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The Modern Countryside And The Performing Arts

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Chapter Summary

This chapter deals with folk song in modern 'peripheral' Japan. The villager's social and economic universe expands, folk song and the folk performing arts still play an important role in creating and supporting community identity. Rivalries may now occur between the hamlet and the larger administrative village or town in which it is contained, sometimes expressed in the organization of folk performance. There is continuing ambivalence about artistic relations with the outside; villagers are proud when a local song is adopted by the urban professionals but bitter when the urban version then attracts more attention than the local version. Some teachers and scholars do stress the importance of singing songs from one's own region in order to be fully able to capture the intended style. The coveted governmental designation Important Intangible Cultural Property is used as a lever to encourage maintenance of traditional styles in the countryside.

Keywords: Cultural Property; folk performing arts; modern peripheral Japan; urban professionals



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