"In this illuminating debut, Marshall offers an outsider's look into Japanese culture via its music . . . Throughout, her sharp observations are interspersed with moving moments of introspection . . . This transportive work is a thrilling escape." --Publishers Weekly
Fulbright and mtvU sponsored scholar Jillian Marshall offers honest and often humorous vignettes that delve far beyond Western stereotypes of Japanese culture to portray a society's deep relationship with music, and what it means to listen and understand as a cultural outsider.
Following a decade of back-and-forth across the Pacific while researching her doctoral thesis in ethnomusicology, JAPANTHEM author Jillian Marshall reveals contemporary Japan through a prism of magic, serendipity, frustration, unique underground culture, learning life lessons the hard way, and an insatiable curiosity for the human spirit. The book's twenty vignettes -- including what it's like to be subtly bullied by your Buddhist dance teacher, go to a secret rave in woods near Mt. Fuji, meet a pop star at a basement club while tipsy, and experience a nuclear disaster unfold by the minute -- are based off first-hand experience, and illustrate music's fascinating relationship to (Japanese) society with honesty, intelligence, and humor. JAPANTHEM offers a uniquely nuanced portrayal of life in the Land of the Rising Sun -- while encouraging us to listen more deeply in (and to) Japan in the process.