CAPS Project: Influences of Western Music as Affective Media on the Asia-Pacific Region: Academic Year 2016 Meeting #2

2pm-6pm, Saturday, January 28, 2017
Lounge, the International House, Seikei Gakuen (Just Outside the Front Gate of the Campus: See the Map and Find the No. 36 Mark Far Down Right)

Let us announce our “Influences of Western Music as Affective Media on the Asia-Pacific Region” Project, sponsored by Center for Asian and Pacific Studies (CAPS), Seikei University, will hold the second semiyearly meeting in the 2016 academic year. The speakers and their titles are:

“Western Musical Elements in Japanese Koto Music from the 19th to 21st Centuries: Sonic, Visual, and Behavioral Spheres in a Context of Cultural Change”

Henry Johnson
University of Otago, New Zealand

This paper discusses discrete western musical elements in Japanese koto (zither) music from the 19th to 21st centuries. Attention is given to sonic, visual, and behavioral spheres of such influence as a way of identifying some of the many ways that aspects of Japanese traditional music changed as a result of distinct non-Japanese (mainly western) influences. The discussion shows that some koto composers and performers were greatly influenced by non-Japanese music, and especially the art music of European traditions (Eppstein 1994; Falconer 1995; Malm 1971; Prescott 1997; Tanabe 1931). Such influences occurred before, during, and after the major political changes of the Meiji era (1868–1912), and some had a far-reaching effect on the development of major musical movements and the future direction of traditional music.

The discussion shows how elements of western music and creative practice inspired the creation of new pathways of musical culture for the koto, as one example of an instrument that carried traditional Japanese culture to the modern period. A holistic analytical approach is taken in order to study sonic, visual, and behavioral aspects of performance, each of which offers examples where western influences are characteristic of a radical change to prior or parallel musical traditions. For the purpose of this paper, the three spheres of discussion offer examples of composers, performers, and movements as a way analyzing and comprehending how such influences had a profound effect on Japanese culture of the time.


Eppstein, Ury. 1994. The Beginnings of Western Music in Meiji Era Japan. Lewiston: The Edwin Mellen Press.

Falconer, Elizabeth. 1995. Koto Lives: Continuity and Conflict in a Japanese Koto School. Ph.D. diss., University of Iowa.

Malm, William, P. 1971. The Modern Music of Meiji Japan. In Tradition and Modernization in Japanese Culture, ed. Donald H. Shively. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Prescott, Anne Elizabeth. 1997. Miyagi Michio – The Father of Modern Koto Music: His Life, Works and Innovations, and the Environment which Enabled his Reforms. Ph.D. Diss., Kent State University.

Tanabe, Hisao. 1931. Music in Japan. In Western Influences in Modern Japan: A Series of Papers on Cultural Relations, ed. Nitobe Inazo et al. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Henry Johnson is Professor at the University of Otago, New Zealand. His research interests are in Asian Studies, Ethnomusicology, and Island Studies, and he has carried out field research in Europe, Asia and Australasia. His books include The Koto (Hotei, 2004), Asia in the Making of New Zealand (Auckland UP, 2006; co-edited), Performing Japan (Global Oriental, 2008; co-edited), The Shamisen (Brill, 2010), and The Shakuhachi (Brill, 2014).

“Black Intentions: Maki Ishii, Ryohei Hirose, Makoto Shinohara and the Japanese Avant-Garde’s Encounter with the Recorder”

Barnaby Ralph
Seikei University, Japan

The recorder, for all that it continues to be maligned as an instrument of elementary school education, has played an important role at the centre of virtuoso art music written in the twentieth century. Avant-garde composers such as Luciano Berio and Louis Andriessen explored a series of previously unimagined tonal possibilities, but it was a small group of Japanese composers who appropriated and transformed the idiom in ways that still exert a strong influence on contemporary music.

This performance/lecture considers several of these Japanese composers working in the European post-serialist context with a particular focus on their use of the recorder. It looks as such elements as compositional and performance technique, history and context for the composers under discussion, issues in instrumentation and the work of some other artists in the field, both contemporary with and following the Japanese group. In particular, the use of extended techniques such as microtones and multiphonics will be explored.

The session will include full and partial performances by Barnaby Ralph of the following works:

Berio, Luciano (1925-2003): Gesti

Andriessen, Louis (1939-): Sweet

Ishii, Maki (1936-2003): Black Intention I and East. Green. Spring.

Shinohara, Makoto (1931-): Fragmente

Hirose, Ryōhei (1930-2008): Meditation

Noda, Teruyuki (1940-): “Kokiriko” Variations

Du Bois, Rob (1934-2013): Pastorale VII

Linde, Hans-Martin (1930-): Music for a Bird

Tattersall, Malcolm (1952-): Ikaho

Beath, Betty (1932-): Night Songs

Dr. Barnaby Ralph is an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Humanities at Seikei University with degrees in Literature, Law, Applied Linguistics, Rhetoric and Music. As a classical musician, he studied under John Martin in Australia and Hans-Maria Kneihs in Vienna. Whilst he rarely performs today, his professional career spanned more than two decades, with literally thousands of performances worldwide, as well as television and radio appearances, several CDs and even video game soundtracks to his name.

Please notify your kind attendance in advance to reserve your seats by emailing hibino**** (read **** as @)