J-pop contest at SM MOA Thursday, August 2, 2012
The Embassy of Japan recently celebrated the annual Philippines-Japan Friendship Month with the Grand Finals of the J-pop Singing Contest at the SM Mall of Asia Atrium.
A joint project of the Embassy of Japan, the Japan Foundation, Manila, the SM Mall of Asia and SM Cinema, the event commemorates 56 years of longstanding cooperation between Japan and the Philippines. The Philippines-Japan Friendship Month is celebrated every July with July 23 as Japan Day.
Now on its fourth year and with freestyle as its theme, the J-pop Singing Contest was a venue for Filipino amateur performers of all ages who can sing their favorite J-pop or anime songs in Japanese. It featured 10 bands composing of solo, duo and group acts.
Sakura Star, a group whose members are choir singers in Taguig, won first place in the competition, wowing the judges with their rendition of “Mikazuki” by pop female singer Ayaka.
Marianne Topacio, a 22-year-old English teacher, won second place with her version of “Melodies of Life” by Emiko Shiratori, the main theme of the video game “Final Fantasy IX.” Leira Mae Castro, a 16-year-old former choir member, won third place with her performance of the Endless Song by American-Japanese singer Yuna Ito.
The Japan Embassy’s No Plan Band also performed during the event as guests enjoyed Japanese specialties by Yoshinoya.
“I think it was a great event,” says Japan Ambassador to the Philippines H.E. Toshinao Urabe. “Music really bridges people and cultures.”
J-pop, an abbreviation for Japanese pop, is a genre that entered the musical mainstream of Japan in the 1990s. Modern J-pop has its roots in the 1960s pop and rock music, such as The Beatles, which led to Japanese rock bands fusing rock with Japanese music in the early 1970s. J-pop was further defined by New Wave groups in the late 1970s. Eventually, J-pop replaced kayokyuko or “Lyric Singing Music,” a term for Japanese pop music from the 1920s to the 1980s in the Japanese music scene. Today, J-pop is an integral part of Japanese popular culture, being found in anime, commercials, movies, TV shows and video games, and other forms of Japanese entertainment.
The Philippines-Japanese Friendship Month events were co-organized by the Embassy of Japan, Japan Foundation, Manila, the SM Mall of Asia and SM Cinema. It has support from the Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry in the Philippines, the Nihongo Center Foundation, the Animation International Licensing Philippines, the Center for Pop Music, Toei Animation Philippines, Yoshinoya, Ajinomoto, Canon, Panasonic, Sony, Toshiba and Yakult. HERO TV is its media partner.