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CJS Thursday Noon Lecture Series | Listening to the “Explosive Sound” of U.S. Military Aircraft in Wartime Japan

Keisuke Yamada, 2023–24 Postdoctoral Fellow, Center for Japanese Studies, University of Michigan
Thursday, November 2, 2023
12:00-1:30 PM
Room 110 Weiser Hall Map
Attend in person or via Zoom. Zoom registration at

This event is a feature of the U-M Fall 2023 Festival of Asian Music which offers the public new perspectives on music traditions and adaptations from Japan, Korea, China, and South and Southeast Asia.

This lecture explores the little-studied impact of audio-based military technology on wider society, beyond the military sector and beyond Western contexts. In 1941, Japan’s elementary schools, renamed National People’s Schools, provided new musical training in perfect pitch to strengthen Japan’s national defense efforts in wartime. “Explosive sound training” ( bakuon kyōiku) taught children to identify recorded explosive sounds of enemy aircraft, though ultimately such training could not mitigate widespread destruction.

Keisuke Yamada has served as a Japan Studies Postdoctoral Fellow at the Asian Studies Center, University of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He received his PhD in ethnomusicology at the University of Pennsylvania and his MMus in historical musicology at Northwestern University, Illinois. He is the author of Supercell Featuring Hatsune Miku (Bloomsbury Academic, 2017). His other peer-reviewed work has appeared in Asian Music, Ethnomusicology Forum, Japan Forum, Japanese Studies, Journal of Japanese Studies (forthcoming 2024), Technology and Culture, the Asia-Pacific Journal, and the Oxford Handbook of Economic Ethnomusicology, among others. His doctoral dissertation, “Ecologies of Instrumentality: The Politics and Practice of Sustainable Shamisen Making,” received the 2021 Northeastern Association of Graduate Schools Doctoral Dissertation Award in Arts & Humanities. He has been completing a book manuscript entitled Ecologies of Sound: Noise, Music, and Silencing in Industrial Japan. The book offers a sound-centered analysis of the logic and interplay of global capitalism, militarism, and industrialization that have shaped the soundscapes and sound-politics of twentieth- and twenty-first-century Japan. The book manuscript is currently under revision for Duke University Press.

This lecture is made possible with the generous support of the U.S. Department of Education Title VI grant.

If there is anything we can do to make this event accessible to you, please contact us at Please be aware that advance notice is necessary as some accommodations may require more time for the university to arrange.
Building: Weiser Hall
Event Type: Lecture / Discussion
Tags: Asia, Ethnomusicology, japan
Source: Happening @ Michigan from Center for Japanese Studies, International Institute, Asian Languages and Cultures