Over the past 40 years in Hong Kong, the influences of Japanese popular culture have become widespread. In particular, Japanese popular music has played a significant role in Hong Kong's popular arts scene since the 1970s. However, the nature of this role has varied over the past decades. To help readers understand the changing development of this influence, this chapter will look first at the history of Hong Kong popular music by focusing on the changing influences of Japanese pop music in the past decades. Second, it will discuss how the image of Japan itself has been working to shape the image of Japanese pop music in the 1990s music scene. Last, it will examine how the globalization process, in the sense of compression of the world, is reflected in the history of Hong Kong popular music by focusing on the relationship between Japanese and Hong Kong popular music.
Many scholars and music critics agree that the roots or prototype of the Chinese commercial pop song (at least, that of which the composers and lyricist can be identified) is the Shanghai-style pop song known as Si Doi Kuk in Cantonese. This style of commercial music, which began to develop between the 1920s and the 1930s, flourished in the 1940s (Wong 1997:18). The songs were sung in Mandarin and were based mainly on the Chinese traditional minor key combined with some modern musical elements, such as the use of Western instruments (an influence of the "concession culture" of the time in Shanghai). The early establishment of a record industry helped the spread of the Shanghai pop song in China. Baak Doi record company (Hong Kong EMI at present) was established in Shanghai by a British merchant in the 1930s and accounted for about 90 percent of the market share of Mandarin pop song records in China from the late 1930s to the early 1940s (Wong 1997:21).