A symposium on NANIWA-BUSHI: MUSICAL NARRATIVE OF MODERN JAPAN will be held at the Tokyo Institute of Technology (Ookayama Campus), 18th May, 2013 (Sat) 10:00 – 17:00

Naniwa-bushi (rōkyoku) is a genre of musical narrative that was born in modern Japan. Paradoxically, oral narrative would seem to belong to premodern culture and performing arts, but naniwa-bushi reached great heights of popularity across the whole nation in the first half of the twentieth century, through live performance, print media, and the media of the phonograph, radio and film.

The aim of this symposium is to study this paradoxical art form, exploring sociological, linguistic and musical aspects of the narrative performance. By clarifying its orality and textuality, we hope to explain the sources of its great popularity. As a vehicle for the voice of the common people, its very popularity made it vulnerable to appropriation by many groups and organizations which attempted to appropriate naniwa-bushi for their own purposes. Through an exploration of all these aspects of naniwa-bushi this symposium will contribute to a deeper understanding of the mentality of modern Japan and its social and cultural history. It will hopefully explain why naniwa-bushi has been neglected in the writing of modern Japan’s social, literary and musical history.

Anyone who would like to propose a paper for the symposium should send a title and abstract of 300 words to the following email address by January 7th, 2013. You will be notified concerning your acceptance by January 31st, 2013.

For general participation, there is no charge, but registration is required by email by Friday, May 11th, due to the capacity of the venue (maximum 60 people).

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