1) What music instrument do you play?
none 53.5%
piano 27.4%
guitar 13.9%
electric organ 4.9%
trumpet 3.3%
flute 2.9%
western drums 2.2%
saxophone 1.9%
accordion 1.9%
violin 1.7%
harmonica 1.2%

2) What music instrument did you play when you were a elementary school student?
piano 44.1%
none 33.3%
harmonica 8.7%
organ 8.0%
elctric organ 7.0%
trumpet 3.8%
guitar 3.8%
violin 2.8%
xylophone 2.6%

3) What are your favourite music styles?
western pop 60.0%
j-pop 53.2%
rock 35.4%
classic 32.6%
jazz 24.4%
techno/dance 14.9%
soul 13.4%
blues 10.9%
rap 9.9%
asian pop 7.4%
opera 6.8%
folk songs 3.4%
regional songs 3.3%
traditional japanese 2.7%
enka 2.0%
In August 2001, we sent questionnaires to about 5700 people who were registered in the category of Japan of our pen pal service, and who indicated that they are willing to participate in surveys. We received 758 valid responses from Japanese people who live in Japan. As always, about 75% of the respondents were between 20 and 40 years old, i.e. this survey is in no way representative for the whole Japanese population. In addition, we must consider the fact that all survey participants are registered in an online international pen pal service, which may or may not mean that they are overall more internationally and less traditionally oriented than the average Japanese.

The survey results show that 47 percent of all survey participants play a music instrument. Furthermore, the percentage of women playing an instrument is with 54 percent clearly higher than that of men among whom only 40 percent indicated to play an instrument.

The overall most popular instrument is the piano. Almost four out of ten women responded to play the piano, while the same was also true for 16 percent of men. Among men, however, the top spot (20%) is occupied by the guitar which is also played by 7 percent of women. Other popular music instruments are the electric organ (4.9), the trumpet (3.3%), the flute (2.9%) and Western style drums (2.2%).

Traditional Japanese instruments did not do well in our survey. According to the survey results, the koto is the most popular traditional Japanese music instrument played by 2.1 percent of female survey participants, followed by the Shamisen with about 0.6 percent among men and women.

In our next question, we asked the survey participants what instrument they played (outside of school) when they were elementary school students. Again, the piano topped the list clearly with 44 percent. Other popular instrument among elementary students were the harmonica (9%), the organ (8%) and the electric organ (7%).

Finally, we wanted to know very generally what music styles are most popular among the younger generations of Japanese nowadays, and asked for their favourite music styles. According to our survey results, Western and Japanese pop music top the list clearly. Among men, J-Pop is most popular with 54 percent before Western pop music with 51 percent, while the situation is opposite among women where Western music was selected by 69 percent and J-Pop by 52 percent.

Other often selected favourite music styles were rock (35%), classic (33%), jazz (24%) and techno (15%). Not particularly in the favour of today's younger generations, however, seem to be traditional Japanese music (2.7%) and enka (2.0%).