Presentation Details

The Second International Conference on New Directions in the Humanities

Re-Sounding Futures from Nostalgic Pasts: The Transmission of Taiko, Tradition, and Identities from the Heart of Japan to the Heartbeat of the World

Millie Creighton.

This paper presents research done on contemporary taiko (drumming performances), highlighting the Earth Celebrations held on Sado Island, and the way these festivals become integrated with the modern tourism craze for remote rural areas. It explores ways modern taiko players are re-capturing this icon of "traditional" Japanese music for non-traditional purposes. It looks at how marginal groups within Japan, such as Burakumin, utilize taiko to express their identities issues, and how taiko has been used to negotiate boundaries of ethnic identity in other parts of the world. The paper ultimately explores how the nostalgia for a lost past and lost sense of place, is used to negotiate new social constructions directed at the future, along with new future understandings of one's "place" in societies for those involved.


Millie Creighton  (Canada)
Associate Professor
Department of Anthropology and Sociology
University of British Columbia

Dr. Millie Creighton is an associate professor of anthropology, and specialist on Japanese Culture and Society, along with Korea, and Asian diaspora communities. She has numerous publications on these topics, several used for university textbooks, and also for public magazines. She was awarded the Canon Foundation Prize in 1999.

  • Percussion
  • Performance Studies
  • Japan
  • Taiko
  • Identity
  • Nostalgia
  • Tourism

(30 min. Conference Paper, English)