12 GIRLS BAND AND KODO: COMPARING OF INVENTED TRADITIONAL MUSIC IN CHINA AND JAPAN
Abstract: When traditions have been changed to suit the needs of the day, they are actually no longer ancient, immemorial or unalterable. This kind of traditions is defined as ‘invented tradition’ by Eric Hobsbawn and Terence Ranger. If the definition is applied to the traditions of East Asia, traditional Chinese music by 12 Girls Band and traditional Japanese music by Kodo are representative illustrations. Both the two musical groups perform fusions of traditional elements with non-traditional ones, which are categorized as world music by genre. Based on the two examples, this research explores how traditional Chinese music and traditional Japanese music are ‘invented’ in contemporary society, and what influence the development of traditional musical culture in China and Japan. By studying biographies and discographies of 12 Girls Band and Kodo, data of the research are presented as stories of them comprising several aspects of their performing careers. The analysis is conducted along with their initial international success back to domestic influences, which leads to a discussion on the different ways of utilizing ‘invented’ traditional music to present national identities of China and Japan, respectively. Through discussion, two different ways of expressing national identities are revealed which influenced different development of traditional Chinese music and traditional Japanese music. The research finds that traditional Chinese music is invented as for promoting national identity domestically in China, while traditional Japanese music is invented for promoting a national identity toward the world.
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