- 国立民族学博物館研究報告 (ISSN:0385180X)
- vol.15, no.4, pp.943-986, 1991-03-28
This paper traces the history of Japanese popular songs fromthe viewpoint of "Travel". The historical span of the discussionis confined to the Showa era, for the following two reasons:1) The modern system of producing popular songs wasestablished at the very beginning of the Showa era;2) The distinct contrast between urban areas and the provinces,together with the social unrest in those days, motivated thetraveling and drifting of the people, and consequently broughtthe travel songs or sight-seeing songs into fashion.In this paper, travels sung in popular songs are categorizedinto three types: outward travel, homeward travel, andwandering travel. Outward travel is motivated by a yearningfor some place and can thus be viewed as future-oriented travel.Homeward travel is motivated mainly by homesickness or somememory of the past. Wandering travel is accompanied byhomesickness in many cases. The popular songs of the Showaera are reviewed according to these three types of travel.In sections 1 and 2, the themes of travel in popular songs aresummarized, and then songs whose words contain place namesor descriptions of local scenery are analyzed. It is pointed outthat changes in the ratio of the number of such songs to thenumber of all popular songs are very similar to change inpopulation drift.In sections 3, 4 and 5, popular songs are reviewed andanalyzed in regard to outward travel, homeward travel, andwandering travel respectively. The evident correlation betweenthe words in these songs and the social environment is shown.Section 6 deals with a few songs relating to spiritual travels.In section 7, changes in travel songs are reviewed froma unique analytical viewpoint. Assuming that the story of thewords of a popular song is scenarized, each song can becategorized as either a close-up type or a long-shot type interms of camera angle, according to the words depicting scenesand manners and the personal pronouns contained in the wordsof the song. Based on this idea, several genres of travel songs areparameterized and mapped on a two-dimensional space, correspondingto the camera angle of the story of the song. Theresult of the mapping shows that travel songs became more andmore of the close-up type with the passing of time, which seemsto parallel the increasing tendency of Japanese society towardprivate-life-oriented conservatism.