Micro: global music made in J-pop?
ABSTRACT This article tackles J-pop as a result of diverse influences from Western music. Its strength stems from its capacity to ‘tame the exotic’ i.e. assimilate and recreate from styles that were uncommon for Asian cultures by integrating elements of rock, reggae, hip hop, etc and labelling these J-rock, J-reggae, J-rap. This assimilation and indigenization process in J-pop creation could be seen as a way to resist against competitors from other places of music production. The article also attempts to identify the specificities and assets of J-pop in the music scene in general. It elaborates on J-pop’s coolness, and the reason why it could expand throughout East-Asia. Pop music and pop culture flows in East-Asia could be regarded then as a means to trigger a sense of community and togetherness through the consumption of pop culture products. Throughout the analysis on J-pop, the article will rely on one musical example, Def Tech and Micro, as this artist tends to explore various musical genre and intermingles them, so as to create a specific style, coined ‘Jawaian reggae’.
Aska Monty is a free lance researcher on pop culture and media in Asia. She currently works as a research assistant at Mission documentation, Caisse des Dépôts, in Paris. She got her MA from Ecole Doctorale de l’Institut d’Etudes Politiques de Paris, major in Asian studies. Her thesis (When Japan and South Korea encounter. Soft power and pop culture, the Korean-Japanese case) dealt with cultural relations between South Korea and Japan. She was research associate at iCAT (Institute for Communication Arts and Technology, Hallym University, South Korea) in 2007. She has presented a number of papers at conferences (Cultural Typhoon, UMAT, Crossroads), on the use of Korean actors in Japanese commercials, on the transnational consumption of media in East Asia as a forthcoming sign of a public sphere in East Asia. Her fields of interests include pop culture, media, advertising, communication, soft power.