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  1. Creating Worlds through Music: Creative Music-Making as an Identity-Making Process in Contemporary Japanese American Community

    Hoshi, Momo
    May 2018

    This thesis examines the ways in which creative musicians of Japanese descent living in America have negotiated and continue to make sense of their ethnic, racial, and national identities. The research focuses on interviews with 7 musicians of Japanese descent from a variety of family migration histories who describe their work as “creative” or “improvisational.” Using my own experiences as a musician and as a child of post-WWII Japanese immigrants to guide my understanding, I explore the ways in which creative music-making also serves as an identity-making process. I argue that creative music-making makes it necessary for artists to navigate identity labels such as Shin-Nikkei, Nikkei, Japanese, American, and Japanese American, as well as intersectional identities such as gender and sexuality. These artists demonstrate that identity is a living, non-linear process, and that recognizing differences is an essential part of building connections and inviting people into community.

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