Dr. Yuiko Asaba Tango in Japan: Digesting and Disciplining a Distant Music

Open Lecture


TrAIN Open Lecture: Dr. Yuiko Asaba
Tango in Japan: Digesting and Disciplining a Distant Music
Chaired by Dr. Yuko Kikuchi

In this lecture, Yuiko Asaba examines the transnational dynamics of Tango music culture in Japan between the 1910s-2010s. Originally arriving as a form of British ballroom dance in the mid-1910s, Japanese dancers and musicians quickly began to look to Argentina in search for Tango’s ‘origin’ from the late 1920s through recordings and by traveling to the distant country. Asaba reveals how Tango and Argentina became emblematic imageries of the ‘modern’ at this time: a popular ideology and one that continues as a cosmopolitan idea that is attached to Tango to this day in Japan. By complicating the usual East-West patterns of cultural adaptation, Asaba illuminates how Tango in Japan came to resonate directly with Argentina. In doing so, Asaba charts how today’s Japanese tango has become an export that in turn resonates with the Tango boom within neighboring East Asian countries.

Dr Yuiko Asaba studied at Royal Holloway University of London (BMus, MA, PhD), and received Diplomas in Tango violin from Fernando Suárez Paz and at Orquesta Escuela de Tango in Argentina. Having performed professionally in Argentina and Japan, Yuiko is currently a Tutor in Music at the University of Oxford.

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    TrAIN Open Series

    The TrAIN Open series is a forum for invited speakers to present exhibition, publication, and research projects in the form of lectures, discussions and screenings.

    Taking place at fortnightly intervals on Wednesday evenings during the academic term, the series is open to the public, as well as staff and students across the University of the Arts London.
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Related People

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    Dr. Yuko Kikuchi

    TrAIN Member - Reader

    I was born in Tokyo and trained in Japan, the USA and UK. My on-going interest in cross-cultural dimensions of arts started with the UK-Japan cultural relations that produced an international travelling exhibition and book Ruskin in Japan 1890-1940: Nature for Art, Art for Life (1997), followed by my PhD work on the Japanese folkcrafts (Mingei) movement which led to the subsequent publication of Japanese Modernisation and Mingei Theory: Cultural Nationalism and Oriental Orientalism (2004).
    Find out more about Dr. Yuko Kikuchi