Month: February 2015

Focus on Rekion: Musei Tokugawa (徳川夢声)

Tokugawa in 1961, from 「徳川夢声と出会った」

Tokugawa in 1961, from 「徳川夢声と出会った」


Musei Tokugawa (徳川夢声) was a multi-talented performer known for his silent film narrations, film and radio appearances, as well as for authoring numerous essays and novels.

He was born in 1894 in Shimane prefecture. His career began as a benshi (弁士), or a narrator of silent films. He enjoyed success in this realm until the end of the silent film era. From there, he began appearing in film and television as an actor, as well as storytelling through radio.

Some of Tokugawa’s stories can be heard at the Rekion station at the OSUL Music/Dance Library by searching the following access codes, or by searching 「徳川夢声」. Continue reading

DVD Resources in OSUL: プロジェクトX (Project X) and プロフェッショナル (Professional)

OSUL contains several different resources which can serve as valuable insight into modern Japanese innovations and professions. Among these are the two documentary television series from 日本放送協会 (NHK) known as プロジェクトX (Project X) and プロフェッショナル (Professional). プロシェクトX delves into the historical backgrounds for major advancements in Japanese industry, science, technology, public affairs, and sports. プロフェッショナル focuses on the detailed analysis of different professions by shadowing those who work in them, providing a glimpse into their daily work and motivations.

Project X and Professional

(Left): プロフェッショナル – 盲導犬訓練士多和田悟の仕事 (Right): プロジェクトX –  ゆけチャンピイ奇跡の犬 日本初の盲導犬・愛の物語

  • プロジェクトX (Project X) can be accessed through the library’s wiki here
  • プロフェッショナル (Professional) titles in OSUL catalog are listed below:

Continue reading

Focus on Rekion: Exercise Recordings – ラジオ体操

Typical calisthenics routine from Illustrated "Salaryman" in Japan

Typical calisthenics routine from Illustrated “Salaryman” in Japan (Click the image for the book in the OSUL Catalog).

One unique characteristic of daily life in Japan is mass participation in morning calisthenics routines. Particularly noticeable are construction workers who can be observed stretching outside at construction sites, but  the routines are also common in a range of spaces from kindergartens to offices.

These radio-broadcast routines were originally brought from the U.S. in the 1920’s, (detailed timeline is available on かんぽ生命 website) but contrary to their American counterparts, the exercises continue to be a part of daily Japanese life.

In 1931, the Radio Taisō Song (ラジオ体操の歌) was released and for many represented the beginning of the day. The broadcasts were banned for a period following the war, but were revived with the addition of a new theme song in 1951.


Rekion access in OSUL – There are several versions of the  Radio Taisō Song available through Rekion. Continue reading

Focus on Rekion: NHK Radio Women’s 200 Meter Breaststroke

Rekion includes a very famous recording made at the 1936 Berlin Olympics, when NHK announcer Sansei Kasai (河西三省) abandoned his regular detachment as a journalist to cheer on Japanese swimmer Hideko Maehata (前畑秀子) as she edged out her German rival to win the gold medal in the 200 meter breaststroke event.

Hideko Maehata, 1936

Hideko Maehata, 1936 from 昭和日本史: スポーツ五十年.

  • Rekion access in OSUL – Rekion Identifier for the 1936 recording of NHK Radio Women’s 200 Meter Breaststroke 日本放送協会著作所有:水上競技実況放送(女子二百米平泳決勝)is “info:ndljp/pid/8273611”

Additional reading:

NOTE: This is one of a series of posts highlighting content available in Rekion (れきおん), the Historical recordings collection of the National Diet Library (Japan), which is available at a dedicated computer in the Music and Dance Library at Ohio State.  See the Introductory post in this series for more information about the database.

Focus on Rekion: Takarazuka

The sensational Takarazuka Revue began as The Takarazuka Girl’s Opera in 1914 as a way to attract guests to an up-and-coming tourist destination, and 100 years later continues to entertain the imaginations of audiences from across Japan. One of Takarazuka’s most well-known performances was a Japanese language adaptation of the popular revue show, Mon Paris (吾が巴里よ), which became the first revue in Japan. The Revue was named after the city in which it originated, Takarazuka, in Hyōgo prefecture.

Mon Paris, 「吾が巴里よ」

Mon Paris, 「吾が巴里よ」from 「夢を描いて華やかに:宝塚歌劇80年史」.

  • Rekion access in OSUL – A series of recordings from the Mon Paris performance are available through the following Rekion identifiers:
    • info:ndljp/pid/8269617
    • info:ndljp/pid/8269618
    • info:ndljp/pid/8269619
    • info:ndljp/pid/8269620
    • or by searching the keyword: “吾が巴里よ”.

Takarazuka and Osamu Tezuka:

Manga artist Osamu Tezuka (手塚治虫), creator of Astro Boy (鉄腕アトム) grew up in Takarazuka and his work was influenced by the theater group, particularly his manga Princess Knight (リボンの騎士) . After Tezuka’s manga gained notoriety, his stories were then adapted into several Takarazuka musicals. For more information about Tezuka and Takarazuka theater, see Tezuka in English by Ada Palmer.

Rose of Versailles 「ベルサイユのばら」, showing the mutual stylistic influence between Takarazuka and shōjo manga.

Rose of Versailles 「ベルサイユのばら」, showing the mutual stylistic influence between Takarazuka and shōjo manga, from 「夢を描いて華やかに:宝塚80年史」.

More information about Takarazuka is available through several resources in the OSU Library catalog. Continue reading