Category Archives: Feature Article

Bands that take you back: A personal reflection.

A personal reflection by Just Panda.

Knuckle Chiwawa

There have been so many bands over the years that have made an impact on my life. My musical tastes are vast and eclectic, and no matter what feelings I have there will most certainly be a song that I can go to to enhance those feelings, be it sadness, joy, rage or just something to take me away from the daily toils of being a grown up.

Music took hold of me at a young age, and no more so than my teens. I hated everything. I hated what was considered popular, I hated the cool kids and their Top 40 chart toppers. My friends and I were all part of the alternative scene in town. The odd kids, the ‘goffs’, the kids you didn’t want your own kids to hang out with. But they were my family. They were my gig buddies, my confidantes that I still hold to this day. Most of my social group were into metal and rock, but the genre that took hold of me most, and still to this very day, was punk.

Those 3-chord, fast and angsty songs became a part of me, and sculpted the person I was to become. Bands like The Offspring, NOFX, the Vandals, Misfits, Suicidal Tendencies and the early pop punk bands of the mid to late 90s were the soundtrack to my youth, better days gone by that I fondly remember.

So, when a little known Japanese punk band called Knuckle Chiwawa popped up on my Twitter feed not even a year ago, I was suddenly catapulted back to my teen years, joyous fast paced punk songs that made the hair on the back of my neck stand on end. What an incredible feeling! It had been a long time since a new band had made me feel alive the way Knuckle Chiwawa had.

I immediately sought out their music and immersed myself in their catchy punk driven sound. Formed back in 2019, the ‘fancy animal’ themed band burst onto the scene after lead singer and all-round firecracker Shibazuko Rei-Chan graduated from her idol unit Burst Girls. As someone who is only a few years into their alt idol journey, I was unfamiliar with Rei-Chan and her previous work in the music scene, so I had fresh unbiased eyes on her new venture. Not alone in this, she is joined by Saekitty on guitar, Beniko on bass and Mrs Yamabiko on drums. This four-piece works. They all bring that special element that a punk band needs: energy on stage. And they have it by the bucket load.

Seriously, what a band! With two albums released so far, mini album ‘Hello Eater’ and a slew of live shows in Japan, they have steadily built a dedicated fanbase (called Livestock) both at home and abroad. I would give my left arm for a UK tour (someone make it happen please). The utterly genuine joy this band brings to me has had me moshing in the car with a grin so big I’m certain it can be seen from the driver in front.

Most of the UK community members know me from the Babymetal scene, the band who introduced me to Japanese bands in the first place. But there is something about Knuckle Chiwawa that just puts me in a good mood. After years of emo and melodic pop rock that turned every house party into a wake, I am beyond happy that upbeat punk is making somewhat of a comeback. And I hope the Chiwawas continue on their ‘in your face’ high energy journey, and I will definitely be joining them for the ride.

Oi! Oi!

You can find Knuckle Chiwawa on streaming platforms Apple Music and Spotify.

‘Hello Eater’ is available now.

To support Knuckle Chiwawa


Melodic trance metal pioneers Blood Stain Child performed a live stream concert on their official YouTube channel on October 23rd.

A highly anticipated show, the band were able to involve fans both in Japan and internationally through the voting of 4 songs to be included in the set list.

Continue reading Freedom for BLOOD STAIN CHILD

Compilation Genki

A Guide to the unexplored world of Japanese indepenedent music on the GET YOUR GENKI Compilation Series.

In 2018, Jmusic lover Christian had ambitious plans to start his own label, GET YOUR GENKI. And it was through this that he was going to release some full-length album compilations over the next years.

Although he was already aware that his task to find bands from Japan, to convince them to be part of his idea and to produce and distribute their music on cassette might be not the easiest one, Christian worked hard for the credibility he now has in the independent music scene in Japan.

His idea of the GET YOUR GENKI series was that it shouldn’t resemble anything else that’s been before. These releases would focus on different musical genres and styles. All the compilations are a result of the close work Christian has with the bands and his art designer, Ashton Lamont.

Continue reading Compilation Genki

Remember: Restart

A personal reflection on the idol group KissBee by guest writer Toby Hagen.

For the last few years I have been a huge supporter of an idol group that seems to have gone largely unnoticed by the international Japanese idol fandom.  Whenever I would bring them up in conversation, the response was always the same; “Who?”

When Beyond Senpai approached me to write an article for them ahead of their online live show on September 8th 2020, a concert with huge significance for the group and their fans, I thought it would be a perfect opportunity to introduce them.  So read on and allow me to introduce you to one of the hardest working, musically diverse, and socially outgoing idol groups ever… KissBee!

Continue reading Remember: Restart

A ‘little’ story about Little Kitsune Crafts.

A guest article gladly recieved from Lilly.

I have always had an admiration for Pixel Art ever since I was little. I used to make pictures with sprites from my favourite video games; Pokemon, Mario and Sonic The Hedgehog to name a few. Later, around 2015 I became interested in Hama Beads (known as Perler Beads in the US) and it became my hobby to make images with them. I mostly made Pokemon, and would stick them to my wall like a collage.

Continue reading A ‘little’ story about Little Kitsune Crafts.

On Dawn’s Day, the bubbles of the sea turn red.

The graduation of Risaki Kakizaki, Rei Imaizumi and Michelle

A guest article gladly received from Rosy Baltussen.

After a long wait on the 28th of June, the graduation of Risaki, Rei and Michelle was finally there. Thankfully for international fans who couldn’t be there in person M-SMILE decided to livestream the 3 shows. Two of them were available for people who bought a ticket, the 3rd show was free to watch for everybody.

Continue reading On Dawn’s Day, the bubbles of the sea turn red.

Senpai Feature: GET YOUR GENKI

A personal insight into creating an independent music label by Christian Preiss.

I started this project in October 2018 .

Originally I wanted to start it about 10 years earlier but somehow the idea got lost during the years.

I was always interested in music from Japan in all its varieties, Pop, Rock, Funk, Punk, Psych, Folk…whatever. Mostly some not so well known bands, more or less independent ones.

Somehow the music was always a bit better, the band a bit more authentic, the love for what they do a bit deeper.

Continue reading Senpai Feature: GET YOUR GENKI