Global Music

Japanese Plantation and Coalminer Songs
3 Apr 2018 | Johann Jacobs Museum

A Painting for the Emperor explores the historical and artistic space between the black of coal and the white of sugar. The performance fills that space with Japanese songs from the coal mines of Kyushu (tanko-bushi) and the sugar plantations of Hawaii (holehole-bushi). The songs are wonderful musical insights into the rich tradition of folk melodies in Japan; and they are also precious traces of the daily working lives of men and women who otherwise left few records for posterity. Minyo (Japanese songs) are sung and accompanied on the Tsugaru-Shamisen (Japanese stringed instrument) by a traditional music group.

With Hans Bjarne Thomsen and Martin Dusinberre. In cooperation with the Chair for Global History, University of Zurich and the Chair for East Asian Art History, University of Zurich.

Thematic tour in the exhibition A Painting for the Emperor: Japanese Labourers on Sugar Plantations in Hawai’i.