Music: Faces at the Top

Their faces are soft and pretty, their voices tender and sweet. When it comes to pop music, the Japanese like their stars young and female. Last week the top of the pops belonged to a handful of singers — Hiroko Yakushimaru, Akina Nakamori, Naoko Kawai and Tomoyo Harada— whose claim to fame owes more to their winsome good looks than their modest vocal talent. Says Shig Fujita, an entertainment writer for the Asahi Evening News:

"The most popular singers have no singing voices. They are promoted as round, cute faces, singing basically the same songs."

The Japanese rock scene is largely bland.

Popular sounds...

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