Japan Study Abroad: Post Seventeen

Inspiration is waiting.

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Hello there! Welcome to blog post seventeen! We are studying abroad at Reitaku University in Japan, and today we looked at Japanese music.

The Japanese word for music is ongaku. The kanji mean sound and comfort. The first styles of music in Japan were called gagaku, and originated in China and  Korea. This kind of music is mainly used by the imperial court today. Some traditional music can be found in the performing arts like noh, kabuki, and bunraku theater with instruments such as the shamisen, shakuhachi, and taiko. These instruments can also be found in some contemporary music. I am personally a huge fan of mixing the best of new and old to create a whole different sound, style, or aesthetic. I equate it to the Fibonacci sequence, because this trend exponentially increases in creativity.

The most popular traditional music in Japanese culture, however, is called enka. Enka is more melancholy, focusing on deep love and emotions. The most renowned enka artist is Misora Hibari. She was only seven years old when she started singing, and her most popular song is “Kawa no nagare no yo ni.”

Japanese music today is interesting, because there is a strong relationship between music that is produced and video games, movies, and television. That is one of the best ways to get your name out there. Another great way to get your name out there is by playing in Tokyo’s Yoyogi Park. This place is well-known for amateur musicians to go and play there music at.

The music that is probably the most well-known globally is J-Pop. It is short for “Japanese pop,” and J-WAVE radio coined the term around the early 90s. There are many sub genres of J-Pop and the artists range from edgy to bubblegum.

There is so much to explore in the realm of Japanese music. Inspiration is waiting.

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