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Title: Enka as a marker of social difference: Uncovering 'Tradition' as 'Taste'
Keywords: japanese studies, enka, sociology of music, ethnomusicology, taste, musicking
Issue Date: 17-Jan-2014
Citation: TONG KOON FUNG (2014-01-17). Enka as a marker of social difference: Uncovering 'Tradition' as 'Taste'. ScholarBank@NUS Repository.
Abstract: In being labelled `the sound of Japanese tradition? and `the heart and soul of the Japanese?, the popular music genre of enka has been discussed in both popular and academic discourse as a representative of an essential and authentic Japanese traditional identity. However, such an understanding is insufficient in explaining its marginal position within the Japanese music industry and audience. Instead, I argue that musical preference for enka serves as a marker of social difference. Utilising sociological frameworks of musical taste, community and `musicking? rather than culturally essentialist understandings, I show how enka marked off a unique musical space populated by a specific social demographic in its infancy in the later 1960s, via a socio-historical investigation of the genre?s development. I also show how such demarcation continues today via an ethnographic study of three karaoke settings in the Greater Tokyo area.
Appears in Collections:Master's Theses (Open)

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