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Japanese American EthnicityIn Search of Heritage and Homeland Across Generations$
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Takeyuki Tsuda

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781479821785

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9781479821785.001.0001

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Japanese American Taiko and the Remaking of Tradition

Japanese American Taiko and the Remaking of Tradition

(p.197) 6 Japanese American Taiko and the Remaking of Tradition
Japanese American Ethnicity

Takeyuki Tsuda

NYU Press

This chapter analyzes how later-generation Japanese Americans have enthusiastically embraced taiko in an attempt to recover their cultural heritage, as well as how they have remade and reinvented the form for contemporary ethnic purposes in their local communities. It interrogates the nature of “tradition” by examining how Japanese American taiko differs from taiko as practiced in Japan. The chapter also points out that Japanese American taiko is highly performative, allowing for improvised modifications and spontaneous innovations. Therefore, the desire to reclaim ethnic heritage involves not just the reenactment of ancient cultural traditions but their active recreation in the present to reflect the contemporary social conditions under which Japanese Americans live.

Keywords:   ethnic heritage, tradition, taiko, performativity

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