DJs spin some Hikaru Utada sets at their Tower Records pop-up shop

DJs spin some Hikaru Utada sets at their Tower Records pop-up shop | Random J Pop

With Hikaru Utada’s albums now all being available on vinyl, Tower Records (yep, they are still a thing) in Shibuya has a Hikaru Utada vinyl pop-up shop to commemorate the occasion. And to make things extra special, they invited several DJ’s to each play a livestreamed set of nothing but Hikaru Utada in the pop-up shop itself.

Hikaru may have not understood the assignment during Coachella, but these DJ’s sure as hell did. Well. All but one. 


We all know this guy as one third, then one half, then one third again of M-Flo. And he has actually remixed a couple of Hikaru Utada’s songs, one of which he of course included in his set. And obviously  it was the “Distance” remix that fans adore. And we also get completely new on-the-job remixes of “Colors”, “Nijikan Dake no Vacance” and “Sakura Nagashi”.  I’mma need Sony to run DJ Taku another cheque and commission the release of that drum & bass remix of “Sakura Nagashi”.

DJ Taku’s set as a whole was very random. Still enjoyable. But random. He seemed to just wanna blast through as many songs as possible, with no real sense of setting a mood. This honestly seems to be a common thing with one too many DJ’s these days. But that’s a whole rant for a Twitter thread.

If you like a bit of mess, and wanna hear some white label remixes, this is the set for you.

📷 Follow him on Instagram: @takudj


Following on from Taku’s kitchen sink, vibeless set, came Yukibeb’s. Not only did her set have a very consistent vibe, but we got a real sense of her musical tastes. Yukibeb had a very clear preference for Hikaru’s more R&B cuts, which is no surprise given that soul and R&B are Yukibeb’s bag, and most of what she DJs. So her set was very much a vibe from start to finish. Very late night radio, chilling at home in my cosy sweats vibes. Very Bade Mode.

If you are all about a vibe, then this is the set for you.

📷 Follow her on Instagram: @yukibeb


TJO was living his life and lip syncing to a whole bunch of these songs. He’s either a legit stan, or he made sure he committed to this gig and learned the words to these songs when the wire payment from Sony cleared. Either way, this was a set that I actually sat and watched because of TJO’s energy from start to finish. TJO also holds the title of being the only DJ who played a cover of a Hikaru Utada song. He went for Ringo Sheena’s cover of “Letters”, when Ayumi Hamasaki’s cover of “Movin’ on Without You” would have fit his set better. But I guess the United Republic of Utada is not trying to give Avex licensing money to play the song publicly.

The mix from “Face My Fears” into “Heart Station”? Fucking genius.

If you are all about energy and watching a fan of music, this is the set for you.

📷 Follow him on Instagram: @tjo_dj

DJ Yanatake

As with Yukibeb, DJ Yanatake’s set favoured Hikaru Utada’s more R&B cuts. He really fucks with Slickaru Hoodtada. But the biggest gambit of DJ Yanatake’s set was that he played some of the most obscure of Hikaru Utada’s songs. Fans will absolutely know these songs, but many casual Hikaru Utada listeners won’t - making this the most staniest of the sets, and thereby making it one of the best. The only thing wrong with this set, was that DJ Yanatake played “Hotel Lobby” and “Kiss & Cry” and slapped a song in-between them, instead of mixing the two.

If you want a set with taste, then this is the set for you.

📷 Follow him on Instagram: DJ Yanatake (@yanatake)


This set featured more chaos than a Sonic the Hedgehog emerald. This was easily the set that featured the most songs, but it was so messy. None of the mixes or transitions were that great. And where-by each of the other DJ sets had a song choice or two that made you go ‘Ahhh!!’, YonYon’s set featured no such moment. Sure, she may have had a disadvantage going last. But this also could have been used to her advantage to pick songs that nobody else picked, and throw in some wild cards. YonYon didn’t do herself nor Hikaru Utada’s discography a justice.

If you like chaos, then this is the set for you.

📷 Follow her on Instagram: @yonyon.j

Some Hikki promo in any form is always cool. But as somebody who has become very jaded over ‘DJs’ in this day and age, it was such a great to see some actual DJs show the art of DJ’ing. Actual DJ’ing is something which I don’t think gets enough recognition these days, in an age of people being able to get booked off of having a MacBook and an Apple Music account and being able to call themselves a DJ for simply playing music in public.

These DJ shenanigans at Tower Records also made me realise just how broad Hikaru Utada’s fanbase is, and how much a part of Japanese pop culture they are. Despite having been a fan of Hikaru’s for around 20 years now, I often forget just how big an impact Hikaru has made in Japanese music and how many generations her music manages to span. Every single one of the DJ’s knew the words to a whole bunch of Hikaru’s songs. And each of them had a clear preference for certain songs, which let you know that they had an awareness of Hikaru’s discography. This wasn’t just some random selection of DJ’s who had no real clue who the artist was they were spinning for. Well, with the exception of YonYon.

Hikaru Utada truly continues to be revered by many in Japan.

I have no idea how long these sets will stay up for. Because, Japan. They’ll probably end up being ‘archived’. So play them now. It’d be great if Hikaru’s team could put them on YouTube. Because me personally, I hate watching long form content on Instagram. It’s just not the right format for such a thing. And at least if the sets are on YouTube, then the United Republic of Utada can timestamp songs, so that everybody knows which song is which (especially in the case of DJ Yanatake’s set), and it make the sets available to stream on YouTube Music - for all of the 7 people who actually use YouTube Music.

⚠️ Update (May 21st): The sets are now on YouTube, and the videos have been added to this post.     

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