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Codeswitching in the Japanese band ONE OK ROCK

Bianca Copello

on 18 April 2012

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Transcript of ONE OK ROCK

Codeswitching in the Japanese band
Features of Japanese music
Four types of code-mixing in Jpop
Musical fillers - tags
Single words or phrases - usually borrowings
Sentences - usually translations
Code ambiguation - double meaning depedent on language of pronunciation
Who are they?
Genre: Alternative Rock & Melodic Metal
Founded: 2005, Tokyo
Members: Taka, Toru, Ryota and Tomoya
All born in Japan
Lyricist: Taka
"English lyrics are hard. I don't know English words, or sentences, or grammar well, so I sing in English roughly ... When working in Japanese, I understand the meanings of the words so it's easier to do." -Taka, 2008
Their music has been described as "pop punk Americana", "influenced by the Foo Fighters"
"Taka’s English skills have improved greatly — he’s bordering on sounding like a full-fledged American!"
Why are
Increased use of English
No Code Ambiguation
No translation switches
Why the English?
Interest in going overseas?

Interest in America?
When you made this album, did you see the world, not only Japan, when you made the songs?

Taka: Not really~. (...) I think our favorite music and the music we make are more global. So we really want to do lives in America too. We want to see how much our work will be accepted.
Taka: Japan and America are totally different, and our music certainly features Western music, and we were quite conscious of that more than before, so I just want people to listen to it casually. I'm a little embarrassed to say, "We like America!" and it seems offensive to me to say like "We, Japanese made this CD." The best way for it to be listened to is just to hear us as normal artists.
"We want to be a band that can be recognized all over the world."
Taka: "Because 20 years old is considered to be an adult. But is growing up really a good thing? Is it better to deny it and keep living as you are? (...) The question and conflict of "Who am I?"
is reflected in this album, I feel."
"Overflowing impulse and power are our driving forces."
"The first part is in English, so we were wondering, will people understand?"
Being genuine
Following your dreams
Songs with both: 92% Songs with all English: 8%
Songs with both: 60% Songs with all English: 40%
Non-native English speaker. Fluency has increased over time, however.

Japanese standard based on Oricon chart in 2001
Songs with all Japanese: 0%
Overall English in album
Songs with all Japanese: 0%
Overall English in album
English in the background noise
English & Japanese fully separated
English borrowing - integrated in Japanese phonologically and logographically
English & Japanese fully separated
English borrowing - integrated in Japanese phonologically and logographically
Tag or question/answer
Switching between stanzas
Switching within stanzas
question/answer switch
Inserted background English - directives/moral/life messages
Changes in language pattern (all English vs mixed vs Japanese) accompanied by change in melodic theme
Each melodic theme has its own language pattern
Tension between awareness of Japanese identity and global vision beyond Japan
(aka, America)
Hypothesis for English usage
Band messages =
messages that English indexes
and are incompatible with Japanese culture
One Ok Rock :
Full transcript