An interesting article entitled “Japan’s Reggae Affair A Deception?” was published in last Sunday’s Jamaica Gleaner that was written by Gleaner writer Mel Cooke. It speaks about the popularity of reggae music in Japan, why it is popular and some of the changes that are affecting reggae and Jamaican music as a whole in Japan.
I have included an excerpt below:
Speaking at the University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona, in July 2010, Dr Noriko Manabe, assistant professor of musicology at Princeton University, explained cultural similarities between Japan and Jamaica which underpin reggae and dancehall’s popularity there. She outlined the similarities between Jamaican patois and Japanese, both melodious languages and Patois’ grammar, she said, is more reminiscent of Japanese than English.
Manabe noted that most of the Japanese reggae/dancehall performers are not from Tokyo and explained that there are aspects of Jamaican culture which resemble regional/rural Japanese culture. Among those are humour and warmth, directness and unpretentiousness. Even ‘Jah’, the invocation of deity in Jamaica, has a phonetic equivalent in Japan, though the meanings are entirely different.
Read the full article on the Jamaica Gleaner website, there are also some interesting comments posted at the bottom of the article.