Contemporary Japan - Japanese New Age


Open enrollment for Ricardo Cruz Nihongo Premium's Japanese course! Click make your registration!

The Japanese New Age movement - When we think about the New Age movement, the first thing that comes to mind is the songs by Irish singer Enya and her typical soundtrack for stretching classes and Yoga of Academy.

It is, in fact, the mystical aura of his music must be the greatest exponent of a movement that originated in the late 60's and which is based on a rising hippie scenario in which he associated the esotericism of his practices with the musical climate favorable for meditation and inner peace.

But, did you know that not only can the movement have exponents far more distant than the Nordic plains of Ireland, but it also maintains influences wielding its power today, and much closer than it seems?

Let's take a look at the origin of the Japanese New Age movement, as well as its evolution and, finally, how it reaches us in a completely different cultural context.


Kitaro is perhaps the Japanese artist with the greatest worldwide projection, appearing among the biggest names in the style, like Yanni or even Enya herself. A Grammy and Golden Globe winner, he was a pioneer of style and his passion for synthesizers guided his career within the scene.

In his own way, Kitaro shied away from Western esotericism and began to incorporate elements of his own culture into his music. He also liked ostentatious performances, with great scenery and alongside symphonic orchestras, in the style of many of the electronic music artists of that time, such as the Frenchman Jean Michel Jarre who transformed his shows into grand occasions worthy of opening the Olympic games .

Japão contemporâneo - new age japonesa

His greatest achievement lies in the soundtrack of the documentary Silk Road, a grandiose work that took 17 years to complete and that chronicles the influence of trade routes on the culture of Japanese civilization.

Masakazu Yoshizawa

Masakazu Yoshizawa, like Kitaro, was highlighted in his career in two points: first, in the use of typical Japanese instruments within the international New Age phenomenon (for example, the shakuhachi, shinobue, hichiriki bamboo flutes) and second, in determinant participation in some soundtracks (the multi-instrumentalist has in his curriculum participations in Jurassic Park, Bruce Lee and Tartarugas Ninjas). He has associated with many other important artists throughout his career, including another prominent Japanese: Osamu Kitajima

Osamu Kitajima

Osamu Kitajima was another great multi-instrumentalist and producer who, thanks to the favorable scenario, ended up standing out worldwide. However, although Kitajima followed New Age music.

As we can see in his presentation Thru Cosmic Doors (the title, in fact, delivers the entire game), his music gradually evolves from a less meditative path, perhaps thanks to the expansion of his universe with producer Chris Mancinelli, of whom he ended up becoming a permanent partner.

At the beginning of his career, the musician lived in England, and under the influence of Syd Barret's Psychedelic Rock, Donovan and the Beatles adopts the pen name of Justin Heatcliff and records his own style album! The result? Great!

Credit: Monkeybuzz