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Hip-Hop Japan: Rap and the Paths of Cultural Globalizationby Ian Condry
Synopses & Reviews
In this lively ethnography Ian Condry interprets Japanandrsquo;s vibrant hip-hop scene, explaining how a music and culture that originated halfway around the world is appropriated and remade in Tokyo clubs and recording studios. Illuminating different aspects of Japanese hip-hop, Condry chronicles how self-described andldquo;yellow B-Boysandrdquo; express their devotion to andldquo;black culture,andrdquo; how they combine the figure of the samurai with American rapping techniques and gangsta imagery, and how underground artists compete with pop icons to define andldquo;realandrdquo; Japanese hip-hop. He discusses how rappers manipulate the Japanese language to achieve rhyme and rhythmic flow and how Japanandrsquo;s female rappers struggle to find a place in a male-dominated genre. Condry pays particular attention to the messages of emcees, considering how their raps take on subjects including Japanandrsquo;s education system, its sex industry, teenage bullying victims turned schoolyard murderers, and even Americaandrsquo;s handling of the war on terror.
Condry attended more than 120 hip-hop performances in clubs in and around Tokyo, sat in on dozens of studio recording sessions, and interviewed rappers, music company executives, music store owners, and journalists. Situating the voices of Japanese artists in the specific nightclubs where hip-hop is performedandmdash;what musicians and fans call the genba (actual site) of the sceneandmdash;he draws attention to the collaborative, improvisatory character of cultural globalization. He contends that it was the pull of grassroots connections and individual performers rather than the push of big media corporations that initially energized and popularized hip-hop in Japan. Zeebra, DJ Krush, Crazy-A, Rhymester, and a host of other artists created Japanese rap, one performance at a time.
An ethnography of hip-hop performance and culture in Japan.
An ethnographic study of Japanese hip-hop.
About the Author
Ian Condry is Associate Professor of Japanese cultural studies in Foreign Languages and Literatures at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Visit Ian Condryandrsquo;s website.
Table of Contents
Introduction: Hip-Hop, Japan, and Cultural Globalization 1
1. Yellow B-Boys, Black Culture, and the Elvis Effect 24
2. Battling Hip-Hop Samurai 49
3. Genba Globalization and Locations of Power 87
4. Rap Fans and Consumer Culture 111
5. Rhyming in Japanese 134
6. Women Rappers and the Price of Cutismo 164
7. Making Money, Japan-Style 181
Conclusion: Lessons of Hip-Hop Globalization 205
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