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When Is Japanese, Japanese? A Tale Of Two Musicians

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Chapter Summary

Utada Hikaru and Nakajima Kenji's music specifically demonstrate the complications of equating immediate cultural context with any given musical activity. This chapter focuses on individuals rather than observations on the activities of 'the group'. By taking Utada Hikaru and Nakajima Kenji as two case studies, the chapter highlights the presence or absence of culturally derived external factors that impinge on their musical activities. It addresses the question, is Utada Hikaru and Nakajima Kenji's ethnicity of any relevance in their music making? In order for the discussion to proceed the chapter deals with each musician separately. From the Japanologist's point of view, the varied lifestyles that Hikaru and Kenji lead and, more importantly, the seamless articulations that transcend geographical boundaries and dominate their creative activities, weakens the significance of the domestic, rendering the impingement of local 'cultural' concerns problematic.

Keywords: cultural context; musical activities; Nakajima Kenji; Utada Hikaru



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