Japanthem: Counter-Cultural Experiences, Cross-Cultural Remixes (Paperback)
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"Jillian Marshall has gone back and forth to Japan for many years to work on her thesis on ethnomusicology. She broke up her thesis into stories for this book. Her interest is in the underground music scene as well as the traditional music and ceremonies. It takes her a while for them to trust her so she can really get to know the music and the meaning of traditional dance. She also delves into the miscommunication and etiquette of being an outsider in Japan. The contrasts between the traditional and the underground music is fascinating. A fun, behind the scenes look at an aspect of Japan's culture that you may not know about."--Reviewed by Percy
"In this illuminating debut, Marshall offers an outsider's look into Japanese culture via its music . . . Throughout, her sharp observations are interspersed with moving moments of introspection . . . This transportive work is a thrilling escape." --Publishers Weekly
Fulbright and mtvU sponsored scholar Jillian Marshall offers honest and often humorous vignettes that delve far beyond Western stereotypes of Japanese culture to portray a society's deep relationship with music, and what it means to listen and understand as a cultural outsider.
Following a decade of back-and-forth across the Pacific while researching her doctoral thesis in ethnomusicology, JAPANTHEM author Jillian Marshall reveals contemporary Japan through a prism of magic, serendipity, frustration, unique underground culture, learning life lessons the hard way, and an insatiable curiosity for the human spirit. The book's twenty vignettes -- including what it's like to be subtly bullied by your Buddhist dance teacher, go to a secret rave in woods near Mt. Fuji, meet a pop star at a basement club while tipsy, and experience a nuclear disaster unfold by the minute -- are based off first-hand experience, and illustrate music's fascinating relationship to (Japanese) society with honesty, intelligence, and humor. JAPANTHEM offers a uniquely nuanced portrayal of life in the Land of the Rising Sun -- while encouraging us to listen more deeply in (and to) Japan in the process.
About the Author
Jillian Marshall grew up in a rural town in Vermont, just south of the French-Canadian border. After graduating from the University of Chicago in 2009, she moved to a fishing village in Japan to teach middle school English. She came back to the US to pursue a doctorate in ethnomusicology at Cornell University, frequently returning to Japan to conduct research on contemporary Japanese music. Following the completion of her PhD in 2018, she left academia +in pursuit of a more public intellectualism. In addition to writing, Jillian currently teaches the languages and history of Japan and China; she is also a lifelong musician, and plays trumpet and piano. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.