Aki and Maki - Fans of Isaac’s band. 

Bill and Eddie - The two Japanese women who play the drum and the bass in Coa.

The Boredoms - Legendary Osaka band, famous for its experimentalism, avant garde concepts, cryptic sense of style and humor, and onstage chaos.  Formed from members of dozens of bands, the group has also splintered off just as many from current and former members. 

Coa - Named after the “core” of “hardcore”, the band is made up of Bill and Eddie, women who play the drums and the bass guitar respectively.  Their jazz-hardcore music is incredibly sophisticated, and each is widely acknowledged as master of her instrument.

Corrupted - The Japanese group that sings mainly in Spanish.  Masters of sludgy, doom-laden drone music, they are among Japan’s most critically acclaimed heavy groups.

Cutie - lead singer/toy guitar player of the Ultra Fuckers.

Derek - Editor of a monthly magazine for the expatriate community.

Dia - Taiwanese-Japanese girl, joins Gamma after Tendo disappears.

ELP - Second drummer in Isaac’s band.

Etchi - Yamakusai’s bald, tattooed lover.

Go Kitty - Kou, drummer from Osaka band Permanent Voltage, with two lovely friends.

Half Japanese - Legendy weirdo group, none of whose members have a Japanese parent.

Iede Shonen - Hardcore posers from Himeji.  The lead singer likes to get naked onstage.

Keiko/Cake-oh - First drummer in Isaac’s band.

Kenji - Lead guitarist in Isaac’s band.

Kenshirou - Tokyo club owner. 

Love Beach - Osaka weirdos who play strange, drunken, violent, meandering art rock.

Love or Die - Premier all-girls hardcore punk scum band.

Meidama - Beautiful hipster who meets Isaac when he first arrives in Japan.  Since he can’t speak Japanese and she can’t speak English, they communicate in Bodylanguage.

Melt Banana - also known as MxBx, and one of Japan’s most energetic/innovative/electrifying bands. Sometimes described as “Minor Threat meets Captain Beefheart,” the band - against the odds - manages to pull it off. Lead singer Yasuko may be one of the most charismatic female lead singers this side of Robert Plant, bass player Rika is a monster, and guitar magician Agata seems to be doing ten things at once, playing the guitar as a conventional rock instrument as well as a black box of strange noises.  The band never seem to appear more than onces with the same drummer.

The Monkey - A character that appears on the last page of the book. 

Nagisa Ni te - Shibayama-san and Masako-san are well known in Japan, and in the US and Europe, for their gorgeous, psychedelic ballads of love and nature.

Ossan Alpha - An American guitarist and a Japanese drummer, is this an international version of the White Stripes?

Isaac Palmer - The central character of the book and its narrator.  A Canadian drifter who, after waking up next to a dead woman in Australia, flees the scene, and ends up in Japan, where he sets off the chain of events that are charted in the book. But how much are these events under his control.  And how do we know that’s his real name? Also refers to himself as Alex, Ben, COAM, Depp, Fletch, Frank, James, Jimmy, John, Mark Spektor, Stanley, Tiger, Tendo, Tetsuo, Tetsu, and other aliases

Pormm Circles - The bass player from premier psychadelic hardcore band Love Love laying on some vicious flower power.

Saboten - Owner/bartender of the Pink Elephant.

Saboten Kyodai - Three guys in cowboy hats.  Saboten Kyodai means “cactus brothers,” it’s also the Japanese title for the film “Three Amigos.”

Scheherezade - Belly dancer in Daimyo Gyoretsu.  Mysterious and distant, she somehow becomes Isaac’s only true confidante in Japan. But even with her, nothing is as it seems. 

Seamus - Irish DJ.

Sheraton - The Taiwanese owner of WuGuoJi pub, a gaijin hangout. 

Steve - The Japanese-American bartender at Tocca a Te music pub. 

Taro - Rhythm guitarist in Isaac’s band.

TEEM - rock ‘n’ roll lunatics, an Osaka indie supergroup formed of Yamamoto Seiichi (guitarist) of the Boredoms and Rovo and Rashinban and a million other bands, Jet Vel (vocals) of Empty Orchestra, Nana (bass) of the Futures, Voo Doo Broo Yoo and dozens of other bands, and the late China (drums), formerly of Shonen Knife and DMBQ and Droop and Rashinban and Jesus Fever and Music Start Against Young Assault.  Sadly, Nana “China” Nishiura was killed in a car accident in New Jersey in November, 2005. The Osaka music scene sorely misses her.

Tendo - Isaac’s co-worker at Gamma Club.

Tomoaki - Concert promoter, took Isaac and his band to Akame in rural Nara. 

Tomoe - Leader of the Daimyo Gyoretsu collective of masked noise performers.

Tom - Canadian, long-term resident of Osaka.

Tripod Jimmy - Shine and Simon are from New Zealand, Tomo and the drummer are from Japan.  Tripod Jimmy were a party institution.

Ultra Bide - Hide used to live in New York, and Ultra Bide put out an album on Jello Biafra’s Alternative Tentacles label.

Ultra Fuckers - the epochryphal Osaka scum band, led by Kawai Kazuki Langley (vocals, toy guitar), Izumi Headache (guitar) and Tom Nagata.  Former member Mob Norio won the prestigious Akutagawa Literary Prize in 2004. The band and its members appear in various guises throughout the novel.

Victor - Enters Isaac’s life in both Tokyo and Osaka. Opinionated about music and Japan, Victor’s long-term mission in Japan is unclear and Isaac mistrusts and avoids him.

Dave Wesson - Former marine Dave Wesson is a musician, builder, writer, artist, musician, family man and all around nice guy. 

Yamakusai Busu - Owner of the Gamma Club in Osaka’s Dotonbori district where Isaac works.

YDESTROYDE - A manic collective of musicians that play long, spacey, sophisticated, heavy songs, characterised by the type of music that the Boredoms were playing in the 1990s.

Yoshi - Meidama’s boyfriend, this Tokyo student and hipster introduces Isaac to the world of Japanese live music. 

Yuriko - Lead singer of Screaming Skull. Seems nice, but has a very bad temper. 

Zombie Watusi - Insane punk blues band.