Monday, 22 February 2010

吉田兄弟 The Yoshida Brothers


I`m not one of those foreigners who go in for immersing myself in traditional Japanese culture. Noh and Bunraku bore the arse off me, I`m too hyperactive for the Japanese tea ceremony, and I don`t like to get the soles of my feet beaten with bamboo sticks in Buddhist temples. I do however like the Yoshida Kyoudai, the Yoshida brothers, Ryoichiro and Ken`ichi. They are two brothers from Hokkaido in the north of Japan who play the tsugaru-jamisen, a northern version of the 3-stringed shamisen. I like their music because of the way they mix the traditional sound of the shamisen with rock and even J Pop. Here they are in two videos. The first is of their most famous hit to date, Rising. In the second they are playing (with kodo drummers) in a live concert of the plastic boy band, Exile.

Many aspects of traditional Japan are becoming popular with the younger generations in Japan now. To a certain extent I think it is connected with the economic rise of China, and Japan`s sudden realisation that it is part of Asia not America. However when I asked a student about this she replied, "We are becoming interested in these things because foreigners seem to like them. If foreigners like them then we think they must have value."

I`m still not interested in getting my feet beaten ...




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