Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: https://scholarbank.nus.edu.sg/handle/10635/171738
Title: Better Singers Together: How Older Japanese Women Build and Social Relations in Karaoke Classrooms
Authors: Tong Koon Fung 
Issue Date: 1-Sep-2020
Publisher: Routledge
Citation: Tong Koon Fung (2020-09-01). Better Singers Together: How Older Japanese Women Build and Social Relations in Karaoke Classrooms. Leisure and its Communities: Rethinking Mutuality, Collective Expression, and Belonging in the New Century. ScholarBank@NUS Repository.
Abstract: In this chapter, I explore how and why participation in a Japanese karaoke classroom enables its senior regular students to develop social connections and identity (ittaikan in Japanese), which is crucial in Japanese conceptualisations of purpose in life, or ikigai (Mathews, 1996). Karaoke classrooms are privately-run establishments where students pay a fee to an instructor to learn to be better karaoke singers. During my 2016 participant-observation fieldwork at a karaoke classroom located in Osaka named Chou, I observed how its largely senior female clientele sang over the microphone, and chatted and laughed with each other during lessons. Their vivacity and enthusiasm starkly contrasted with the image dominating Japanese public and academic discourse of Japanese elderly as passive, dependent, and in need of care (Coulmas, 2007). To these elderly karaoke participants, music and leisure serve as important cultural resources that allowed them to build and maintain identities and lifestyles as they aged (Bennett 2012; Koizumi 2013). I situate the classroom activities within concepts of “lifelong learning” and “serious leisure” elaborated respectively by Jones and Symon (2001) and Stebbins (2007). Through a discussion of data obtained from participant-observation of karaoke lessons and interviews with key participants, I explain how some older Japanese women build and maintain social relations with others that share similar musical tastes at karaoke classrooms, in ways that depart from their previous roles as mothers and wives within the highly patriarchal social structure of post-war Japan.
Source Title: Leisure and its Communities: Rethinking Mutuality, Collective Expression, and Belonging in the New Century
URI: https://scholarbank.nus.edu.sg/handle/10635/171738
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