Guest lecture on Hip-hop in Japan

Guest lecture on Hip-hop in Japan by Kiku Day, SOAS, University of London.


Hip-hop Japan: Creativity and Identity within Cultural Globalisation
Hip-hop went global and hit Japan during the 1980s and 90s with break dancers, graffiti artists and singers spending money on their dread locks and in tanning salons in order to darken the skin. This was criticised as a superficial imitation and misappropriation of black culture and music. However, as in other parts of the world, hip-hop in Japan has taken root as a local genre. Using an American musical genre as a vehicle, Japanese hip-hopers creatively use this musical style to express their own concerns, political opinions and to criticise the society they live in. Thus the inherent politics of hip-hop changes when crossing cultural and national boundaries. This paper will follow how identity is constructed and enacted locally in case of Japan in a global musical context.

Kiku Day (BA, London; MFA, Mills; PhD, London) is currently a Teaching Fellow in ethnomusicology at SOAS, University of London and teaching at the Japanese Studies section at Aarhus University. Her research has in particularly been focusing on Japanese music and performance based research. Presently she is pursuing a research project on how Zen Buddhism is disseminated through the use of the shakuhachi and new media such as the Internet - an interdisciplinary project between ethnomusicology, anthropology, globalization studies and the sociology of religion.