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At The Edges Of The ‘Folk Song World’

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Chapter Summary

This chapter examines several disparate examples in which folk song, quintessentially a local phenomenon, takes on wider resonances, whether through the political concerns of central government, the needs of new communities, the commercial interests of the recording companies, the ideological stance of international socialism, or the steadily Westernizing musical tastes of today's Japanese. Furusato is a native Japanese word, usually written in the hiragana phonetic syllabary, and thus has stronger nativist resonances than its Sinō Japanese ideographic synonym kokyō. The chapter briefs about the approaches to min'yō which defy these generalizations and which position min'yō in a larger musical context. In these cases, the frame of reference is no longer the small local in-group or community, but the entire nation or even the world. A 'new folk song' with dance, can help create the desired image of sunny, forwardlooking communality and encourage residents to unite to improve living conditions.

Keywords: commercial interests; folk song; forwardlooking communality; Furusato; international socialism; min'yō; political concerns; Sinō



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