BARKS brings Japanese Music News to the English and Chinese fans
Mr Tadashi Goto, Producer for BARKS with Japanese bands WEAVER, flumpool & SID. Photo credits: BARKS
As the interest in Japanese popular culture continues to grow here in Singapore, Japanese bands and artiste start to gain popularity as well. But with the language barrier still in place and picking up the complex Japanese language is not easy, fans are left to scour the internet for English based websites for the bits and pieces of information.
Thankfully this will all change with Japan’s largest entertainment news portal, BARKS, holding a press conference to share with everyone its business strategy for its overseas markets. The company has recently developed an English site, and has launched two new sites – in Simplified Chinese and Traditional Chinese – to cater to a growing Chinese community.
No stranger to the games with 10 years of experience and backed by several major Japanese artist management companies, BARKS is today Japan’s largest and most comprehensive source of Japanese music news and trends, updated on a daily basis.
BARKS released its English website (www.en.barks.jp/) on 12 April this year and to date, have seen viewership increase steadily at a rate of 5% per day. To cater to more music fans worldwide and to support the music industry in Japan, BARKS is launching two new Mandarin versions, in Simplified Chinese (www.zh-cn.barks.jp) and Traditional Chinese (www.zh-tw.barks.jp).
With these new websites, international audiences will now be able to get the latest updates and trends on the Japanese music scene. From news, artists biography, the site also includes a BARKS Ranking, which showcases the top artists based on the viewership hits on their bios and news articles within the website. Readers can find out more about a wide range of emerging and popular artists at one convenient portal.
The producer for BARKS, Mr Tadashi Goto, also touched on a question that many Japanese popular culture fans have been asking for ages, “Why do Japanese artists and bands only perform locally and not abroad?”
You know, live performances in Asia and the world? But one of the problems is language. Japanese people do not speak in English or Chinese. That’s why we thought we have to support Japanese artists or Japanese music industry to (put) those news on an international website. And we want all the music fans around the world to know more about Japanese music and Japanese artists. What kind of bands, or what kind of singers – like live performances in Japan, or short MPV, those kind of news. So we’d like you to check out our international website. We provide you with the latest J-music news or interviews.
To show their commitment to bringing Japanese artists and bands overseas, BARKS has also brought in 3 popular bands from Japan to perform at the annual Music Matters Live event which was held at Clarke Quay. These 3 bands are SID, flumpool and WEAVER who have a growing fan base here in Singapore.
Making a quick appearance at the press conference as well, the 3 bands sent greetings to their fans here in Singapore and shared their feelings about BARKS and their feelings about performing here.
Question: What are your expectations about BARKS?
WEAVER: It is a great pleasure for Japanese artists. As you know there are so many people who haven’t known about J-rock yet. That I think they have no means and opportunity to know about Japanese culture, if they want. We want these people to know that there are so many great and individual artists in Japan. English and Chinese websites will be a great medium to spread J-rock, not only all over Asia, but all over the world who haven’t known about J-rock yet. We’d like you to keep supporting the Japanese artists from now on. Thanks very much.
Question: How do you feel about coming back to Singapore again?
WEAVER: This is the third time in Singapore and as this is our 3rd time, we would like to make our performance better than the 1st and 2nd times. And for the past 2 times, we tried to do an emcee in English and Chinese, and the crowd really liked it. But this time round we would also like them to enjoy our music in English. So we are going to perform 1 song in English, so we hope that you’d enjoy.
Question: Can we hear about how excited you are about tonight’s performance?
flumpool: It is my honour to be invited to perform at Music Matters live. I just tried speaking a little English since WEAVER was very fluent in English. We flumpool are hoping to outreach to more audiences globally as well as Asia. One of the reasons, is that Japan was struck by the earthquake in 2011 and many people supported Japan so enthusiastically, and we are so appreciative of their support. So in return, we want to outreach and show our gratitude to our supporters and fans by producing good music. We believe that music can connect people, so we would like you to come to our stage tonight and support us and enjoy.
Question: How do you feel about coming back to Singapore again?
flumpool: This is our 2nd time in Singapore and in the first time, we were here with WEAVER members. And what we want to do this time is to share the moment, because we believe that music, like I said just now, is to be heard live and be appreciated. So live music is the most important for us. I also believe that music has the energy and ability to connect people with sharing the moment. While we four members are on the stage and the audience, we can connect to share the moment. There are a lot of ways to share cultures and music is one of them to connect people. So the four of us would like to create the moment and unforgettable memories on stage so that they can be shared with the audience when they come to “live”. So this time round, we would like to strengthen the connection that we made from the last performance with the Singaporean crowd.
Question: Please tell us what you expect from BARKS.
SID: We think we will be updating a lot of our information on BARKS website, so we hope to be in a good working relationship with BARKS.
Question: It’s your first time here, what are your thoughts?
SID: It’s our first time here in Singapore and we are very excited! As well as being excited we are a little nervous. But at the airport, we had many fans welcoming us and we were quite surprised because it was unexpected that in a country that we have never been before, there were so many supporters already. So that kinda took our anxiety away, and we really appreciated the support from our fans. And this time round we have flumpool and WEAVER with us so, we feel very assured to be here with them. The impression we have of Singapore is that the food is so delicious, and we can eat a lot but we have to be a little careful from over-eating because it might make us a little fat. We would be careful, we would be exercising when we enjoy the food.
By Kenneth Wong
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