The World Hip Hop Studies: Vol.5
June 10-11, 2023
@National Museum of Ethnology


1) Cultural History of Computer Games as Anti-Establishment

Masatoshi TOKUOKA(Aterier THiRD)

・In their early days, computer games and hip hop were very far apart (computer processing power was low, and there were limits for both music and image display).
・As computer games developed as an industry, they became associated with hippy culture in the US and street culture in Japan.
・This caused various clashes with the authorities, leading to a hearing in the US Senate and criticism of computer games by a police white paper in Japan (S56) as a “factor that promotes juvenile delinquency and hinders healthy upbringing”.
・After that the gaming industry moved in a more “family-oriented” direction, but it never completely lost the side of it which liked to challenge social taboos.
・Simultaneously, hip hop was becoming accepted in the US and Japan (YMO’s Haruomi Hosono, who introduced hip hop to Japan, released the first game soundtrack “Video Game Music” in 1984).
・Even after the gaming industry became very sophisticated and large-scale, individual game creators carried on their activities in various forms, continuing to develop anarchic games (or games from anarchy).
・On the other hand, as hip hop culture became a huge industry, collaborations with high-end brands became less common, while direct references to hip hop culture by major game titles increased (the cost of developing games soared, so there was a need to expand the market beyond just Otaku/ nerds).
・Nowadays, works are being produced that force the authorities, who once branded games as harmful, to recognize their value. However, these games are often “indie” productions.

2) Aporia of Internal Social Criticism: Trajectory and Development of Iranian-Persian Rap

Kenichi TANI(Oxford University)

* Online

The purpose of this presentation is to clarify the possibilities and challenges for social and political criticism through rap within Iran by looking at the trajectory and development of Iranian-Persian rap from the perspective of social criticism. First, we provide an overview of the recent political situation of the Islamic Republic system, as well as the delicate position of music within society. While reconstructing previous research, we discuss the difficulties encountered in the development of Persian rap as it strove to become a medium for internal social criticism. Finally, we examine the characteristics of internal social criticism which feature in rap by a new generation of artists who have recently emerged within the country.

3) Hip Hop with “Chinese Characteristics” Being Explored in the Gap between State Control and Social Contradictions

Masashi NARA(National Museum of Ethnology)

Hip hop first started to become accepted in China in the late 1990s. Initially it was performed in English, but since the 2000s, hip hop has been performed not only in Chinese, but also in dialects and ethnic minority languages. This has encouraged the formation of local scenes around different parts of China. In 2017, there was a major turning point for Chinese hip hop, which had previously been a largely underground movement; the advent and popularity of hip hop talent shows on TV led to the widespread acceptance of hip hop in China. However, it also led to the introduction of regulations by the state. Based on the history of hip hop in China, this presentation uses works by Chinese rappers as examples to consider how hip hop has been practiced in China – a country where state control is being tightened and social contradictions are increasing.