The Ashgate Research Companion to Japanese Music: 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

The Ashgate Research Companion to Japanese Music

1st Edition

By David W. Hughes

Edited by Alison McQueen Tokita


472 pages

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Hardback: 9780754656999
pub: 2008-10-22
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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.


'An excellent companion for anyone who wants to know about Japanese music whether it is a court, religious, theatrical, folk or popular genre. It is filled with the results of current research by Japanese and Western specialists and enriched with extensive examples in notation and on audio tracks. The book opens a new era in Japanese music studies.' William P. Malm, University of Michigan, USA ’… covers all periods and genres in great detail, and is much more than an overview. … if you absorb the collected knowledge of this volume, you probably know more about the subject than the average Japanese. There are many music samples. … an extensive bibliography (featuring enough works in western languages) is given, and an audio/videography …The book's accompanying CD features short excerpts, including folk music.’ FolkWorld ’Liberally illustrated and including a CD of examples … includes bibliographic review of materials in Japanese and Western languages … Recommended.’ Choice ’… a book for poring over, both with regard to its texts and its music examples; and it rewards reading across its various chapters. It is an articulate, forward-looking companion demanding interaction, but assuming a certain amount of self-reliance in its partner. It goes without saying that it is clearly essential for graduates in the field, and accordingly for graduate library collections; but with the considerable lean towards the survey in many of its essays, it would be well placed too in undergraduate collections supporting performing-arts orientated Asian Studies programs, and in collections supporting (ethno)musicology programs with a focus on East Asia. A most welcome new friend!’ Notes 'This book is highly recommended as a research companion for anyone delving into any Japanese music research topic. The resources consulted and collected here are excellent, drawing on the tremendous wealth of Japanese sources published over the years and guiding readers to v

Table of Contents

Contents: Foreword; Context and change in Japanese music, Alison McQueen Tokita and David W. Hughes; Court and religious music (1): history of gagaku and shomyo, Steven G. Nelson; Court and religious music (2): music of gagaku and shomyo, Steven G. Nelson; The musical narrative of The Tale of the Heike, Komoda Haruko; The Kyushu biwa traditions, Hugh de Ferranti; No and kyogen: music from the medieval theatre, Fujita Takanori; The shakuhachi and its music, Tsukitani Tsuneko; Sokyoku-jiuta: Edo-period chamber music, Philip Flavin; Gidayu-bushi: music of the bunraku puppet theatre, Yamada Chieko; Music in kabuki: more than meets the eye, Alison McQueen Tokita; Popular music before the Meiji period, Gerald Groemer; Folk music: from local to national to global, David W. Hughes; The music of Ryukyu, Robin Thompson; The music of the Ainu, Chiba Nobuhiko; Popular music in modern Japan, Christine Yano and Hosokawa Shuhei; Western-influenced 'classical' music in Japan, Judith Ann Herd; Bibliography; Audio/videography; Index.

About the Author/Editor

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.

About the Series

SOAS Studies in Music Series

SOAS Musicology Series is today one of the world’s leading series in the discipline of ethnomusicology. Our core mission is to produce high-quality, ethnographically rich studies of music-making in the world’s diverse musical cultures. We publish monographs and edited volumes that explore musical repertories and performance practice, critical issues in ethnomusicology, sound studies, historical and analytical approaches to music across the globe. We recognize the value of applied, interdisciplinary and collaborative research, and our authors draw on current approaches in musicology and anthropology, psychology, media and gender studies. We welcome monographs that investigate global contemporary, classical and popular musics, the effects of digital mediation and transnational flows.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
MUSIC / General