Japanese Hits from the Heisei Era 1989-2019

New imperial era in Japan starts, and it is named Reiwa (令和). At this important moment, we present you a list of great pop songs from the Heisei (平成) era, that started in January 1989 and now came to its end.

Thanks to the bubble economy and karaoke boom, we have had a million hit numbers in the the last thirty years. On the other hand, some great indie rock bands became popular in the first decade of Heisei era.

After the collapse of the bubble economy, Shibuya-kei movement started in the early 1990s. It started in CD stores in Shibuya (a famous district of Tokyo), as that was the time when many foreign-owned CD chains opened in Japan, like Tower Records, HMV and Virgin Megastores.

Anyone could access all kinds of music, coming from around the world. Shibuya-kei’s originator Filpper’s Guitar (founded by Kenji Ozawa and Cornelius) used samples that came not only from classic rock’n’roll or R&B, but also from the latest alternative rock bands.

After mid-2000s, Japan had fewer hit songs, but we can find our own hits on the internet, especially via social media. At same time, vocaloid brought a major change in Japanese music – with Hatsune Miku as its chief ambassador.

Experience these rapid, dizzy, sometimes crazy changes with our playlist of 30 Japanese hits from the last 30 years.

► Also check out: 30 Best Japanese Albums of All Time



1. Princes Princes “Diamonds” – 1989

2. X JAPAN “Kurenai” (紅) – 1989

3. Tama (たま) “Sayonara Jinrui” (さよなら人類) – 1990

4. Noriyuki Makihara (槇原敬之) “Donna Tokimo” (どんなときも) – 1991

5. Chage & Aska (チャゲ&飛鳥) “Boku wa Konome de Uso wo Tsuku” – 1992

6. Kyosuke Himuro (氷室京介) “Kiss Me” – 1992

7. ZARD “Makenaide” (負けないで) – 1993

8. WANDS “Sekai ga Owaru Made wa” (世界が終るまでは) – 1994

9. Mr.Children “Tomorrow never knows” – 1994

10. Spitz “Robinson” (ロビンソン) – 1995

11. B’z “love me, I love you” – 1995

12. T.M.Revolution “Heart of Sword” – 1996

13. Kenji Ozawa (小沢健二) “Bokura ga Tabi ni Deru Riyu” – 1996

14. Elephant Kashimashi (エレファントカシマシ) “Koyoi no Tsuki no Youni” – 1997

15. Suga Shikao (スガシカオ) “Ogon no Tsuki” (黄金の月) – 1997

16. Globe “Wanna Be A Dreammaker” – 1998

17. Moning Musume (モーニング娘) “Daite Hold on me” – 1998

18. Quruli (くるり) “Niji” (虹) – 1999

19. Shiina Ringo (椎名林檎) “Honnno” (本能) – 1999

20. Hikaru Utada (宇多田ヒカル) – “Traveling” – 2001

21. Perfume “Polyrhythm” – 2008

22. Bump of Chicken feat. Hatsune Miku “Ray” – 2015

23. Sakanaction (サカナクション) ”Music” – 2013

24. AKB48 “Koi suru Fortune Cookie” (恋するフォーチュンクッキー) – 2013

25. Gesu no Kiwami Otome (ゲスの極み乙女。) – “Watashi Igai Watashi Janaino” – 2015

26. Unison Suquare Garden “Sugar Song and Bitter Step” – 2016

27. Suchmos “Stay Tune” – 2016

28. Gen Hoshino (星野源) “Koi” (恋) – 2016

29. DAOKO × Yonetsu Kenshi (米津玄師) “Uchiage Hanabi” (打上花火) – 2017

30. Tofubeats feat. Chisato Moritaka (森高千里) “Don’t Stop The Music” – 2013


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