Some of the J-pop you should hear.
I'm a fan of the Shibuya style that was big a few years ago. I understand that's not the big thing in Nippon now, but I'm not sure what's repalced it.
But just a quick note on some of the things I think you should hear. Later maybe an article with more detail. This music is pop from an alternate universe. They have the loveliness and cuteness that Britney Spears used to strive for when she was supposed to be a virgin.
Often the best place to hear these musicians are on video game and music sound tracks. It can be very expensive to try to import them from Japan and impossible to find anywhere else. *cough* kazzaalite *cough*
Kahimi Karie--great songs like "Lolitapop Dollhouse" and "I am a Kitten".
Akino Arai...she's mostly known for doing the song on the credits of "Outlaw Star"...beautiful songs that don't really seem to make sense when translated to Engligh. One of the titles is "The Song Without a Song" what does that mean?
She is usually uncredited on movies. The best thing I could find was the Outlaw Star box set.
And finally, though it doesn't really count as jpop, Cibo Matto. It's a lot easier to find things from them. But they're actually Americans, and Sean Lennon was in the band for awhile, you might know him as the son of John Lennon and Yoko Ono. But they're an excellent mix of jpop and hip hop.
Maybe later I'll add some more bands and write something more definitive. I just don't like defining genres, or doing too much work, for that matter.