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Japanese Innovation and the Future of Music: Vocaloids, Pop Idols, Feminist Rappers & More

June 19, 2020 @ 4:30 pm

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Japan has long been a global epicenter of cultural and technological innovation, including anime, manga, video games, and more. This talk will explore Japanese innovation in the area of popular music, with examples including Hatsune Miku, AKB48, Yayoi Daimon & DJ Nobu. How can music help us understand the future of culture, technology and markets? How have Japanese artists and companies innovated to find new ways to reach audiences, build communities, and generate meaningful social impacts? Join this interactive talk and discussion, and share your own experiences.

Also, we’ll take a sneak peek at the upcoming “Pure Invention: How Japan’s Pop Culture Conquered the World,” which arrives in bookstores on June 23. Author Matt Alt will speak about “fantasy-delivery devices” from Japan that transformed our realities: from the karaoke machine, Walkman, and Nintendo Entertainment System, to Pokémon, emoji, and the anonymous imageboards that roiled the 2016 election cycle.


日本を世界の舞台へ押し上げたのは、テクノロジーの革新、そして、アニメ、マンガ、ビデオゲームなどのカルチャーのノンストップの進化。今回のイベントでは、初音ミク、AKB48、大門弥生、DJノブなど、J-POPの分野における日本の革新を取り上げます。アーティストやエンターテインメントの日本企業は、いかにオーディエンスにリーチアウトし、グローバルレベルのコミュニティ構築に成功し、ソーシャルインパクトをもたらしているのでしょうか? マサチューセッツ工科大学(MIT)で日本文化研究講座の教鞭を取る、Prof. Ian Condry が解説します。



Ian Condry | Professor,  Comparative Media Studies / Writing  Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Photo of Ian Condry

Ian Condry is a cultural anthropologist and Professor of Japanese Culture and Media at MIT, where he has been teaching since 2002.  He is the author of two books, “Hip-Hop Japan” and “The Soul of Anime,” both of which explore how cultural movements go global from below. He is co-founder and Chief Anthropologist of Area4 Labs which created the Hearby app, a local live music discovery platform (hearby.com).  His weekly radio show, “Near and Far” Tuesdays 7-8pm on WMBR 88.1FM (Cambridge, MA) and online at wmbr.org, focuses on Japanese hip-hop and electronica (mixcloud.com/iancondry).  He recently released his first album “Hang Time Surf Electronica” under the artist name Leftroman (Leftroman.bandcamp.com).  More info:  iancondry.com


Matt Alt

Matt Alt and his book

Matt Alt is a Tokyo-based localizer, reporter, and writer. His translations are found in many video games and manga, and his writing in The New Yorker, Wired, Slate, The Economist 1843, and more. He is the author of Pure Invention: How Japan’s Pop Culture Conquered the World (2020, Crown). You can find him at http://www.mattalt.com.


Date and Time

Pacific Time (US and Canada): Friday, June 19, 2020 4:30PM

Japan Time: Saturday, June 20,  8:30AM



4:30pm (SF) / 7:30pm (Boston) / 8:30am (Tokyo) Program start
4:30 – 4:33pm – Zoom Tutorial and the Society introduction by Kendra De Nike, Japan Society of Northern California
4:33-4:35 pm – Introduction of Speakers, Rochelle Kopp | Managing Principal, Japan Intercultural Consulting & Member of the Board, Japan Society of Northern California
4:35 – 4:55pm – Ian Condry | MIT Comparative Media Studies / Writing Massachusetts Institute of Technology
4:55 – 5:15pm – Matt Alt | Tokyo-based localizer, reporter, and writer
5:15 – 5:45pm – Q&A
5:45pm – Closing remark, Takahide Akiyama | President, Japan Society of Northern California


How to join?

You will receive the Zoom information and link upon registering!


Japan Society of Norther California Member: FREE

Non-Member : $10


Register Here Button


The US-Japan relationship is more important than ever.  Active grassroots support is the key to sustaining the US-Japan friendship.  The Japan Society of Northern California sincerely appreciates this financial support from you!


Thank you for your support! Donate here.


June 19, 2020
4:30 pm
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