- 一般財団法人 アジア政経学会
- アジア研究 (ISSN:00449237)
- vol.66, no.1, pp.21-36, 2020-01-31 (Released:2020-03-12)
This paper investigates the control exerted by the Vietnamese government on the distribution and performance of South Vietnam era songs after the end of the Vietnam war—which is referred to as the Liberation of the South—and explains why the government recently announced the abolition of the special control system intended to censor these songs. Soon after the end of the Vietnam war, the government prohibited South Vietnam era songs, due to their decadent and antigovernment characteristics. However, Vietnamese people living overseas, most of whom had been exiled from former South Vietnam to Western countries, have continued to sing these songs in their communities. From the latter half of the 1980’s, Vietnam incentivized Vietnamese people living overseas to return, either temporarily or permanently, because of their financial potential. The government also gradually eased restrictions on South Vietnam era songs. Until 1999, several government agencies maintained control on the use of South Vietnam era songs. Until 2012, provincial-level government agencies remained in control of local stage performances. After 2012, the Department of Performing Arts (DPA), under the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, was tasked with controlling permissions related to songs composed in South Vietnam before 1975 and overseas, and in 2016, the range of the DPA’s control expanded to songs composed before 1975 and overseas. Ongoing debates reveal that the contemporary censorship system had already reached its limit because (1) no authoritative entity, including the DPA itself, fully understands which songs had been permitted since the end of the 1980’s, and (2) the DPA cannot control the vast number of songs that fall under the literal interpretation of the present decree, as “the songs composed before 1975” technically includes all songs composed in Northern Vietnam before 1975. Considering Vietnamese song markets, Vietnamese singers living or traveling internationally tend to return or expand their business to Vietnam due to the international markets’ shrinkage; this encourages singers to refrain from engaging in politically sensitive activities in international communities. From around 2012, Boléro songs, which are often South Vietnam era songs, have comprised a major trend in Vietnam. However, people superficially refer to nostalgia for songs that were sang in former Saigon, concealing the South-Vietnamese identity of these songs. The Vietnamese government intends to remove the special control system to overcome such procedural limitations, accompanied by the atmosphere in Vietnamese song markets as they attempt to limit the proliferation political messages in South Vietnam era songs.