“John Cage Shock” and Its Aftermath in Japan
University of California, Davis
My dissertation project investigates American experimental composer John Cage’s impact on the postwar Japanese music scene from 1950 to 1990. By focusing on the “Cage shock” phenomenon, occurred after Cage visited Japan in 1962, and the musical careers of Cage’s Japanese friends, Toshi Ichiyanagi, Takehisa Kosugi, and Tone Yasunao, I explore the connection and cultural exchange between Cage and Japan. My project aims to suggest that it is Japanese composer’s autonomous originality, with the help of Cage, that substantially established their postwar identity after the spiritual crisis that had troubled them since the defeat of WWII.
Serena Yang is a PhD candidate in musicology at the University of California, Davis. Her research interests include experimental and contemporary music in US and Japan. Yang holds a master’s in Music History from the University of Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music. Her master’s thesis, “John Cage and Van Meter Ames: Zen Buddhism, Friendship, and Cincinnati,” focuses on the previously undocumented friendship between Cage and Van Meter Ames and Cage’s residency at the University of Cincinnati in 1967. Her article “Mode and Atonality in Japanese Music: Pitch Structure in Minoru Miki’s Jo no kyoku” is published in Music Research Forum (2015).