Week 8: Japonism

This week I stumbled upon a discussion of a bi – directional feedback loop that has evolved between Japanese and “western” music which has intensified the differences between the two. FACT Magazine, who provided the discussion is a popular online publication which provides a running commentary on music, including general news and various opinion pieces such as reviews, lists and often insightful discussions on musical cultures. In attempts to justify some conclusions on a symbiotic relationship I have stumbled across as a result of my investigation of J-Pop I came across an article on Japonism in FACT. As it happens this discussion of cross cultural influence has been prevalent since the 19th century, Japonism a French term describing the growing influence of Japanese culture though it is only recently in the 80’s and 90’s that this feedback loop developed with the rise of J-Pop. An interesting development in this discussion by Fintoni is a key element of a distinct translation of western influences in Japan, the early influence of an opportunity for incubation. Japanese musicians were initially able to process western music with little historical or cultural context, which facilitated a rich conversation between the east and west, obviously a conversation that occurs more frequently today with the speed of information.

As I’ve been investigating J-Pop facilitations of this conversation have become more apparent when I then return to listening to my ‘normal’ music. Ryan Hemsworth, a Canadian musician has been collaborating more frequently with Japanese producers as well as promoting local translations of J-Pop, such as Kero Kero Bonito based in the UK.

It is evident that collaborations such as these will become more frequent, hopefully more effectively than the Avril Lavigne ‘experiment’, but it will be interesting to see at which point if not already discerning between the musical styles will become too difficult. I have a feeling that the environment that facilitates today’s discussion dictates that a middle ground will be reached in the not too distant future.

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3 comments

  1. The fact that you got me grooving real hard to those tracks is worthy of commendation in itself, but the ideas you’ve put forward are also fascinating. Information technology has made international collaboration exponentially easier, and I think an investigation of this phenomena in relation to electronic music is particularly valuable due to a reduced reliance on language. I would be interested to read of not only how such collaborations are executed, but also all of the events that followed initial contact between artists and the extent to which cohesive musical production superseded traditional language-based communication.

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  2. It is great to see where J-Pop evolved from, and it is also interesting to see artists like Ryan Hemsworth working with it. I think a middle ground will be reached in the very near future as J-Pop becomes more known and distinguishing between it and electronic music becomes harder and harder to do.

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