You might be surprised to know that there are popular Valentine’s Day songs considering…aren’t all love songs Valentine’s Day songs? Well, not quite. In Japan specifically, Valentine’s-themed songs are a popular festive addition to department stores lined with shelves of cutely wrapped chocolates and goodies.
Looking specifically at J-pop music, where the “J” stands for “Japanese” we can see quite a few chart topping Valentine’s Day-themed songs from popular artists. For those who are also into K-pop check here for an article comparing J-pop and K-pop and see which one is leading the game.
Whether you love or hate to celebrate the holiday there is no denying that it can be fuel for some pretty good bops. Want to update your track list for a February 14th trip to karaoke? Here is a list of popular J-pop Valentine’s Day songs.
Starting this list with an oldie but goodie is the OG of Valentine’s Day songs in Japan, Sayuri Kokusho’s Valentine Kiss from 1986. Valentine Kiss was the first solo song for Kokusho, who was previously promoted as part of the all-girl idol group Onyanko Club. The song went on to be a chart topper and won a Japan Golden Disc award for the Best Single of the Year in 1987.
Although the song debuted in the 1980s it was intentionally given a retro “doo-wop” feel. Both the instrumental and the harmonization gives the impression that this song could be a lot older than it actually is. The dance is quite simple and easy to imitate as well, which might have led to its popularity and success.
One of the most internationally popular Valentine’s Day songs from Japan is Perfume’s Chocolate Disco from 2007. Perfume is a 3 girl group that specialize in high energy techno pop songs with intricate dance moves that are often set to visually stunning light shows. Perfume has also reached worldwide fame and recognition as well as had their techno pop songs featured in many international movies and shows.
The chorus of the song is in English and repetitive so many Japanese and international fans can sing along easily at karaoke or in the car. The lyrics tell a story about a girl working hard on making chocolate for a boy who is pretending not to care, but is secretly excited to receive some chocolate from her. The dance for the song is fun and quirky with some shoulder and leg shimmies and a part in which they mime the act of chopping, stirring, and tasting chocolate.
AKB48’s subunit named Watarirouka Hashiritai 7, came out with this remade Valentine’s Day song in 2011. Yes, this is the same song from earlier on the list with a more updated feel.
AKB48, standing for Akihabara 48, is a large idol group based in Tokyo where they have a resident theater they perform at. The 48 in the name comes from the original 48 members who were broken into smaller subgroups to allow more variety of daily shows at their theater. The roster often changes as older girls graduate out of the group and new trainees are brought in.
The subgroup Watarirouka Hashiritai 7 contained 7 girls when they promoted Valentine’s Kiss, an equally high energy song to match the original. The music is updated for a modern audience but is still reminiscent of the original “doo-wop” style.
The music video for the song shows the girls gearing up for a Valentine’s Day celebration with their special someone as they try to make their Valentine’s Day gifts of chocolate. Fans of the original and the remake can watch a special video of both Watarirouka Hashiritai 7 and Sayuki Kokusho performing the song together, live on a variety show.
Anime and rhythm game fans will enjoy this next song on the list by the animated group μ’s, pronounced ‘Muse’. Love Live School Idol Project is a rhythm game and anime that follows 9 high school girls who dream of becoming the next School Idol Champion at an annual competition called Love Live. The group of girls self-write, compose, arrange, and choreograph songs that appear in the game and anime.
Mogyutto “love” de Sekkin Chuu!! (もぎゅっと“love”で接近中!), or Approaching Tightly with Love!!, was released the day after Valentine’s Day in 2012. The video for the song shows all 9 animated members of μ’s in varying maid style costumes as they sing about nervously wanting to give their chocolate to a special someone on Valentine’s Day. Fans of the series were also treated to live performances of this song by the seiyuus or voice actors for the animated characters.
If you love watching Love Live School Idol Project, check out this list of 7 of the cutest anime songs.
Both J-pop fans and metal heads are a surprising fan base for this next song on the list. As their name suggests, BabyMetal was originally 3 young girls who liked to rock out to a fusion of pop and metal music.
While Gimme Chocolate is not exactly a Valentine’s Day song per se, it is a song about aggressively asking for someone to give you chocolate, which is pretty on par with the theme of the holiday. Also, everyone reading this list can benefit from a little pop metal rock out session.
The song has heavy metal drums and guitar mixed with pop and techno beats. This is combined with the three vocalists’ high-pitched and sweet singing. The fusion isn’t just in the music, the dance and costumes are also a seamless blend of the two genres. Fast back and forth movements are mixed with cute faces and poses to create a high energy dance. Costumes are layered and frilly like many sweet j-pop idol costumes, but are black and red leather with chains and studs for a cute yet hardcore look.
Whether you are spending Valentine’s Day with a romantic partner, friends, or alone, but aren’t yet sure of how you plan to celebrate, why not consider singing songs and eating yummy foods for a stay at home karaoke party? For a more Japanese Valentine’s celebration, try to add some Japanese pop music to your list of karaoke songs! In the end, no matter how the day is celebrated, just make sure you have fun!
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