1st Edition

Making Jazz in Contemporary Japan A Passionate Search for Self-Expression

By Marie Buscatto Copyright 2025
    192 Pages 11 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    192 Pages 11 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Making Jazz in Contemporary Japan: A Passionate Search for Self-Expression explores the ways in which Japanese jazz musicians express themselves through their art—not to “Japanize” jazz, but to assert one’s creativity, passion, and capacity for self-expression—establishing it as an art form with its own sense of musicality and cultural, social, and economic concerns. This ethnographic survey contextualizes a shift in the Japanese jazz world over the last thirty years: What once was a culture dependent on the American influence is now a thriving local scene creating a wide variety of original, transnational compositions. Based on extensive interviews with nearly three dozen Japanese jazz musicians (both amateur and professional) and featuring portraits of well-known artists, this empirical investigation into how, where, and why jazz is performed opens doors to touch on culturally sensitive and taboo topics such as gender, sexuality, and indigenization. Suited for readers in global jazz studies and cultural study programs alike, Making Jazz in Contemporary Japan is a timely sociological consideration of the Japanese jazz diaspora, a necessary update to break free of established tropes and clichés envisioning Japanese artists as mere imitators.


    1. Jazz Clubs at the Heart of Japanese Jazz Making

    2: A Passionate Choice for Jazz: Escaping One’s Social Destiny

    3. Two Paths towards Self-expression

    4. The Paradoxical Feminization of Japanese Jazz



    Marie Buscatto is Professor in Sociology at the University of Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne in Paris, France.