Each artist has played their part in influencing something or someone, we collected those who we believe made a huge difference for Jrock this year. Amongst these artists, there are those who have changed world perceptions of Japanese rock or shown us the importance of compassion and generosity towards those in need, but they have all influenced how 2018 shaped out to be. Let’s take a look at the influential Jrockers and their achievements.

Miyavi – The Rolling Stone of Success

2018 had Miyavi dabbling in many different activities this year, from his two months long DAY 2 world tour to the catwalks of Paris at Yohji Yamamoto’s fashion show, and his acting role list extended as he took on a role in the live-action adaptation of BLEACH and even a glimpse of Hollywood with a confirmed role in Maleficent 2, set to release 2019. However, 2018 has been a year of music and collaborations for Miyavi. Music releases first set into motion with the plan of a monthly EP release starting with “Long Nights” featuring rapper and Afghan refugee, Sonita. This was followed by two more monthly releases featuring various artists, including his wife Melody. The list of diverse collaborations continued on and piqued when Miyavi’s SAMURAI SESSIONS Vol.3 -Worlds Collide- saw him making collaborations with the likes of Samuel L. Jackson. It’s this man’s continuously growing network of famous and even unknown names that extends across continents, and even reaches places we don’t expect, that has placed Miyavi on this year’s influencers list—for this continuous string of activities and an ever-growing network can only be born from persistently hard work.

It’s this same persistence and genuine compassion that has seen Miyavi continue his work and participation in UNHCR meetings over the past year. It’s not hard to understand why Miyavi made this list, or why he will possibly continue to be nominated every year—Miyavi has earned it.

X Japan – Power Performers

Though Yoshiki has been working hard this year, just as he always is, we can’t give him all the influential credit because X Japan has been making some big impacts in the west this year. Though they made some pretty rare and exciting performances in Japan with their 10th anniversary of their reunion performance, and three stadium performances in September, the band’s biggest and most unexpected performance was their Coachella, USA, debut. In April of this year X Japan took on the California crowd coming head-to-head with Beyoncé’s time slot on the main stage, but they did not back down and managed to attract a big enough crowd to form a mosh pit! Their representation of Japanese artists, at one of USA’s most prestigious festivals, meant a lot for the unification of Japanese and American music. Its importance was further fortified by the prestigious rock ‘n’ roll names of Marilyn Manson, Wes Borland (Limp Bizkit), and Richard Fortus (Guns N’ Roses) who joined X Japan on stage to perform together. These performances reached further than the festival grounds as the whole performance was streamed live to thousands of viewers online, and garnered the attention of many western news outlets. The strength of their international performances was also confirmed this year when their X JAPAN World Tour 2017 tour date at The SSE Arena, London, received the SSE live award for “Best Event”. X Japan’s continuous ability to make impactful live performances across the world has brought them to our influential Jrockers list.

However, we can not overlook Yoshiki’s influential achievement back in Japan with YoshiKitty taking the position of third place in Sanrio’s yearly character ranking! Although, his most admirable act of the year is his donation in aid to the Hokkaido earthquake which struck the northern island of Japan on September 5 this year. It’s admirable to see X Japan continuously work hard in international territories while also maintaining their support, love, and influence in Japan.

LOVEBITES – European Dominator

LOVEBITES’ fame in Europe has been on an upward climb and this year really saw them take some big leaps into the limelight of Europe’s metal scene. Before even grasping full domination of Europe’s hearts, LOVEBITES had already bagged themselves an award for “Best New Band” at Metal Hammer’s Golden God Awards 2018. They have since continued to solidify their position in Europe’s heart with the release of their mini-album Battle Against Damnation in June, and a further full-length Japanese release album at the beginning of December—due to release in the UK January 18, 2019—this saw them working with established Finnish music engineers, Mikko Karmila and Mika Jussila, for both of these releases.

Awards and strong music releases can write bands into music history, but it’s their achievements in European live performances that have written LOVEBITES into JROCKNEWS’ influential Jrockers list. LOVEBITES went on to perform their biggest stage yet at Wacken Open Air 2018, Germany, as the first all-female metal act from Japan and took to the main stage of Bloodstock Open Air 2018, UK. This was alongside a nation-wide tour in Japan, and the European tour that succeeded in November taking them across four countries on six tour dates. These ladies are true metal goddesses, they create and they dominate. We hope 2019 brings them one stage closer to headlining festivals across Europe and beyond.

Other notable artists

We’d like to mention some other notable submissions from fans including; Vivarush for their efforts to communicate with international fans; Ryo for successfully being a vocalist in four bands, KEEL, HOLLOWGRAM, TAG, and DALLE with continuous activities; Crystal Lake for their multiple successful overseas tours and signing with American record label Sharptone Records; Kamijo for becoming the ambassador of “Japan-France exchange of pop culture”; and VAMPIRE ROSE for leading a post-Halloween clean-up in Tokyo and showing us that you’re never too rock ‘n’ roll to keep your city’s streets clean!

To add to this, we would also like to express our gratitude to the artists who made it possible for international fans to experience the music they love at a live performance this year. Thank you to:

  • Boris
  • Church of Misery
  • Crystal Lake
  • DatuRA
  • Erebos
  • Esprit D’Air
  • FLOW
  • G.L.A.M.S (Mikaru)
  • Guitar Wolf
  • Haru (Universe)
  • Hatsune Miku
  • Kamijo
  • Kaya
  • Kyary Pamyu Pamyu
  • LM.C
  • Lucie, Too
  • Mana (Moi-même-Moitié)
  • Mikansei Alice
  • Miyavi
  • Necronomidol
  • nano
  • Okamoto’s
  • Otoboke Beaver
  • Satsuki
  • Shonen Knife
  • The Sixth Lie
  • Survive
  • Tsu Shi Ma Mi Re
  • Tricot
  • Waterweed
  • X Japan
  • X Made Alcoholic Santaclaus
  • …and many more!

It means a lot to international fans when artists, big and small, take that leap of faith to tour outside of Japan. And for fans who are unable to attend lives in Japan, this is truly the best experience they can hope for in their own country or city. Though, let’s not forget the people who make these tours possible are the fans who continuously support Japanese artists by attending their live shows. Thank you for showing your support, you are the reason they keep coming back!

What did you think of our list? Is there anyone else you believe should have made the top list this year? Let us know in the comments below.