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50 Popular J-Pop Boy Bands To Know

Popular J-pop boy idol bands to know

Japan isn’t only about anime and kawaii girl groups.

It is also the home of the biggest boy bands in the world.

These Japanese boy idol bands are known for their experimental and futuristic style, mostly incorporated with rock and metal music.

So if you want to expand your musical taste, get to know 50 of the best Japanese boy bands!

We have it all curated for you, from visual kei rock bands to bubblegum pop groups.

50 Popular J-Pop Boy Bands With Idols You should Know

Here are the most popular J-pop boy groups nowadays, in reverse order.

12012

12012 is a four-member visual kei Japanese rock band formed on May 01, 2003.

The group’s concept revolves around the idea of “madness inside human”, which is seen in the various musical styles that they adapted over the years, including hardcore punk and alternative metal.

Since their debut on the 28th of July, 2003, 12012 has met rocky days, from members leaving the band to going through an indefinite hiatus in 2014.

But, fans are now rejoicing after Hiroaki Sakai announced in one of his online live streams that 12012 is finally back to the rock scene after 6 years of inactivity.

lynch

lynch is a visual-kei rock band known for music genres like metalcore and alternative metal.

Throughout their career, lynch has released a total of three EPs, 25 singles, and three full albums.

In 2020, at the peak of the pandemic, the group was reported to initiate a beneficial campaign with a single titled “Overcome the Virus.”

lynch has raised over 11 million yen and donated all of the proceeds to music venues all around Japan.

LUNA SEA

LUNA SEA is one of the largest and most successful rock bands in the Japanese visual kei movement during the 1980s.

They are known for their elaborate use of make-up and costumes all the while rocking the stage with their progressive rock music.

The group may have disbanded in 2000, but LUNA SEA decided to reunite in 2010, ultimately leading to their official return in the music industry.

ACME

ACME is an all-male visual kei band formed by former DIV, Chisa, and Shogo members, with former members of ARTEMA, Rikito, and Hal.

The group started their activities in August 2017 with their first mini-album titled “SENKOU.”

Moi dix Mois

Moi dix Mois is a gothic metal band that was formed in 2002.

The “dix” in Moi dix Mois means 10 in French and signifies birth and infinity.

Over the years, the group has changed its member line-up several times.

My First Story

My First Story is a rock band from Shibuya.

Ever since their musical debut, the group has had remarkable success for their first two albums.

My First Story members
My First Story members. ©Wikimedia Commons CC BY 3.0

My First Story even gained wide public recognition, allowing them to perform in many music festivals around Japan.

Since 2011, the group has already toured all 47 prefectures in the country.

FLOW

FLOW is a five-member Japanese band that made its rock debut in 1998.

As of 2022, the group has released two collaboration singles, 37 singles, and 11 studio albums.

FLOW also had hits that were featured in several anime series, including Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion and Naruto Shippuden.

Sandaime J Soul Brothers

Sandaime J Soul Brothers is a third-generation J-pop group from EXILE TRIBE.

Since their formation in 2011, the vocal and dance group has received recognition from the public and award-giving bodies like the MTV Video Music Awards Japan and Japan Gold Disc Award.

Sandaime J Soul Brothers members
Sandaime J Soul Brothers members. ©Wikimedia Commons CC BY SA 2.0

Their music ranges from R&B and soul to hip-hop and EDM.

Alexandros

Alexandros is a Japanese rock band known for their music contribution in several anime series, video games, and movies.

Alexandros boy band members
Alexandros boy band members. ©Wikimedia Commons CC BY 2.0

Their song called “Mosquito Bite” is featured in the live adaptation of the popular anime seriesBleach.

Alexandros also sang the theme song for the Japanese dub of the movieGodzilla: King of the Monsterstitled “PRAY.”

King Gnu

King Gnu is a Jpop band formed in 2013 popular for their alternative rock and indie pop music.

2019 was a great year for the band, following the release of their song “Hakujitsu.”

The song landed King Gnu at the fourth spot of Billboard Japan Hot 100.

After this, their song “Kata” reached No. 1 on the Billboard Japan Download Chart.

By the end of 2020, King Gnu’s fourth studio album “Ceremony” became one of the year's best-selling albums, selling more than a million copies in Japan.

DADAROMA

DADAROMA is one of the top visual kei bands in 2014.

They had their musical debut at an AIDS medication support event called “Hope and Live.”

In 2018, DADAROMA decided to go on a hiatus after Yusuke, their drummer, retired from the music industry.

It led to the group’s disbandment in 2020.

However, it is still worth listening to DADAROMA’s music despite the group being already broken apart.

Silence iz Mine

Silence iz Mine (SiM) is an alternative metal boy band from Kanagawa Prefecture.

Their music mostly mixes several genres, including heavy metal, reggae punk, and hardcore punk.

For their career, SiM aims to combine the intensity associated with rock and the snapiness of lyrics in pop music.

Official HIGE DANdism

Also known as Higedan, Official HIGE DANdism is considered to be Japan’s top pop and rock boy band for the past decade.

They have also become one of the fastest rising stars in the country since the group’s formation in 2012.

Higedan currently holds the record of being in the Billboard Japan Top 100 for 23 consecutive weeks.

They produce and perform rock music with strong influences from soul and R&B.

UVERworld

The band’s name is a combination of “über,” a German word for the word “over,” and the English term for “world.”

Together the two words would mean “crossing over the world.”

It can mean bridging language barriers as UVERworld’s music is heavily inspired by Western music artists like Queen and The Beatles.

UVERworld also releases music that are used in several anime series like Bleach, Seven Deadly Sins, and My Hero Academia.

Crossfaith

Crossfaith is a metalcore band originating from Osaka.

Unlike most Japanese boy bands which are known for changing member lineups, Crossfaith has successfully retained its members’ positions since their debut in 2004.

Hiroki Ikegawa is a member of Crossfaith
Hiroki Ikegawa is a member of Crossfaith. ©Wikimedia Commons CC BY SA 3.0

The group is widely recognized for its intense live performances and strong electronic music influences.

Hi-STANDARD

Hi-STANDARD is a punk rock band that has been active in the industry since 1991.

What is unique about this group is that all of their music is written and performed in English despite all of the members being Japanese.

L’Arc~en~Ciel

L’Arc~en~Ciel is also a rock band that has been performing since the early 1990s.

The group debuted as a visual kei band, but after they signed to a major label, they had since departed from the movement.

Arc en Ciel members
Arc~en~Ciel members. ©Wikimedia Commons CC BY SA 2.0

Throughout their career, L’Arc~en~Ciel has seen tremendous success.

They were even the first Japanese act to perform at the Madison Square Garden in 2012!

MAN WITH A MISSION

What’s interesting about MAN WITH A MISSION is that all the members wear a wolf mask in every event they attend or perform to.

MAN WITH A MISSION members
MAN WITH A MISSION members. ©Wikimedia Commons CC BY SA 4.0

Their songs are featured in anime series like Log Horizon and video games like Street Fighter V.

X Japan

X Japan is probably one of the longest-running Japanese rock bands to date, debuting way back in 1982!

They are among the pioneers of the visual kei movement, a branch of Japanese rock equivalent to Western glam rock.

Yoshiki Hayashi from X Japan
Yoshiki Hayashi from X Japan

Not only that, but X Japan also managed to climb up the music industry ladder despite coming from an independent label and successfully made a name for themselves.

Bump of Chicken

Bump of Chicken is considered a staple in Japanese pop culture as they have been producing music for anime series, movies, and video games that the public has consumed over the years.

Every time they released music, the band would always enter the top ten of the Oricon Chart.

Some of their music is featured in popular anime series and movies like One Piece and Doraemon: The Movie.

ORβIT

ORβIT is a Japanese-Korean guy group from the talent competition reality TV showProduce 101 Japan.

They debuted in November 2020 with their first studio album called “00.”

Since then, ORβIT has released two EPs and one single.

SixTONES

SixTONES is a Jpop idol boy band formed by the renowned talent agency in Japan, Johnny & Associates.

Before they made their debut, the group actually performed as backup dancers for popular Japanese bands under the same company like Hey! Say! JUMP and A.B.C.Z.

Snow Man

Snow Man is also an idol band from Johnny & Associates that debuted at the same time as SixTONES on January 22, 2020.

Unlike SixTONES, Snow Man focuses more on stage play and acrobats.

Snow Man has met remarkable success after beating KAT-TUN’s record in 2006 for being the best-selling debut group.

They are also the first guy idol band to be in the Oricon Top 100 for over 100 weeks in 17 years!

ONE N’ ONLY

ONE N’ ONLY is a seven-member Jpop boy group that debuted under the company Stardust Promotion in 2018.

Most of their music videos have reached over a million views 24 hours after their release.

Their single “Dark Knight” even placed No. 1 on both Billboard Top 100 Japan and Oricon Chart.

ONE N’ ONLY named their fandom “SWAG.”

SUPER★DRAGON

SUPER★DRAGON is a boy band that is also from Stardust Promotion.

In 2016, their first major-label single titled “Pendulum Beat!” became the opening sequence to the anime series Yu-Gi-Oh! Arc-V.

DISH//

DISH// is another dance-and-rock boy band managed by Stardust Promotion.

They are known for dancing on stage, all the while performing rock songs.

Here is a quirky trivia for the group: due to their name, members of DISH// throw paper plates to their audience during live concerts.

King & Prince

King & Prince was initially formed as a unit of Johnny’s Jr. called Mr. King and Mr. Prince.

The group had its major debut under the new record label of Johnny & Associates in collaboration with Universal Music, Johnny’s Music.

MADKID

MADKID is a Jpop vocal and dance guy band composed of three vocalists and two bilingual rappers.

Their music style fuses elements of the glitch-hop genre and trap music.

When performing live, MADKID exhibits precision and synchronization with their dancing skills, captivating the audience’s attention in every move they make on stage.

FlowBack

FlowBack is an all-male Japanese boy group formed in 2013.

The five members were one of the eight finalists who were selected out of 125, 094 applicants in the biggest audition in Japan, LINE Audition.

NEWS

NEWS got their band’s name from the acronym representing the cardinal directions, North, East, West, and South.

Since the group’s formation in 2003, the original member lineup has drastically changed over the years after the many controversies the group has faced.

Currently, NEWS is composed of only three members.

Mr. Children

Mr. Children is one of the most successful and best-selling rock artists in Japan, selling over 75 million records since their group debut in 1989.

They were so popular during the mid-1990s that they created a phenomenon called the “Mis-Chil Phenomenon” all over the country.

Placing in the top spot in Japan’s Concert Mobilization Power Ranking was the latest success of Mr. Children, gathering a total of 1,119,000 fans in 36 concerts.

And here’s another trivia about Mr. Children: the group calls their fans Father & Mother.

How smart is that?

Johnny’s WEST

Johnny’s WEST is a JPOP boy band under Johnny’s & Associates.

They were originally from the group Kansai Johnny’s Jr., the name suggesting the members’ origin, which is in Kansai, Japan.

Johnny’s WEST has released a total of 8 studio albums, 1 EP, and 18 singles since 2014.

Tokio

The members of Tokio first started as backup dancers before becoming a rock band in the early 1990s.

Tokio is an all-around Japanese rock band that also acts in dramas and movies and participates in various shows aside from performing on stage.

One of their singles was used as the theme song of Japan during the 2006 FIFA World Cup.

SPYAIR

SPYAIR is a rock band from Nagoya that debuted in 2005.

Spyair members
Spyair members. ©Wikimedia Commons CC BY 2.0

The band’s name comes from the word “spyware”, which is a type of computer malware.

Some of their songs were used as opening themes in anime series like Gintama and Haikyuu!!

M!LK

M!LK is another Jpop boy band under Stardust Promotion known for their vibrant costumes and cute concepts.

Their music targets younger girl audiences as observed in their upbeat songs that often talk about innocent topics like the start of a new semester at school and impressing girls.

B’z

B’z is a rock duo that isn’t only famous in Japan but also worldwide.

In 2007, they were the first Asian music act to have their signatures and handprints in the Hollywood Rockwalk.

The following year, the Guinness Book of World Records awarded B’z for being the best-selling Japanese album act.

They have been in the music industry for over 30 years already.

Sexy Zone

Sexy Zone’s name is inspired by the “sexiness” of Michael Jackson.

They are an idol group managed by Johnny’s & Associates.

the GazettE

the GazettE is a visual kei rock band under the major label Sony Music Records.

the GazettE boy band members are performing on stage
the GazettE boy band members are performing on stage. ©Wikimedia Commons CC BY SA 2.0

Their discography consists of alternative rock, metalcore, and hard rock music.

Since the band’s formation in 2002, they have released 6 EPs, 10 studio albums, and 25 singles.

W-inds

W-inds is a J-pop boy band signed under Pony Canyon and managed by Vision Factory since their debut in 2000.

W-inds J-pop boy idol band members are performing on stage
W-inds J-pop boy idol band members are performing on stage

Their music is mainly characterized as bubblegum pop, raprock, and R&B.

SID

SID is known for its alternative rock music.

Their songs have been featured in several anime series over the past decade such as Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood and Black Butler.

Bullet Train

Bullet Train is often compared to their sister idol group, Momoiro Clover Z.

They recently won their first award in MAMA2018, an Asian music awards ceremony.

Radwimps

The band who sang the iconic theme song for the Japanese movie Your Name, Radwimps!

Radwimps J-pop boy idol group members on stage
Radwimps J-pop boy idol group members on stage

Their musical influences come from Western artists like Radiohead, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Bjork.

Following the film’s success, Radwimps had also gained recognition internationally, achieving the No. 2 spot in the Billboard World Albums, No. 16 in the Billboard Hotseekers, and No. 15 in the Billboard Soundtrack Album.

One Ok Rock

One Ok Rock has been a staple in the Japanese rock scene.

Their versatility when it comes to music is shown as their genre ranges from emo and alternative to pop-rock.

Takahiro Moriuchi from One Ok Rock Japanese boy band
Takahiro Moriuchi from One Ok Rock Japanese boy band

One Ok Rock has been recognized worldwide for their phenomenal stage presence, landing them several collaborations with Western acts including My Chemical Romance, 5SOS, Ed Sheeran, and Avril Lavigne.

EXILE

EXILE started off as a 19-member guy group from Tokyo.

Since their formation in 2001, several generations have been formed as the group’s unit.

The third generation of the EXILE TRIBE was mentioned in the earlier points, the Sandaime J Soul Brothers.

Currently, they have 14 active members.

SUCHMOS

Unlike the boy groups in this list, SUCHMOS’ music is heavily influenced by the African-American style.

They even got their name from the nickname of a jazz musician called Louis Armstrong, Satchmo.

Unfortunately, the group went on an indefinite hiatus in 2021.

KAT-TUN

KAT-TUN got their name from the combined initials of the original members of the band.

What was remarkable about KAT-TUN’s pre-debut activities was that they were actually the first boy group to perform at Tokyo Dome before they could even debut.

After they officially became a band under Johnny’s & Associates, KAT-TUN frequented TV commercials for products and businesses like SKY PerfectTV! and Lotte.

SMAP

SMAP is one of Japan’s biggest boy groups over the past three decades.

The public would often refer to them as the “national treasure” and the “property and fortune of Japan”

Their popularity even reached the television with their variety show “SMAPxSMAP” and became one of the most popular Japanese television shows.

Smap J-pop boy idol band members on stage
Smap J-pop boy idol band members on stage

The group may have disbanded in 2016.

Fans still look forward to their reunion in the future.

Da-iCE

Da-iCE is an all-male Japanese dance and vocal group formed in 2011.

They were previously under the management of Universal Sigma until the group signed to Avex Trax in 2020.

Hey! Say! JUMP

Hey! Say! JUMP is probably the top guy group in Stardust Promotion.

They have released a total of 34 singles and 9 studio albums since their debut in 2007.

Arashi

Now, for our top 1, we have here the five-member boy group from Johnny’s & Associates, Arashi!

Arashi members
Arashi members. ©Wikimedia Commons CC BY 3.0

The group weren’t only popular in Japan, but also for the rest of Asia, including Hong Kong, Taiwan, Thailand, and South Korea.

Arashi was also a frequent performer in the National Olympic Stadium, proving how big their fanbase was.

A beautiful alley in Tokyo, Japan
A beautiful alley in Tokyo, Japan

Japanese boy bands sure have the most comprehensive range when it comes to music.

They even add flair to their live performances by wearing make-up and costumes and offering fanservice to their audiences.

You can find some of the top hits from these bands in our best J-pop hits of all time playlist!

For those who would like to know more about girl groups, be sure to check most popular Japanese girl idol groups list!

Who among these Japanese pop groups has captured your attention?

Let us hear your thoughts on Twitter!

Dubsnatch Team
Dubsnatch Team

We are a really small team of passionate people loving and supporting the independent video game industry. We are also addicts to most new technologies, animes, shows, pop culture, and movies!


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