quote of the day

It appears that elements that do not look kindly on having an individual who has been critical of the current administration appear at a noted event like Fuji Rock are using the logic that politics sh


Journalist Daisuke Tsuda, referring to a prominent student activist’s upcoming appearance at the Fuji Rock festival to discuss a hot political topic, which has drawn criticism on social media from commentators who say that music and politics shouldn’t mix. (Asahi Shimbun)

© Japan Today

©2021 GPlusMedia Inc.

Login to comment

Well what's he got yo be afraid of? They just lowered the voting age to 18. It's going to be hard to get an 18 year old to understand your old fogey ways.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Of course politics and music mix. In fact there should be much more political and social comment and satire in the music itself. And comedy.

11 ( +12 / -1 )

Well what's he got yo be afraid of?

The journalist, Daisuke Tsuda, didn't make the comment himself. He's reporting what other people have said. Unfortunately, we don't know who they are or what they said.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

But even music that avoids overt political statements is political. It is bromide or sedative.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Music and politics have been mixing since forever; sometimes obviously, sometimes more subtly. Simon and Garfunkel's "Parsley, Sage, Rosemary, and Thyme" is an anti-war statement.

Dmitri Shostakovich's Symphony No. 7 in C major, Op. 60 was used to demoralize German soldiers in WWII. And probably Mozart wrote something that jabbed at politics, too.

In other words, whoever thinks music and politics shouldn't mix is a dimwit and should just come out and say they don't want a political activist to teach them anything; they prefer their heads in the sand.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

No doubt this line of thought regarding the guy showing up at Fuji Rock originated from the LDP headquarters , trying to marginalize any critics of their policies. Funny how its OK for LDP to flood You Tube with their propaganda ads featuring Abe boasting about "achievements of Abenomics" on the other hand. Student commented to me yesterday they had the LDP ad pop up 3 or 4 times in one hour while watching You Tube music videos. When it benefits LDP , music and politics seem to mix just fine. Jiminto - hypocrytical as always.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

In other words, whoever thinks music and politics shouldn't mix is a dimwit

So easy to get emotional and call names, isn't it? And this is exactly why I think music and politics are a terrible combination. I am a musician, by the way.

Music appeals to the emotions - it sails right by the logic process and goes for the heart. And that's as it should be. The best music is deeply moving, and heavily impacts our emotions.

And emotions are not the place where we want to make complicated political decisions. Emotions are what bring almost every dictator to power. Look at US politics today, for that matter. Look at your own example of music being used to demoralize German soldiers in WWII. Demoralization is an emotion, not a coherent and logical decision that is come to after weighing all the facts and morals of an issue.

Some of us prefer to be "taught something" by reading, observing, thinking and asking questions, and trying not to let our emotions get the best of us. Music first aims at surrendering the mind to the emotions. Mixing a political agenda with this is simply poisonous.

Agreed that music has always been used for political purposes, but I don't agree that it's a good thing.

-10 ( +2 / -12 )

Hmm, though I agree that music can be political, I'm not convinced that music events like Fuji Rock should be overtly political

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Bring it on. Brexit has shown young people how dangerous their own apathy can be.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Perhaps these nameless "commentators" would also like to criticise the black-van fascists for their use of music? Or is the use of music OK if the sentiments expressed by the fascists are those held by the government?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Aren't the Red Hot Chili Peppers headlining Fuji end of this month? Perhaps they should add Rage Against the Machine to the line-up -they're very political.

Of course politics and music mix.

Agree. Specific genres and lyrics are a great way to reach people.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Music certainly can be political, and indeed some genres are heavily based on political ideas. Music is ultimately a form of expression and the content of that expression could be anything. It should be entirely up to the musicians themselves what they want to deal with in their music.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Suppressing people not to include politics in music is bringing politics in to music.

... whoever the "elements" (earth, wind and fire???) are.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I get what you are saying, commanteer; that calm reason and deliberation is not based on emotion and that music appeals to emotion, not reason. Of course, music that examined policy by deduction might be boring anyway and not make much of a splash. Maybe you could experiment with it. But in the end values can never be established by reason. They may not be based on emotion but our ideals are not really based on reason either. Music can introduce us to values and ideals. True, this may not always be good when the values introduced are simply mean-spirited, insular and intolerant but some of the best music introduces us to ideas that are inclusive and bigger than ourselves and reminds us that it is good to have ideals. I see no reason why those who are basically of the mean-spirited and intolerant kind should seek to restrict music, its content or its venue. It is a blatantly political act designed to uphold their (lack of) vision.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

politics should not be brought into music

Learning from Beijing?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I see no reason why those who are basically of the mean-spirited and intolerant kind should seek to restrict music, its content or its venue.

@Moonraker I agree. Actually, I was rather surprised by all the downvotes on my comment. That either supports my position or indicates I didn't explain it well enough. I don't know how anyone can deny that music essentially manipulates the emotions. That's what makes good music.

I also agree that even our most rational decisions are rooted in emotion. But I think what elevates humanity is to try to find the truth and get around being swayed just by the fog of emotions. And politics packaged with music actually is contrary to that goal - even if it is effective.

I didn't see anything in the quote to indicate that anyone was trying to restrict what people can or can't say at Fuji Rock. Just that some people complained that music and politics shouldn't be mixed. I agree. Not only for the reasons above, but because politics are divisive, while music is a uniter. By bringing politics into music,an artists chases away people he/she would otherwise reach.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

By bringing politics into music,an artists chases away people he/she would otherwise reach.

But bringing politics into music opens ones eyes. No?

4 ( +4 / -0 )

commanteer, in the human, logic and emotions are not exactly separable. Martin Luther King, Mohammad Ali and Ghandi appealed to the emotions too. Empathy is emotional, and I think its a great combination with logic. Logic and no empathy pretty much gives you the Terminator. Logic and hate together gives you Nazis. But logic and empathy together make great mothers and fathers, in both the literal and metaphorical senses of those words. And yes, even music can make you think very logically and without excess, dangerous or hateful emotion. Think of Sting's "If the Russians love their children too." and even "Four Dead in Ohio" by Neil Young and EVEN "Wake up!" by Rage Against the Machine can inspire logical thought on political subjects. I have heard many political songs and not agreed with every word or sentiment in them, but did wind up learning some important things.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Even the most bland, inoffensive, saccharin-sweet bubblegum pop is political in an implicit way as it seeks to avoid criticism of the status quo.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

@Borscht And probably Mozart wrote something that jabbed at politics, too.

Check out The Marriage of Figaro and how royalty is skewered. On a Japan - US political theme, the opera Madama Butterfly is blatantly political. (Lt. Pinkerton sailing in on a black ship?)

I still get pissed listening to Neil Young's Ohio and Dylan's Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll, among hundreds of other examples where music is used to make political statements. Let it Bleed or Let it Be? Individuals can interpret these in 7+ billion different ways. As they should.

@WC But bringing politics into music opens ones eyes. No?

Completely agree.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I have heard many political songs and not agreed with every word or sentiment in them, but did wind up learning some important things.

That's probably where I don't look at it the same way. I think political songs either fire up the already converted or maybe help sway a few people who were headed in that direction anyway. That has been my own experience.

I'm also just wary of spoiling the purity of real music from the heart with political messages. It's another form of commercialization.

I suppose it's unavoidable. Music has been used to promote war as well as peace from day one. And I think it arouses the emotions either way. Rousing emotions is great if it's for a good cause, but it is also dangerous. Good causes can become fanaticism as well.

Personally, if I had a music festival I would want it to focus on the music. Music is wonderful. Emotionally charged political opinions more often than not lead to conflict and bloodshed.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Music and politics should not be mixed, LMAO, who are these cave trolls?

Music and politics have been mixed up together since the beginning of time. The 60's and 70's were two decades of highly political music in many countries around the world.

Some of these cave dwellers need to get off this island and see that despite common belief, there does exist a world outside of Japan.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Might not be music but many theater plays, etc also mix politics in and I am talking from way back.

Johann Nestroy was well known for mixing 'tongue in Cheek' jokes on the government into his plays.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I would love to see politics mixed with other things in Japan, not just music.

Comedy is toothless here, no satire, no challenging the establishment, just the same ol same ol fat jokes or pain-inflicting-comedy.

I'd love to see politics discussed with more fervor on those innocuous morning shows.

But most of all, I'd love to hear a politician actually "discuss" politics, not be a recorded message for their party leader.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

As a musician, I can unequivocally say that music and politics go hand-in-hand, and have done so for decades, if not centuries. In fact, it would be a waste of my time to try to list all the music from just the '60s and '70s that fit the genre. My favorite, though, something I performed too many times to count, is 'Eve of Destruction'.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Politics is a distraction to keep people thinking they have some glimmer of hope of a voice in anything.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@commanteer The Clash were one of the greatest rock bands ever. Most of their music was political. Ever heard of John Lennon? It really just depends. Anything can be done well or poorly. Music should be anything musicians want it to be. Art is a kind of awareness and saying it shouldn't be political is a bit absurd. I'd say it's even an eccentric point of view and probably a bit dangerous. Now is the time for counterculture in an era when Japanese youth are alienated. That's a political realm for sure.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I'd say it's even an eccentric point of view and probably a bit dangerous.

Eccentric? Apparently so - and judging from the downvotes, people here hate deviation from the norm. Any recommendations for goose-stepping music?

Dangerous? - Sounds exciting. But I'm just not into group-think.

You are all of course free to like any music (or variations thereof) that you want. John Lennon's "Give Peace a Chance" was a rubbish and pretentious song that droned on forever and never saved a single life. (At least if I'm going to get downvoted, I may as well give them a reason.) Though, seriously, songs that are anti-war are hardly political. Most normal people don't like war. It's like singing about how we should protect furry bunnies in most cases. A song that expresses the true grief of war, though, might be good - because it is art that expresses a feeling from the heart, rather than art that expresses a political cliches.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites