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Landscapes of Sado become representative projections of the emplacement of deeply-held Japanese attitudes and values. Davis argues that collective nostalgia often occurs with largescale changes and cultural transitions that leave masses of people feeling lonely or estranged from others. Furusato is associated with the desire for community.
Bestor , contends that in contemporary Japan, images of community have cultural and emotional value. Creighton b; a; a; b; ; Ivy ; ; Robertson ; ; ; ; Suggestions of furusato are frequently depicted by images of rustic landscapes, remote waters, dilapidated shrines, often without any necessary indication of the actual place location. It also suggests people can experience and consume any localized place of Japan as a replacement for their formally place-based actual furusato, or provide furusato-like feelings for those who did not have strong community ties growing up.
The affective power of furusato imagery is invoked in its associations with motherhood and motherly love as suggested by Matsumoto ; see also Robertson , According to Tuan , for small children a person can be a place. Sado island thus comes to represent maternal Japan, or Japan as mother. The suggestion of return to nature is likewise the suggestion of return to mother, or the essential naturalness of the pre-birth bond with mother. Just as humans have a bond with the Earth, they have had in their initial existence such a bond with mother. Thus the concept of Mother Earth, and mother come together in place.
Although vision is the primary sense humans rely on, it is not the sense providing the strongest emotional associations, which tend to be much more heightened with touch, smell and sound. Just as there is a suggestion that modern people have lost their essential connection to nature, there is also a suggestion that their life has been distanced from the satisfying engagement in a craft lifestyle, and products created by hand, with materials derived from nature see Creighton b; ; Hareven Nostalgic forays frequently call for a renewal of craft involvement.
A small local history museum on Sado is dedicated to the history of Sado craft productions, with many installations that highlight craft processes found elsewhere in Japan, such as weaving and carving.
The Earth Celebration embraces the return to craft movement. Craft exhibits are set up to accompany these celebrations. In one case, the wife of one of the drummers has an exhibit of Japanese embroidery of white on blue indigo cloth. Pottery and origami are on display. I then look at how taiko is used in seemingly contrasting attempts to perform an internationalized Japan or express a Japanese or Japanese descent identity in the international arena. Performing Local Place Identities While taiko on one hand reverberates with a sense of being a traditional Japanese music form, it is also frequently performed in an assertion of particular local place identity within Japan.
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Although in many ways daily life in the two cities is similar, Kyoto is strongly associated with a sense of ancient Japanese history and tradition Umesao In the remaining geisha districts, maiko young geisha in training continue to parade the streets, while able-bodied young males still pull rikisha rickshaw to provide tourists the historic feel of an old Kyoto. Although life is continually changing in fast-paced Japan, Kyoto — despite all the changes also occurring in and to it — is proffered as a balm to all Japanese to assure the timelessness of a Japanese soul.
The Gion Matsuri is a hallmark festival in the annual calendar of Kyoto based traditional Japanese events. Occurring over a period of a few days in the heavy heat of a Kyoto summer, like other local festivals in Japan, the Gion Festival was once — and to the locals still is — a means of reaffirming local municipal community place identity.
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Thus, this festival, perceived as a hallmark of Japaneseness, resounds with forms of percussion associated with taiko. The new festival developed in conjunction with the Olympics, when there were hordes of visitors to the area for the international event, and continued in following years. It took on new relevance in when the Nagano Olympic sites hosted another international athletic event, the Special Olympic World Winter Games.
The informant who explained the festival to me was an award winning skier himself, an area innkeeper and from a family in which the younger brother won a silver medal in skiing at a previous Olympics.
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The Ski Festival reiterates a particular place identity while proffering a sense of Japanese identity. The Nagano Alps has many renowned domestic tourist destinations, attractive because of their onsen hot springs , a popular part of Japanese bathing tradition Clark , ski slopes for winter sports activity and scenic hiking areas in other seasons.
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The Ski Festival highlights an important aspect of Nagano, and in this case Nozawa Onsen Hotsprings identity, its reputation as a skiing locale. Skiing was popularized in such locations in Japan initially as a winter sport adopted from abroad. Other aspects of the Ski Festival satisfy usual expectations for Japanese festivals, highlighting a sense of Japanese identity. To offset the cold, warm sake — itself an icon of Japanese identity — is given to festival attendees, along with zenzai, a hot bean with rice cakes dessert.
Entertainment offerings in the form of a local taiko performance also speak to concepts of Japanese identity and tradition. The taiko group performing is a local group from Nagano, whose taiko performs Nagano place identity, while linking local place identity through the concept of local Japan, to a larger sense of shared Japanese identity, and to internationalization as discussed below. Scholars such as Robertson ; point out that although two of the most frequently espoused motifs of late twentiethcentury Japan, furusato, emphasizing local place identities, and kokusaika, emphasizing developing internationalized identities, seem opposing, they are really two sides of the same coin.
Taiko is staged as a drumming form within Japan that represents community at the local level of intimate human connections, while outside Japan, taiko represents Japanese music and heritage. Japanese taiko groups performing elsewhere are often billed as performing traditional Japanese percussion. This occurs whether groups are famous or not. Local or university groups often perform abroad, and such performances carry connotations of being not only a percussion form, but a particularly Japanese one.
It is a music form with enthusiasts, followers and players who gather to practise or play in studio or rehearsal rooms all around the world.
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Often in these cases, taiko is an affirmation of an identity of Japanese descent outside of Japan, and of Asian descent more generally. Previous discourses of identity merge with discourses of inclusion and heritage fusion. Later, drummers of Asian descent other than Japanese also became performers. Since taiko was initially seen as representing a heritage identity, there was once some resistance to the idea that anyone could play, even those with no Asian descent.
However, now with the presence of a wide variety of players and participants from all ethnic backgrounds and age groups, this has come to be accepted.
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Members from other ethnic heritages bring in different forms or experiences; there is recombination. This taiko playing Chinese-Canadian woman positioned the new piece as expressing recollections of Chinese-Canadian family life. Another taiko group started in Vancouver with all white drummers who had learned taiko during extended residence in Japan. Initially, there seemed to be tension with taiko players of Japanese descent, particularly because the white drummers who had lived in Japan had better Japanese language and cultural competency than the drummers of Japanese descent who had not lived in Japan.
Despite early tensions, the groups later began to play and perform in concert together. At the same time that there is growing acceptance of taiko as a music form that a diversity of people can participate in, there persists the suggestion that taiko still represents Japanese heritage and identity, but as one example of a universal form of music tradition that others may also learn.
Along with this is the idea that creative new forms fusing different music traditions from throughout the world are possible and desirable. Drummers from African traditions have engaged with taiko or shakuhachi players in attempts to create new fusions of music forms. In collaboration with Mickey Hart, they attempt to synchronize the rhythms of the world, African, Brazilian and Turkish drums, Japanese taiko, Indian tabla and American blues harmonica all coming together in a new performance of global rhythm.
Taiko Today: Performing Soundscapes, Landscapes and Identities 55 Symbolic projections of Sado continue to resonate with idioms of Japanese identity, nostalgia for past lifeways and a sense of traditional spirit. But as the venue for the Earth Celebration, Sado came to express a broader identity extending to all humans.
Groups from throughout the world have been invited to Sado for the Earth Celebrations, and, along with taiko, global music traditions are performed at these festivals. Taiko is taught in workshops held during the Earth Celebration.