24 Bars to Kill: Hip Hop, Aspiration, and Japan's Social Margins | BERGHAHN BOOKS
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24 Bars to Kill: Hip Hop, Aspiration, and Japan's Social Margins

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Volume 14

Dance and Performance Studies

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24 Bars to Kill

Hip Hop, Aspiration, and Japan's Social Margins

Andrew B. Armstrong

204 pages, 11 illus., bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-78920-267-0 $135.00/£99.00 / Hb / Published (June 2019)

eISBN 978-1-78920-268-7 eBook


View CartYour country: - edit Request a Review or Examination Copy (in Digital Format)Recommend to your LibraryAvailable in GOBI®


“…a unique and richly researched study of the culture and society of Japan’s lower classes, as well as an interesting look at the unique musical culture that has developed in Kansai. It will undoubtedly be of great interest to ethnomusicologists, hip hop scholars, and those engaged in the sociocultural study of modern Japan.” • Ethnomusicology Review

“Armstrong’s book is a fine analysis of Kansai’s underclass and its hip-hop subculture. It is an important contribution that brings a more differentiated understanding of contemporary Japan and its developments.” • Anthropos

“This excellent and fascinating ethnography will stand the test of time and will provide useful material for those who want to understand important ideas of Japanese sub-cultures and how they intersect with local, national and global trends over time.” • Roger Goodman, Nissan Professor of Modern Japanese Studies, University of Oxford


The most clearly identifiable and popular form of Japanese hip-hop, “ghetto” or “gangsta” music has much in common with its corresponding American subgenres, including its portrayal of life on the margins, confrontational style, and aspirational “rags-to-riches” narratives. Contrary to depictions of an ethnically and economically homogeneous Japan, gangsta J-hop gives voice to the suffering, deprivation, and social exclusion experienced by many modern Japanese. 24 Bars to Kill offers a fascinating ethnographic account of this music as well as the subculture around it, showing how gangsta hip-hop arises from widespread dissatisfaction and malaise.

Andrew B. Armstrong teaches anthropology at Bridgewater State University. He holds a doctorate from Boston University.

Subject: Performance StudiesAnthropology (General)Cultural Studies (General)
Area: Asia-Pacific


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