March 8
Enka 演歌  
Post-war pop:
karaoke favourites of the golden generation
 
 
Dr. Shelley Brunt
Lecturer, RMIT University  


 
Anyone who has walked through downtown Tokyo’s drinking alleys after dark will no doubt recognise the distinctive vibrato of enka, the fist-clenchingly sentimental brand of pop song that boomed in post-war Japan. A researcher and avid follower of Japan’s biggest annual popular music event, Shelley Brunt shares her favourites from the world of tear-jerking kitsch.
 
About Dr. Shelley Brunt:
Shelley Brunt’s fascination with Japanese popular music began in the 1990s when Australian friends in Tokyo began sending her mix tapes of the latest hits. This soon escalated to video tapes filled with music videos, singing contests and televised music performances which she eagerly anticipated each month. Visions of elaborate costumes, perky cute idols and sombre enka crooners prompted her to start researching Japan’s most renowned music-television event, the Red and White Song Contest—an annual programme she has avidly followed since 1999. She has been privileged to attend many of the contest’s rehearsals, meeting many of enka’s current stars and gaining exciting insights into celebrity life.

From 2008-2011, Shelley served as an on-air presenter and ‘world music’ industry commentator for Radio New Zealand Concert FM. Her research has been quoted by international media outlets such as The Financial Times, and she was featured in a NHK television special in celebration of 60 years of the Red and White Song Contest.