With its thunderous sounds and dazzling choreography, Japanese taiko drumming has captivated audiences in Japan and across the world, making it one of the most successful performing arts to emerge from Japan in the past century. Based on ethnographic fieldwork conducted among taiko groups in Japan, Taiko Boom explores the origins of taiko in the early postwar period and its popularization over the following decades of rapid economic growth in Japan’s cities and countryside. Building on the insights of globalization studies, the book argues that taiko developed within and has come to express new forms of communal association in a Japan increasingly engaged with global cultural flows. While its popularity has created new opportunities for Japanese to participate in community life, this study also reveals how the discourses and practices of taiko drummers dramatize tensions inherent in Japanese conceptions of race, the body, gender, authenticity, and locality.
About the Author
Shawn Bender is a Cultural Anthropologist and Assistant Professor of East Asian Studies at Dickinson College.
Table of ContentsList of Illustrations
Note on Translation, Japanese Names, and Romanization
Part One. The Emergence and Popularization of Taiko
1. Taiko Drums and Taiko Drum Makers
2. Genealogies of Taiko I: Osuwa Daiko, Sukeroku Daiko, Ondekoza
3. Genealogies of Taiko II: Ondekoza to Kodo
4. Placing Ensemble Taiko in Japan: Festival Creation and the Taiko Boom
Part Two. Discourses of Contemporary Taiko
5. (Dis)Locating Drumming: Taiko Training, Embodiment, and the Aesthetics of Race and Place
6. Woman Unbound? Body and Gender in Japanese Taiko
7. The Sound of Militarism? New Texts, Old Nationalism, and the Disembodiment of Taiko Technique
Epilogue: Taiko at Home and Abroad
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