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Shibuya-kei (渋谷系?, [ɕi̥bu͍ja-kei]) is a subgenre of Japanese pop music which originated in the Shibuya district of Tokyo. It is best described as a mix between jazz, pop, and synthpop.


Shibuya-kei gained popularity from the Japanese music corner of some foreign-affiliated retail music chains in Shibuya (Tower Records, HMV[1]) early in the 1990s and it spread through Japan rapidly.

The term was applied to bands strongly influenced by a blend of notable performers and studio auteurs of the 1960s, which include the French yé-yé music of Serge Gainsbourg (particularly "Yume Miru Shanson Ningyō", the Japanese version of the France Gall big hit Poupée de cire, poupée de son), Brazilian bossa nova singer/songwriters Astrud & João Gilberto, the wall of sound productions of Phil Spector, and the innovative baroque pop stylings of Brian Wilson.

Typical artists are Flipper's Guitar, Pizzicato Five, and Original Love. As the style's popularity increased at end of the 90s, the term began to be applied to many bands whose musical stylings reflected a more mainstream sensibility. Although some artists rejected or resisted being categorized as "Shibuya-kei," the name ultimately stuck, as the style was favoured by local businesses, including Shibuya Center Street's HMV Shibuya, which sold Shibuya-kei records in its traditional Japanese music section. Increasingly, musicians outside of Japan, such as Britain's Momus, France's Dimitri from Paris, and the US artists Natural Calamity and Phofo are labelled Shibuya-kei.


The term "Shibuya-kei" comes from Shibuya (渋谷?), one of the 23 special wards of Tokyo known for its fashion stores, night life, and being an epicenter of Japanese pop culture, and the Japanese word kei (?), which literally means "system"[2] or, in this context, "style".[3] So, Shibuya-kei translates to "Shibuya style".

Notable artists

For more artists, see Shibuya-kei musicians


  1. HMV opened the first store in Japan in Shibuya on November 16, 1990.
  3. W. David Marx. Shibuya-kei vs. Akiba-kei

External links