Asian News 11/9

Oricon Mobile Update

Japan’s music chart magazine and service, Oricon, launched the latest of its specialized mobile phone service sites November 1.

Oricon Indies Full allows cell phone users to access the latest data regarding Japanese indie acts and download songs through the site.

This year, PC sales in Japan have been dropping as more and more of the functions once limited to computers have become available through other devices. In Japan, more people send and receive e-mail through mobile phones. They also tend to download songs through their phones rather than through PCs.

Oricon Indies Full contains a number of sub-sites categorized by music genre, including R&B / Hip-hop, reggae, "visual rock" (i.e., pop metal), and pop.

It also includes a "Power Push" section that promotes brand new releases. Some of the site’s features are available only to paying subscribers.


More Reunions

Luna Sea, one of Japan’s biggest rock acts of the ’90s, announced at the end of August that it was re-forming.

The band, which led the so-called visual-kei pop metal movement, broke up in December 2000. On October 28, 50,000 tickets for a December 24 reunion concert at Tokyo Dome went on sale and were all bought up in five minutes. A tribute album of Japanese bands covering Luna Sea songs will go on sale December 19.

The group’s return to the stage follows a boom that has seen a half dozen other high-profile Japanese rock bands reforming this year, including the original visual-kei group X-Japan, emblematic synth-pop trio Yellow Magic Orchestra, J-pop juggernaut TM Network, and indie rock band Jun Skywalkers.

Some journalists have speculated that the reunions were sparked by a similar trend overseas among groups like The Police, Smashing Pumpkins, The Spice Girls, and Van Halen, all of which have received huge press in Japan, though so far only The Police have announced a Japan tour.


Hikaru Genji Member Busted For Meth

Akira Akasaka, formerly of the roller-skating boy band Hikaru Genji, was arrested October 28 for possession of methamphetamine after he was stopped on a Tokyo street by the police for undisclosed reasons.

During the late 1980s, Hikaru Genji was the flagship act for Johnny’s Jimusho, the hugely successful talent agency that controls most of Japan’s lucrative male "idol" acts.

The group broke up in 1995, but Akasaka remained with the agency and concentrated more on acting, working mainly in the field of theatrical musicals.

The day after the arrest, Johnny’s sent a fax to media outlets stating that the 34-year-old Akasaka had been fired from the agency.