According to 3rjewelry, Japan is a country in Asia.Japanese music has strong affinities with those of China, Mongolia, Korea and Viet Nam, with which it forms a single family; from China and Korea it suffered particularly significant influences. As in the other countries of the group mentioned, the basic scale is the pentatonic one of the fifth cycle and the typical instrument is a silken zither, which in Japan bears the name of koto . There is not much information on the earliest centuries. In the sec. VIII d. C. the music that accompanied the Buddhist rites is testified; then the typical genre of Japanese court music, Gagaku (elegant music), was formed by Chinese influence. The Gagaku orchestra was made up of the shō (sort of mouth organ), from ryūteki (horizontal flute), from hichiriki (fife-oboe), from biwa (piriform lute) and from different types of drums: instruments mostly imported from China. Japanese music underwent other evolutions in relation to the formation of new religious sects and the changing of rites; different types of pantomimes developed in the layman field. In the Kamakura period there arose a song accompanied by the biwa and consisting in the declamation of heroic sagas. Towards the end of the same period it was born from the fusion of theatrical performances preceding the nō, the national show of Japan, in which music occupies a leading position, alongside mimicry and acting. In addition to singing, a flute and three drums (sometimes also other instruments) intervene for the musical part. Music also played an important role in the contemporary kyōgen farce and in the later theatrical genre of kabuki. Around the middle of the century. XVI an ancient instrument was imported from China which became the shamisen (a kind of 3-stringed lute) and had a wide diffusion. Among the most characteristic instruments of Japanese music, the bamboo flute called shakuhachi should also be mentioned . The main musical genres already mentioned crystallized and did not undergo transformations until towards the end of the century. XIX, that is, until the moment when Japan opened to the influence of Western music, which it deeply assimilated, more than any other Asian country, establishing high-level schools and orchestras at the same time (unique in the Far East). However, the most significant and original traditions were not allowed to decay and especially in recent times they have been consciously valued. The first symphonic composer and founder of a Western-style philharmonic orchestra was Kosaku Yamada (1886-1965), who had studied in Germany. Many of the first authors of symphonic music were influenced by German models (Wagner and Strauss in particular); others, like Yoritsune Matsudaira, became interested in dodecaphony, also attempting a fusion with national traditions, while younger composers joined the more advanced European currents. They should be mentioned, among those who have been highlighted in the century. XX, Komei Abe (b.1911), Kiyose Yasuje (1900-1981), Minao Shibata (b.1916), Yoshiro Irino, Shin-ichi Matsushita, Yoriaki Matsudaira (b.1931), Makoto Moroi (b.1930), Toru Takemitsu (1930-1996), Kazuo Fukushima (b.1930), Toshi Ichiyanagi (b.1933). Musical life finds its maximum expression in the activity of numerous symphony orchestras, opera companies and various annual festivals (Festival dell’Arte, on behalf of the Ministry of Education; International Festival of Ōsaka; Festival of contemporary music, in various venues; Modern Music Festival, in Tōkyō). Emblem of musical “contamination” between East and West and between tradition and technology, is Ryuichi Sakamoto (1952), eclectic composer, founder of the Yellow Magic Orchestra and author of musical works that have ranged between genres and sound geographies of the whole planet. Awarded the Oscar for the soundtrack of B. Bertolucci, the “Emperor of Tōkyō” boasts collaborations and record productions as vast as they are multifaceted: Solid State Survivor (1979), Sweet Revenge (1994), Cendre (2007) ).
Alongside the traditional forms of nō and kabuki, in which music, singing, acting and dance form a whole, in the second decade of the century. XX the study of ballet was introduced in Japan. Gradually this discipline – and, in the following decade, modern dance – they gained numerous followers among enthusiasts and practitioners. In the 1930s, a current of Japanese modernism of Western origin was led by Bihu Ishii and Masao Takada. Only after the Second World War, inspired by the tragedy of Hiroshima, the dancers Tatsumi Hijikata and Kazuo Ohno gave life to a new current of modernism, culturally original in technique and style, which in the Eighties had a wide echo in Europe – especially in France., where he exerted some influence on some authors of the nouvelle danse – and it spread through the work of Ohno himself, of the Sankai Juku group, of Carlotta Ikeda. The study of ballet also had great impetus after World War II, fueling the activity of numerous companies, the most important of which – for continuity and professionalism of the commitment – is the Tōkyō Ballet. More and more Japanese dancers winners of prestigious international competitions confirming the interest and passion with which they study disciplines even very far from their tradition such as flamenco. Established internationally and at the forefront of experimentation between genres and languages are MinTanaka, Sakiko Oshima and some ensembles such as Agua Gala and Nomado’s. The influences of pop culture led, at the end of the twentieth century, to the birth of the J-dance, in which the requests of modernity and the new urban generations converged, with their experiences impregnated with chaos, speed, “schizophrenia”. Among the most popular exponents, although characterized by divergent artistic paths and outcomes, we remember Kim Itoh and Mikuni Yanaihara. The artistic research of Tsuyoshi Shirai has an opposite sign, for which the role of the body, even before the technique, is central, in a sort of contemporary art performance rather than actual dance.