Center for Japanese Studies: Talk on Hogaku and Music of Japan

March 13, 3:00pm - 4:30pm
Mānoa Campus, Center for Korean Studies - Auditorium

Dr. Hiroko Nagai is Assistant Professor in the Japanese Studies Program at Ateneo De Manila University. She will be presenting on "Hogaku goes global: NHK Blends in Japan’s cultural diplomacy."

Hogaku (邦楽) is commonly viewed as a category that encloses music traditions of Japan. The concept was established in the Meiji Period creating the dyadic space of hogaku, music of Japan, and yogaku, music of the West. On the contrary to its imagined purity of national tradition, the hogaku musicians have been concerned with the interface with the world. Their pursuit of own musicianship has continuously transformed it. As such, hogaku has been a site of negotiation between Japan and the West, and old and new. NHK Blends is a TV program broadcasted by NHK World since 2016. It is a series of derivative works of Western popular songs played by hogaku musicians. Some of the shows such as Smooth Criminal and Stairway to Heaven gained a large number of international access. Locating it in Japan’s cultural diplomacy, this study examines how the music in NHK Blends reflects the conflicting claim to the ownership and authenticity as well as the national self.

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Center for Japanese Studies, Mānoa Campus

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