Accepted Paper:

Ethnic identity of "Asadoya Yunta" after World War II  

Author:

Hsinju Sung (National Taiwan University)

Paper short abstract:

Drawing on recent theoretical insights on ethnic identity and social practice, and utilizing my own ethnographic data, this research argues to regard Okinawan people as an ethnic other in Japanese culture by analyzing social practices of musicians surrounding "Asadoya Yunta".

Paper long abstract:

"Asadoya Yunta" is a song known as a minyƍ (folk song), originates from Yaeyama Islands, a part of Okinawa, Japan. It has changed in its language, lyrics and performing style. After World War II during the U.S. occupied period through Okinawa's return to Japan, the function of the song has continued to change.

Ethnomusicological studies have discussed that music helps to form a social space and represents this space through various social practices (for instance, Stokes 1994). It draws ethnic boundaries, defining and maintaining social identities; it can be used by colonized and minority groups as a marker of identity.

Drawing on recent theoretical insights on ethnicity, identity, and social practice, and utilizing my own ethnographic data, this paper attempts to examine Okinawa's ethnic identity expressed in "Asadoya Yunta."

This research argues to regard Okinawan people not only as a minority group, but also as an ethnic other in Japanese culture by analyzing social practices of musicians surrounding this song, with a focus on the changing process after World War II, especially after Okinawa's return to Japan. It will also argue that although Okinawa is ethnically different from mainland Japan, their identity and music activities are still affected by Japan.

Panel P114
Anthropology of music, popular music scenes, performance practices and challenges of the present