By E. Taylor Atkins
Japan’s jazz community—both musicians and audience—has been begrudgingly well-known within the usa for its expertise, wisdom, and point of appreciation. Underpinning this tentative admiration, even if, has been a tacit contract that, for cultural purposes, jap jazz “can’t swing.” In Blue Nippon E. Taylor Atkins indicates how, surprisingly, Japan’s personal angle towards jazz is based in this comparable ambivalence approximately its authenticity. Engagingly advised during the voices of many musicians, Blue Nippon explores the real and bonafide nature of eastern jazz. Atkins friends into Nineteen Twenties dancehalls to ascertain the japanese Jazz Age and demonstrate the origins of city modernism with its new set of social mores, gender kin, and customer practices. He exhibits how the interwar jazz interval then turned a troubling image of Japan’s intimacy with the West—but how, even through the Pacific battle, the roots of jazz had taken carry too deeply for the “total jazz ban” that a few nationalists wanted. whereas the allied career used to be a setback within the look for an indigenous jazz sound, eastern musicians back sought American validation. Atkins closes out his cultural heritage with an exam of the modern jazz scene that rose up out of Japan’s miraculous monetary prominence within the Nineteen Sixties and Nineteen Seventies yet then leveled off through the Nineties, as tensions over authenticity and identification persisted.With its depiction of jazz as a remodeling worldwide phenomenon, Blue Nippon will make stress-free examining not just for jazz fanatics all over the world but in addition for ethnomusicologists, and scholars of cultural stories, Asian stories, and modernism.
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Additional info for Blue Nippon: Authenticating Jazz in Japan
I’ve seen black notes on white paper’’) are appalled by the racial polarization of the jazz world at the end of the twentieth century. But today that world has become another battleground in the culture wars, prized turf to be secured and defended in the seemingly unending struggle to define and preserve essentialist notions of culture and identity. Working bands ‘‘voluntarily segregate’’ themselves; young black musicians have become marketable emblems of racial pride; and even institutions such as the National Endowment for the Arts American Jazz Masters Fellowships and Jazz at Lincoln Center are accused of ‘‘Crow Jim’’ (or ‘‘reverse racist’’) tendencies.
Simply put, it is no mystery that many regard African American ethnicity as a basic precondition of authentic jazz expression. Musicians and critics of diverse ethnic backgrounds concur with The Authenticity Complex 25 Ralph Gleason’s famous assertion that ‘‘the blues is black man’s music, and whites diminish it at best or steal it at worst. ’’∞∞ The ‘‘black music ideology’’ first articulated in the 1960s by Amiri Baraka, Frank Kofsky, Stanley Crouch, and others contends that the blues, the root of jazz and other musical genres, is ‘‘not an idiom made up of rules that can be taught and transmitted like any other musical form.
It is, in fact, a stereotype of relatively recent pedigree, rooted in the Japanese state’s persistent e√orts since the mid-nineteenth century to achieve parity with the Western nations by studying and following their examples. The ‘‘imitator’’ stereotype remains powerful today: it is at the heart of frictions between Japan and the United States over technology transfers, and underlies calls for national education reform. ≤∏ The ‘‘nation of imitators’’ is an o√ensive stereotype, but it is rooted in some very real historical and social realities: the consensual value of conformity in Japan; the education system’s willful failure to encourage critical thinking; the historical legacy of centuries of ‘‘cultural borrowing’’; and the primacy of the ‘‘school’’ (iemoto) in Japan’s artistic and musical tradition.