Steven Tanaka is a warrior for the indie music scene.

photo: Japan Times

A lifelong Canadian citizen, Tanaka only recently got into Japan’s underground/punk music scene. As the Japan Times details, for most of his life his only experience with “Japanese music” J-pop and visual kei. A trip to Japan changed everything, and he fell in love with the punk and hardcore bands he saw at small shows in Japanese clubs.

So what did he do? For the last two years, Tanaka has put on the Next Music from Tokyo festival, a 6-day celebration of Japanese music in his native Canada. Tanaka pays to fly some of his favorite bands from Japan to Canada, where they play a week of shows.

What the festival is all about: Next Music from Tokyo is a one-of-a-kind tour transporting the audience on a virtual trip to a gig in Tokyo’s underground live house scene. Bands are chosen with an emphasis on the quality of their live performance and music as well as bringing unique characteristics that set them apart from typical live acts. Therefore bands relying on shock value, weird costumes, props, or extreme noise aren’t invited no matter how potentially “entertaining” if their music is mediocre to god awful.

This year’s mini-fest will hit Montreal on Oct. 13 and 14, Toronto on Oct. 15 and 16, and Vancouver on Oct. 18.

Some of this year's events

The best part? Tanaka pays for everything out of his own pocket. As he says in the Japan Times piece,

“I am going to lose tens of thousands of dollars. Basically, I’m donating my money. I don’t want my family to freak out — they are fine with me doing this tour — but they assume that the bands are paying their own way. So, I’ve kept that from them.”

That’s some seriously do-it-yourself stuff, right there.

Hopefully, for Tanaka’s sake, this tour gets more and more clout and eventually increases to a bigger event so he doesn’t have to bankrupt himself just to bring Japanes emusic to Canada.

As it is now, though, it’s pretty impressive and quite an undertaking for one man to carry out.

For more information about Tanaka and the Next Music from Tokyo festival, visit its official website.


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One Comment

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  1. Thanks for sharing this awesome story, I love visiting Canada, I do not have a lot of money but with the help of the Internet and websites like CanadaHotels101.com I get great deals on hotels and airline tickets.

    This year I visited Montreal and I love it!! such a great place to visit.

    Thanks for sharing this with the world, keep posting and good luck!

    Betty

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