150 Years of Modern Japanese Music



Showa wartime and music

In the early years of the Showa Period (1926–1989), new media brought a greater range of music to a broader audience—radio broadcasts had begun in 1925, records had become popular a decade earlier, and the first talkie movies hit the cinemas soon after Showa started. Classic fans emerged, listening to records of top Western performers, and movie theme songs became hit records. But the sound of marching boots came closer, and after the Mukden Incident in 1931, Japan was at war.
The wartime government actively promoted patriotic songs and militaristic songs. In addition, attempting to mould the morals of society into a form suitable for wartime, it broadcast programmes such as Kokumin Kayo (Songs for the Public) that were consciously designed to provide popular songs that could be sung in wholesome family homes. Music took on an overall wartime tint.

  1. 1-1. Formation of the New Composers' Federation
  2. 1-2. Hashimoto Kunihiko’s dream
  3. 1-3. The New Composers' Federation and composers
  4. 2. Proletarian Music Movement stranded
  5. 3. Konoye Hidemaro and the New Symphony Orchestra
  6. 4. Joseph Rosenstock and Klaus Pringsheim
  7. 5-1. Alexander Tcherepnin and the Tcherepnin scale
  8. 5-2. The Weingartner Prize
  9. 6. Kokumin Kayo: Popular songs and wartime songs
  10. 7. Festival for the 2600th Anniversary of the Founding of Japan
  11. 8. Nippon Ongaku Bunka Kyokai: Music controlled as war supplies

Richard Strauss’s Japanese Festival Music 1940
TOYAMA Kazuyuki Memorial Archives of Modern Japanese Music

Armband of Ongaku Hokoku Teishintai 1943
Private collection

東京オペラシティ アートギャラリー
東京オペラシティ アートギャラリー facebookページ