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Japanese Composers in the Multicultural UK: identity tactics and self-exoticism

By Yumi Hara Cawkwell


In this article the award winning composer Yumi Hara Cawkwell illustrates the tension between what is perceived as typically Japanese by a western audience and how the same material is perceived within Japan. She discusses the place of Japanese folk and traditional art music such as Gagaku, Kabuki and Noh in Japanese culture and reports that as a result of increasing interest in Japanese culture, some Japanese composers have been asked to write for instruments which they have never seen before.\ud She concludes that it is not normally possible to be ‘inherently influenced’ by Japanese traditional music, that the musical cultures of ordinary Japanese and Europeans are not much different and that selling false identity however innocently could ultimately give the wrong impression of Japanese culture and people and maintain cultural stereotyping

Publisher: Cambridge Scholars Publishing
Year: 2008
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