Five 80s-90s Japanese Songs You Should Add To Your Playlist!

Hey there! What’s up?

I am pretty sure a lot of us are familiar with opening songs from classic Anime series such as Sailor Moon and Cardcaptor Sakura. It’s catchy and somehow, bring that nostalgic feeling, am I right? If you are a fan of listening to Japanese music during the 80s up to the 90s, I got some recommendations to you!


Most of these songs are ones I consider “hidden gems” since I usually stumble upon these songs on Youtube. These songs either come from parodies, vines, or our Youtube recommendations.

Without further ado, here are my top five recommendations! They’re listed in no particular order though.


Chigau, Sou ja nai

Artist: Masayuki Suzuki

Year of release: 1994

I first heard of this song in Morisuke’s vines. He uses this song frequently in his vines and it’s really catchy. If you are really planning to listen to this song, be careful since you might catch the Last Song Syndrome. My mind went “Chigau, chigau sou ja nai” for a week.


I’m not kidding.

Masayuki Suzuki was known as “Japan’s King of Love Songs”. He is always seen with his moustache and glasses. He is also nicknamed “Martin”. Well, I wouldn’t have to wonder since most of his songs are groovy and they seem to have the same vibe as Ricky Martin’s.

In case you are curious with the song’s meaning, it’s about someone who angered their lover and is begging them not to leave them.


Sweet Soul Revue

Artist: Pizzacato Five

Year of release: 1993

This song was popular when I was a child. It used to be the only Japanese song played in radios, aside from the Voltes V opening. I also remember dancing to this song for a school performance back in Elementary.

Pizzicato Five gained widespread exposure through this song. This song was used for Kanebo Cosmetics’ spring campaign. I mean, who wouldn’t love this song? It was a surefire way to lift the spirits of those who listen to it.

Also, Maki Nomiya’s first outfit in the music video is also adorable!


Junk Boy

Artist: Kaori Nishina

Year of release: 1997

This song is the ending song for the anime, Maze: Bakunetsu Jikan. The anime is also great to watch especially if you are into 90s anime, mecha, fantasy, or a mix of any!  The song itself and the version used for the anime have a slight difference though.

Kaori Nishina released this song under the alternate name “Kaori 2 Luv”. She was a vocalist during the 1990s. She had released a lot of singles and albums under different alternate names.

This song was said to have sampled from Michael Jackson’s Off The Wall. In my opinion, it is true since some parts sound the same. Try to listen to this song and then Off The Wall so you can listen to the similarities!

And if you are at it, why not try watching the anime after?




Year of release: 1998

I first heard the song when I was binge-watching Umineko No Naku Koro Ni parody videos. Since then, I had added it to my playlist.

SURFACE is a duo composed by Yoshiharu Shiina (vocalist) and Takao Nagatani (guitarist). They have been active since the 1990s. Their most well-known work is Sunao na Niji, which is Naruto Shippuden’s fifth ending song.

As for this song, it’s the opening for Mamotte Shugogeten. I haven’t watched the anime itself so I can’t really say anything about it. The beat is catchy and upbeat but it’s about losing someone you love. And you lost that someone because you’re stupid to see their worth.



Artist: Maaya Sakamoto

Year of release: 1997

Gift is a heart-warming song overall.  It’s in my go-to playlist whenever I go out for a walk or just needed something to brighten my mood. It has this nostalgic feel in it and Maaya Sakamoto’s soothing is just fitting for this song!

Maaya Sakamoto is a well-known singer and voice actress. Probably there’s a chance you are familiar of some of her roles like Ling Xiayou from Tekken and Ciel Phantomhive from Kuroshitsuji. This song is her 3rd single and the second ending of Clamp School Detectives.

I don’t know exactly the meaning of its lyrics since I couldn’t find any translation at the moment and my Japanese isn’t really that good.


Plastic Love

Artist: Mariya Takeuchi

Year of release: 1984

If you are keen of listening to JPOP, underground Japanese music, or anime songs, there’s a probability that you have seen this face in your Youtube recommendations.

I also have stumbled to this song through Youtube and it is my top in this list.

Mariya Takeuchi was a very popular singer in the late 1970s. She also had recordings with prominent Japanese and Western people in the music industry such as David Foster and her now-husband, Tatsuro Yamashita. She also had many well-known hits in Japan up until 2014.

It has this funky, nostalgic feel which is fitting if you want to go grab a cold beer and drink alone. Well, the song is about heartbreak and how it distorted the singer’s view on love.

There is also an English cover by Marilyn Martin, which also pierces the heart the same way this song did.


What do you think of the songs? Did you try listening to one of them?  I hope you enjoy listening to at least one of them! Which song do you like best? Do you have any more recommendations? Let us know in the comments below!


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Post Author: Rajia Escario

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