Historically, almost all famous Japanese composers, including Toru Takemitsu, produced many songs as their masterpieces. Based on longstanding tradition, ancient Japanese poems – such as Tanka and Haiku – penned more than 1300 years ago – are used by composers as the basis for songs.

Japanese songs are melodious and sophisticated, being created with well established compositional techniques rooted in traditional Japanese culture and language, making them unique among the songs of the world.

This uniqueness is rooted in the musical origin of Japanese songs. In the late 19th century when Japan was opened to the Western world, for the first time, the Japanese people began familiarizing themselves with western music – at first just applying Japanese language to existing Western music. However, it soon became clear that the Japanese language and intonation did not ideally mesh when combined with existing “foreign” music, so it became desirable to compose original Western-style music for Japanese poems.

The Japanese government thus dispatched students to Germany to learn Western style music composition. Amongst them, Kiyoshi Nobutoki and Kosaku Yamada are the two most famous Japanese composers. Those two composers mainly composed many Japanese songs after coming back to Japan and established Japanese songs as a unique art form in music.

Though there are historically various style of Japanese songs, we focus on the Japanese songs composed as artistic songs utilizing Western scales, and intended to be sung by operatic vocalization.

This website enables anyone in the world to sing Japanese Songs by providing a comprehensive set of assets to master the pronunciation and meaning of lyrics, as well as the singing style of each song. Until now, despite the high quality of Japanese songs, it was difficult for non-Japanese native speakers to sing because of the unique lettering and grammatical composition of the Japanese language, which differs completely from that of Western languages. But with this set of assets made available on this site, our hope is that anybody in the world can learn to sing – and hopefully to enjoy – melodious Japanese songs.

We strongly believe this site will fulfill all singers’ desires to “sing Japanese songs.” Through this project, we hope that the sophisticated, beautiful, and sometime ethnic melodies of Japanese songs will penetrate the world, and will be performed all over the world by singers of all nations.


Acclaimed Singer's Accompanist Yoshio Tsukada is a native of Gunma Prefecture and graduate of Tokyo University of the Art, Department of Vocal Music. After serving as accompanist for operas and concerts of all kinds with the group Niki Kai and others, he moved to Detmold, Germany where he studied piano, organ and accompanying from 1975-1977.

Since returning to Japan,Tsukada has brought his highly refined musical sense and deep knowledge of the art of song to the study of Japanese song. As a researcher, interpreter and accompanist of Japanese lieder (artistic songs) he is foremost among performers in Japan today.

Yoshio Tsukada's skills as planner and organizer as well as performer have gained him a high reputation both inside and outside of Japan. Tsukada has worked together with Ryosuke Hatanaka in organizing and producing concerts of Japanese song, in which he also appears as accompanist. From 1993 on, he has regularly performed as accompanist in the “Japanese Lieder Series” at Ongaku no Tomo Hall.

Tsukada can be heard on many CD's accompanying various singers. In addition to his frequent concert appearances he travels to all parts of Japan giving seminars and offering instruction in Japanese vocal music and accompanying. The vocalists and pianists who have risen under his tutelage throughout the country are many.

In 1996 Yoshio Tsukada was a recipient of the Jomo Artist's Prize, and in 1999 he became the first winner of the Tatsuo Mizutani Prize for Singers' Accompanists. He is a member of the Japan Federation of Musicians and an instrumentalist member of the Tokyo Chamber Opera Theatre. In 1984 he collaborated with Keiko Aoyama in creating the Japanese song performance group Ashikabi no Kai and he has accompanied her in many programs and on a number of CD's.