The Japanese Association for the Study of Popular Music

2019年度 第3回 関東地区例会





日時:2019年12月26日(木) 15:00~17:00


発表者: Dr Shelley Brunt
討論者: Kimberlee Sanders、宮入恭平


Immortal Voices: The memorialisation of Japan’s Popular Music through Kouhaku Utagassen and posthumous performance


Digital technologies have long enabled the splicing of contemporary voices with the voices of dead musicians in order to produce a new musical work. Since the 2000s, not only aural but also visual elements have been integrated to create seemingly live posthumous performances between two singers on stage. Drawing on my past research on posthumous duets, this presentation explores the critical issues surrounding ‘immortal performances’ within the context of Japanese popular music. In doing so, I ask ‘what technological, ethical and cultural issues surround digitized posthumous performance?’, and consider how they straddle the lines between nostalgia and morbidity, and live and mediated performance. The notion of posthumous performance will be discussed in relation to NHK’s Kouhaku Utagassen: the long running televised song contest which celebrates its 70th edition in 2019. Kouhaku has a history of ‘reviving’ the voices of dead singers for the purpose of new duet performances, such as MISORA Hibari with OGURA Kei in 2007, HIKIAWA Kiyoshi and SAKAMOTO Kyu in 2006, and SAKAMOTO Kyu and HIRAI Ken in 2003. Significantly, NHK has indicated the long dead MISORA Hibari will sing a new song as a special posthumous performance. Ultimately, this talk argues that the wistful invocations of the past, and the rhetoric of ‘technology triumphing over death’, are part of a broader process of selectively memorialising the nation’s musical heritage.


Dr Shelley Brunt is a popular music ethnomusicologist and Senior Lecturer in Music Industry and Media at RMIT University (Melbourne, Australia). She is the former Chair of IASPM-Australia/New Zealand, and now serves as co-editor for Perfect Beat: The Pacific Journal of Research into Contemporary Music and Popular Culture (Equinox). Shelley is currently in Tokyo to undertake a Japan Foundation Fellowship for the project “Looking Outward, Looking Inward: Conveying Japan’s popular music as cultural heritage through Kouhaku Utagassen”, as a guest of the Tokyo University of the Arts. Among her publications are Made in Australia and Aotearoa/New Zealand: Studies in Popular Music (Routledge 2018 with Geoff Stahl) and many papers about Kouhaku Utagassen, including her PhD “Performing Community: Japan’s 50th Kouhaku Song Contest” (2006). Her other research project is the monograph Popular Music and Parenting (Routledge 2021 with Liz Giuffre).




大嶌徹(関東例会担当研究活動委員) oossttuu[at]