Search results for: japanese-singers-of-tales-ten-centuries-of-performed-narrative

Japanese Singers of Tales Ten Centuries of Performed Narrative

Author : Alison McQueen Tokita
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Alison McQueen Tokita presents a series of case studies that demonstrate the persistence of Japanese sung narratives in a multiplicity of genres over ten centuries, including the way they flourished and declined, together with factors contributing to development and change in narrative performance. Performed narratives are examples of a shared cultural heritage, which in the past have given people a sense of belonging to a community. Narratives that were continually re-told and recycled in different versions and formats over a long period of time served to build people's sense of a common identity over space (the geographical extent of 'Japan') and time (the enduring power of many specific narratives such as The Tale of the Heike). Much scholarly attention has focused on Japanese pre-modern literature and drama, but the tradition of oral narrative has barely been touched. Tokita argues that it is possible to identify a continuous tradition of performed narrative in Japan from the tenth to the twentieth centuries. The elements of variation and change relate to the move away from oral narrative to text-based performance, and from a simple narrative situation with one performer to complex theatrical narratives with dancers, singers and other musicians. The resulting complexity led to the pre-eminence of the musical aspects in some cases, and of dramatic or dance aspects in others. Tokita includes substantial musical analysis and exploration of theoretical issues, as well as documentation of important performance traditions, all of which are extant.

The Ashgate Research Companion to Japanese Music

Author : David W. Hughes
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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.

Musical Entanglements between Germany and East Asia

Author : Joanne Miyang Cho
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This edited volume explores musical encounters and entanglements between Germany and East Asian nations from 1900 to the present. In so doing, it speaks to their dynamic and multi-faceted musical relations in multiple ways. Despite East Asia and Germany being located at opposite ends of the globe, German music has found remarkably fertile soil in East Asia. East Asians have enthusiastically adopted it, while at the same time adding their own musical interpretations. These musical encounters have produced compositions that reflect this mutual influence, stimulating and enriching each other through their entanglement. After more than a century of entanglement, Germany and East Asia have become kindred musical spirits.

Blind in Early Modern Japan

Author : Wei Yu Wayne Tan
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A history of the blind in Japan that challenges contemporary notions of disability

The Land We Saw the Times We Knew

Author : Gerald Groemer
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Japanese zuihitsu (essays) offer a treasure trove of information and insights rarely found in any other genre of Japanese writing. Especially during their golden age, the Edo period (1600–1868), zuihitsu treated a great variety of subjects. In the pages of a typical zuihitsu the reader encountered facts and opinions on everything from martial arts to music, food to fashions, dragons to drama—much of it written casually and seemingly without concern for form or order. The seven zuihitsu translated and annotated in this volume date from the early seventeenth to the late nineteenth centuries. Some of the essays are famous while others are less well known, but none have been published in their entirety in any Western language. Following a substantial introduction outlining the development of the genre, “Tales That Come to Mind” is an early seventeenth-century account of Edo kabuki theater and the Yoshiwara “pleasure quarters” penned by a Buddhist monk. “A Record of Seven Offered Treasures,” composed by a retired samurai-monk near the end of the seventeenth century, starts as a treatise on the proper education of youth but ends as a critique of the author’s own life and moral failings. Perhaps the most famous piece in the volume, “Monologue,” was drafted by the renowned Confucianist Dazai Shundai, a keen and insightful observer of life during the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries. Dazai treats, in turn, poetry, the tea ceremony, comic verse, music, theater, and fashion. “Idle Talk of Nagasaki” is an entertaining record of a journey to Nagasaki by a group of Confucianists in the early eighteenth century. In “Kyoto Observed,” a mid-eighteenth-century Edo resident compares the shogun’s and the emperor’s capital in a series of brief vignettes. An 1814 zuihitsu classic written by a physician, “A Dustheap of Discourses” presents another colorful mosaic of topics related to life in Edo. The book closes with “The Breezes of Osaka,” a lively essay by a highly cultured Edo administrator contrasting the food, life, and culture of his hometown with that of Osaka, where he briefly served as mayor in the 1850s.

The Tokugawa World

Author : Gary P. Leupp
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With over 60 contributions, The Tokugawa World presents the latest scholarship on early modern Japan from an international team of specialists in a volume that is unmatched in its breadth and scope. In its early modern period, under the Tokugawa shoguns, Japan was a world apart. For over two centuries the shogun’s subjects were forbidden to travel abroad and few outsiders were admitted. Yet in this period, Japan evolved as a nascent capitalist society that could rapidly adjust to its incorporation into the world system after its forced "opening" in the 1850s. The Tokugawa World demonstrates how Japan’s early modern society took shape and evolved: a world of low and high cultures, comic books and Confucian academies, soba restaurants and imperial music recitals, rigid enforcement of social hierarchy yet also ongoing resistance to class oppression. A world of outcasts, puppeteers, herbal doctors, samurai officials, businesswomen, scientists, scholars, blind lutenists, peasant rebels, tea-masters, sumo wrestlers, and wage workers. Covering a variety of features of the Tokugawa world including the physical landscape, economy, art and literature, religion and thought, and education and science, this volume is essential reading for all students and scholars of early modern Japan.


Author : Gerald Groemer
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Goze were Japanese female musicians with visual disabilities. The origins of goze can be traced to the medieval era, but it took until the Edo period (1600-1868) for goze to form guildlike occupational associations and create an identifiable musical repertory. From this time onward countless goze toured the Japanese countryside as professional singers and contributed immeasurably to rural musical culture. The best-documented goze lived in Echigo province in the Japanese northwest. This book recounts the history of goze and examines their way of life, their institutions, and their songs.

Orality Textuality and the Homeric Epics

Author : Jonathan L. Ready
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Written texts of the Iliad and the Odyssey achieved an unprecedented degree of standardization after 150 BCE, but what about Homeric texts prior to the emergence of standardized written texts? Orality, Textuality, and the Homeric Epics sheds light on that earlier history by drawing on scholarship from outside the discipline of classical studies to query from three different angles what it means to speak of Homeric poetry together with the word "text". Part I utilizes work in linguistic anthropology on oral texts and oral intertextuality to illuminate both the verbal and oratorical landscapes our Homeric poets fashion in their epics and what the poets were striving to do when they performed. Looking to folkloristics, part II examines modern instances of the textualization of an oral traditional work in order to reconstruct the creation of written versions of the Homeric poems through a process that began with a poet dictating to a scribe. Combining research into scribal activity in other cultures, especially in the fields of religious studies and medieval studies, with research into performance in the field of linguistic anthropology, part III investigates some of the earliest extant texts of the Homeric epics, the so-called wild papyri. By looking at oral texts, dictated texts, and wild texts, this volume traces the intricate history of Homeric texts from the Archaic to the Hellenistic period, long before the emergence of standardized written texts, in a comparative and interdisciplinary study that will benefit researchers in a number of disciplines across the humanities.

A History of Japanese Theatre

Author : Jonah Salz
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Japan boasts one of the world's oldest, most vibrant and most influential performance traditions. This accessible and complete history provides a comprehensive overview of Japanese theatre and its continuing global influence. Written by eminent international scholars, it spans the full range of dance-theatre genres over the past fifteen hundred years, including noh theatre, bunraku puppet theatre, kabuki theatre, shingeki modern theatre, rakugo storytelling, vanguard butoh dance and media experimentation. The first part addresses traditional genres, their historical trajectories and performance conventions. Part II covers the spectrum of new genres since Meiji (1868–), and Parts III to VI provide discussions of playwriting, architecture, Shakespeare, and interculturalism, situating Japanese elements within their global theatrical context. Beautifully illustrated with photographs and prints, this history features interviews with key modern directors, an overview of historical scholarship in English and Japanese, and a timeline. A further reading list covers a range of multimedia resources to encourage further explorations.

Memory Music Manuscripts

Author : Michaela Mross
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Kōshiki (Buddhist ceremonials) belong to a shared ritual repertoire of Japanese Buddhism that began with Tendai Pure Land belief in the late tenth century and spread to all Buddhist schools, including Sōtō Zen in the thirteenth century. In Memory, Music, Manuscripts, Michaela Mross elegantly combines the study of premodern manuscripts and woodblock prints with ethnographic fieldwork to illuminate the historical development of the highly musical kōshiki rituals performed by Sōtō Zen clerics. She demonstrates how ritual change is often shaped by factors outside the ritual context per se—by, for example, institutional interests, evolving biographic images of eminent monks, or changes in the cultural memory of a particular lineage. Her close study of the fascinating world of kōshiki in Sōtō Zen sheds light on Buddhism as a lived religion and the interplay of ritual, doctrine, literature, collective memory, material culture, and music. Mross highlights in particular the sonic dimension in rituals. Scholars of Buddhist and ritual studies have largely overlooked the soundscapes of rituals despite the importance of music for many ritual specialists and the close connection between the acquisition of ritual expertise and learning to vocalize sacred texts or play musical instruments. Indeed, Sōtō clerics strive to perfect their vocal skills and view kōshiki and the singing of liturgical texts as vital Zen practices and an expression of buddhahood—similar to seated meditation. Innovative and groundbreaking, Memory, Music, Manuscripts is the first in-depth study of kōshiki in Zen Buddhism and the first monograph in English on this influential liturgical genre. A companion website featuring video recordings of selected kōshiki performances is available at