Japanese Breakfast

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Japanese Breakfast
Michelle Zauner of Japanese Breakfast.jpg
Zauner performing live in 2017
Background information
Birth nameMichelle Zauner
OriginPhiladelphia, Pennsylvania Eugene, Oregon
Years active2013 (2013)–present
Associated acts

Japanese Breakfast is the solo musical project of musician Michelle Zauner. Under the alias, Zauner has released two studio albums: Psychopomp (2016) and Soft Sounds from Another Planet (2017).

The band's name, according to Zauner, is a juxtaposition of Asian exoticism and American culture. Zauner, a Korean-American, chose the name because she "grew up relating to Japanese culture quite a bit because it felt like the closest thing [she] had" to Korean popular culture in America.[1]


Before her solo project, Michelle Zauner fronted a solo project under the moniker Little Girl, Big Spoon. As a student at Bryn Mawr College, Zauner fronted Post Post, an indie pop band with other students from Bryn Mawr and Haverford Colleges.[2] Later, she started the Philadelphian emo band Little Big League.[3] Zauner fronted the band between 2011 and 2014, before returning to her hometown of Eugene, Oregon in 2013 as her mother was diagnosed with cancer.[3]

While in Oregon with her family, Zauner began recording solo music. She described the project as having much more to say after Tropical Jinx, the 2014 studio album by Little Big League. Originally Zauner began to record samples of music as a meditative exercise and "instant gratification".[4]

Zauner performing live with her band in 2017

On April 1, 2016, Japanese Breakfast released its first studio album, Psychopomp, under Yellow K Records. Zauner described the debut album as "dark and heavy-handed", although she had a desire to make the music urgent[5] and "sonically upbeat."[4]

On June 23, 2016, Japanese Breakfast was signed to the Dead Oceans label.[6] Its second album, Soft Sounds from Another Planet, was released on July 14, 2017, to "universal acclaim", with a Metacritic score of 83.[7] In Brian Shultz's review for The A.V. Club he gave it an A- grade and said, "there’s a confidence and crispness to Soft Sounds that shows just how fully realized Zauner’s formerly homemade experiments have become."[8]

In 2019, Japanese Breakfast released two singles under the W Hotels music label, Essentially and a cover of the Tears for Fears song, Head Over Heels.


Michelle Geslani of Consequence of Sound has described Japanese Breakfast's sound as experimental pop.[9] Anna Gaca of Spin has described it as lo-fi.[6]

Zauner has said she hopes her work can influence more Asian-Americans to be involved in music.[5]

On February 28, 2019, it was announced that the publishing rights to Michelle Zauner's memoir, Crying in H Mart, were won at auction by Knopf.[10]


Studio albums[edit]


Singles and Extended Plays[edit]


  • Maybes (on Too Real by Giraffage, 2017)
  • Polyvinyl 4-Track Singles Series, Vol. 3 (two songs, 2042 and Posing in Bondage, 2017)

Live Albums and Singles[edit]


  1. ^ Song, Sandra. "Japanese Breakfast on Grief, Imposter Syndrome, and Korean Representation". Teen Vogue. Retrieved 2018-04-07.
  2. ^ "DIY Music". Atavist. 2016-05-13. Retrieved 2017-07-17.
  3. ^ a b Teo-Blockey, Celine (September 15, 2016). "Interview: Japanese Breakfast's Michelle Zauner on death and 'Psychopomp'". AXS TV. 2929 Entertainment. Retrieved December 25, 2016.
  4. ^ a b Hannah, Andy (October 18, 2016). "In the Rugged Country: Michelle Zauner of Japanese Breakfast tells Andy Hannah about the loss which brought her back to the Pacific Northwest". The Line of Best Fit. Retrieved December 24, 2016.
  5. ^ a b Gardin, Russell. "Pop Music Has A Sense of Urgency: An Interview With Japanese Breakfast". FreePressHouston.com. Retrieved December 25, 2016.
  6. ^ a b Gaca, Anna (June 23, 2016). "Japanese Breakfast Shares 'Jane Cum' Video, Signs to Dead Oceans". Spin. Eldridge Industries. Retrieved May 31, 2017.
  7. ^ Soft Sounds From Another Planet by Japanese Breakfast, retrieved 2018-04-07
  8. ^ Shultz, Brian. "Japanese Breakfast, The Dears, Sheer Mag, and more in this week's music reviews". Music. Retrieved 2018-04-07.
  9. ^ Geslani, Michelle (May 4, 2017). "Japanese Breakfast announces new album, shares "Machinist" video — watch". Consequence of Sound. Retrieved May 31, 2017.
  10. ^ https://www.musicnewsnet.com/2019/02/japanese-breakfasts-michelle-zauner-signs-book-deal-for-memoir-with-knopf.html

External links[edit]