Organized Panel Session
Studies of globalized popular musics have generally focused on the localization of Western genres. But equally fascinating are the ways that localized genres critique the cultures from which these musics originate, or the re-localizing that non-western artists must undergo in the West. Drawing from theories of race and globalization along with ethnographic and archival work, this panel aims to complicate the study of Japanese popular music, to show how it comments on the geopolitical hierarchies of nation, race, and gender. The first paper investigates a Japanese music critic’s accusation that US country and western was racist, and how it impacted the construction of Japanese masculinity in the 1970s. The second paper examines the New Music movement as a legacy of both the politically engaged folk scene of the 1960s and commercial music world of the 1970s, in a transpacific dialogue on urban life, geopolitics, and music. The third paper deals with two fusion bands on either side of the Pacific—one Japanese, the other Japanese American—to consider the politics of Afro Asian musicking. The fourth paper complicates the often one-directional study of musical globalization by considering what happens when Japanese techno musicians leave home to participate in Western pop styles in the West itself. Together, this panel questions normative understandings of “Japan” and by extension, Japanese popular musicking, in popular music studies in the West—its sites of production and reception, its circulation as political aesthetic production or apolitical commercial product, and its positioning within a global, cosmopolitan understanding of popular music.