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British art rock band Japan was formed in 1974 in Lewisham, South London, England with original members David Sylvian (vocals, guitar), Mick Karn (bass guitar, saxophone), Richard Barbieri (keyboards), Rob Dean (guitar), and Steve Jansen (percussion). Dean left the band in 1981, before the recording of Japan’s final album, Tin Drum.

Japan began playing , influenced by David Bowie, The New York Dolls and . Japan debuted on record with 1978’s Adolescent Sex and subsequently Obscure Alternatives, which both sold well in the nation of Japan, though nowhere else.

Their third album, 1979’s Quiet Life, heralded a change in musical style from the earlier largely guitar based music to a more sound, with more emphasis on Barbieri’s synthesisers, Sylvian’s svelte baritone style of singing, Karn’s distinctive fretless bass sound, and Steve Jansen’s odd-timbred percussion work.

Their following two albums, Gentlemen Take Polaroids (1980) and Tin Drum (1981) continued to expand their audience as the band refined its new sound and unintentionally became part of the early 1980s movement. But Tin Drum would end up being their final album, as personality conflicts drove the band apart. Nevertheless, the album’s unconventional single “Ghosts” reached #5 on the UK pop charts, followed by a re-release of “I Second That Emotion” that reached #9.

The band officially split up after a farewell tour in late 1982. The tour was posthumously released as an LP, “Oil on Canvas”, in mid-1983.


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  • Olleroo

    Life In Toookyyyyyyyyoooooooooooooooooo

    24 Dec 2014 Reply
  • Amrabart

    what a band eh?

    14 Dec 2014 Reply
  • defnoob

    Still liiiffe in mobile homes.

    14 Nov 2014 Reply
  • samarkand2004

    Ah,the old DD/Jap tropic..:o/ &i would always kinda disagree*) DD never actually really 'tried' to sound like Japan, if you actually know&listened carefully their first LPs (and even more obvious later^).. They were built and meant to be a no shame angry/angsty teen dance and neodisco mainstream 'f* you' glamy war act (&also Enoesque^) - from the play/mock with the MTV barnums&the likes of their times if possible. &it worked amazingly for them.^ ..&they were used for that at max till they collapse from exhaustion just 3/4 years later (hits/trends talking) ^^ not really a private and small reunion act like Japan..that wanted to be more bowie/roxy music purists till the end. Now a guy from DD loved the haircuts/class of one from Jap (guess who^). Now one always loved the bass from another (RIP - but played it in another style - guess who too^)..good we all have the albums left now. Different..energies. different..moments. &both always singular even now imho..peace to both) :*/

    16 Sep 2014 Reply
  • Gil-galad92

    I agree :) Duran Duran tried to sound like Japan. Japan is a brilliant band, and David is a GENIUS.

    6 Sep 2014 Reply
  • Kyonil


    3 Sep 2014 Reply
  • Thispromisehold

    ▾Would have to agree.

    30 Jun 2014 Reply
  • vladmirek

    Someone wrote they're just like Duran Duran. I think it's the other way. Duran Duran is like Japan.

    28 Jun 2014 Reply
  • mutinyonark

    gentlemen and tin drum are top notch. sylvian had the best ferry imitation

    5 Jun 2014 Reply
  • white_lemur

    Rhodesia <3

    21 May 2014 Reply
  • ricardo_zmn

    19 May 2014 Reply
  • Nakkinak

    Mick Karn is easily one of the best bassmen in rock

    20 Apr 2014 Reply
  • defnoob

    Their older stuff reminds me too much of Bowie, and Sylvian's voice is a bit more whiny than on Gentlemen or Tin drum. Its not bad material its just not as catchy or interesting to me as their new wave material. I need to go back and listen to it tbh though

    20 Apr 2014 Reply
  • Carlosjanderson

    Surprise Adolescent Sex does not have more scrobblers. I think is their best album. It breathes sex everytime I heard it.

    13 Apr 2014 Reply
  • RussellChap

    nice blouse

    14 Mar 2014 Reply
  • cacophagy

    stop it david stoooop

    27 Feb 2014 Reply
  • BatalhaV

    David Sylvian is a Genius, With Japan or in a Solo career.

    11 Jan 2014 Reply
  • Nakkinak

    wow shit I've just discovered his solo work this guy is brilliant

    17 Dec 2013 Reply
  • Nakkinak

    David Sylvian has the most hilariously awesome singing style ever

    16 Dec 2013 Reply
  • RazorGothMetal

    Like Duran Duran

    28 Oct 2013 Reply
  • All 464 shouts

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