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Martians Go Home

Martians Go Home

There was nothing inevitable about the development of the Shibuya-kei music movement in Japan. This revolutionary cultural explosion and rambunctious insertion of new influences into the stale domestic industry came from the fingertips of a few individuals — most importantly, Oyamada Keigo and Ozawa Kenji of the band Flipper’s Guitar.

Even though Flipper’s broke up suddenly in October 1991, they managed to establish the sonic palette that would guide both Japanese indie and popular music until the end of the century. Apart from their actual albums and singles, Oyamada and Ozawa influenced tastes through a monthly column in Takarajima as well as a weekly half-hour radio show on FM Yokohama entitled “Martians Go Home” (マーシャンズ・ゴー・ホーム). Handing two bratty 22 year-olds (with no proper management company affiliation) keys to the airwaves could have been a disaster (or more likely, boring), but being the country’s premier foreign music nerds, they introduced listeners to an incredibly wide range of obscure music, including UK Neo-Acoustic, 60s Groove Jazz, Psychedelic Pop, “Funk-a-Latina”, Madchester, and fellow Japanese indie bands. The United States enjoyed “college rock radio” as the medium for diffusing musical innovation in the ’80s, and although the scale was much smaller, “Martians Go Home” played a similar role in “educating” an entire generation in Japan.

As a way to better experience this piece of history, we have digitized select episodes of “Martians Go Home” to be available on this site over several installments. (Although there are obvious copyright issues, we feel that the value as historical material for the these “cassette-dubs of a 17-year-old, commercially-unavailable radio show” outweighs rights issues.)


1991年の10月に突然解散してしまったのにも関わらず、フリッパーズは日本のインディーズそしてポピュラーミュージックを20世紀末まで導いた音楽の新しい基準、もしくは新しい音楽辞典(又は音楽教科書)的な物を作り出した伝説のバンドである。独自のアルバムやシングル以外にも、小山田と小沢は毎月『宝島』に掲載された連載コラムや、FM Yokohamaにて毎週オンエアされていた30分間のレギュラーラジオ番組「マーシャンズ・ゴー・ホーム」を通して当時の音楽センスに多大なる影響を与えていた。考えてみると、まだ22歳の生意気な(しかもマネジメント会社にも正式に所属していない)若者二人に番組の舵をまかせるのはかなりのリスクを伴うことだっただろう。けれども、日本一の外国音楽オタクであった彼らは、次々とリスナー達に斬新かつ多様な音楽ジャンルを紹介していたったのだ。そのなかにはイギリスのネオ アコースティック、60年代のジャズ・グルーブ、サイケポップス、ファンカラティナ、マッドチェスター、そしてもちろん彼らのインディースバンド仲間なども含まれていた。アメリカの80年代の音楽革新の普及を促せたカレッジ・チャートまでのスケールには及ばないが、「マーシャンズ・ゴー・ホーム」は日本の一世代を「教育」したという面では、それと同じような役割を果たしたといえるだろう。


W. David MARX
January 30, 2008

W. David Marx (Marxy) — Tokyo-based writer and musician — is the founder and chief editor of Néojaponisme.

10 Responses

  1. W. David MARX Says:

    By the way, “Funk-a-latina” seems to be a Japanese-created term. Google can’t find it in English, and I had a hell of time trying to de-katakanaize it in the first place. Anyone know where it came from?

  2. calligraphykid Says:

    Wikipedia Japan cites early ’80s art-poppers Blue Rondo a la Turk as the originators of ‘Funk-a-latina’ so the unusual naming of the genre in Japan could have been influenced by the name of that band.

    The ‘a-latina’ part is probably a play of words on the ‘a la’ of ‘a la mode’ etc, an ageless marketing buzzterm in Japan which would grant it an immediate appeal to Japanese consumers.

    The type of music it refers to – Matt Bianco, Haircut 100, Culture Club – etc would have been classified as ‘Blue-eyed Soul’ at the time by the music press in Britain, a concept which for Japanese sounds a little bit, shall we say, exclusive?

  3. Zac Bentz Says:

    This. Is awesome. Thanks guys.

  4. alin Says:


  5. alin Says:

    yes, a-la-la.. wouldn’t sound right (take tip from edogawa rampo)

  6. Kim Jong-il Hater Says:

    Nice. Is there a playlist for this show?

  7. Rory P. Wavekrest Says:

    My man DJ Micahel J. Foks always says Funk-a-latina when we’re talking about Kid Creole and the Coconuts…which is often.
    Thanks for these!

  8. Gen Kanai Says:

    Awesome. Where do you get this stuff?!?!

    We should be able to put together a set list with everyone’s help…

  9. Rory P. Wavekrest Says:

    Ah, I see, they back sell the songs…I was about to say that the 2nd track is Orange Juice.

  10. scott Says:

    Thank you, this is highly listen-able. I heartily endorse this kind of music.