Sound Libraries: Syn delivers musical portraits of Tokyo
Issue: May/June 2022

Sound Libraries: Syn delivers musical portraits of Tokyo

TOKYO — Syn’s “Made In Japan” library has been used in TV adaptations of two novels set in Japan’s capital of Tokyo: HBO’s Tokyo Vice and Apple TV+’s Pachinko. Based on Jack Adelstein’s memoir, Tokyo Vice tells the story of an American journalist covering the Tokyo Crime Squad police beat in 2009. Pachinko, based on the bestseller by Min Jin Lee, follows a Korean immigrant family settling in Japan across four generations during the 20th century. 

Tokyo Vice

Syn ( collaborated on both projects with music licensing and ADR, helping to deliver authentic, captivating audio landscapes that were both individual and complex while reinforcing the Tokyo settings. For Tokyo Vice, Syn’s “Made In Japan” library of original contemporary Japanese music helped convey both mood and location. From strip-clubs to small Japanese bars, multiple needle-drop placements were used across the show.

Pachinko also provided an interesting challenge for the Syn team: having to deliver music that spanned decades of history, from pre-war jazz standards to 1980s' city pop hits. Liaising with a network of local labels and music licensing experts, Syn supported the Pachinko music team to provide authentic music options, including a few tracks from its “Made In Japan” collection.


Tokyo Vice and Pachinko both demonstrated a commitment to authenticity and accuracy, which align with Syn’s own ethos in providing extraordinary custom and licensed music resources,” explains Los Angeles-based Derek McNeill, Syn’s head of US music licensing. “With ‘Made In Japan,’ we kept one foot in the past with an acute ear for the present, working with a diverse range of artists to develop a catalog reflecting rich audio portraits that evoke a time, mood and — of course — location. It’s a variety of styles that combines the personal touch of custom music with the convenience and accessibility of a library.”