27 Mind-Blowing Facts About Japanese Music For Kids | Kidadl


27 Mind-Blowing Facts About Japanese Music For Kids

Arts & Crafts
Learn more
Reading & Writing
Learn more
Math & Logic
Learn more
Sports & Active
Learn more
Music & Dance
Learn more
Social & Community
Learn more
Mindful & Reflective
Learn more
Outdoor & Nature
Learn more
Read these Tokyo facts to learn all about the Japanese capital.

Whether pre-modern or pre-colonial, these types of music are unmistakably distinct and one-of-a-kind.

The growth of trade and travel, on the other hand, has had tremendous effects on the growth of civilizations in various regions of the world. This is why bits and pieces of one culture can be found in another.

Japanese music encompasses a wide spectrum of traditional and contemporary music styles. Japanese and Korean languages have a more fluid flow to them, with less harshness and bounce. As a result, the text and music might complement each other.

The most of sounds heard in so-called 'traditional Japanese music' are heavily inspired by older forms of Chinese music. Its effect can be seen in a variety of ways, including instrumentation, scaling, citations, and vocalization. The expansion of religion coincided with the growth of civilization.

Music was one of the unanticipated imports in this case. Individuals who are skilled in playing traditional instruments, on the other hand, are uncommon in Japan. Not only will the instruments be expensive, but so would receiving specialist tutorials for them. Japanese parents, on the other hand, make every effort to involve their children in traditional music. Let's learn about some Japanese musical facts!

Japanese Music History

From traditional folk music to the global conquest of J Pop, Japan's musical history is vast and varied. The oldest known insights into Japanese music come from ancient Ancient Chinese history and recent archaeological data. According to some researchers, archaeologists have uncovered Neolithic materials throughout Japan, as well as pottery remnants dating back to the Jomon civilization. Religions such as Buddhism and Hinduism have contributed rituals and festivities to Japan. Music accompanies these rites, whether performed with instruments or just by chanting. This type of music has become entwined with the country's culture throughout time.

  • Ongaku is a term used in Japanese culture to describe traditional music. This term means 'comfort' in English. Traditional Japanese music is associated with Zen Buddhism since it is meant to be peaceful for its listeners.
  • The min'yo in Buddhism is one instance of traditional Japanese music. This is a selection of songs that can be utilized for a number of occasions, including birthdays, funerals, weddings, and even religious events.
  • The yukar from the Ainu tribe is another type of Japanese traditional music. This is the type of storytelling in which songs and music are intermingled. Shamisen, Shakuhachi, and Koto are three of the most common instruments used in Japanese music.
  • The shamisen, resembles a guitar, has a long, thin neck and a compact rectangular body that is coated in the skin. It has three strings and, like a violin or guitar, the pitch is altered by adjusting pegs on the head. It is played with a big triangular plectrum to strike the chords.
  • The shakuhachi is a bamboo flute that is performed by blowing through one end. It features four slots on the front and another on the back, and its unusually sorrowful tone makes it known as a 'five-holed bamboo flute' among English.
  • The flute was played by komuso monks who begged or were occasionally spied while roaming around the streets performing the flute incognito and wearing unique wicker basket headgear.
  • Many previous soldiers no longer carried their swords as a result of the changes in Japanese society, but young merchants brought more money. A strange side effect of these developments was the emergence of a shakuhachi nestled in the back of one's belt to be used as a musical instrument or a club.
  • Large Japanese board zither with 13 silk chords and adjustable bridges known as koto or kin. Historians believe the koto was created in China between the fifth and third centuries BC, having the 13-stringed variant arriving in Japan in the Nara period (710-794). This big, wooden instrument is performed with picks placed on the fingers, and the pitch is changed by moving bridges below each string.
  • The koto is undoubtedly the most well-known and widely used of these traditional instruments. 'Haru no Umi,' a duo with the shakuhachi, is frequently piped in as music in the background during the New Year holidays, and the popular tune 'Sakura, Sakura' is sung on the koto during the cherry blossom season.

Origins Of Japanese Music

Japanese folk music has long been inspired by Chinese music, with certain genres having been introduced from China over a thousand years ago. Several famous Japanese musical instruments have their origins in China and have been altered to fit local concerns. Traditional Japanese music mainly refers to the country's traditional music from the past. Buddhist chanting, or Shmy, and gagaku, or dramatic music, are considered the oldest forms.

  • Shmy is a type of Buddhist ceremonial music performed by a choir of Buddhist monks during a Buddhist ceremony; translated literally, the word 'shmy' includes the letters for 'voice' and 'knowledge.' Gagaku is Japan's oldest musical heritage, consisting of songs and dances in two styles: instrumental music called kigaku, and seigaku, which is vocal music.
  • Since Heian period, a 12-tone (dodecaphonic) China's scale has impacted Japanese music; nonetheless, traditional Japanese music is usually centered on heptatonic (seven tones) or pentatonic (five-tone) scales.
  • Japan is the world's second-largest music industry. J-pop, J-hip hop, J-rock, Japanese jazz, Japanese reggae, Anime music, Japanoise, and Game music, traditional Gagaku, traditional Wadaiko, traditional Minyo, traditional Wadaiko, traditional Kagura, traditional Dengaku, and so on are all popular music styles in Japan.
Korea acted as a conduit for numerous Chinese musical elements to reach Japan and also exert influence by its own court song.

Co-relation Of Japanese Music and Japanese Culture

Japan is among the countries with thriving music culture, and particular genres of Japanese music have been associated with the country's culture since ancient times. These words are based on the idea of music (goku) separated into two types: Japanese and Western. Japanese music is the art of blending instrumental or vocal sounds for the purpose of emotional expression and beauty of form, particularly practiced in Japan.

  • Traditional Japanese music has a contemplative quality to it and is performed in a highly ritualistic manner, similar to martial arts and other Japanese forms of art like calligraphy and the tea ceremony. Through wind,  percussion, and stringed instruments, music frequently attempts to reflect natural sounds as well as the sounds of life.
  • The sparse pace and lack of regular chords in classical Japanese music is an intriguing aspect. The rhythms are all centered on'ma,' and stillness is a big aspect of the tunes.

Types of Japanese Music

Classic music in Japan is split into three categories: dramatic, court music, and instrumental.

  • Gagaku, or historic imperial court music, is the sort of music heard in Japan's Imperial Courts. This ancient song originated in Japan, yet it was influenced by the traditions and societies of neighboring countries such as Saibaba and Roei. Vocals, as well as musical instruments, accompany these two musical styles.
  • Gagaku comes in a variety of forms, depending on the occasion or ceremony being done. According to legend, this type of music was brought to the United States from China. It was given its particular flair, though, because it incorporates the pentatonic scale or yo scale.
  • There are three major types of instruments utilized in Gagaku, and they are not your typical collection of traditional Japanese instruments. Mouth organ, oboe, and panpipe are examples of wind instruments. Stringed instruments, on either hand, include the harp, lute, and zither. Hourglass-shaped drums, small gongs, and clappers are examples of percussion instruments.
  • It's understandable that Gagaku, as the earliest variety of traditional Japanese music, has a wide range of styles. The other is Joruri, which is a type of narrative music that gained popularity during the Edo period.
  • In the development of classical Japanese dramas, traditional music played an important role. As music and sound effects were not yet impacted by advanced tech, an entire act was dependent on how the music fit together. Music, costume and dance, are central to Japanese theatre.
  • Noh is a popular type of traditional Japanese music that is generally described as classical theatrical music. It is accompanied by the Hayashi Kato, a traditional instrument group. The kabuki, on either hand, is what happens when music is combined with singing, dancing, and acting. This is the most well-known kind of Japanese theatre, and it is still performed today.
  • Many traditional Japanese artists that perform traditional Japanese music produce records and tour internationally, introducing the music to a foreign audience. The Yoshida Brothers' initial album sold almost 100,000 copies, and they've since visited the United States and produced an album in Los Angeles, gaining international attention.
  • The Nenes ('sisters' from Okinawan) are a group of four Okinawan females who sing traditional Okinawan folk tunes while wearing traditional clothes and playing traditional instruments, illustrating the history of Japanese music.
  • Joji Hirota is a percussionist, singer, as well as Taiko drummer who is also a shakuhachi player. He formed the Taiko Drummers, and Joji Hirota and the UK Japanese Consulate honored him with the Ambassador's commendation award for his contributions to musical activities outside of Japan throughout a three-decade career.
  • Though most of this traditional music has faded over time, it continues to have a strong impact on modern music. In reality, modern Japanese musicians have discovered methods to combine musical influences and traditional instruments into their work in order to give it a more distinct feel.
  • Western music was brought into schools in the 1880s, and the Tokyo Academy of Music was founded in 1887. Symphony orchestras were founded later, and Western music has become an important component of the artistic life of Japan.
  • Domestic performers contribute over 90% of all concert and recording profit, while publication is the most foreigner-friendly area of the industry, having overseas musicians accounting for 20-25% of earnings. 
  • The older generations ensure that the new generations have respect for their traditions, which is one of the chief factors that traditional Japanese music could still be experienced in Japanese music and arts. Despite the fact that times have changed and innovation has driven Japan toward modernization. Japanese people still place great importance on their culture.

<p>Devangana is a highly accomplished content writer and a deep thinker with a Master's degree in Philosophy from Trinity College, Dublin. With a wealth of experience in copywriting, she has worked with The Career Coach in Dublin and is constantly looking to enhance her skills through online courses from some of the world's leading universities. Devangana has a strong background in computer science and is also an accomplished editor and social media manager. Her leadership skills were honed during her time as the literacy society president and student president at the University of Delhi.</p>

Read The Disclaimer

Was this article helpful?