Tokyo Jazz Site (TJS) was started in late 2007 by James Catchpole as a blog devoted to a simple quest: visit and briefly profile every jazz related establishment in the Greater Tokyo Metropolitan Area. The jazz scene here is extensive and diverse, including bars, cafes, clubs, record shops, performance spaces and festivals. Although New York City may be the center of the jazz world for live music, there’s nowhere in the world where you can hear jazz in more diverse & random places than in Japan.
That said, the Tokyo Metro area is massive, with over 50 train lines and 1000+ look-alike stations. Finding some of the tiny jazz joints can be tough, especially if you cannot speak Japanese. The aim of TJS was and is to help the lost jazz fan find the best spots in town, no matter where they may be. Over time the website expanded to include interviews, articles, a podcast and more.
TJS has been featured in publications including the Japan Times, Asia Wall St. Journal, BBC Radio 3, The Tokyo Journal, BBC Travel, Smithsonian magazine, DownBeat, Wax Poetics, Departures Magazine, Vinyl Factory, Jazz On The Tube and Time Out Tokyo. James acted as a consultant and was interviewed for the TV program “Jazz in the City: Tokyo”, produced by and broadcast on Dutch national broadcaster NPS. In summer 2010 he featured in Singaporean TV program “Asia By Taxi” and in 2012 he consulted on and was featured in the French TV program Jazzed Out
In 2018 he appeared on Coy Wire’s CNN program ‘True Tokyo’
Over the life of TJS James has interviewed many visiting and local musicians including Jack DeJohnette, David Murray, Christian McBride, Nicholas Payton, Vijay Iyer, Ozone Makoto, Jeff ‘Tain’ Watts, Marcus Gilmore, Gilad Hekselman, Wolfgang Muthspiel, Yagi Michiyo, Anyango, Otsuka Hiroko, Tomikawa Masashi, Hino Terumasa, Cheikh Lo, Jupiter Okwess, Brian Blade, Makaya McCraven, Kuwabara Ai, Grace Mahya, Nakamura Akira, , Sone Mao and many more.
From March 2013 through October 2014 James hosted the weekly radio program OK Jazz on 76.1 InterFM in Tokyo. In 2015 he started the OK Jazz podcast, now heard in over 40 countries. A special edition broadcast of OK Jazz can also be heard daily at Yokohama Bay Quarters In July 2016 James started hosting a new show called Tokyo Jazz Map on JJazzNet, an online radio site based in Japan that features contemporary Japanese jazz. Since 2015 he has with photographer Philip Arneill co-led the Tokyo Jazz Joints photo project, aiming to visually capture the hidden, slowly dying world of old jazz dives in Japan. He can be found DJing around Tokyo at Li-Po, Bonobo, the Cactus Club, Brooklyn Parlor, Elecrtik Jinja, INC Cocktails and elsewhere.
If you have any burning Qs please email James at moc.e1571861985tiszz1571861985ajoyk1571861985ot@zz1571861985ajkor1571861985m1571861985