Cover: Tokyo Boogie-Woogie: Japan’s Pop Era and Its Discontents, from Harvard University PressCover: Tokyo Boogie-Woogie in HARDCOVER

Tokyo Boogie-Woogie

Japan’s Pop Era and Its Discontents

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Product Details


$35.00 • £25.95 • €31.50

ISBN 9780674971691

Publication: April 2017

Academic Trade

288 pages

5-1/2 x 8-1/4 inches

9 halftones


Nagahara provides a well-documented study of how modern Japanese pop media developed a foundation in the masses that neither the government nor critics could control… Tokyo Boogie-Woogie stands as a well-developed cultural history of Japanese popular culture as the nation progressed through modernity.—Gregory Smith, PopMatters

Always stimulating.—James McNair, The National

Far more than a history of popular song, Tokyo Boogie-Woogie offers a trenchant examination of the growth of Japanese mass culture in the context of the complex and intimate relationship between industry, elite critics, and the regulatory state. Among many surprising episodes, cases such as that of popular music censor-cum-connoisseur Ogawa Chikagorō, or the performance of the American World War I song ‘Over There’ at a Japanese state event in 1943, cast the issue of wartime censorship in an entirely new light. This is a landmark work of twentieth-century Japanese cultural history.—Jordan Sand, author of Tokyo Vernacular: Common Spaces, Local Histories, Found Objects

Tokyo Boogie-Woogie will have you stomping your feet in applause. This masterful history portrays the Japanese music industry as a major force crafting popular consciousness between 1920 and 1950. As Nagahara shows, intellectuals and government censors on both the right and the left soon got in on the act, exploiting the political potential of popular tunes in unexpected ways.—Julia Adeney Thomas, author of Reconfiguring Modernity: Concepts of Nature in Japanese Political Ideology

Tokyo Boogie-Woogie is a wonderfully insightful and nuanced history that traces the emergence of Japan’s media-saturated popular culture within the nation’s development as a modern, middle-class society. It will make a strong contribution to the field of modern Japanese history and pop music and pop culture studies. An impressive work.—Christine Yano, author of Pink Globalization: Hello Kitty’s Trek across the Pacific