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Up-And-Coming Artists in the Japanese Music Scene

Japan has one of the most diverse music scenes in the world but outside of the heavy-hitting J-pop acts, it can be hard to know where to start in discovering the latest Japanese music



In collaboration with Monsutā, Japanese Icons brings you the biggest stories from the birthplace of Monsutā’s lineup of drinks, Japan. Winning the coveted title of Japan’s Best International Lager in 2022, and recently launching a range of alcoholic lemon, mango and pineapple chūhais, Monsutā, along with its iconic Sumo, is a brand that symbolises and celebrates the best of Japan. From music to film, sports to gaming, this series celebrates the Japanese Icons that share the Monsutā legacy. 

Japan has one of the most vibrant and diverse music scenes around right now but outside of the obvious heavy-hitting J-pop artists like AKB48 and YOASOBI, it can be hard to know where to start in discovering the latest Japanese music. With that in mind, Rolling Stone AU/NZ, in collaboration with Monustā, has put together a list of some of our favourite up-and-coming Japanese rock, pop and hip hop artists. 


Launched in 2016, betcover!! is the musical project of 24-year-old artist Jiro Yanase. With a diverse body of work spanning five albums and two EPs, Yanase has garnered attention for his knack for experimentation, traversing multiple genres often in a single verse. 2023 was a big year for betcover!!, releasing their second album, Uma, conceived as a prequel to 2022’s Tamago, only months after a string of sold-out performances across Japan. The new album is an art-rock-inspired onslaught of discordant rock and jazz that proves that, even five albums in, there’s a lot more to look forward to from this young artist. 

Haru Nemuri 

Barely taking a breath since her debut in 2016, Haru Nemuri is an artist to keep an eye on in 2024. The Yokohama-born singer-songwriter caught the attention of international fans and industry figures alike with her 2021 and 2022 SXSW performances and a series of sold-out shows during her first North American tour in 2022-2023. With four albums already under her belt, as well as a noteworthy single with Australia’s Jaguar Jonze, September 2023 also saw the release of her latest EP INSAINT. The EP fuses J-pop, rap and literal heavy metal (the band used pipes and corrugated iron) to produce what is arguably the artist’s heaviest release yet. 

Texas 3000

Doing the rounds in Tokyo’s underground scene since 2019, Texas 3000 is a self-described “weird country band” from Tokyo. Fusing country and Midwest emo influences, the trio released their debut album, tx3K, in November 2023, coinciding with a Japan tour with Chicago-based indie project Into It. Over It.. The release, purportedly in the works for around three years, constantly subverts expectations, expanding on previous releases like “Uma Ga Suki” and “Here” to create a bittersweet and intentionally contradictory collection of moody yet undeniably catchy alt-rock. 


In only five short years, Tokyo-based rapper Xiangyu has built a name for herself as one of the artists at the front of Japan’s hip-hop resurgence. Making the transition from fashion design to music in 2018, the artist came into her own in 2021 with the release of “Manhole”, her first track with producer Gimgigam. Continuing the collaborative relationship, the artist has gone on to release a string of well-received singles fusing inquisitive and wholesome lyrics with rapid-fire, bass-heavy beats, traversing house, drum and bass and dancehall. The recent OTO-SHIMONO EP continues Xiangyu’s exploration of the weird with the lead single “Katappo Shoes” proposing that maybe highways are just catwalks for lost shoes. 

Special mentions:

  • HOME – From Okinawa, the home of Monsutā’s beers, HOME is an indie trio fusing Joy Division-inspired rock with electronic beat making.
  • Wez Atlas – American/Japanese Tokyo-based hip hop artist creating poignant and introspective tracks in Japanese and English.
  • bed – Combining doom-laden post-rock with 90s industrial “music to sleep to.”

If you’re new to these artists, head to your favourite streaming service and if you’re new to Monsutā’s lineup of drinks, head to BWS, Dan Murphy’s or Jimmy Brings and enjoy a taste of Japan in a can.