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Author Bender, Shawn Morgan
Title Drumming between tradition and modernity: Taiko and neo-folk performance in contemporary Japan
book jacket
Descript 280 p
Note Source: Dissertation Abstracts International, Volume: 64-07, Section: A, page: 2536
Chair: David K. Jordan
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of California, San Diego, 2003
This dissertation reassesses and expands scholarly insights into "invented tradition" in the light of field research among taiko drumming ensembles in Japan. Even though their costumes and instrumentation evoke the older festival and religious traditions of Japan, taiko ensembles have appeared only recently in Japanese history. What's more, out of a handful of groups in the nineteen-sixties, there are now thousands of taiko ensembles distributed across Japan. Yet, while they do have important historical antecedents, the dissertation does not suggest that these ensembles constitute invented tradition. Rather, it contends that they are representative of a new site of "neo-folk" culture in contemporary Japan in which elements of regional folk entertainments and classical theatrical accompaniments are rearranged and recombined within community-based groups interested in innovative performance, not the imitation or preservation of tradition
The dissertation shows how the origin and rapid proliferation of these groups in the postwar period was both enabled and encouraged by broader shifts in Japanese society during this time, particularly the reconfiguration of urban and rural space accompanying rapid economic growth, the attempts of governmental bodies to revitalize local community and festivity, and, in the face of the increasingly pervasive influence of Western culture, the reconceptualization of formerly "backwards" regional folk culture as a pristine Japanese national essence. This combination of social change and musical creation has resulted in a preponderance of ensemble taiko groups identifying closely with the local communities in which they are active. This in turn has led, on the one hand, to an accentuation of local identity in taiko performance and instruction, especially in distinctive movements of the body, and, on the other hand, to a minimization of local identity by a national taiko organization interested in reducing the importance of local differentiation in order to legitimate ensemble taiko as a national performing art
By considering in detail how the Japanese taiko drum has been put to new use in contemporary Japan, this dissertation contributes to the scholarly understanding of the way in which objects and practices inherited from the past are appropriated and redefined in modern societies
School code: 0033
Host Item Dissertation Abstracts International 64-07A
Subject Anthropology, Cultural
Alt Author University of California, San Diego
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