Ip Man and then we cut some シェイプ. Does emerging Japanese techno reflects the intellectual culture?

The film Ip Man, which follows the narrative of the Wing Chun Grandmaster Yip Man, opened the perspective to how current hostility between Japan and China has been a result of various historical occurrences, especially during the Second World War.  Personal interpretation of the Japanese portrayal throughout the film led to the understanding of significant partisanship throughout. Believing that the producers failed to illustrate the contrasting Japanese political environment and the role of the Japanese troops as primary antagonists. Whereas the Chinese individuals were portrayed under a ‘positive light’ throughout – it is important to note that these protagonists within the narrative are civilians. Given the thick historical attributes during that period in not only Chinese-Japanese history, but also internationally, I observed that Ip Man ultimately lapsed in its capacity to fully immerse the audience (me) into the experience. Not because of the language barrier, but due to the noted writing bias.

Retrospective thought on Ip Man is that it follows a standardised narrative structure to accommodate for a mass audience. In that the Japanese served as the primary antagonists, in addition to the history, as constructs for a profitable narrative.
Beyond Ip Man and preceding class texts,  I have decided to research into the consumption of electronic dance music such as house and techno in Japan. Beyond the genre that has emerged from Europe and the US, I acknowledge that Japanese dance producers have been absent on my personal music platforms. However as someone who uses music software and hardware, the house and techno products stemming from Germany are proficient throughout my library. In hindsight I expect that my perspective and consumption of these products will help in the understanding of Japanese electronic music.

My perspective of the German techno and house music is that it reflects the ideologies that have influenced Europe in the past century, as Techno has become the platform throughout western society for the shape cutting, drug centred cultural underground. I have observed that this is due to the development of techno music as a framework for the reunification of Berlin in 1989, using music to bridge the conflicting ideologies in Germany society (Bychawski, A. 2014). In my opinion the feel and emotion that is expressed throughout Berlin techno and house music stems of Germany’s dim history. Currently the foundation of my individual project will illustrate as to how cultural history impacts modern music.

Due to art stemming from conflict and ideologies of history, I aim to understand through personal experience of European electronic music, how Japanese techno reflects its own history and philosophy and whether the Japanese scene shares similar associations with drug use and dance music. Kyoka (Luebs, E. 2016) argues this stating that “the performer is seen as presenting their intellect.”  I assume that this philosophy is relative to the attitudes and history of Japanese society. Ikeya, N. Ishikawa, H. (2001) argues that the belief and admiration for knowledge is due to the strict regulatory systems that were prominent prior to the Meiji Era. Subsequently Japan adopted a free trade policy resulting in the scramble to catch up with Western information systems, attributing to the rapid rise in appreciation for intellect.

Here’s some journey inducing Japanese techno:



Bychawski, A. (2014) The Story of How Techno Unified Post-Wall Berlin, Trump Vice, viewed 01.09.16 <https://thump.vice.com/en_uk/article/der-klang-der-familie-the-sound-of-the-family-felix-denk-interview-berlin-techno-berlin-wall-tresor-ufo&gt;

Ikeya, N. Ishikawa, H. (2001) The Japanese Intelligence Culture, Competitive Intelligence Review, Vol 12. John Wiley & Sons Inc. Viewed 03.09.16

Luebs, E. (2016) The shape-shifting landscape of Japan’s electronic underground, The Japan Times, viewed 03.09.16 <http://www.japantimes.co.jp/culture/2016/01/03/music/shape-shifting-landscape-japans-electronic-underground/#.V9oRmpN94ch&gt;

Sunda, M (2014) Top 10: Rising Japanese Electronic Music Producers, Red Bull Music Academy, viewed 14.09.16





  1. Hey I honestly really enjoyed your post. I’m doing a pretty similar project in that mines also music but I’m focusing more on Hip Hop producers such as Nujabes and more the practical side of their production. I’ve noticed that a lot of the great producers tend to be based around Japan and I’ll definitely watch the ‘Ip Man’ documentary you mentioned.
    I think that understanding of techno’s influence in the reunification of Berlin is a great basis for your project, it’s something I hadn’t heard before and it really does highlight musics power to impact society. Keen to read more!


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