Robert Greenberg

Historian, Composer, Pianist, Speaker, Author

Archive for Japan

Music History Monday: Tōru Takemitsu

Today we mark and celebrate the birth in Tokyo – 87 years ago yesterday on October 8, 1930 – of one of the greatest composers of the twentieth century: Tōru Takemitsu. Some historical background called for, as no East Asian country adopted Western music more rapidly and at an earlier date than did Japan. After more than 200 years of isolation, Japan opened its doors to the outside world with the advent of the Meiji Restoration in 1868. What the “restoration” saw restored was the full Imperial power of the Emperor Meiji following the demise of the Tokugawa Shogunate, the feudal military government that ruled Japan between 1600 and 1868. Having fallen far behind the West during their isolation, the leaders of the restoration – from Emperor Meiji on down – insisted that Japan embark on a crash program of industrial and economic modernization. According to historian Ian Toll: “Japan’s two generation rise from feudal and pre-industrial origins to the status of a major economic and military power was more than remarkable – it was (and remains) unprecedented in the entire course of human history.” Japanese education and performing arts were “modernized” as well. According to New Grove Dictionary of […]

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