Tokyo Damage Report

Archive for August, 2011

still more gunka

満州国皇帝陛下奉迎歌 (the "Manchuria Welcomes His Highness The Emperor" song)     (thanks to Ted Natsume for help with the difficult parts!) 作詞 町田敬二 作曲 石塚寛 一、 国を挙ぞり迎へ奉れ 燦たり聖駕に くにをこぞり むかえまつれ さんたりせいが(天子の乗り物)に 桜花渡れし 麗らよ今日の日 ひつべしぜんり おうかわたれし うららよ(晴れ晴れとした)きょうのひ 日満親和いよよ厚し 慶び溢るる日本のこの歌 にちまんしんわ いよよあつし  供へ奉れ 高らかにいざ そなえまつれ たからかにいざ We made our national commitment to welcome his majesty. In clear nice weather the cherry blossoms bless the shining vehicle of his majesty. […]


hardcore gunka

Last post was the regular gunka  (WWII fight music) that you can still get at any record store in Japan.   This time is the stuff that YOU CAN'T FIND nowadays, since it's a LITTLE un-PC. However, thanks to youtube, there is an entire subculture of  maniacs who find the original 78s, digitize them, and […]


gunka, gunka, gunka!

Gunka is a style of propaganda music from the "Let's conquer the world!" days: '35 ~'45 (ish). It comes from the characters 軍 (army) and 歌 (song). The songs were not FOR soldiers, they were for the folks back home, to whip up enthusiasm for war. That's why a lot of gunka sounds like childrens' […]


Japan book review 11: THE STATE BEARING GIFTS by Brian McVeigh

 buy it here. This is amazing book about how Japanese daigaku (colleges) are "simulated learning" – teachers pretending to teach, to students who pretend to learn. That sounds like a pretty severe thing to say about a whole country's higher education system, but McVeigh lays down some serious evidence for it.   FRUSTRATING THINGS ABOUT […]


the readers have spoken!

I can't believe all the fan mail I've been getting that got stuck in my stupid spam filter.  Here I was thinking that the audience for rants about WWII Shinto extremism and  tuna-fisherman cosplay bands was very limited, but it turns out there were over a thousand thank you letters that i came THIS CLOSE […]


gekiteki 9 : akiba kei

Akihabara style = akiba kei.  Music from the anime subculture can be gekiteki because people do acting: they pretend to be batman or whatever. . . they wear costumes and perform "in character." Within "akiba-kei", there's a whole genre of wanna-be teen idols that just sing one anime theme song after another, but the people […]


gekiteki 8 : burlesque and cabaret

Burlesque is definitely a part of gekiteki – especially when there is rock music and instruments involved! Unfortunately I have no idea of most of the burlesque / cabaret crews in Japan, and no idea of the "lines of influence" between them. So anyone who can help, please leave a comment!   情念 (jounen) MEANING […]

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gekiteki 7 : retro japanese pop

Besides war nostalgia and religion, another  way to be "wayou" (east meets west) is to fuse rock with old-timey Japanese music.   Minyou kyoku= folk songs kouta = early Meiji era : traditional short, fun songs roukyoku =  also early Meiji : dark, manly ballads about duty and honor Ryuukouka =  1920's music that sounded […]


gekiteki 6 : noise/performance art

I'm putting in noise bands that have a theatrical aspect – props, costumes, interacting with the audience, etc. Of course the theatrics come from  performance art moreso than  Shakespeare-type "theater"!     非常階段 (hijokaidan) MEANING : :  emergency exit CITY . . : Osaka ERA . . . : late 1979~ SOUND . . : JAPANESE […]

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gekiteki 5 : militarist

These bands are "theatrical" because they are inspired by  the pomp and bombast of  – to say nothing of the shock value of – Japanese military culture from fascist era (roughly '31 – '45)  Any discussion of militarist Japanese rock has to start with "the nazi thrash epidemic" of the late '80s: a sort of  […]


gekiteki 4 : pagan

Religion is another way to mix up East and West. Some of these bands are serious, deep Buddhists, and some are metal-heads who embrace  Japanese pagan or shamanic stuff in order to reject Christianity and Christian Rock (this is a common theme of metal worldwide ever since Norwegian rockers started wearing Ren-faire garb and singing […]


gekiteki 3: literary bands

Literary bands  – for some reason all metalheads – use old-timey Japanese authors for their lyrics. Usually horror or surrealist writers from the Modernist period of the '30s. Literature is a big part of ANGURA (underground) culture  . . .even if your band isn't metal, even if you don't  have literary lyrics, you're supposed to  […]

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