Colonialism and Popular Music: Moments in Japan and Korea’s Encounter With Foreign Culture Between The Late Nineteenth and Mid-Twentieth Century
- 10.2991/assehr.k.211120.025How to use a DOI?
- popular music; Japan; Korea; colonialism; imperialism; modernization; culture; East Asia; J-pop and K-pop
Japanese music historian Takashi Iba wrote “Technically, Japanese culture was largely imported from foreign countries, then refined into Japanese things.” As a Japanese scholar who would have lived through the late nineteenth century, Iba witnessed the peak of colonialist and imperialist practices by the very same Western countries influencing Japan; Korea, whose popular music has become a national trademark in the twenty-first century, also seems to have been influenced by Japan and the Western countries during the same time.
As Western colonialism expanded to East Asia in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, Western culture began to heavily influence the emergence of both J-pop and K-pop. This paper traces the birth and growth of popular music in Japan and Korea (known as J-pop and K-pop). Nevertheless, it must be noted that popular music in modern Japan and Korea also retained elements from their own traditional music while they absorbed Western elements. In studying the Western foreign influences on Japanese and Korean popular music, this paper seeks to understand the two countries’ responses to colonialism, imperialism, and modernization in the realm of culture.
Although the development trajectories of Japanese and Korean popular music shared many similarities in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, they ultimately diverged. By examining foreign influences on popular music in Japan and Korea, this paper reveals that, although Japanese and Korean music were both inflected by external influences, they carried distinct meanings for the common people and governments in each country. Since this foreign influence was appropriated in Japan and imposed in Korea, it reflected different forms of national identity in the two countries.
In the twenty-first century, other parts of East Asia have developed musical culture in direct response to Japanese and South Korean popular music, especially in Mainland China. Due to the historical contact among countries in East Asia, current Chinese popular music includes many traits of Japanese and South Korean popular music, even though they all have similarities to Western popular music. As a result, listeners of music from these traditions should learn more about the historical background and connections among China, South Korea, and Japan, as well as those between these countries and the West if they want to understand Chinese, South Koreans, and Japanese popular music.
- © 2021 The Authors. Published by Atlantis Press SARL.
- Open Access
- This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC license.
Cite this article
TY - CONF AU - Ziyun Lan PY - 2021 DA - 2021/11/29 TI - Colonialism and Popular Music: Moments in Japan and Korea’s Encounter With Foreign Culture Between The Late Nineteenth and Mid-Twentieth Century BT - Proceedings of the 2021 3rd International Conference on Literature, Art and Human Development (ICLAHD 2021) PB - Atlantis Press SP - 125 EP - 135 SN - 2352-5398 UR - https://doi.org/10.2991/assehr.k.211120.025 DO - 10.2991/assehr.k.211120.025 ID - Lan2021 ER -