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The Power of Music in Anime

Time & Location

November 19, 8pm EST


The Japan Foundation, New York presents a monthly online series that delves into Japanese pop culture from academic and professional perspectives.

For the third session, three musicologists in U.S. academia will unravel the power of music in anime. You may love anime soundtracks as much as the anime itself, but have you ever thought about the role of music in storytelling, how the music affects the work itself, and what meanings might be hidden in the music?

Join us for the panel discussion with Stacey Jocoy, Kunio Hara, and Rose Bridges, as they discuss how directors and composers collaborate to create the music, examining the role of music in storytelling and the uses of music in beloved anime, such as My Neighbor Totoro (Tonari no Totoro), Grave of the Fireflies (Hotaru no haka), Cowboy Bebop, and Your Name (Kimi no Na wa).

The discussion will be followed by a Q&A session. If you have any questions about music and soundscapes in anime, please submit them on the Eventbrite page when you register. Live commentary will be also enabled on the YouTube stream.

This is a free event. Registrants will receive the link to the stream via email. The date and time of the event are Eastern Time. Please check your local time zone.


Dr. Stacey Jocoy

Stacey Jocoy is an associate professor of music history at Texas Tech University. She holds a Ph.D. in musicology from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. She has presented on music in anime at the American Popular Culture Association, the Animation and Public Engagement Symposium, Mechademia conferences, and Anime Expo Academic Conferences. She is a guest editor for Mechademia 13.2 “Soundscapes” and has articles appearing in the upcoming Anime and Music Handbook (Palgrave) and Animation and Public Engagement at the Time of Covid-19 (Vernon Press). Her research explores the intersections of music, politics, and constructions of gender, focusing on the functions of musical narratives in context.

> Official Website

Dr. Kunio Hara

Kunio Hara is an associate professor of music history at the University of South Carolina. He holds a Ph.D. in musicology from Indiana University Jacobs School of Music and M.M. and B.M. degrees in music history and clarinet performance from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. His research interests include Puccini’s operas, exoticism, and Orientalism in music, nostalgia, and music in postwar Japan.

In 2020, he published the book 33 1/3 Japan: Joe Hisaishi’s Soundtrack for My Neighbor Totoro. This book investigates the extent to which the world-renowned composer Joe Hisaishi’s music shaped the legendary animator Hayao Miyazaki’s vision by examining the relationship between the images created by Miyazaki and the music composed by Hisaishi, with special emphasis on their approaches to nostalgia, one of the central themes of the film.

> Official Website

Rose Bridges

Rose Bridges is a Ph.D. student in musicology at the University of Texas-Austin, researching film music and sound, especially animation, and popular music of the 1960s-80s. She is also a regular editorial contributor to Anime News Network, the most read English-language news site for Japanese anime and manga.

In 2017, she published the book 33 1/3 Japan: Yoko Kanno’s Cowboy Bebop Soundtrack. The book places it within the context of Bebop’s influences and Kanno’s larger body of work. It analyzes how the music tells Spike, Faye, Jet, and the rest of the crew’s stories.

> Official Website

Previous Sessions

EP1: Roundtable: Why Do We Study Anime and Manga?
EP2: Through a Glass Darkly: Identity Crises in Ghost in the Shell and Neon Genesis Evangelion

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