Japanese Breakfast

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Japanese Breakfast
Zauner performing live in 2017
Zauner performing live in 2017
Background information
Birth nameMichelle Zauner
Born (1989-03-29) March 29, 1989 (age 31)[1][2]
Seoul, South Korea
OriginPhiladelphia, Pennsylvania Eugene, Oregon
Years active2013 (2013)–present
Associated acts

Japanese Breakfast is the solo musical project of musician Michelle Zauner (born March 29, 1989). Under the alias, Zauner has released two studio albums: Psychopomp (2016) and Soft Sounds from Another Planet (2017).


Michelle Zauner was born in Seoul, South Korea to a Korean and Jewish family.[2] Her family moved to Eugene, Oregon when she was nine months old.[2]

Before her solo project, 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.[3] Later, she started the Philadelphian emo band Little Big League.[4] 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.[4]

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".[5]

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 a confrontation of her mother's death [6] as well as "dark and heavy-handed", although she had a desire to make the music urgent[7] and "sonically upbeat."[5]

On June 23, 2016, Japanese Breakfast was signed to the Dead Oceans label.[8] Her second album, Soft Sounds from Another Planet [9], was released on July 14, 2017, to "universal acclaim", with a Metacritic score of 83.[10] 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."[11]

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".

In 2020, Japanese Breakfast collaborated with Ryan Galloway of the band Crying to form Bumper (stylized BUMPER) and released an EP called "pop songs 2020" on YouTube.


Michelle Geslani of Consequence of Sound has described Japanese Breakfast's sound as experimental pop.[12] Anna Gaca of Spin has described it as lo-fi.[8]

Zauner has said she hopes her work can influence more Asian-Americans to be involved in music.[7]

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.[13]


Studio albums[edit]


Singles and EPs[edit]

  • Essentially (2019)
  • Head Over Heels (cover, 2019)
  • pop songs 2020 (as BUMPER, 2020)


  • 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. ^ Dye, Ashley (April 6, 2018). "Japanese Breakfast talks 'Boyish' music video, grief and positivity, touring and more". Tampa Bay Times. Archived from the original on April 8, 2018. Retrieved March 8, 2020.
  2. ^ a b c Burack, Emily (August 24, 2018). "18 Things to Know About the Jewish Korean Musician Behind Japanese Breakfast". heyalma.com. Archived from the original on August 30, 2018. Retrieved March 8, 2020.
  3. ^ "DIY Music". Atavist. 2016-05-13. Archived from the original on 2018-04-07. Retrieved 2017-07-17.
  4. ^ a b Teo-Blockey, Celine (September 15, 2016). "Interview: Japanese Breakfast's Michelle Zauner on death and 'Psychopomp'". AXS TV. 2929 Entertainment. Archived from the original on December 25, 2016. Retrieved December 25, 2016.
  5. ^ 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. Archived from the original on December 25, 2016. Retrieved December 24, 2016.
  6. ^ "Japanese Breakfast - Albums, Songs, and News". Pitchfork. Retrieved 2020-06-25.
  7. ^ a b Gardin, Russell. "Pop Music Has A Sense of Urgency: An Interview With Japanese Breakfast". FreePressHouston.com. Archived from the original on December 25, 2016. Retrieved December 25, 2016.
  8. ^ a b Gaca, Anna (June 23, 2016). "Japanese Breakfast Shares 'Jane Cum' Video, Signs to Dead Oceans". Spin. Eldridge Industries. Archived from the original on May 18, 2017. Retrieved May 31, 2017.
  9. ^ "Japanese Breakfast - Music". japanesebreakfast.rocks. Retrieved 2020-06-06.
  10. ^ Soft Sounds From Another Planet by Japanese Breakfast, archived from the original on 2018-03-16, retrieved 2018-04-07
  11. ^ Shultz, Brian. "Japanese Breakfast, The Dears, Sheer Mag, and more in this week's music reviews". Music. Archived from the original on 2018-01-25. Retrieved 2018-04-07.
  12. ^ Geslani, Michelle (May 4, 2017). "Japanese Breakfast announces new album, shares "Machinist" video — watch". Consequence of Sound. Archived from the original on May 6, 2017. Retrieved May 31, 2017.
  13. ^ "JAPANESE BREAKFAST'S MICHELLE ZAUNER SIGNS BOOK DEAL FOR MEMOIR WITH KNOPF". Music News Net. Archived from the original on March 27, 2019. Retrieved Apr 7, 2020.

External links[edit]