• Blue Nippon: Authenticating Jazz in Japan

    Author(s):
    Pages: 384
    Illustrations: 17 b&w photos
    Sales/Territorial Rights: World
  • Cloth: $99.95 - In Stock
    978-0-8223-2710-3
  • Paperback: $28.95 - In Stock
    978-0-8223-2721-9
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  • List of Illustrations

    Acknowledgments

    Prelude: Plenty Plenty Soul

    1. The Japanese Jazz Artist and the Authenticity Complex

    2. The Soundtrack of Modern Life: Japan’s Jazz Revolution

    3. Talkin’ Jazz: Music, Modernism, and Interwar Japan’s Culture Wars

    4. “Jazz for the Country’s Sake”: Toward a New Cultural Order in Wartime Japan

    5. Bop, Funk, Junk, and That Old Democracy Boogie: The Jazz Tribes of Postwar Japan

    6. Our Thing: Defining “Japanese Jazz”

    Postlude: J-Jazz and the Fin de Siecle Blues

    Notes

    References

    Discography

    Index
  • Finalist, 2002 Award for History, Association for Recorded Sound Collections

    Winner, 2003 John Whitney Hall Prize, Northeast Asian Council of the Association for Asian Studies

    Awards

  • Finalist, 2002 Award for History, Association for Recorded Sound Collections

    Winner, 2003 John Whitney Hall Prize, Northeast Asian Council of the Association for Asian Studies

  • Blue Nippon focuses on jazz in Japan but is actually much more far-reaching. It reminds me of The Modern Jazz Quartet—scholarly yet swingin’!”—Phil Morrison, Jazz Bassist and Composer — N/A

    “This is a powerful gem of a book. Atkins’s mixing of voices is wonderful and his scholarship impressive. Moreover, his complex argument is communicated in language that is straightforward, engaging, and compelling.”—Christine Yano, University of Hawaii, Manoa — N/A

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  • Description

    Japan’s jazz community—both musicians and audience—has been begrudgingly recognized in the United States for its talent, knowledge, and level of appreciation. Underpinning this tentative admiration, however, has been a tacit agreement that, for cultural reasons, Japanese jazz “can’t swing.” In Blue Nippon E. Taylor Atkins shows how, strangely, Japan’s own attitude toward jazz is founded on this same ambivalence about its authenticity.
    Engagingly told through the voices of many musicians, Blue Nippon explores the true and legitimate nature of Japanese jazz. Atkins peers into 1920s dancehalls to examine the Japanese Jazz Age and reveal the origins of urban modernism with its new set of social mores, gender relations, and consumer practices. He shows how the interwar jazz period then became a troubling symbol of Japan’s intimacy with the West—but how, even during the Pacific war, the roots of jazz had taken hold too deeply for the “total jazz ban” that some nationalists desired. While the allied occupation was a setback in the search for an indigenous jazz sound, Japanese musicians again sought American validation. Atkins closes out his cultural history with an examination of the contemporary jazz scene that rose up out of Japan’s spectacular economic prominence in the 1960s and 1970s but then leveled off by the 1990s, as tensions over authenticity and identity persisted.
    With its depiction of jazz as a transforming global phenomenon, Blue Nippon will make enjoyable reading not only for jazz fans worldwide but also for ethnomusicologists, and students of cultural studies, Asian studies, and modernism.

    About The Author(s)

    E. Taylor Atkins is Associate Professor of History at Northern Illinois University.

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