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J-WAVE logo (2020 - ).svg
Tokyo, Japan
Broadcast areaGreater Tokyo Area
Frequency81.3 MHz
Branding81.3 J-Wave
AffiliationsJapan FM League
OwnerJ-Wave Inc. (owned by Credit Saison, Nippon Broadcasting System, Kyodo News, and other stakeholders)
First air date
August 1, 1988 (as FM Japan)
Technical information
ERP57,000 Watts
Translator(s)Minato 88.3 MHz
WebcastJ-Wave on radiko
J-Wave on Ustream

J-Wave is a commercial radio station based in Tokyo, Japan, broadcasting on 81.3 FM from the Tokyo Skytree to the Tokyo area. J-Wave airs mostly music, covering a wide range of formats. The station is considered the most popular among FM broadcasts in Tokyo,[1] and has surprised the radio broadcast industry by gaining a higher popularity rate than an AM station (JOQR) in a survey conducted in June 2008.[2] J-Wave was founded in October 1988 with the callsign of JOAV-FM. It is a member station of the Japan FM League (JFL) commercial radio network.[3]


J-WAVE's slogan is "The Best Music on the Planet." The DJs are known as "navigators" (ナビゲーター, nabigētā). The music format can be considered a Japanese equivalent of the Western concept of Top 40 or CHR radio.

Hundreds of different jingles separate programs from commercials; they are generally played at the same decibel level and are variations on a single melody.[citation needed] J-Wave has been broadcast via satellite since 1994 and some of its programs also air on some community radio stations in Japan.


On December 10, 1987, J-WAVE was incorporated and started test broadcasts on the FM band at 81.3 MHz on August 1, 1988. On October 1 of that year at 5:00 a.m., it started transmission from Tokyo Tower. J-Wave was the 27th FM radio station nationwide to launch at that time, and the second in Tokyo. The name”J-WAVE” originally derived from a record shop WAVE in Roppongi, which also belonged to "Saison Group". While other radio stations focused more on presentation, J-WAVE adopted a "more music less talk" format. The station had a large fanbase because of its unusual programming style, playing music non-stop except for jingles and breaks for news, traffic and weather. The law in Japan at that time stipulated that programming had to be maximum 80% music, and minimum 20% talk and continuity. J-WAVE coined the term "J-pop", which is only vaguely defined but led to the eventual mirror term, K-pop. However, as the years went by, the station lost influence. Sponsor after sponsor pulled their ads because of the growing irrelevance of the programming to what they were selling.

Around 1995, J-WAVE hired new personalities in an attempt to rejuvenate itself. Its term "J-POP" became synonymous with commercially palatable Japanese music from across the spectrum, except for traditional Japanese music. Specials started to air around this time, and the station took steps to attract a listener base desirable for higher ad revenues. The format J-WAVE introduced to Japan, "more music less talk" almost disappeared during reorganization in early 1997, when DJ banter became more pronounced.

On October 1, 2003, J-WAVE moved its head office to the 33rd floor of the Roppongi Hills Mori Tower in Minato, Tokyo. On April 23, 2012, J-WAVE moved its transmitting station at Tokyo Tower to the Tokyo Sky Tree with new transmission power of 7 kilowatts with an ERP of 57 kilowatts. Before the move, the transmission power was 10 kilowatts with an ERP of 44 kilowatts.

Today, J-WAVE has changed dramatically since its first broadcast. The station acquired a solid listener base who were less interested in a pretense of social rebellion. Nonetheless, J-Wave has never hit the No. 1 rank in ratings in the last ten years[when?] in the Tokyo region.

Navigators (DJs)[edit]

(1988-1993) Popular Navigators with "obis", or daily shows, on J-Wave include:


Tokio Hot 100[edit]

J-WAVE has set up its own airplay charts,[4] which tallies the songs were played the most during that week on its own station. Note: These should not be confused with the Japanese single charts, Oricon, which has its own national airplay charts.[5]

There is also a TV version shown on MTV Japan.[6]


Song of the year (Slam Jam)[edit]


  1. ^ Condry, Ian (2006). Hip-hop Japan. Duke University Press. p. 175. ISBN 0-8223-3892-0.
  2. ^ "J-Wave has drawn considerable attention in the industry with the 'phenomenal overtaking by an FM station of AM'", reported ZAKZAK, an internet news branch of Sankei Digital on 2008-07-23. It said that J-Wave ranked fourth with 0.9% share, overtaking Nippon Cultural Broadcasting (0.8%).(in Japanese)[1] Archived 2009-04-03 at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ Kuniko Watenabe; Yuko Tsuchiya (2008). "Japan". In Indrajit Banerjee; Stephen Logan (eds.). Asian Communication Handbook 2008. AMIC. p. 240. ISBN 978-981-4136-10-5.
  4. ^ "81.3 FM RADIO". TOKIO HOT100 : J-WAVE 81.3 FM RADIO.
  5. ^ "オリコンランキング". ORICON NEWS.
  6. ^ http://www.mtvjapan.com/tv/program/rg_tokiohot100

External links[edit]