To and from an island periphery: Tradition, travel and transforming identity in the music of Ogasawara, Japan
The world of music 46,2.2005:79-98

##This is a study of tradition, travel and transforming identity in the music of one of Japan´s most southerly island groups, Ogasawara (also known as the Bonin Islands)... These small islands, which have a population of about 2,500, have a relatively recent social history of around two hundred years. and, unlike most other Japanese regions, have a definite geographic and cultural context in the Pacific with much non-Japanese contact and settlement. Indeed, it is the eclectic mix of peoples, together with Ogasawara´s place as a Japanese geographic and cultural periphery, which has been foregrounded in recent years in the islands´ traditional music - both by islanders and other Japanese. Moreover, this music has not only occupied a position that has been negotiated in Ogasawara´s search for its own contemporary cultural identity but has also been transformed in a national representation by several popular music performers and groups, and then re-established and re-negotiated in the islands´ present-day perception of its traditional and quite recent past. Wilh several unique music genres that are quite different from others in Japan, the folk music of Ogasawara has captured the attention of several mainland Japanese popular musicians. While the islands´ music has a small position in an immense Japanese music industry. That is particularly significant for the music researcher of place and identity are the interconnections, travel and transformation of the music. That is, the mainland musicians have reproduced songs, which themselves have only a recent history on Ogasawara, and these have subsequently become popular for locals and tourists alikečabout 30,000 tourists visit each year. lt is these complex roots/routes that are explored in this article. The study looks at the ways the same music is transformed through travel for different reasons, and how an examination of borrowing, invention and transformation can help in understanding not only the place of so-called traditional music in one of Japan´s peripheries today, but also how and why that place is imagined and consumed in parts of Japan that are politically very close, albeit geographically, and sometimes culturally quite distant.##

Keywords: Ogasawara music, musicology, identity and music, folk music (Japan)