Tears of Longing: Nostalgia and the Nation in Japanese Popular Song

Tears of Longing: Nostalgia and the Nation in Japanese Popular Song

by Christine R. Yano

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Enka, a sentimental ballad genre, epitomizes for many the nihonjin no kokoro (heart/soul of Japanese). To older members of the Japanese public, who constitute enka's primary audience, this music—of parted lovers, long unseen rural hometowns, and self-sacrificing mothers—evokes a direct connection to the traditional roots of "Japaneseness." Overlooked in this emotional invocation of the past, however, are the powerful commercial forces that, since the 1970s, have shaped the consumption of enka and its version of national identity. Informed by theories of nostalgia, collective memory, cultural nationalism, and gender, this book draws on the author's extensive fieldwork in probing the practice of identity-making and the processes at work when Japan becomes "Japan."

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780674012769
Publisher: Harvard
Publication date: 09/01/2003
Series: Harvard East Asian Monographs , #206
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 280
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.63(d)

About the Author

Christine Yano is Assistant Professor of Anthropology at the University of Hawai'i at Manoa.

Table of Contents

List of Tables
List of Figures
List of Music Examples
Chapter 1: The Cultural Logic of Enkas Imaginary

  • Collective Remembering, Collective Forgetting

  • Localizing the National Nationalizing the Local

  • Patterning Forms Through Kata

Chapter 2: Inventing Enka: Definitions, Genres, Pasts

  • Defining “Enka”

  • Metji Era (1868–1912)

  • Taishō Era (1912–1926)

  • Showa Era (1926–l1989)

  • Heisei Era (1989–present)

Chapter 3: Producing Enka: Lessons in Perseverance

  • The Enka Industry: Metaphors for the Nation

  • The Making of a Singer: Imaging the Imaginary

  • The Making of a Hit Song

Chapter 4: Enka on Stage: Patterning the Practices of Intimacy

  • Live Performances Creating a Display of Patterned Intimacy

  • Mediated Performances: Broadcasting Intimacy

  • Chapter
    Clichés of Excess: Words, Music, Bodies, and Beyond

  • Textual Kata: A Modern Musical Recasting of Waka

  • Musical Kata: Aural Processes of the Past

  • Bodily Kata: Gendered Display

  • Beyond Kata: Cliché and Its Limits

Chapter 6: Consuming Enkas Imaginary: Listening, Singing, Doing

  • Enkas Appeal

  • Kōenkai and FanClubs

  • Karaoke

Chapter 7: Enka as Engendered Longing: Romance, Furusato, “Japan”

  • Romancing the Nation

  • Longing for Furusato

  • “Japan”

Appendix A: Major Record Companies That Produce and Market Enka
Appendix B: Regular Mass Media Enka Programs in the Tokyo Area, 1992
Appendix C: Listing of Songs in the Corpus

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