Nov. 20th Presentation: Joshua Solomon “Localizing the Imaginary”

Art and Politics of East Asia Workshop presents:

Localizing the Imaginary:

Identifying Discursive Landscapes of the Tsugaru Min’yō Sakaba 

Click here to read the paper 

 Joshua Solomon 

PhD Student,  

Department of East Asian Languages & Civilizations 


 With a Response Offered by

Nicholas Harkness

(PhD Candidate, Anthropology, University of Chicago)


November 20th (Friday) 

3:005:00 p.m.

Judd Hall 313

5835 South Kimbark Avenue

Chicago, IL 60637


In this presentation I use an ethnographic account of the Tsugaru-jamisen folk song bar to contextualize a discussion of the scape-mediated discourse of Tsugaru-as-furusato and its consumption/interpretation by multiple consumer sub-types.  The folk song bars put to analysis are a series of izakaya in Hirosaki, Aomori, in which customers can enjoy nightly live performances of Tsugaru-jamisen, min’yô, and Tsugaru te-odori.

The notion of cultural flows as “scapes” introduced by Appadurai has been developed into discrete categories of cultural exchange.  The scapes—emphasizing the locality of the exchange—overlap and interact as discourses within the site of the folksong bar.  I focus particularly on analyzing the relationship between multiple flows of ethnoscapes in the context of Tsugaru, furusatoFurusato has been described a constructed and discursive space of reflexive identity making.  The folk song bar is very literal example of this type of imagined space; the imagined furusato within the physical space so often designated (re the lyrical content of enka and folk song) as the site of this discourse.  I would like to consider how the furusato discourse is appropriated and reinterpreted within the furusato itself by identifying the qualities of various ethnoscapes that interact in the site of the folk song bar.

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Faculty sponsors: Michael Bourdaghs, Paola Iovene 

The workshop is sponsored by the Center for East Asian Studies and the Council on Advanced Studies in Humanities and Social Sciences. Persons with a disability who believe they may need assistance, please contact Ji Young Kim ( or Ling Zhang (


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