Sayonara Amerika, Sayonara Nippon

Sayonara Amerika, Sayonara Nippon: A Geopolitical Prehistory of J-Pop

MICHAEL K. BOURDAGHS
Copyright Date: 2012
Pages: 304
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.7312/bour15874
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  • Book Info
    Sayonara Amerika, Sayonara Nippon
    Book Description:

    From the beginning of the American Occupation in 1945 to the post-bubble period of the early 1990s, popular music provided Japanese listeners with a much-needed release, channeling their desires, fears, and frustrations into a pleasurable and fluid art. Pop music allowed Japanese artists and audiences to assume various identities, reflecting the country's uncomfortable position under American hegemony and its uncertainty within ever-shifting geopolitical realities.

    In the first English-language study of this phenomenon, Michael K. Bourdaghs considers genres as diverse as boogie-woogie, rockabilly, enka, 1960s rock and roll, 1970s new music, folk, and techno-pop. Reading these forms and their cultural import through music, literary, and cultural theory, he introduces readers to the sensual moods and meanings of modern Japan. As he unpacks the complexities of popular music production and consumption, Bourdaghs interprets Japan as it worked through (or tried to forget) its imperial past. These efforts grew even murkier as Japanese pop migrated to the nation's former colonies. In postwar Japan, pop music both accelerated and protested the commodification of everyday life, challenged and reproduced gender hierarchies, and insisted on the uniqueness of a national culture, even as it participated in an increasingly integrated global marketplace.

    Each chapter in Sayonara Amerika, Sayonara Nippon examines a single genre through a particular theoretical lens: the relation of music to liberation; the influence of cultural mapping on musical appreciation; the role of translation in transmitting musical genres around the globe; the place of noise in music and its relation to historical change; the tenuous connection between ideologies of authenticity and imitation; the link between commercial success and artistic integrity; and the function of melodrama. Bourdaghs concludes with a look at recent Japanese pop music culture.

    eISBN: 978-0-231-53026-2
    Subjects: History, Music, Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
    (pp. ix-xii)
  4. A NOTE ON NAMES AND THE TRANSLATION
    (pp. xiii-xvi)
  5. INTRODUCTION
    (pp. 1-10)

    In October 1984, I traveled to Japan for the first time. I was an undergraduate with little previous exposure to Japan; my trip across the Pacific had come about through a series of fortunate accidents. Thanks to them, I would be spending a year at Miyagi University of Education in Sendai, a city about 180 miles up the Pacific coast from Tokyo. I arrived in a daze, and my immediate submersion into the everyday life of the men’s dormitory that became my new home threw me even further off balance. My roommate H and the other dorm residents could not...

  6. 1 THE MUSIC WILL SET YOU FREE KUROSAWA AKIRA, KASAGI SHIZUKO, AND THE ROAD TO FREEDOM IN OCCUPIED JAPAN
    (pp. 11-48)

    The music came to an abrupt halt on August 15, 1945. It gave way first of all to a spoken-word recording: the airing over the NHK network of a prerecorded message in which Emperor Hirohito spoke over the radio for the first time, announcing Japan’s surrender. The broadcast shocked many, but it also confirmed what everybody already knew: that the nation had plunged into catastrophic failure. Japan’s cities lay in ruins, millions of its citizens were dead or dying, and Japan’s own actions had transformed it into a pariah nation. Moreover, it was on the verge of military occupation—an...

  7. 2 MAPPING MISORA HIBARI WHERE HAVE ALL THE ASIANS GONE?
    (pp. 49-84)

    When we take pleasure (or, for that matter, displeasure) in music, it often arrives through an imaginary process of mapping. We say, for example, that a given tune sounds French or Brazilian or Chinese, so that in enjoying the piece we are in fact enjoying a certain notion we have about life in France, Brazil, or China. This is true even for people who happen to be French, Brazilian, or Chinese—in fact, it is often especially true for them. National and ethnic cultures are primary codes by which we organize the experience of musicking and decide whether to imbibe...

  8. 3 MYSTERY PLANE SAKAMOTO KYŪ AND THE TRANSLATIONS OF ROCKABILLY
    (pp. 85-112)

    Rockabilly music bubbled under the surface for a year or two in Japan before exploding into public view in February 1958. That month, a number of Tokyo musicians who had been performing regularly at jazz coffeehouses and clubs on U.S. military bases appeared together at the First Nichigeki Western Carnival, a musical revue organized by Watanabe Misa of Watanabe Productions, a talent management agency. The results, captured in still photographs and newsreel films, were nothing short of sensational: wild young singers with Brill-Creamed hair slinging electric guitars, frantic teenage girls rushing the stage to grab at the musicians’ bodies—when,...

  9. 4 WORKING WITHIN THE SYSTEM GROUP SOUNDS AND THE COMMERCIAL AND REVOLUTIONARY POTENTIAL OF NOISE
    (pp. 113-158)

    In August 1968, the Tigers, one of the most successful of the mid-1960s “Group Sounds” bands, vowed that their forthcoming third album would mark a new departure for the quintet.¹ The popular weekly Shūkan heibon quoted bassist “Sally” (Kishibe Osami) as declaring, “We want to shed the skin of what the Tigers have been up to now. This LP is the first step in that image change.” Lead singer “Julie” (Sawada Kenji) reaffirmed the point: “I think Group Sounds has reached a turning point. And the Tigers need to undergo an image change too.”

    What sort of transformation did they...

  10. 5 NEW MUSIC AND THE NEGATION OF THE NEGATION HAPPY END, ARAI YUMI, AND YELLOW MAGIC ORCHESTRA
    (pp. 159-194)

    The most explicitly political form of popular music in 1960s Japan was folk. As in the English-speaking world, that term encompassed a broad range of meanings. From the early 1960s, there were campus-folk circles, organizing communal sing-alongs at coffee shops and pubs, and harmonizing to acoustic ballads in the mode of the Kingston Trio or Peter, Paul, and Mary.¹ Campus folk was primarily an amateur movement, but it also graduated performers into the ranks of professional music. Mike Maki became the first college-folk star when his recording of “Roses in Bloom” (Bara ga saita; music by hit maker Hamaguchi Kuranosuke)...

  11. 6 THE JAPAN THAT CAN “SAY YES” BUBBLEGUM MUSIC IN A POSTBUBBLE ECONOMY
    (pp. 195-222)

    It was during the mid-1950s period of spectacular economic growth (stimulated by the United States’ use of Japan as a staging base for the Korean War) that Ishihara Shintarō first stormed into the public eye—right around the time of the rockabilly boom discussed in chapter 3. In 1956, Ishihara’s story “Season of the Sun” (Taiyō no kisetsu) won the Akutagawa Prize, Japan’s most prestigious literary award. The story caused a public sensation with its cool depiction of hedonistic upper-class teenagers who reject the morality of their parents and instead seek only the pleasures of cruising, violence, and casual sex.¹...

  12. CODA
    (pp. 223-228)

    The period since 1991 has seen dramatic shifts in both the geopolitical environment in which Japanese performers and listeners “musick” and in the forms and contents of the sounds they make. The Cold War ended, and the imaginary geopolitical mapping of the popular music world organized around two poles, America and Japan, yielded to a more complex world in which Asian neighbors such as South Korea, China, and Taiwan have become predominant trade partners, strategic rivals, and potential markets for and sources of popular music. The bursting of the economic bubble in 1991 also brought to a close the period...

  13. NOTES
    (pp. 229-274)
  14. INDEX
    (pp. 275-286)