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Japanese Joe Inoue brings J-pop closer to Pinoys

Joe Inoue

Joe Inoue

Japanese rock artist Joe Inoue of “Closer,” the theme song of the globally popular anime series “Naruto: Shipuden,” aims to promote J-pop (Japanese pop) to Filipinos in line with his bigger goal of helping strengthen Philippines-Japan ties.

Speaking with Bulletin Entertainment, Joe believes Filipinos are interested in J-pop, given that the Philippines ranks second among 180 countries follow his Japanese musical program, “J-Melo (Japanese Melody).”

“There’s a similarity between Japan and Philippines – people are nice. The imagination that people have is massive because anime is basically made out of nothing from an imagination and then there’s new whole world,” he said.

In differentiating between J-pop and K-pop (Korean pop), Joe explained that K-pop “features a really cool element of a song,” while J-pop delivers more positive meanings that Filipinos can relate to. He enjoys listening to K-pop, too, he said.

Joe has visited the Philippines twice. He is fascinated seeing kids running around and playing basketball on the streets in Makati. He was here first during the Philippines-Japan Friendship month last July when he sat as judge in the “J-pop Anime Singing Contest.”

“I found out that there so many talents out here in the Philippines. Both musically and culturally, I’m very excited every time I come here,” he said.

Closer Look

Joe recounted that his passion for music was inspired by the bands The Nirvana and Beatles back when he was in late little school in Los Angeles, where he was born and raised. One of his favorites is the theme song of video game “Final Fantasy V.”

A shy guy, Joe said he writes songs to express himself.

“I used to be a very quite person and I hold all that anger or happiness or whatever just like inside. I didn’t even think, I just did music because it was something that came out naturally from me. And later I just realized that that’s my way of expressing whatever I go through in life.”

Joe doesn’t want to impose the message of his songs to the listeners but would rather that they interpret it by themselves.

“When I write songs, I like to write lyrics that is not straight forward. I want each and every one of the listeners to interpret it differently. That way, it (will be) personal for each and everyone to make it their own theme song,” he said.

Joe, along with Filipino cosplay superstars Alodia and Ashley Gosiengfiao, and Thailand’s Karael, Yuki Godbless, and Jiaki Darkness, as well as J-pop idol gothic Lolita group Starmarie graced the Best of Anime (BOA) 2013 held recently at the SMX Convention Center in Pasay City.