The Ashgate Research Companion to Japanese Music

Front Cover
Alison Tokita, Dr. David W. Hughes
Ashgate, 2008 - Music - 446 pages
Music is a frequently neglected aspect of Japanese culture. It is in fact a highly problematic area, as the Japanese actively introduced Western music into their modern education system in the Meiji period (1868-1911), creating westernized melodies and instrumental instruction for Japanese children from kindergarten upwards. As a result, most Japanese now have a far greater familiarity with Western (or westernized) music than with traditional Japanese music. Traditional or classical Japanese music has become somewhat ghettoized, often known and practised only by small groups of people in social structures which have survived since the pre-modern era. Such marginalization of Japanese music is one of the less recognized costs of Japan's modernization. On the other hand, music in its westernized and modernized forms has an extremely important place in Japanese culture and society, Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, for example, being so widely known and performed that it is arguably part of contemporary Japanese popular and mass culture. Japan has become a world leader in the mass production of Western musical instruments and in innovative methodologies of music education (Yamaha and Suzuki). More recently, the Japanese craze of karaoke as a musical entertainment and as musical hardware has made an impact on the leisure and popular culture of many countries in Asia, Europe and the Americas. This is the first book to cover in detail all genres including court music, Buddhist chant, theatre music, chamber ensemble music and folk music, as well as contemporary music and the connections between music and society in various periods. The book is a collaborative effort, involving both Japanese and English speaking authors, and was conceived by the editors to form a balanced approach that comprehensively treats the full range of Japanese musical culture.

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Context and change in Japanese music 1
music of gagaku and shomyo
4a First half of Shichi no Bongo as performed in the Tendai

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About the author (2008)

Alison Tokita is Associate Professor in the School of Languages, Cultures and Linguistics, Monash University, Australia. David W. Hughes is Senior Lecturer in Ethnomusicology, Department of Music, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, UK. Jacket illustration: Kindly supplied by Kunitachi College of Music, Japan, with permission from Professor Takeuchi Dokei. From the Takeuchi Dokei collection of colour woodblock prints. The picture is also to be found in Kunitachi College of Music Bibliography and Index Series 20, Kunitachi College of Music Library, 1994, Number 505, which also provides the following information about the illustration: 'Title of picture: Three courtesans playing sankyoku - the ensemble of kokyu, shamisen and koto (Meigi sankyoku awase). A three panel nishiki-e coloured woodblock print by Utagawa Fusatora (Utagawa Hiroshige III), 1869. In the background of the right-hand part of the picture can be seen the first Western-style hotel built in Japan. The text in the picture reads: Hotel building - the area is 42 ken (83.5 yards or 76.4 metres) wide by 40 ken (79.6 yards or 72.2 metres) deep; the roof height is 9 jobar; and 4 shaku (31.8 yards or 30.9 metres).'

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