If there’s anything I’ve learned from covering pop music for over a decade, it’s that songwriters and collaborators are just as important as the artists themselves. Though they often work behind the scenes, this feature is a chance to shine the light on some of J-pop’s most innovative and accomplished producers and composers.
Years active: 1999-present
Associated Acts: V6, Arashi, Kis-My-Ft2, Hey! Say! JUMP, Snow Man, Generations, Every Little Thing, Tokio
His sound: Big and bombastic! Dramatic arrangements that tend to favor rock guitar and explosive beats. Anthemic melodies that will super-charge your energy.
Why you should love him: If your taste is anything like mine, Hikari’s work will feel absolutely thrilling. He’s got a huge discography, but I’m mostly focusing on a certain niche he does very well. Mostly paired with Avex-managed artists, his music is larger than life and unafraid to throw everything on the table. But, it’s not just sound and fury without substance. His melodies are fantastic — instantly exciting yet able to stand the test of time.
Examples of his best work: