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A Musical Anthropology of "Korea's Hiroshima"

by (author) Joshua D. Pilzer

Oxford University Press
Initial publish date
Apr 2023
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Apr 2023
    List Price
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Jan 2023
    List Price

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Most of us the world over do not know much about the nuclear experience, let alone the 70,000 Korean victims of the atomic bomb or their arts of life and survival. Quietude: A Musical Anthropology of "Korea's Hiroshima" gives new insight into the overlooked and abused people who have lived and died on the margins of East Asian modernity. This book is an ethnography of Korean first- and second-generation victims of the atomic bombing of Japan focused on the everyday arts that make life possible and worthwhile.

Author Joshua D. Pilzer recounts the stories and songs of atomic bomb survivors and their children in Hapcheon, Korea, offering a corrective to the enduring, multifaceted neglect and marginalization they have faced. Struck by the quiet of "Korea's Hiroshima," Pilzer sheds light on its many sources: notions of Japanese soft-spokenness, vocal disability, the quiet contemplation of texts, the changes to the human heart as one grows older, the experience of war, social marginalization, traumatic experience, and various social movement discourses. He considers victims' uses of voice, speech, song, and movement in the struggle for national and global recognition, in the ongoing work of negotiating the traumatic past, and in the effort to consolidate and maintain selves and relationships in the present.

About the author

Contributor Notes

Joshua D. Pilzer is Associate Professor of Ethnomusicology at the University of Toronto. His first book, Hearts of Pine, is about singing in the lives of Korean survivors of the Japanese "comfort women" system. He is currently conducting fieldwork for an ethnography of the voice in everyday life in contemporary Japan, focused on the uses of speaking and singing voices in pedagogies of propriety, authority and legitimate violence.

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