyari Pamyu Pamyu is actually a shortened version of her name; her official name is “Kyaroin Charon Puroppu Kyari Pamyu Pamyu”. Fans would do well to remember the whole thing.Who are UNDER COVERS?There are probably quite a few readers who watched the video and wondered just who UNDER COVERS are. We will explain below.Undercovers is ENTRADA (www.youtube.com/c/entradatokyo) – A 3-member band who’s members (Elliot Cormack, Luke Snitter and Matthew Webster) are all originally from the U.K but met in Tokyo and started writing music inspired by the U.K music scene.  Whilst living in Tokyo they say they have run into a lot of strange translations.When they came to Japan they developed an interest in J-POP.  With a desire to understand the lyrics they say they often had trouble understandingthem when putting the lyrics into google translate.While melodies need no translation, the lyrics are often decided by the limitations of the translation method used. But they found that this actually proves to have interesting results, and, when matched with J-POP can result in songs that could connect the world. This was the beginning of UNDER COVERS.UNDER COVERS is an entirely different project from ENTRADA, and has a mechanical image thanks to its use of automated translation. The performers play puppet-like stage-hands to keep with the theme. And to make the idea that the music is the real star of the show, they pay special care to make their shows as mechanical as possible.BABYMETAL’s “Gimme choco!!”This video is done with the Google-translated lyrics of BABYMETAL’s “Gimme choco”.Zukyun!! Dokyun!! and Atata Tatata are the same as in the original lyrics, but apparently translating Japanese is quite difficult, and the result is one that will have you in stiches as you listen.For those who don’t know, BABYMETAL is a Japanese metal dance unit with 3 female members. It was started in 2010 with the idea of fusing idols with metal.Its members are,SU-METAL (December 20, 1997): Vocals, danceYUIMETAL (June 20, 1999): Screan, danceMOAMETAL (July 4, 1999): Scream, danceThey all have “metal” in their name.Why Kyary Pamyu Pamyu and BABYMETAL?In Harajuku, Takeshita-street, and Akihabara, Japan has a lot of unique culture that mixes anime, manga, and fashion, and is growing in popularity world-wide.UNDER COVERS is among those aspects you definately want to check out in Japan. Kyary Pamyu Pamyu and BABYMETAL are at the top of Japan’s newest popculture trends.Let’s Check Out Their New Song “Pick Me Up”They made a new video with Perfum’s “Pick Me Up” in October 2015.UNDER COVERS are planning on releasing Momoiro CloverZ and others, which get a lot of requests on their channels, in October and November.They want to bring J-POP to the global stage, like Sakamoto Kyu’s “Sukiyaki”.Final ThoughtsHow did you findUNDER COVERS?A Japanese person might look at it and feel like they are seeing what someone from another country might see when they look at J-POP, while at the same time get some Egnlish practice. For someone who lives outside of Japan, it is intereting to see them sing such imperfect lyrics with such seriousness. It is a great way to experience J-POP. That is UNDER COVERS.last_img

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *