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Japrocksampler: How the Post-War Japanese Blew Their Minds on Rock 'n' Roll Paperback – January 1, 2009

9 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Though British, this author's exploits as a rocker and musicologist qualify him to explore the modern clash between traditional, conservative Japanese values and the wild, renegade post-WWII rock 'n' roll influence of the West. His breathtaking knowledge of the scene doesn't hurt, either; thorough throughout, Cope (Krautrocksampler) reels out Japanese political, social and cultural history from the mid-Nineteenth Century on before delving into early hits like the prescient 1950s "TV idoru" genre (meaning, literally, TV idols) and the Beetles' generation-defining Japanese tour ("Waving goodbye... was somewhat akin to watching four divinities departing Earth") that sparked the Group Sounds movement. Cope covers everything from psychedelic, progressive and blues rock to chamber, experimental and ambient music, the Miles Davis-influenced jazz scene, the drug culture, the Tokyo production of Hair and, of course, Yoko Ono. Cope also lists, with helpful caveats, his 50 favorite albums of the era, including Speed, Glue & Shinki's Eve, Les Rallizes Denudes' Blind Baby Has Its Mothers Eyes, and the Flower Travellin Band 's Anywhere (from which the book draws its cover, a photo of naked, motorcycle-mounted Flower Travellin' Bandmembers). Though a cavalcade of unfamiliar Japanese names and terms may intimidate, Cope's arresting commentary is alternately serious, opinionated and flip (think Lester Bangs, not Chuck Klosterman), and a great discovery for any fan of rock music.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.


"This book's astonishing blend of seriousness and hilariousness is testament to perhaps the most remarkable mind in rock today."  —Word

"The most obscenely enjoyable book of the year . . . enlightening, thrilling, and occasionally hilarious . . . Cope is a supremely engaging writer whose aim is to entertain, educate, and freak out, like A. J. P. Taylor being spiked by Lester Bangs."  —Telegraph

"Fascinating . . . keeps the reader gripped . . . his evocations of all this authentically inauthentic music are enticing and convincing."  —Observer Music Monthly

"Cope's first-hand knowledge of the petty rivalries and idiocies of life in the rock 'n' roll business lends his tales the sheen of authenticity. In its own way, Japrocksampler is a brave book."  —The Wire

 "Fascinating."  —Under the Radar


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury UK (January 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0747593035
  • ISBN-13: 978-0747593034
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 5 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,172,911 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

22 of 26 people found the following review helpful By zphage VINE VOICE on September 20, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Follows up on Mr. Cope 1995's Krautrocksampler, which detailed Germany's (1st of 3 Axis powers) late 60's early 70's heavy pysch and experimental music scene.

This book details Japan's (2nd of 3 Axis powers) late 60's early 70's heavy pysch and experimental music scene.( Therefore, it Does Not deal with contemporary noise/pysch Acid Mothers Temple, etc or JRock scenes).

Beautifully written, enclosed in a hardbound, "trade paperback size" book. Divided into two books: Book One has four chapters that deal with Japan pre and post World War II, the impact of Western/American culture, rock'n'roll, (GS)Group Sounds(the Mops, Jacks, etc) emergence and decline, the confluence of the Japanese avant garde, jazz, and rock scenes with the youth culture explosion of the 60's.

Book Two has 8 chapters, which deal with specific bands as follows:

Come Together 1969 (Blues Creation)
Flower Travellin Band
Les Rallizes Denudes
Speed, Shinki, and Glue
Taj Mahal Travellers and Takehisa Kosugi
J.A. Caesar and the Radical Theatre Music of Japan
Masahiko Satoh and the Free Thinkers' Union
Far East Family Band

A Top 50 round up follows with a short list of albums to avoid.

A truly great treat for the open minded and curious listener, this book promises to be the groundswell moment just as Krautrocksampler was. This is a great Rock'n'roll read. You will be turned onto new bands. You will learn about new sounds and scenes. You will be hunting down new 'holy grail' albums.

(Mr. Cope is there a book on the 3rd Axis power, Italy, due? Pejoratively titled " Woprocksampler"?)
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Lovblad on December 22, 2007
Format: Hardcover
After having written the excellent Krautrocksampler more than 10 years ago, Julian Cope is now tackling 60's and 70's japanese Rock. As in his previous tome, this is a delightfully written book that not just reviews the records, but also provides historic anectdotes and places the book within its historic context. As an example of erudite rock list book writing there is nothing better. The main difference is that while many or most of the artists in the prvious germanophile effort pretty well known within normal rock circles, here this is absolutely not the case and these groups are pretty far-out there. It does make you want to go out and buy these records in these times when the current British or American rock scenes are tired and tiresome at best. Overall, a joy to read.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on July 29, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Japrocksampler is entertainingly written and it's fine if you're just looking for an intro to Flower Travellin' Band and some of the Fluxus-related stuff. However, I'm giving three stars because Cope writes as if he's more familiar with the material than he actually is. His sourcing is shady and he seems to have leaned heavily on just a couple of narratives available in English. He's also really biased against the Tigers for some reason despite not seeming to know much about them, including thinking Toppo was two different people because he uses two names at different points in his career.

Cope's disdain for mainstream Japanese music and his constant referencing of Western rock bands (as if that's the focal point for all Japanese music) began to grate after a while, which also makes me lean towards three stars.

You also get a distorted impression of Flower Travellin' Band, who were marginal to mainstream rock at best, and better known outside Japan. But, it's better than the NOTHING ELSE available on the topic. So go for it but be warned that the book isn't 100% accurate.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Surferofromantica on July 15, 2009
Format: Paperback
Julian Cope, the great rock 'n' roll literary yeti, follows up a book flouting his passion for Krautrock (i.e. psychedelic/electronic German music of the Seventies) with a book flouting his passion for Japrock (i.e. psychedelic/electronic Japanese music of the Seventies). The book goes waaaaay back to the thirties, forties and fifties, getting into Stockhausen, John Cage, and the first Japanese musicians to make avant garde music. At some point, Yoko Ono comes into the scene, and eventually John Lennon. The Japanese, at another point, become infatuated with the Ventures, and eventually rock bands appear. This movement goes corporate, and at one point rebels appear and dream up their own mind-bending experiments in sound and amplification. Cope launches into descriptions of his favourite bands Flower Travellin' Band, Les Razllizes Denudes (whose bass player got involved with the highjacking of a plane to North Korea - really!), Speed Glue & Shinki, Taj Mahal Travellers, JA Caesar, Far East Family Band, and a bunch of other long-hairs. Cope's passion is abundant, and it's clear that he's spend tens of thousands of dollars buying Japanese vinyl of all eras, and has probably made use of many Japanese volunteers who translated material and explained situations to him, lingering in the country at many points in his life too, perhaps. His writing is fluid, amusing and creative, and the story is fascinating as it unfolds. The book is intelligent and highly entertaining and Cope's descriptions make me want to hear more of these bands.Read more ›
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