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the world of music 46, 2004-2

Japanese Musical Traditions
In memory of Linda Kiyo Fujie

Editor: Max Peter Baumann
Co-Editor: Jonathan P. J. Stock

Guest Editors:
Jane Alaszewska / Tsuge Gen’ich

ISSN 0043-8774

 

Content

Articles

Jane Alaszewska / Tsuge Gen’ichi
Preface

Gerald Groemer
The Rise of “Japanese Music”

Patrick Halliwell
Groupism and Individualism in Japanese Traditional Music

Terence Lancashire
The kagura Dance: Variation and the Problem of Representation in Iwami kagura

Henry Johnson
To and From an Island Periphery: Tradition, Travel and Transforming Identity in the Music of Ogasawara, Japan

Jane Alaszewska
Edo Traditions on the “Islands of Exile:” The Narrative Ballads of the Southern Izu Islands

Barbara E. Thornbury
Cultural Policy and Private Initiative: The Performing Arts at The Japan Society, New York

Gen’ichi Tsuge
Coercively Standardized or Not: Romanization Systems of the Japanese Language in the Music Literature

 

Book Reviews (Tina K. Ramnarine, ed.)

Wayne Marshall
Louise Meintjes, Sound of Africa!: Making Music Zulu in a South African Studio

Matthew Allen
Buonomo, Pia Srinivasan and S. A. Srinivasan, The Goddess Mariyamman in Music and in Sociology of Religion

Amelia Maciszewski
Abbas, Shemeem Burney, The Female Voice in Sufi Ritual: Devotional Practices in Pakistan and India

Tina K. Ramnarine
Ashok Da Ranade, Reflections on Musicology & History—With Reference to Hindustani Music and R. C. Mehta (ed.), Indian Music —Eminent Thinkers on Core Issues


Recording Reviews (Gregory F. Barz, ed.)

Timothy Rommen
Recording Review Essay—Alan Lomax and Caribbean Voyage: The 1962 Field Recordings

Keith Howard
Recording Review Essay—Evoking Siberian Shamanism

Will Prentice
Maqâm Dugâh: Uzbek-Tajik Shash-maqâm. Inedit

Terry E. Miller
Songs of the Old Regular Baptists: Lined-out Hymnody from Southeastern Kentucky. Smithsonian-Folkways Recordings

Edda Brandes
Tartit. Ichichila: Desert Blues from Malian Tuareg. Network Medien

S. Louis Winant
Taquachito Nights: Conjunto Music from South Texas. Smithsonian Folkways Recordings

Florian Carl
Chiweshe, Stella. Talking Mbira: Spirits of Liberation. Piranha

Fernando Rios
Sacambaya de Bolivia: En el Alma de los Andes. ARC Music Productions

Stefan P. Fiol
Oscar Benito: The Paraguayan Harp. ARC Music Studio

Jonathan Ray McCollum
Treasures of Light: The Spirit of Armenian Sharakans. CCn’C Records

 

Abstracts

Preface
Jane Alaszewska and Tsuge Gen’ichi

The volume opens with a detailed reexamination of the concept of Japanese music. The following paper explores the social organization of traditional musicians. The next paper offers an analysis of Shinto ritual dance and music. We then have two papers examining the musical cultures of Japan’s peripheries. The first of which deals with the marginal survival of narrative ballads. The other details the construction of musical tradition on islands returned to Japanese sovereignty in 1968. The fifth paper examines the role of organizations promoting Japanese music outside Japan. Finally, a short essay discusses aspects of the different romanization systems of the Japanese language.

The Rise of “Japanese Music”
Gerald Groemer

The term “Japanese Music” (h?gaku or Nihon ongaku) is today used both in and out of Japan to refer to what is usually treated as a body of music with definable and unique characteristics. These attributes, in turn, are generally thought to relate closely to geographical, psychological, spiritual, or other supra-historical traits of the Japanese land and people. This paper seeks to trace the emergence and growth of the idea of “Japanese music” and to demonstrate that the rise of this concept has depended not on eternal structures or immutable “core values” but rather on the specific historical development of Japanese economics, politics, and culture. It is this historical process that has provided both the conditions and the motivating force for the concept of “Japanese music” to appear and to develop into what it has today become.

Groupism and Individualism in Japanese Traditional Music
Patrick Halliwell

This article considers Japanese traditional music, with emphasis on the world of koto music, in terms of the broad social themes of groupism and individualism. A distinction is made between the social organization of music-making and the act of music-making. It is shown that the former, through the ryûha-iemoto systems, is dominated by groupism; specific incidents illustrate a strong degree of social control over musical activity (learning and performance) extending even to stylistic detail. This is a hierarchical form of groupism, in which the greatest benefits (musical freedom, recognition, power, and money) are for those at the top. The act of music-making, on the other hand, offers opportunities for individualism. The benkyô-kai (“study concert”) illustrates a growing degree of freedom and individuality with musical accomplishment and experience. In addition, there are structural features in the genres of jiuta-sôkyoku (instrumental timbre, idiomatic techniques of sound-production, and a compositional technique of rhythmic/melodic offsetting) which contribute to the identity and importance of each musical part, and therefore make this a very individualistic music, even within the stylistic restraints of groupism.

The Kagura Dance: Variation and the Problem of Representation in Iwami Kagura
Terence Lancashire

Japanese folk performing arts are regional and are often identified by the place names of the areas in which they are located. Regional titles give the impression of a united tradition but on closer examination variation is observable between different exponents of the same tradition. This paper examines the kagura dance—a ritual shrine entertainment—of the Iwami area in western Shimane prefecture as performed by two kagura performing groups within the same transmission lineage. It reveals a remarkable degree of variation in the interpretation of kagura dances, making identification of the Iwami tradition on a regional basis problematic. In terms of transmission of the dance, it is perhaps more appropriate to speak of tradition at the level of each performing group.

To and From an Island Periphery: Tradition, Travel and Transforming Identity in the Music of Ogasawara, Japan
Henry Johnson

This is a study of tradition, travel and transforming identity in the music of one of Japan’s most southerly island groups, Ogasawara (also known as the Bonin islands). Japan has several peripheral regions, and in the southwest—about 1,000 km from the mainland (i.e., Honshû—is Ogasawara. These small islands, which have a population of about 2,500, have a relatively recent social history of around two hundred years, and, unlike most other Japanese regions, have a definite geographic and cultural context in the Pacific with much non-Japanese contact and settlement. Indeed, it is the eclectic mix of peoples, together with Ogasawara’s place as a Japanese geographic and cultural periphery, which has been foregrounded in recent years in the islands’ traditional musicš—both by islanders and other Japanese. Moreover, this music has not only occupied a position that has been negotiated in Ogasawara’s search for its own contemporary cultural identity, but has also been transformed in a national representation by several popular music performers and groups, and then re-established and re-negotiated in the islands’ present-day perception of its traditional and quite recent past.
With several unique music genres that are quite different from others in Japan, the folk music of Ogasawara has captured the attention of several mainland Japanese popular musicians. While the islands’ music has a small position in an immense Japanese music industry, what is particularly significant for the music researcher of place and identity are the interconnections, travel and transformation of the music. That is, the mainland musicians have reproduced songs, which themselves have only a recent history on Ogasawara, and these have subsequently become popular for locals and tourists alike—about 30,000 tourists visit each year. It is these complex roots/routes that are explored in this article. The study looks at the ways the same music is transformed through travel for different reasons, and how an examination of borrowing, invention and transformation can help in understanding not only the place of so-called traditional music in one of Japan’s peripheries today, but also how and why that place is imagined and consumed in parts of Japan that are politically very close, albeit geographically, and sometimes culturally quite distant.

Edo Traditions on the “Islands of Exile:” The Narrative Ballads of the Southern Izu Islands
Jane Alaszewska

Kudoki bushi are long narratives with dramatic plots sung to simple, strophic melodies. The genre flourished in the Edo period, performed by itinerant musicians and by local communities at the bon ancestral festival. By the late nineteenth century audiences grew tired of lengthy kudoki and the genre was eclipsed by shorter, livelier repertories. It was to my surprise that I encountered a pocket of Japan where the art of kudoki is still alive. In Aogashima, a tiny community of Pacific islanders on the edge of Tokyo Prefecture, this popular entertainment of the Edo period has been transformed into a central part of the local repertory.
Focusing on kudoki, this paper explores the diffusion of mainland repertories to the Southern Izu islands and their assimilation into island culture. It examines kudoki performance on neighbouring islands in the twentieth century, exploring divergence in the tradition as one island embraces tourism and the other retains its traditional isolation. It concludes with a look at recent attempts to revive this performance at the heart of the community.

Cultural Policy and Private Initiative: The Performing Arts at The Japan Society, New York
Barbara E. Thornbury

Since its establishment in 1907, the Japan Society, New York, has developed into one of the most influential cultural organizations in the world in the areas of Japanese drama, dance, and music. The influential position that the Society has attained in the performing arts is built on a set of strategic relationships in five sectors: creative personnel; academic—as well as non-academic—specialists in the performing arts and Japanese culture; arts administrators; funding agencies; and individual audience members represented by the newly-formed “Friends of the Performing Arts.” Once an exponent of the “traditional”-equal-“authentic” model of Japanese culture, the Japan Society now takes the lead in presenting innovative and experimental work that forthrightly addresses issues of culture, society, and history.

Coercively Standardized or Not: Romanization Systems of the Japanese Language in the Music Literature
Tsuge Gen’ichi

Transliteration of the Japanese language in the Latin alphabet has been actively attempted since the mid-nineteenth century. There exist at least three major transliteration systems, not mentioning some earlier attempts by Portuguese and Dutch. They are the so-called Hepburn system (a system devised by Anglophones) the Nippon system (based on the morphological structure of Japanese) and the kunrei system, a modified version of this latter system.
The 1954 cabinet notification concerning romanization recommends use of the kunrei system as a general rule, while at the same time allowing recourse to the Hepburn system and Nippon systems “under certain circumstances.” As a result, the current coexistence of all three systems leads to some confusion. Although adoption of a unified system would make life easier, this is unlikely to happen in the near future. However, the increasingly widespread use of English has given the Hepburn system advantage over its rivals. Therefore, it is unreasonable to coercively standardize the romanization into either the relatively unpopular Nippon or kunrei systems at this point will only confuse the bibliographer of Japanese music.

 

 

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