(This page concerns the country Japan. For the rock band of the same name, see Japan(2)).
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Japan (Japanese: 日本 Nippon or Nihon; formally 日本国 Nippon-koku or Nihon-koku, "State of Japan") is an island country in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, the East China Sea, China, Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south. The kanji that make up Japan's name mean "sun origin", and it is often called the "Land of the Rising Sun".

Links To Peel


Radio 1 magazine article featuring Janice and John in Japan

Although a keen supporter of Japanese music, from the Sadistic Mika Band to Shonen Knife and Melt-Banana,[1] Peel visited the country only once, in 1986, when he and Janice Long presented programmes from a Yamaha shop in Shibuya, Tokyo, called Janice & John In Japan, with JP acting as roving reporter. He also made a documentary for Radio One on the World Popular Song Festival, as well as recording a show called Suntory Sound Market for Tokyo FM, which was broadcast on 19 January 1987 (Suntory Sound Market). In Margrave Of The Marshes, the DJ recalled a visit to a karaoke bar in Tokyo, as well as telling a local record shop assistant that he was the Peel mentioned on the sleeves of Strange Fruit sessions releases:

"You are John Peel?" she gasped. I dimpled modestly and admitted it, whereupon she burst into tears. Whether these were tears of joy or disappointment, I've never been able to make up my mind.[2]

Peel later claimed, on his 14 September 1999 show, that he immediately felt at home in Japan, more than he would have done somewhere like Leicester.

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Sumo Wrestling in Japan

The DJ also enjoyed Japan's national sport, Sumo, as related on 21 October 1990:

"I'm a great fan of sumo wrestling on television. For a couple of years, it was quite fashionable: not quite sure that it's so fashionable now. I like it for lots of reasons, one of them being that it makes me feel positively svelte and actually really rather lovely and easy on the eye. Nobody else has actually confirmed this for me, but it does make me feel slightly better when I look at these chaps."

Peel was also acquainted with Kazuko Hohki, Japanese singer with Frank Chickens and Kahondo Style, who made a memorable appearance live in the studio with Peel on 17 July 1984 to play some Japanese records.[3]

The distant Asian country also provided a wide range of Peel artists from other nations with ideas for names, including UK band Japan(2). Scottish lo-fi indie outfit Urusei Yatsura ("noisy guys") took their name from a Japanese manga series, while the controversial moniker of Rapeman came from the name of a popular Japanese comic book, and Nectarine No.9 was originally the name of a celebrated house of ill-repute in pre-modern Yokohama. Meanwhile, the misleadingly named Half Japanese had no Japanese members, with their name apparently chosen by chance[1]. Equally misnamed Liverpool cult outfit Big In Japan didn't find great popularity in the Far East.


The following artists from Japan recorded sessions for the John Peel Show: [4]

Festive Fifty

The following artists from Japan had Festive Fifty entries for the John Peel Show:


(Tracks played by Peel from various artist (v/a) compilations featuring music from Japan. Please add more information if known.)

(CD - Women's Liberation) Selfish Records

(CD - The Rough Guide To The Music Of Japan) World Music Network

See Also

External Links


  1. He regularly asked acquaintances visiting the country to bring back records and often played these on his shows. All-female trio's were featured by Peel over a decade before they appeared in the 2003 Quentin Tarantino movie Kill Bill Vol. 1 and had a worldwide hit with 'Woo Hoo'. In an earlier era, Peel's Dandelion label released one single by faux Japanese combo Yamasukis.
  2. Margrave Of The Marshes, hardback, p70-6
  3. Hohki later hosted a TV chat show on Channel 4 called Kazuko's Karaoke Klub.
  4. Session bands with just one Japanese member include Can, who had Damo Suzuki on vocals for all their Peel sessions, while Lush guitarist Miki Berenyi is of mixed Japanese and Hungarian parentage. The Faces did not have any sessions after Tetsu Yamauchi replaced Ronnie Lane on bass. British musician Morgan Fisher moved to Japan in 1985, after playing on sessions by Medicine Head and British Lions.
  5. Japanese vocalists backed by British musicians, based in the UK.
  6. Mixed Anglo-Japanese band, based in the UK.
  7. Both of the band's members were Japanese but based in the UK.
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