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Distributed for National University of Singapore Press

Unsilent Strangers

Music, Minorities, Co-existence, Japan

An analysis of the role of music in Japanese migrant communities.

This collection of essays on the music of migrant minorities in and from Japan examines the central role music plays in the ongoing adjustment, conciliation, and transformation of newcomers and “hosts” alike. It is the first academic text to address musical activities across a range of migrant groups in Japan––particularly those of Tokyo and its neighboring areas and the first to juxtapose such communities with those of Japanese emigrants as ethnic minorities elsewhere. It presents both archival and fieldwork-based case studies that highlight music in the dynamics of encounter and attempted identity-making, under a unifying framework of migration.

The 2019 introduction of a new “Specified Skilled Worker” visa category marked the beginning of Japan’s “new immigration era,” led by the slogan of tabunka kyosei, or “multicultural coexistence.” The contributors to this volume analyze the concept itself and the many problems around realizing this ideal through ethnographic accounts of current minorities, including South Indians, Brazilians, Nepalis, Filipinos, Iranians, and Ainu domestic migrants. This volume will be of interest to ethnomusicologists, students of the cultures of migrant communities, and those engaged with cultural change and diversity in Japan and East Asia.

352 pages | 16 figures, 11 tables, 37 halftones | 6 x 9 | © 2023

Anthropology: Cultural and Social Anthropology

Asian Studies: East Asia

Music: Ethnomusicology

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Table of Contents

List of Figures
1. Music, Minorities, and Scholarship in Japan’s “New Immigration Era”
Part One: Music in Japanese Migration Experiences
2. Musical Activities of Japanese Migrants in Pre-World War II California: Implications for the Realisation of Multicultural Coexistence
3. Japanese Communities, Music and Intercultural Experience in Prewar Australia
Part Two: Domestic Migration and Community-making through Music
4. Tokyo Ainu and Unexpected Musicking at the Charanke Festival: Going Beyond Multicultural Festivity
5. “Doing Music”: Community Making through Music and Dance from the Ogasawara Islands
Part Three: Music and Japan’s Newcomer Migrants
6. Musical Influences of Brazilians and Other Foreign Residents in Local Culture and Community Formation in Oizumi
7. Our Version of Coexistence: The Singing Contest of Filipinos in Japan
8. Mediating between Musical Worlds: Musical Performance and Iranian Communities in Japan
9. Musical Activities among South Indians around Tokyo: Forming a Cultural Cohort
10. Nepali Migrant Communities in Tokyo: A Music-centred Perspective

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