15 Best Japanese Male Singers You’ll Love

Here are the best Japanese male singers you will love.

Singers come and singers go, but only a few artists can stand the test of time. What makes an artist “the best” is somewhat arbitrary, but one thing they all have in common is their lasting impact on the minds and hearts of their listeners. So in this article, let’s take a look at some of the best Japanese male singers of all time!

The Best Japanese Male Singers

Kenshi Yonezu

Kenshi Yonezu

Kenshi Yonezu stands out as one of the most influential and innovative solo artists in Japanese music today. His music transcends genres, combining elements of pop, rock, and indie to create a distinct and evocative sound. If you’re drawn to emotionally charged and thought-provoking music, Yonezu’s work is a must-listen. 

“Lemon” is probably his most famous song, is a melancholic, emotionally charged song that really strikes a chord with listeners. He also produced both the Japanese and English versions of “Paprika,” a song that he stated was a “celebration for children.” 

He has also composed music for Ultraman movie, the new Ghibli movie “The Boy and the Heron,” PlayStation, and Final Fantasy XVI. Since his debut, Yonezu has consistently delivered impactful songs that resonate with a wide audience. 

In an interesting twist, Yonezu is also recognized for his artistic talent, often creating his own album cover art and adding creative input to his music videos. His impact on the Japanese music industry is undeniable, redefining J-pop by infusing it with emotional depth and creativity.

My Favorite Kenshi Yonezu Song is “Shinigami,” which was inspired by a story from a traditional story-telling style called “rakugo.” Although the lyrics are quite dark, the song has a great beat and tells a story that cannot be denied as anything other than spectacular. Give it a listen!

Saburo Kitajima

Let’s move from contemporary genius to traditional and classic. Saburo Kitajima is an iconic figure in the world of enka, the traditional Japanese ballad genre. With a career spanning almost 70 years, Kitajima has been a torchbearer for preserving and popularizing this traditional genre of music. 

His songs, such as “Matsuri” (Festival) and “Kita Sakaba” (Northern Bar), resonate with listeners across generations. What makes him special is his deep and emotive singing style that speaks particularly to the traditional Japanese working class, and his music has been described as representing “the heart (or emotion) of Japan.” 

His impact on the Japanese music industry is profound, as he continues to be a cultural ambassador for enka, ensuring its enduring relevance in the modern era.

My Favorite Saburo Kitajima Song is “Fuufu Issho” (Married Life Together), which celebrates the deep bond of couples who have been married a long time. While enka is not everyone’s cup of green tea, the love and artistry that went into this song is undeniable and makes it very moving to listen to.

Yojiro Noda

Next on our list is Yojiro Noda, the frontman of RADWIMPS. He’s a musical powerhouse known for his emotional and expressive singing which spans the rock and alternative genres. Since the formation of RADWIMPS in 2001, Yojiro Noda has provided his powerful vocals to hits like “Zenzenzense” and “Grand Escape.” 

Noda also played a main role in composing the music for the hit anime film “Your Name.” RADWIMPS’ music and Noda’s songwriting have transcended borders, impacting not only the Japanese music industry but also the global perception of Japanese rock music with their emotionally charged compositions that consistently challenge expectations of what J-rock can be.

My Favorite Yojiro Noda Song is “We’ll be alright.” Noda is not just a great singer here; he showcases his great story-telling abilities as well. This is a great uplifting song when you need hope and something bigger to believe in.

Koshi Inaba

No list of male Japanese singers of note would be complete without Koshi Inaba, the dynamic lead vocalist of the legendary rock duo B’z, who has been a driving force in Japanese rock music since the 1980s. His powerful and versatile vocals have defined numerous B’z hits like “BANZAI” and “ultra soul,” the latter being a favorite among Japanese for karaoke night. 

With a discography filled with chart-topping albums, B’z has consistently delivered electrifying rock performances. Inaba’s magnetic stage presence and expressive singing style set him apart from other artists in the same genre. Inaba’s impact on the Japanese music industry cannot be understated, as he continues to inspire aspiring rock musicians with his raw energy and musicality. 

My Favorite Koshi Inaba Song is “Callin’,” a softer song that was used as the theme for the Japanese drama Garasu no Kamen (Glass Mask). The lyrics and depth of feeling in the song is undeniable, and even 15 years after first hearing the song, I still consider it one of my top five favorites of all time.


Togashi Akio, also known as m.c.A・T, is a bit of a jack-of-all-trades when it
comes to music. He is a dynamic and charismatic artist who played a pivotal role in shaping hip-hop music in Japan. Hits like “Bomb A Head!” and “Shinin’ My Life” showcase his rap skills and vocal prowess. 

Akio’s significance lies in both his efforts to popularize hip-hop in a market that was traditionally dominated by other genres and his work with other artists as a producer, arranger, and composer.

My Favorite m.c.AT Song is “FLASHBACK,” a collaboration with the little-known but unique pop group Rin’ for the Kamen Rider Hibiki theme song. It has more of a rock style than his other work, but the power and unique style of this collaboration are undeniably special.

Kazutoshi Sakurai

Kazutoshi Sakurai, as the lead vocalist of Mr.Children, has played a pivotal role in shaping Japanese rock and pop-rock music since the band’s formation in 1989. He is one of those artists that can do no wrong. Band hits like “Tomorrow Never Knows” and “Sign” have solidified Mr.Children’s status as a powerhouse in the industry. 

Their albums, including “BOLERO” and “SUPERMARKET FANTASY,” showcase Sakurai’s unique voice and poignant songwriting. Sakurai’s musical talent and song-writing ability have had a profound influence on Japanese rock and pop-rock music, earning them a dedicated fanbase and critical acclaim even 33 years after they originally formed.

My Favorite Kazutoshi Sakurai Song is “GIFT,” a touching song that really shows off the simple beauty of Sakurai’s lyrics. It is a song filled with life and love, inspiring and uplifting even when you feel down and misunderstood.

Yuusaku Kiyama

Unlike other entries on this list, Yuusaku Kiyama is (or was not) a full-time singer. In fact, most of his musical activities were left to the weekends or holidays because he was also a company employee. However, his down-to-earth life experiences are what make his music so special. 

His most famous songs, like “home” and “I believe,” use language that is so authentic that you feel it deep in your bones. While he may not have had an impact on the industry as a whole, at least one of his songs is likely to have a deep impact on your heart.

My Favorite Yuusaku Kiyama Song is “home,” and I won’t apologize for being so basic. Truth be told, I didn’t really get this song until I had children of my own. When I hear it now though, I remind myself that the days are long, but the years are short.


Teru, the frontman of the iconic rock band GLAY, is synonymous with both the pop-rock and visual-kei (visual style) genres in Japan. Teru has lent his vocal talents to group hits like “However,” a progressive rock ballad that is easy on the ears, and “Yuwaku” (Temptation), a pop-rock gem that really shows off their visual-kei roots. 

Teru’s powerful and emotional vocals make GLAY’s stadium concerts a treat for fans. GLAY’s enduring popularity and their impact on the Japanese music industry are in part due to Teru’s ability to express the group’s passion on stage through their songs’ lyrics. 

My Favorite TERU Song is “Winter, Again,” which has recently gained some renewed interest thanks to the “THE FIRST TAKE” YouTube channel, a channel dedicated to covering performances by a variety of artists in a single take. I think this new recording, 22 years after the original, takes on a new life with all the life experiences we have all been through, especially in the last few years.

T.M. Revolution

Our list would not be complete without the iconic T.M. Revolution, stage name of Takanori Nishikawa, who is a dynamic and iconic figure in the Japanese music industry. His career, which began in the late ’90s, has been marked by an energetic fusion of rock, pop, and electronica. 

If you’re a fan of high-energy performances and anthemic melodies, T.M. Revolution’s music is a must-listen. Many of his songs have been used for anime or in commercials, like “Heart of Sword” and “Invoke.” 

They have that unmistakable 80s-90s pop-rock style that is full of energy, making them consistent favorites on karaoke night. T.M. Revolution’s significance in the Japanese music industry is immense, as he has not only redefined J-rock but also played a crucial role in bringing the world of anime and music closer together, introducing countless fans around the world to the rich tapestry of Japanese pop culture.

My Favorite T.M. Revolution Song is “THUNDERBIRD,” a pop-rock ballad with powerful lyrics that has all the feels. The music is only complemented by the artistry of the music video itself, and I always find myself drawn to this song on dark, rainy days.

Akira Terao

Let’s take a quick trip to the past with Akira Terao, a distinguished figure in the Japanese music scene, who is renowned for his versatile and emotive singing. With a career spanning several decades, Terao’s voice has left an indelible mark on various genres, including rock, pop, and jazz. 

His ability to convey profound emotions through his singing is a hallmark of his artistry. Hits like “Niki Monogatari” (A Tale of Two Seasons) and “Habana Express” showcase his vocal prowess and comfort in his element. What sets him apart is his versatility and the depth of his performances, which have resonated with audiences of all generations.

My Favorite Akira Terao Song is “Ruby Ring” a ballad that uses the ruby ring as a symbol of lasting love. I first heard this song in university, as it was a favorite of my 60-something year old Japanese professor. The song struck me as something special then, and when I’m feeling nostalgic and a bit romantic, this is one of my favorites to play.

Masayoshi Yamazaki

Masayoshi Yamazaki is a notable artist in the realm of folk-pop and rock in Japan. Active since 1994, he has crafted emotionally charged ballads that have struck a chord with listeners of all ages. “One More Time, One More Chance,” for instance, is a deceptively simple but moving ballad which became a breakout hit when it was featured in the famous anime movie 5 Centimeters Per Second. 

All of his music conveys deep emotions that can be felt through his evocative songwriting and heartfelt performances. Yamazaki’s music continues to be a source of comfort and reflection for many, resonating deeply with the human experience. He has a song for every possible situation you might find yourself in life.

My Favorite Masayoshi Yamazaki Song is “Your Name,” a beautiful song that, when paired with the music video, shows how a parent’s love changes and grows with the hopes and dreams of their child.

Kazumasa Oda

Kazumasa Oda is a legendary singer-songwriter in the Japanese music landscape, celebrated for his poignant ballads and emotive vocals. With a career spanning several decades, Oda’s music has become a part of Japan’s cultural fabric. 

“Love Story wa Totsuzen ni” (Suddenly, A Love Story) paints a picture with words about how chance meetings can change the course of our lives and continues to resonate with audiences today. What sets him apart is his talent for crafting timeless melodies and lyrics that tug at the heartstrings. 

Oda’s influence on the Japanese music industry is immeasurable, as he continues to inspire new generations of musicians with his soul-stirring compositions, both for himself and other artists. 

My Favorite Kazumasa Oda Song is “Midori no Machi” (Green Town). The lyrics are simple but evocative, painting an image of looking back at the past and hoping for what the future could bring.

Shikao Suga

Shikao Suga is a highly regarded artist in the Japanese music industry who is celebrated for his eclectic and versatile musical style. With a career that spans various genres, including rock, pop, and jazz, Suga Shikao’s music offers a rich and diverse listening experience. His distinctive voice and poetic songwriting are hallmarks of his artistry. 

Hits like “19sai” (19 Years Old) and “Sayonara” (Goodbye) have showcased his ability to craft emotionally charged songs with a touch of wit and sophistication. He has shown great talent in his solo career and as a songwriter for other famous acts, such as SMAP, Arashi, and KAT-TUN. Suga can seamlessly transition between genres, which makes him appealing to a wide audience. 

My Favorite Shikao Suga Song is “Hachigatsu no Serenade” (August Serenade). It’s a peaceful song that feels like you’re consistently moving forward. It’s a great song to listen to in the background while you work or study.

Satoshi Yonetani & Yujin Kitagawa

Last on our list is a 2-for-1 special: YUZU, the celebrated Japanese folk-pop duo, comprised of Satoshi Yonetani and Yujin Kitagawa, is a beloved and influential presence in the music industry known for their heartfelt and nostalgic songs, like “Natsuiro” and “Hyori Ittai.” 

Their partnership showcases two distinct yet harmonious voices, making it challenging to designate one as the “better” singer; Yonetani’s voice is warm and soulful, excelling in conveying deep emotions, while Kitagawa’s voice possesses a strength and expressiveness that complements the folk and pop elements of their music. 

Together, their harmonious blend defines the signature YUZU sound. Their various hits have become anthems of nostalgia and youth, resonating with audiences of all ages. 

Their dedication to preserving Japanese countryside culture through music adds an extra layer of depth to their significance in the Japanese music industry, celebrating the rich tapestry of rural Japan while touching the hearts of their listeners. This is why both are a perfect fit for this list of the best Japanese male singers.

My Favorite YUZU Song is “Sakuragicho,” a song about love in the seaside city in Yokohama. While I think all YUZU music is particularly suited for road trips, this song was really meant for the open road because it carries such a feeling of hope and openness for the future, even if it means letting go.

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This article was written by Mikaela and edited by Michael.

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