In 1980s Japan, during a time of rapid urbanization and technological advancement, a new genre of music sprouted from the era’s bustling, neon streets. Pioneered by Yokohama-born composer and historian Hiroshi Yoshimura, the artistic movement, known as “kankyo ongaku,” or “environment music,” began to spread across the nation.
Gliding through the noon-blue heat of the Florida interstate, my brother in the driver’s seat asks me to play a song. I’ve never heard of his request before, but trusting his judgment, I search it up on my phone and add it to the queue.
Every now and then, you’ll hear a song that feels like it’s been composed especially for you—its rhythm calibrated to your pulse, lyrics drawn from the marrow of your memory. A few months ago, I came across such a song.