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Yuto Uchino from The fin. stresses his sense of crisis. “Japanese are being obsolete.”

2023.4.5

#MUSIC

In the first part of the interview, Yuto Uchino from The fin. talked about their relationship with China, where their 1,000-capacity shows got immediately sold out, with their years-long manager Kazuto Yamazaki.

In this second part of the interview, Yuto refers to the current situation of fast-growing Asia and the future of Japan. He stresses a sense of crisis for the country. The problems are deeply ingrained and can’t be solved overnight. However, facing reality and discussing it in order to take the right actions should be the first step to changing the future. The fin. ‘s history, spanning over a decade, is a testament to that.

The rapid growth of Asia’s economy and culture. His sense of crisis for Japan

-Besides the last part of the interview, any other reasons for The fin.’s success in China?

Yuto: In the first place, there is a lot of Japanese music being listened to in China, and I am sure that King Gnu and Official HIGE DANdism, which are popular in Japan, are also listened to in China much more than The fin.I think The fin.’s fan base is not so different in China than in Japan. People who like Western music or indie music like The fin. It is the same in Japan and China, but China has a bigger pie, so it just seems to be more popular there than in Japan.

Yamazaki: I think the percentage of people who listen to Western music is higher in China than in Japan.

Yuto: All of the Chinese customers who come to The fin.’s live shows can speak English. So many of them consume English-language content, such as TV dramas and movies, and I think they listen to The fin. music in that context. I think the biggest thing is that we are Japanese.

Yuto Uchino / The fin.
In April 2012, Yuto Uchino and Kaoru Nakazawa started their full-fledged activities as a four-piece band in Takarazuka City, Hyogo Prefecture, Japan. They feel the emotions of loneliness, joy, and sadness that they, as Japanese, can relate to in foreign pop music such as Metronomy, Tame Impala, Washed Out, and Friendly Fires, and as young people living in the same era, they empathize with them to create music that is not bound by the Japanese rock format.They are active both in Japan and overseas, using the Internet media to transmit their music to the world with a sense of synchronicity.
https://www.thefin.jp/

Yuto: We are often told by our audience that “The fin. is the first Asian band to sing in English on such a large scale.” Now there are bands like Sunset Rollercoaster, but a few years ago there weren’t that many, and people would often say, “The fin. is the first Asian band like this.”Maybe there is a context of “they gave us courage” or something like that.

Listen to the fin. “Outer Ego (Deluxe Edition)” (2022), featuring remixes by Sunset Rollercoaster and Chinese track maker Bow As Well.

-So, fans support The fin. as a leading artist in Asia like BTS.

Yuto: If you go as far as BTS, I think the game is different, but the fin. has been making music that I think is interesting, and I have been doing it only on the basis of whether the music is recognized or not. As a result, I am very happy that our music has become popular in China, but of course, I think that was partly due to the fact that we are “Asian” as well.

If the music is heard only in a certain country or region, it must be due to various factors happening in that country or region. But if the music is listened to not only in Asia, but also in the whole world on average, it would mean that the music is really good, and that is my current goal.

-The fin’s fans are not only in Asia but in Europe. The band seems to step toward the goal.

Yuto: On Spotify, the number of listeners is Taiwan, Japan, and the U.S., in that order. Asian countries are growing economically now, so it is natural for the number of Asian artists who are active in the world to increase. How this will affect the West in the future will not only affect music, but other businesses as well, and I think it will happen at the same time.

-Southeast Asian countries have also been developing remarkably in recent years.

Yuto: So, on the contrary, Japan is in trouble if it doesn’t do its best here. In terms of music, we lost out to Europe and the U.S. when Apple Music and Spotify were introduced, and since the early 2000s, people have been talking about “globalization.”

In 2023, when I think about what globalization was all about, I realize that it was nothing more than the growth of Western companies. So now they are desperately trying to get out, but by the time they opened their eyes, it was too late.

Yuto: However, the GAFAM story may not continue forever. The way we listen to music is changing along with technology, and the reason people connect to Apple Music and Spotify now is because they have a database of music, but I think we will start sharing that database.

When that happens, I think we will enter an era where money is paid to the people who have the databases, but the money will go directly to the people who are creating the music. Of course, I think it will be a long time before that transition occurs, so although we are currently doing business based on web2, I think it is important to move forward with an eye on what is next.

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