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date: 20 February 2020

Japan (Jap. Nihon [Nippon])locked

  • Hugh de Ferranti,
  • Shigeo Kishibe,
  • David W. Hughes,
  • W. Adriaansz,
  • Robin Thompson,
  • Charles Rowe,
  • Donald P. Berger,
  • W. Malm,
  • W.P. Malm,
  • David Waterhouse,
  • Allan Marett,
  • Richard Emmert,
  • Fumio Koizumi,
  • Kazuyuki Tanimoto,
  • Masakata Kanazawa,
  • Linda Fujie
  •  and Elizabeth Falconer


(Jap. Nihon [Nippon])

Country in East Asia. With an area of 370,000 km² and a population of about 126·43 million (2000), it principally comprises four main islands (Honshū, Kyūshū, Hokkaidō and Shikoku) and the Ryūkyū archipelago, extending in an arc between Kyūshū and Taiwan. Early cultural influences flowed from Japan’s proximity to China and Korea to the west. Although generally considered to be ethnically homogeneous, Japan is culturally diverse, with distinctive cultures especially in the far south (Ryukyuan) and the far north (Ainu culture of Hokkaidō) complementing the mainstream of Japanese culture.

Hugh de Ferranti

Shigeo Kishibe

The modern period of Japanese history dates from the Meiji Restoration of 1868, when a constitutional monarchy was established after nearly seven centuries of feudalism. During this period the country was opened to the outside world and its influences, so that by the mid-20th century music in Japan reflected mixtures of three basic types: Japanese traditional music, Western traditional music and international modern trends. In Tokyo audiences enjoy concerts of Western classical music given by Japanese and foreign performers, while on nightly television programmes Japanese singers perform popular songs in Western or Japanese idioms. On the surface, traditional music seems neglected. But although there has been a decrease in the number of professional performers and lovers of such music, and a few genres have disappeared, the surviving traditions have been maintained at a high standard. An important factor in this is the continuing presence of a strong musicians’ guild system, which has since ancient times (see§3 below) reinforced the various styles of each musical genre. Such continuing traditions are sustained not only in art music but also in the rich variety of folk music that flourishes throughout the country....

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