Musicalized drama, folklore and identity construction in Nakae Y?ji’s A Midsummer’s Okinawan Dream


  • Henry Johnson University of Otago



film, identity, Japan, Okinawa, Nakae Yūji, Shakespeare


Japanese film director Nakae Y?ji’s 2009 feature film A Midsummer’s Okinawan Dream: Majir? of the Triangular Mountain (Manatsu no yo no Yume: Sankaku Yama no Majir?) is rooted in the culture, folklore and soundscapes of the Okinawan islands and uses imagery, sound, music and narrative to explore many traits that epitomize Okinawa’s distinct cultural identity in modern-day Japan. This article discusses the film from two main perspectives: (1) how different musical styles operate as distinct elements of the soundtrack (drawing on and embellishing their source contexts and traditions); and (2) how music functions in particular scenes and across the narrative in general. The article identifies the manner in which the film embraces local, national and global musical sources to provide a cultural soundscape that helps show some of the complexities of local identity construction in an era where regional identities are often contrasted against broader national and global influences.

Author Biography

  • Henry Johnson, University of Otago

    Henry Johnson is Professor at the University of Otago, New Zealand. His books include The Koto (Hotei, 2004), Asia in the Making of New Zealand (Auckland UP, 2006; co-edited), Performing Japan (Global Oriental, 2008; co-edited), The Shamisen (Brill, 2010), and The Shakuhachi (Brill, 2014).


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How to Cite

Johnson, H. (2017). Triangulations: Musicalized drama, folklore and identity construction in Nakae Y?ji’s A Midsummer’s Okinawan Dream. Perfect Beat, 18(1), 7-28.