Aside from the USA's incomparable music industry, Japan's market is the largest in the world.
With an impressively diverse range of musical styles from folk to pop to enka, there is more than enough to keep any audiophile busy.
In terms of style, sound and shelf life Japanese pop is not dissimlar to that of the West. And as such the importance of the image often outweighs that of the songs.
That is not to say that all J-Pop is unlistenable. In fact in recent years a 'renaissance' in the industry has seen young, talented artists produce some interesting music in genres such as hip hop and rap; genres that previously held little interest in mainstream Japan.
A traditional style of music thats main theme is of melancholy and nostalgia. While it's popularity is far from what it was in its heyday, it still holds a significant place in the music industry, especially with the older generation. In fact, if you should find yourself in the smokey atmosphere of a local snack bar, one should expect to hear the drunken slurs of a middle-aged salaryman singing this genre of music through the kareoke system!