Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS: https://ethos.bl.uk/OrderDetails.do?uin=uk.bl.ethos.766682
Title: Lost in the dream : negotiating a life in street music in a Tokyo neighbourhood
Author: Simpkins, Robert James
ISNI:       0000 0004 7655 9900
Awarding Body: SOAS University of London
Current Institution: SOAS, University of London
Date of Award: 2018
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Abstract:
This thesis presents an in-depth, long-term ethnographic study of the lives of street musicians in the Koenji neighbourhood of Tokyo. My interlocutors moved to the metropolis to begin lives as musicians: to become music professionals, to gain fans and popularity, to dare to do what they cared most about, and in doing so, to follow a musical dream. There has, however, never been a worse time to be a young aspiring artist. The Japanese music industry today is deaf to all but the most celebrated bands and musicians, fewer artists gain industry support every year, and many live venues charge performers to play on stage. As financially insecure and opportunity-poor irregular workers, my participants took to the walkways around Koenji train station in search of a place to play, to be seen, and to connect with the passing crowds. Their incursions into rail spaces gave them access to an audience, but also gained the attention of police and station staff, and playing involved a continual process of managing their noise and their visibility. Prioritising music put them on the margins of popular discourses of life trajectories in Japan, and as time progressed their dreams of 'making it' began to fade. I ask why they continued to perform regularly at the station despite their increasing awareness of this, and what role remained for street music in their lives. I uncover how their music practices negotiated the space left by diminished hope, and explore how they found new meanings of 'a life in music'. Their journeys took a different route to those which they had envisioned before arriving in Tokyo, but nevertheless offered a sense of direction, momentum, and an understanding of who they were in relation to the crowds that passed them on the street.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID: uk.bl.ethos.766682  DOI:
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