Sixth Asian Studies Conference Japan
    Saturday and Sunday, June 22-23
    Ichigaya Campus of Sophia University


last update 2002/03/09

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Contact the organizers: Asian Studies Conference (ASCJ) c/o Institute of Asian Cultural Studies, International Christian University 3-10-2 Osawa, Mitaka-shi, Tokyo 181


Session 16
Dynamics of Social Transformation and Musical Culture: A Study of Hong Kong, Taiwan and Japan
Chair/Organizer: Wai-chung Ho, Hong Kong Baptist University

This panel takes a multicultural and interdisciplinary approach to the study of music and music education in Hong Kong, Taiwan and Japan, where national musical styles enter into a dialectic with those of the global mass media. More specifically, the panel's four papers consider fundamental concepts of multicultural approaches to the study of music and music education. The first reflects on changes wrought on Hong Kong popular music by the dialectic between media globalization and resurgent localism. The second paper examines the complicated interplay of globalization, localization and sino-philia that determines reforms of Taiwanese music education in the general context of associated social changes. The third paper explores the culture of amateur rock bands formed by high school pupils in Japan, and the fourth discusses the re-creation of cultural identity in the Japanese school music curriculum, through its emphasis on endogenous traditional music which enters into a difficult relationship with the music of the global mass media. The panel hopes to provide insights into cultural trends in these Asia-Pacific societies, and into their associated discourse of social transformation and musical development, both in and out of schools.

1) Wai-chung Ho, Hong Kong Baptist University. "Between Globalization and Localization: A Study of Hong Kong Popular Music"

Popular music in Hong Kong is the production of a multi-faceted dynamic of international and local factors. Although there has been much attention to its growth from different perspectives, there has been no single study that systematically addresses the complicated interplay of the two interrelated processes of globalization and localization that lie behind its development. The main aim of this paper is to explore how social circumstances mediate musical communication among Hong Kong popular artists and audiences, and contribute to its growing sense of cultural identity - how locality emerges in the context of a global culture and how global facts take local form. Firstly, I attempt to propose a conceptual framework for understanding the cultural dynamics of popular music in terms of the discourse of globalization. Secondly, I will consider local practices of musical consumption and production. Thirdly, this paper will discuss the impact of the global entertainment business on local popular music. I conclude with a summary of the effects of the interaction between globalization and localization on Hong Kong popular music.

2) Wing-Wah Law, The University of Hong Kong. "Music Education in Taiwan: The Dynamics and Dilemmas of Globalization, Localization and Sino-philia"

The paper examines the complicated interplay of globalization, localization and sinophilia that, along with associated social changes, determines reforms of Taiwanese music education today. Students are expected not only to be tri-lingual, insofar as they are obliged to learn English, Mandarin and a local language, such as Southern Fujianese, Hakka, or an aboriginal dialect, but they must also become tri-cultural with respect to Western classical music, traditional Chinese music and indigenous Taiwanese music. The findings of our questionnaires suggest that the processes of globalization, localization and sinophilia are unequal determinants on the transformation of Taiwanese music education. The survey, which was conducted among 2,596 primary and secondary school students (1,309 from Tainan and 1,287 from Taipei) between May to November 2000, shows that schools are less inclined than the Taiwanese government to promote local music. Students in the survey much prefer Western classical and popular musics to local Taiwanese and traditional Chinese styles. They show little interest in promoting Chinese culture or in singing Taiwan's national anthem. By examining the major concerns of music education from the perspective of the complex dynamics of globalization, this study illuminates the tensions and dilemmas facing the music curriculum of Taiwan today.

3) Kyoko Koizumi, Hyogo Teachers College, Japan. " Japanese Amateur Rock Bands: An Ethnographic Study on High School Pupils as Performers"

There have been a series of ethnographic studies on popular music and amateur
performers in Britain and the United States since the 1980s. However, few
proper studies on the issue are published in Asian areas. Therefore, this
paper hopes to offer an analysis of amateur rock bands performed by high
school pupils in Japan. With reference to ethnographic research, the study investigates how the discourses of 15-18 year olds on popular music took place in the setting of rock band activities.
Fieldwork was conducted at the high school band event in August 1998, most participants were male pupils and only two out of ten bands included female members. Through the ethnography, the following five types of pupils' bands were found; 1) original band; 2) great-rock- oriented band; 3) expressive band; 4) nerd band; 5) party band. According to types of bands, boy performers in the band event showed the conflict between publicity and intimacy. The original band regarded popular music of elder generations as the best to absorb the essence of long-lasting musical popularity. In the great-rock-oriented band, boy performers had fewer opportunities to encounter British/American rock directly and Japanese rock took the important role to inform them of broader rock contexts. The expressive band started to regard Japanese visual rock as 'common music' of the band and struggled to express a new musical world. Meanwhile, boys of the nerd band used dazzling strategies to conceal their 'personal music'. And the party band discriminated personal music from common music of the band. For girls, there was neither opportunity nor necessity to disclose their personal music in the mixed-gender bands.

4) Mari Shiobara, Tokyo Gakugei University and Yuri Ishii, Yamaguchi University. "Re-creating Cultural Identity in the Japanese School Music Curriculum"

The rapid development of information technology and the world economy crossing borders in recent years gives a strong impression that the world has become compressed and homogenized. Consequently, recent curriculum reforms in various countries seem to emphasize the teaching of information technology and modern languages, both of which will enable learners to be useful resources for the national well-being in the age of globalization. However, several scholars point out that globalization is not simply the compression of the world, but has more complicated aspects that extend to values and cultures. The state adjusts the cultural aspect of its curriculum by carefully selecting so called state knowledge.
In an attempt to shed some light on questions, such as what is to be strengthened or omitted in a national curriculum policy and why a nation-state makes that decision, this paper will focus on the music curriculum in Japan. After a brief discussion of the concept of globalization and the general idea of the recent Japanese curriculum revision, the paper examines the revised music curriculum which will be enforced from April, 2002. Then, the implication of that decision will be discussed in terms of the re-creation of a national cultural identity in a larger socio-historical context. We argue that the emphasis on Japanese traditional music in the revised curriculum is not necessarily caused by a cultural clash between Japan and the West. Rather, it should be regarded as the state's attempt to make a small shift in the balance between pre-modern and modern elements in the already hybridized Japanese music. This distinguishes Japanese music from the music in other Asian countries.

Discussant: Koichi Iwabuchi, International Christian University


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