What does modern Japan sound like? How does sound contribute to a sense of what makes Japan modern? This course investigates Japan from 1868 to the present through the lens of sound and musical performance. This class will examine the creation and consumption of Japanese popular music from the late nineteenth century to the present day so that students can consider how popular music (including gidayu, popular musical theater, musicals, folk music, ambient music, noise) voices praise for and concerns about the cultural and political moment of the twentieth century. We will work to identify how music--and the musical-- illustrates modernity, connects Japan to global musical currents, embodies fashion and youth culture.
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