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Traditional Folk Song in Modern Japan

"Folk song is the heart's hometown" (min'yo wa kokoro no furusato) is an expression one hears or reads frequently in discussions of folk song in Japan. To a Japanese, the furusato—the home community or "native place," as it is sometimes translated—is a continual source of identity, a constant in a shifting world, a comfort amidst the ills of urban life. Even Tokyo-born Japanese may well identifY their furusato as the rural village or country town where their grandparents were raised, where their second cousins may still live, where they may return once a year for the ancestral Bon festival dance. For those who have no furusato aside from the ...

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