JRock (Sometimes written as “J-Rock” or “Japanese Rock”) is the term used to describe Japanese Rock Music. It began as a slang term to distinguish itself from Western rock music, but has since become a common phrase in mainstream culture. The term was birthed from the phrase “J-Pop” which was similarly used to distinguish Japanese and Western pop music.
When rock music first became popular in the west, many of the songs were about sex, drugs and revolution. The rock artists themselves were often drug abusers. So when the music made its way to Japan, though the music itself was popular the conservative Japanese culture was not as fond of the rock image and created its own rock music which tended to be cleaner and drug free.
The first Japanese rock was still as rebellious as its Western alternative, however, and many of the songs were designed for young boys and girls to hear music about political issues. The Kyoto student rebellion in the 1960’s inspired many different JRock bands, and a lot of the music in this era mirrored the Western counterparts (though with cleaner lyrics).
As time went on, Japanese rock began to have a sound of its own. The songs branched out into other arenas, where and many JRock artists began singing about love, school and other issues. Still, it tried to keep its rebellious image and still today is seen as a form of social protest.
While the music itself may have been clean, the fashion, appearance and attitude became more extravagant than the western rock music. Most JRock artists dress in dark clothes that resemble the styles seen in Harajuku Street. The artists themselves are known for their own various personalities that appear to be extreme versions of rocker stereotypes – depressed, distant, eccentric, artistic, etc.