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The rise of Japanese psychedelia

How psychedelic music spread to the East

By Joe Cronemeyer











Early psychedelia in Japan arose in the late 60’s – early 70’s, shortly after psychedelic music gained popularity in the West.  It was clearly influenced by the new sounds coming out of America, where counter-culture movements and protests among rebellious youth were quite  connected to the early psychedelic music scene.

On the surface, early Japanese psychedelic bands seem to be merely imitating these feelings with their behavior and sound, however, during this period Japan was going through very similar social situations which may explain why the Japanese related with the rock & roll movements coming out of America.  The major protests in Japan during this era took the form of massive student protests against the Japanese government’s position on Vietnam and Japan and the U.S.’s occupation in Okinawa.  At any rate, the music that emerged out of this is very interesting.  Some bands to look into would be, The Mops, Stomu Yamashita or The Jacks, and anything that (石間 秀機) was involved in.  Ishima now exclusively plays an instrument that he invented called the sitarla.  It’s a combination of the sitar and a guitar.  This first video is a clip from a rock musical that Ishima wrote the soundtrack for:

Here’s a track from The Mops:

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