The 6 Best J-Rock Bands to Get You Started

The genre never exploded in global popularity like k-pop, but it has been on the rise for a long time

Once you start listening to J-rock, it’s hard to stop

I’ll let you in on the basics of J-rock, and what J-rock bands you should listen to first

J-rock is short for “Japanese rock” The genre dates back to the 60s and continues to grow

In the beginning, J-rock was heavily influenced by British and American rock bands, but now, the genre has become one

The visual kei movement emerged from the J-rock genre in the 80s

Some J-rock bands began to embrace visual kei, which led to androgynous sports, flashy clothes, wild hairstyles, and flamboyant makeup

Although the prevalence of the visual kei movement has died down over the years, it still makes a huge impression on the j-rock community and lives on as a subculture

Best J-Rock Bands to Start With

Now that you’ve had your brief on J-rock, it’s time to get into the music

These are some of the most popular J-rock bands, making a perfect entry into the genre

The beautiful instrumentals coupled with Takahiro Moriuchi’s raw vocals make this song addictive

One Ok Rock was formed in 2005, and is still making new music

In terms of sound, One Ok Rock is a mix between alternative, emo, and pop-rock

All listeners can start bobbing their heads to their songs

Babymetal has a very different take on J-rock—they combine cuteness with hardcore metal music

The band originally consisted of three main members: Su-metal, Moametal, and Yuimetal

Young women wear a gothic Lolita style, because they dance and sing in a way that really defies the metal genre

If you didn’t think there was a rock song called “Gimme Chocolate”, Babymetal is here to prove you wrong

Dir En Gray debuted in 1997, and is still prevalent in the J-rock world

He uses his visual kei style to the fullest, but it’s starting to become more of a tone in his more recent music videos

“The Final” is one of Dir En Grey’s most popular songs

It may have been released more than a decade ago, but it hasn’t changed the passion that can be heard in the instrumentals and vocals of the song

Dir En Grey’s videos always incorporate horror elements, making it all the more interesting to watch

You may recognize the voice of The Gazette from the popular Black Butler anime

The Gazette provided a song for the show’s opener, called “Shiver “

As you can tell from their hair, heavy eyeliner, and bold outfits in one of their more recent videos, the band is still doing visual kei (albeit in a more subtle form)

With or without visual kei, The Gazette is still a J-rock staple

X Japan is credited as one of the pioneers of visual kei

The band came out in 1982 and set the standard for J-rock

The band began to reunite, coming together to make better music

The band may have a light-hearted name, but it certainly doesn’t represent a strong rock and roll sound

L’Arc-En-Ciel debuted in 1991 as a visual kei band

Since then, the band has distanced itself from the movement

Although L’Arc-En-Ciel hasn’t released new music since 2016, they still go on tour frequently

Are You Hooked On J-Rock?

J-rock is unique—it just doesn’t sound like American or British rock, and that’s why it’s fun to listen to

Take the time to put on your headset, and rock out to J-rock!

Want more Japanese songs to listen to?

Check out these most epic anime theme songs

Want to try a Korean song instead?

Scroll to Top