The expression of sehnsucht in the Japanese city pop revival fandom through visual media on Reddit and YouTube


  • Rhea Vichot University of Wisconsin, Whitewater



Intermediality, Japanese popular culture, Japanese popular music, Nostalgia, Platform studies


Japanese city pop music, which emerged in the late 1970s through the late 1980s, saw a resurgence in interest in the late 2010s as an online revival fandom formed across multiple platforms. This emergent fandom has prompted scholars to ask why this fandom emerged and how this audience relates to music disconnected in time and place from themselves. Various forms of qualified nostalgia have been suggested to describe different modes of engagement with media of the past, although these terms are both semantically awkward and do not capture the case of engagement with media removed from the personal or generational past. However, sehnsucht, an alternative model of evaluating the past against the present, is better suited to describing the mode of connection between fans, music, and the past. A thematic analysis of visual media in a case study of conversations on the r/citypop subreddit and on YouTube reveals that city pop fans seem to cluster many of the themes of sehnsucht in their relationship to a musical genre from an idealized past removed from the austere present.