Watch Fireworks While Vibing to City Pop

Watch Fireworks While Vibing to City Pop

Two Japanese summer “traditions” combined


(C)わたせせいぞう/APPLE FARM INC.

Nothing screams Japanese summer more than breezy city pop sounds and the explosion of fireworks. Tokyo City Pop Fireworks 2024 combines these two Japanese summer essentials in one spectacular event. 

The event will be held on July 3rd in Fuchu, Tokyo. Around 14,000 fireworks are expected to go off and illuminate the night sky of Tokyo.

Every year, this large-scale fireworks festival promises a dazzling fusion of music and pyrotechnics. In 2022, the event was held in collaboration with The Rolling Stones, celebrating their 60th anniversary, and last year’s event featured beloved Japanese singer-songwriter Yuming.

This year’s theme is city pop — a Japanese genre of music from the 1970s and 1980s that gained popularity worldwide in recent years. Songs by famous artists, like Mariya Takeuchi, Tatsuro Yamashita and Taeko Onuki will play to the rhythm of the fireworks.

aesthetic illustration of skyline and fireworks, visualizing city pop
image: Eimizu and Takeshi Dylan Sadachi

A Glimpse into the History of Japanese Fireworks

The tradition of fireworks in Japan dates back to the Edo period (1603-1868). Originally introduced from China in the 16th century, and by the 18th century, Japanese fireworks had developed their distinctive style, renowned for their intricate designs and vibrant colors. Today, Japanese pyrotechnicians are known for their precision and creativity, often incorporating complex patterns and effects that captivate audiences around the world.

Fireworks in Japan are a symbol of summer. It is said that the tradition started as a tribute festival to remember the dead. Especially as famine and infectious diseases were common in the summer. Obon, a Japanese custom to honor the spirits of ancestors, similar to the Day of the Dead, is also celebrated either in mid-July or mid-August.

The Allure of City Pop

images that visualize the city pop inspirations, including neon lights of Tokyo, high-rise buildings and Tokyo Tower and seaside cities like Miami (artdeco ocean drive)

City pop blends smooth sounds with elements of jazz, funk, R&B, surf, yacht rock and Japanese pop music. It evokes images of neon-drenched urban life, driving along the coast, speeding down the Tokyo Metropolitan Expressway and so on. Its nostalgic, escapist and optimistic aesthetics were often visualized as artworks for the tracks. 

Even after its popularity peaked in the 1980s, the genre has seen multiple minor resurgences domestically. In the 2010s, iconic tracks like “Plastic Love” by Mairya Takeuchi and “Mayonaka no Door / Stay With Me” by Miki Matsubara helped the genre to gain an international online following.

City pop sounds and aesthetics have directly contributed to genres like vaporwave and futurefunk. On top of that, the resurgence influenced the lo-fi beats, the trend of easy-listening songs in K-pop, YouTube-core aesthetics and the music industry as a whole.

Event Details:

July 3rd, 2024
7:30pm – 8:40pm

Tokyo Racecourse
1-1 Hiyoshicho, Fuchu

Closest stations:

Fuchukeibaseimon-Mae Station
Fuchu-Honmachi Station

Tickets are available here and sold on a first-come-first-served basis.

Looking for more exciting events in Tokyo this this summer? Check out our events page!

(C)わたせせいぞう/APPLE FARM INC.