Extreme exoticism : Japan in the American musical imagination /

Publication Type:



New York, NY : Oxford University Press,, United States, p.xiv, 623 pages : (2019)

Call Number:



Exoticism in music., History and criticism., History., Japanese influences., Music, Orientalism in music, United States


Includes bibliographical references (pages [559]-606) and index."Beyond description" : nineteenth-century Americans hearing Japan -- Strains of Japonisme in Tin Pan Alley, on Broadway, and in the parlor -- Japonisme and the forging of Ameircan musical modernism -- Two paradigmatic tales, between genres and genders -- An exotic enemy : musical propaganda in wartime Hollywood -- Singing Sayonara : musical representations of Japan in postwar Hollywood -- Representing the authentic from Japanese American perspectives -- Beat and square Cold War encounters -- Conclusions?, or, Contemporary representations and reception.To what extent can music be employed to shape one culture's understanding of another? In the American imagination, Japan has represented the "most alien" nation for over 150 years. This perceived difference has inspired fantasies-of both desire and repulsion-through which Japanese culture has profoundly impacted the arts and industry of the U.S. While the influence of Japan on American and European painting, architecture, design, theater, and literature has been celebrated in numerous books and exhibitions, the role of music has been virtually ignored until now. Anthony Sheppard's Extreme Exoticism offers a detailed documentation and wide-ranging investigation of music's role in shaping American perceptions of the Japanese, the influence of Japanese music on American composers, and the place of Japanese Americans in American musical life. Presenting numerous American encounters with and representations of Japanese music and Japan, this book reveals how music functions in exotic representation across a variety of genres and media, and how Japanese music has at various times served as a sign of modernist experimentation, a sounding board for defining American music, and a tool for reshaping conceptions of race and gender. From the Tin Pan Alley songs of the Russo-Japanese war period to Weezer's Pinkerton album, music has continued to inscribe Japan as the land of extreme exoticism. -- Book jacket.