Japan Word of the Day #36 – Iyashikei (Soothing idol, music, person)

Today’s word is: Iyashikei (癒し系)

The literal translation of iyashikei is “a soothing, healing, therapeutic type.”
The word is typically used to describe a certain type of TV personalities or music that makes you relax and takes away anxiety.
In late 1990’s, Japan was hit by a major economic recession due to the asset price bubble that had collapsed. People were desperate for entertainment that comforts them more than excites them. In response to such trend, many iyashikei personalities such as Sachiko Kokubu, Haruka Igawa, and Yuka emerged and started the iyashikei genre.

haruka-igawa-rinkya-japan yuka-rinkya-japan

Also, internationally acclaimed Ryuichi Sakamoto released his hit track “Ura BTTB” in 1999. This was the first instrumental music that earned the first place in the Oricon ranking. Many people consider this song to be the definitive origin of iyashikei genre.


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