Focus: Music in Contemporary Japan explores a diversity of musics performed in Japan today, ranging from folk song to classical music, the songs of geisha to the screaming of underground rock, with a specific look at the increasingly popular world of taiko (ensemble drumming). Discussion of contemporary musical practice is situated within broader frames of musical and sociopolitical history, processes of globalization and cosmopolitanism, and the continued search for Japanese identity through artistic expression. It explores how the Japanese have long negotiated cultural identity through musical practice in three parts:
Part I, "Japanese Music and Culture," provides an overview of the key characteristics of Japanese culture that inform musical performance, such as the attitude towards the natural environment, changes in ruling powers, dominant religious forms, and historical processes of cultural exchange.
Part II, "Sounding Japan," describes the elements that distinguish traditional Japanese music and then explores how music has changed in the modern era under the influence of Western music and ideology.
Part III, "Focusing In: Identity, Meaning and Japanese Drumming in Kyoto," is based on fieldwork with musicians and explores the position of Japanese drumming within Kyoto. It focuses on four case studies that paint a vivid picture of each respective site, the music that is practiced, and the pedagogy and creative processes of each group.
The accompanying CD includes examples of Japanese music that illustrate specific elements and key genres introduced in the text. A companion website includes additional audio-visual sources discussed in detail in the text.
Jennifer Milioto Matsue is an Associate Professor at Union College and specializes in modern Japanese music and culture.
List of Figures Musical Examples on Compact Disc List of Examples on Companion Website About the Author Series Foreword by Michael B. Bakan Preface Maps East Asian Historical Periods Part I. Japanese Music and Culture 1. Japanese Music in Geographical, Historical and Cultural Context 2. Japanese Cultural Identity and Musical Modernity Part II. Sounding Japan 3.Performing Music of the Pre-Modern Era 4. Making Music in the Modern Era Part III. Focusing In: Identity, Meaning and Japanese Drumming in Kyoto 5. Taiko and the Marketing of Tradition in Kyoto 6. Four Case Studies and Some Conclusions: Tosha Rōetsu and the Pontochō Okeiko Basara and the One-Room Schoolhouse Matsuri-shū and the Kyoto Taiko Center Murasaki Daiko and the Proper Dōjō 7. Conclusion: The Future of Japanese Music Appendices: A. "Echigojishi" (Yoshizumi Kojūrō-fu for shamisen) B. "Echigojishi" (Kineya bunkafu for shamisen) C. "Echigojishi" (Japanese score for ko-tsuzumi and ō-tsuzumi by Tosha Rōetsu) D. "Echigojishi" (Western score for ko-tsuzumi and ō-tsuzumi by Yamauchi Reach) Glossary Additional Resources
The Focus on World Music Series is designed specifically for area courses in world music and ethnomusicology. Written by the top ethnomusicologists in their field, the Focus books balance sound pedagogy with exemplary scholarship. Each book provides a telescopic view of the musics and cultures addressed, giving the reader a general introduction on the music and culture of the area and then zooming in on different musical styles with in-depth case studies.