Small in Japan; Musicians that are NOT Popular in Japan


Hi there, it’s Mr. Wada back on duty. I would like to introduce “small in Japan” this time, which is the opposite to “big in Japan” that I previously shared. So it normally refers to musicians that are popular worldwide except in Japan.

Small in Japan

The Who

This legendary UK rock band isn’t that known for non rock fans in Japan. Perhaps drama watchers may be familiar to CSI songs though. The band had their first concert in Japan in 2004!


This Aussie rock band had their very first show in Japan in 1981 but their next show here was after 19 years (2001). Obviously, popularity isn’t as big as it is worldwide.


You may be surprised that she is almost unknown in Japan. Probably her songs don’t fit in Japanese market? Rolling in the Deep is our favorite karaoke song though!


Even though the band has sold a hundred million CDs worldwide, it remains OK in Japan. They have had shows but it’s always a few at a time.


Ever since the world famous rock band from Ireland landed Japan in 1983, they often come visit for shows at big venues. However, interval is quite long like minimum 5 years (it was like 13 years after 2006). I have to say they aren’t that big in Japan except for rock fans.


How do you find it? Hope it helps anyhow.

See you around!

Big in Japan; Musicians that are Popular Only in Japan

Hi there, it’s Mr. Wada back on duty. I would like to introduce big in Japan musicians this time which is an expression that is often used for describing ironically that they are only popular in Japan (or became popular in Japan first).

Big in Japan


Before a breakthrough by Bohemian Rhapsody or Another One Bites a Dust (yet they had a hit songs like Killer Queen), Queen flew over to Japan for gigs (they even had a show in Okayama!).  It must’ve been exciting & surprising to see many fans far east Asia.

Cheap Trick

The band had a concert in Japan in 1978 and a concert CD recorded at one of these shows called ‘Cheap Trick at Budokan’ turned a big hit in the US.

Bon Jovi

The world-famous rock band  landed Japan a little before a Livin’ on A Prayer hit, so they are (were) often counted as a big in Japan band.

The Ventures

The instrumental-surf-music band has been popular in Japan ever since they had a first show in the 60’s (heard they were as popular as The Beatles). With changing some members though they still go on tours and play, even in Okayama!, almost every year.

Mr. Big

A  hard rock band from the early 90’s had been quite popular in Japan before or after a hit of To Be With You.

Yngwie Malmsteen

A solo metal guitarist from Sweden is especially known that he has many Japanese fans due to his technical plays with his background of classical music. His album Fire And Ice released in 1992 hit no. 1 on Japanese hit chart. However, it also surprised fans that it dropped to the 92nd place the very next week!


How do you find it? People have different preference huh? That’s interesting, isn’t it?

See you around!