The National Museum of Ethnology (Minpaku) is a research center for ethnology and cultural anthropology.

Discographic Research on Japan Columbia’s Recordings of Japan’s Imperial Colonies

Joint Research Coordinator HOSOKAWA Shuhei (Special Guest Researcher)

Reserch Theme List


The aims of this joint research project are to conduct discographic research by catalogizing the unorganized materials in MINPAKU’s collection consisting of Japan Columbia’s overseas (from former Japanese colonies) recordings, and completely transfer and digitize the original recordings in the same series. The catalogizing, transfer and digitization are to make public these sound resources, which have remained untouched at the company’s Kawasaki plant. Our discography research on the musical culture under Japanese rule abroad from the perspectives of the globalization of sound technology and the modernization of musical culture could become essential basic research material. By making use of newspapers and magazines from those times, we will be able to develop various themes, such as the competition of local capital with Japanese capital, competition with other record companies, differentiating music recording in local languages with Japanese language recordings, the intentions of producers, and the roles of interpreters and local middlemen. Besides industry analysis, we hope for bountiful musicological and ethnological analysis of these music resources themselves.