Back to the underground in Japan

Author: Shota
Date: Sep 12, 2008
Views: 4197

The word of trance culture was first brought to Japan by eclectic travelers during the 1980s and continued arriving through the 1990s and was positively booming by the time the millennium rolled around. Japan became a global hub of trance music, and the scene was kicking for a while. But then came mega festivals, money, gangsters, drugs, cops, the media… you know the formula.

It wasn’t long before the parties became reliably uninspiring in Japan and yet behind the scenes artists and organizers committed to ”the vision” continued doing their part to make it happen in the underground. Right up to the present day.

There has been a general decline in the momentum of large scale outdoor trance festivals in Japan.  Vision Quest and Solstice, some of the biggest names in the organizing scene still do such festivals.  Mother has become a major organizer in the Tokyo-area, with two major annual events that are highly regarded even by the old heads in the scene.  

The Nagisa Music Festival is another major event that combines a variety of electronic music genres for two annual daytime parties in the spring and autumn. With a crowds of 20 000 it’s an important meeting point for all those involved in the scene.  

Turning to West Japan, festivals such as GodBless, Blissdom and Yabai, have grown greatly in the past few years. While the energy is still fresh and strong the shadow of capitalistic organizing in all of its predictable forms is encroaching onto West Japan at an astounding rate.  

The hottest trance scene in Japan today is probably the dark-psy scene. BrainBusters, an organizing team headed by Dana and his partner from San Francisco Spliffnik, make great parties and a good place to meet the Tokyo Party Tribe. Chikyuya has been organizing parties since the 1990s
although they are often secretive and difficult to find. The GoaGil 24 hour party organized by Chikyuya every summer at the base of Mt. Fuji is one of the best parties of the year. In Osaka, New World led by Mondo has switched genres from full-on to dark-psy and has become very popular with it. Digital Shiva Power is yet another up and coming organizer in the Osaka area.

Magazines such as Posivision or Sonic Traveller are great for finding information about parties and trance culture in Japan. Quintrix Records, a shop in the lively Shibuya district of Tokyo is another great spot for info-hunting. If you are in Osaka drop into Exodus near Shinsaibashi which is an organic restaurant run by party freaks with local info for the taking.  

Just remember, when it comes to getting you to the right party in Japan, information is everything. With a full solar eclipse happening here in 2009, it seems that the universe is planning an evolutionary turning point for the Japanese trance scene and the world. Will you be there?



Editor of Posivision magazine
Supported by Kei (Quintrix) and Michael McAteer (
“Bom Shankar!”



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