Popular Music Studies in Japan: Reviewing the Journal Popular Music Studies


  • Akitsugu Kawamoto Ferris University, Yokohama, Japan


Popular music studies, Japan, particularism, Japanologism, sociologism


The scholarly interest in popular music has been growing in Japan for the last thirty years since the beginning of the Japanese Association for the Study of Popular Music (JASPM). To introduce this interest to the readership of IASPM Journal, this present article will review Popyurā ongaku kenkyū (“Popular Music Studies”) – the house journal of JASPM published annually since 1997 – and try to characterise its articles from the following viewpoints: particularism, Japanologism, and sociologism. While the articles under review are important contributions to the field, I will express my hope for the future articles of the journal to have more variety in terms of themes, perspectives, and methods, than they have now.

Author Biography

Akitsugu Kawamoto, Ferris University, Yokohama, Japan

Associate Professor, Music Department


*Translation note:*

The articles listed here as Popular Music Studies refer to the Japanese journal Popyurā ongaku kenkyū

Akiyoshi, Y. 2010. Physiognomy of the Singing Voice: Medium Effect on the Discourse of “the Racial Voice” in 1920s. Popular Music Studies 14: 3-16.

Aoki, S. 2012. Singing Exoticism: A Historical Anthropology of GI Songs, “China Night” and “Japanese Rumba”. Popular Music Studies 16: 3-16.

Awatani. Y. 1998. From “the Spirit of the Times” of Rock to Audiences: Cultural Studies and Popular Music. Popular Music Studies 2: 23-34.

Fukuda, Y. 2009. On Charles Cros’ Phonograph Theory, and His Notion of Sound Representation. Popular Music Studies 13: 3-16.

Ideguchi, A. 2004. The Street Musician as NON-BUSKER: Focusing on the Function of the Others. Popular Music Studies 8: 3-16.

Imai, S. 2011. Ontology of Popular Music: Track, Song, Performance. Popular Music Studies 15: 23-42.

Ishibashi, J. 1999. Objectification of Folk Culture and Warranty Policy of Authenticity: A Case Study on a Movement for Afro-Venezuelan Cultural Revitalization in San Millán, Venezuela. Popular Music Studies 3: 2-18.

Kamimoto, S. 2014. Using Dancehall As a Trigger for Empowering the Local Residents: A Case Study of “Treasures of Wakasa”. Popular Music Studies 18: 3-17.

Kato, A. 2011. A Quantitative Analysis on Structural Change in Japanese Record Business: Transformation of Inter-Organizational Relations in Triangle Structure. Popular Music Studies 15: 3-22.

Kijima, Y. 2006. The Public Sense of Street Musicians: Using the Example of Narrator-Singer Guitarists in Shinsaibashi. Popular Music Studies 10: 16-39.

Kimoto, R. 2003. Networks in Japanese Rap Music: A Case Study of Local Rap Groups. Popular Music Studies 7: 3-14.

Kurita, T. 2007. Cultural Sociology of “Eminem”: How Indexes of Hip-Hop/Rock Authenticity and Legitimacy Operate to Interpret “Hate Speech”. Popular Music Studies 11: 3-17.

Masubuchi, T. 2005. The Industrialization Process of Music in a Local City of Japan: The Case of Fukuoka. Popular Music Studies 9: 3-21.

Masuda, S. 1997. What is “Musical Work” in Popular Music?: An Attempt Towards Semiotic Studies. Popular Music Studies 1: 22-34.

Minamida, K. 1998. Three Indicators in the Rock Music Culture: Toward a Methodology of Cultural Sociology. Popular Music Studies 2: 35-50.

Mitsui, T. 1988. Popular Music Studies in Japan. Popular Music 7(1): 103.

Mitsui, T. Ed. 2005. Popyurā ongaku to akademizumu ("Popular Music and Academism"). Tokyo: Ongaku no Tomo Sha.

Nagatomi, M. 2015. “Music is Universal”: Foreign Songwriters in Nashville in the Era of Cultural Globalization. Popular Music Studies 19: 3-14.

Nakahara, Y. 2004. Japanese Popular Music and Night Clubs in Hawai’i: 1950s-1970s. Popular Music Studies 8: 35-44.

Nozawa, T. 2009. Groove as Process of Communication: A Case Study of Japanese Gospel Singing Groups. Popular Music Studies 13: 17-30.

Ogawa, H. 1997. Difficulties and Problems facing Popular Music Studies. Popular Music Studies 1: 2-6.

Oyama, S. 2017. The Portrayal of the Northern Soul Scene in Blues & Soul in the Early 1970s: The Appreciation of Black Singers in “The Torch Story”. Popular Music Studies 21: 3-18.

Shibadai, K. 2013. The Making of Standard Repertoire in Japanese Popular Music: In the Case of “Tubasa wo Kudasai”. Popular Music Studies 17: 17-30.

Taguchi, Y. 2017. Brass Band Denied Jinta: Gaze of Modernization of Wind Band Music in Early Showa Era. Popular Music Studies 21: 19-33.

Tanabe, K. 2017. A Survey of Ontology of Music in Analytic Aesthetics. Popular Music Studies 21: 35-43.

Taniguchi, F. 2008. “Keyboard” for the Users of Digital Synthesizer: A Case Study of Sound-Making Practice in 1980s. Popular Music Studies 12: 3-17.

Taniguchi, F. 2003. A Musical Analysis of DJ Performances in Turntablism. Popular Music Studies 7: 15-34.

Toita, R. 1997. Relation Between Words and Melody in Songs of Prévert. Popular Music Studies 1: 7-21.

Tomita, A. 2001. Pan in Japan: The Acceptance and Diffusion of Steelpan in Japan. Popular Music Studies 5: 18-36.

Toya, M. Ed. 2003. Popyurā ongaku eno manazashi ("Views Toward Popular Music"). Tokyo: Keiso Shobo.

Tsuchiya, T. 2000. On Interpreting “Yesterday Once More”. Popular Music Studies 4: 20-30.

Tsuruta, T. 2000. The Interlocking Development of Rural Folk Songs and Urban Popular Songs in Central Thailand. Popular Music Studies 4: 2-19.

Yabuki, M. 2004. Japanese Popular Music in Taiwan through History of Cover Songs. Popular Music Studies 8: 17-34.

Yako, M. 1998. Classification of Rhythm Patterns by Using Computer. Popular Music Studies 2: 2-22.






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