Friedman’s J-Pop Jukebox

Former Megadeth guitarist Marty Friedman, who now makes a tidy living in Japan as a columnist and TV personality, will release Tokyo Jukebox, an album of J-Pop covers, locally May 20.

Friedman’s love of J-Pop spurred him to study the Japanese language and he has since become a sort of one-man cross-cultural institution, always in demand on talk shows for his insight into foreign pop culture or into Japanese pop culture from a foreign perspective. He also writes a regular column in Japanese about J-Pop for the weekly Nikkei Entertainment magazine.

The album, released on Avex Records, is a “joint project” between Nikkei Entertainment and karaoke company Joy Sound, which collected requests from fans for songs they wanted Friedman to cover.

Some of the artists represented are Southern All Stars, Perfume, Mr. Children, and, of course, SMAP.

The album’s cover depicts half of Friedman’s face painted in kabuki makeup.