- All-Japan Band Association
The All-Japan Band Association (AJBA) is an organization that exists solely for the purpose of facilitating an enormous annual competition among Japanese wind bands. This competition has largely promoted the
concert bandidiom (called burabanin Japanese), but in recent years AJBA has also included separate entries for marching bandand smaller chamber musicensembles within its national competition.
The AJBA competition includes categories for elementary school, middle school, high school, university, company, and community bands. It is an extremely competitive three-tiered contest, with local, regional, and national levels of competition. In some categories - middle school for example - the
school bands that manage to reach the national level of competition are among the top 2% in all of Japan.
Tokyo Kosei Wind Orchestrais usually hired to make the definitive premier recordings of the required pieces commissioned each year for AJBA's enormous national competition. The final (national) stage of the competition is regularly held in Fumon Hall, an enormous auditorium located on the campus of the Rissho Kosei Kaireligious organization in central Tokyo.
World's Largest Music Contest
In recent years, more than 14,000 Japanese bands have participated annually in the AJBA competition (totaling around 500,000 contestants nationwide), making it the world's largest music competition in terms of the number of active participants. The other largest
music competitionsin the world are the Eurovisionand American Idolcompetitions in the field of pop music singing. While these do not exceed the AJBA competition in terms of the number of competitors, they may be larger in terms of the number of individual entrants, operating budgets, or fans (as these contests involve popular music, are marketed internationally, and enjoy a much higher global profile).
AJBA Contest Divisions
The following chart displays a breakdown of competing wind bands in terms of region and category:
2007 Oct. 1statistics
Since the average Japanese wind band has around 35 to 40 members, the total national figure appears to be around 500,000 contestants on any given year.
Education in Japan
Music of Japan
* [http://www.ajba.or.jp/ All-Japan Band Association Official Website]
* [http://docs.google.com/View?docid=dcv4s384_7dfktmhd6 David G. Hebert] (forthcoming). "Wind Bands and Cultural Identity in Japanese Schools" (Dordrecht and New York: Springer Press).
* [http://www.linkedin.com/in/davidhebertphd David G. Hebert] (2008). “Inside the World's Largest Music Competition: Application of an Ensemble Ethos Model,” "Cultural Diversity in Music Education (CDIME-IX) - conference proceedings" (Seattle, March 20-23, 2008). .
* [http://sociomusicology.blogspot.com David G. Hebert] (2007). “Kokusaiteki Shitendemiru Nihonno Suisogaku,” (tr. Japanese Wind Bands in International Perspective). "Japanese Band Directors Association Journal", Vol. 13 (pp. 35-46).
* [http://sociomusicology.blogspot.com David G. Hebert] (2005). "Music Competition, Cooperation, and Community: An Ethnography of a Japanese School Band". Doctoral Dissertation, University of Washington. Ann Arbor: Proquest/UMI.
* [http://sociomusicology.blogspot.com David G. Hebert] (2001). “Hoshina and Ito: Japanese Wind Band Composers,” "Journal of Band Research", Vol. 37, No. 1 (pp. 61-77).
* [http://www.artsci.washington.edu/news/Summer04/WindEnsemble.htm UW Wind Ensemble Breezes Through Japan]
* [http://www.timreynish.com/japan.htm Tim Reynish on Japanese band repertoire]
*Philip V. Bohlman (2004). "The Music of European Nationalism". ABC-CLIO [scholarly discussion of the Eurovision competition] .
* [http://www.nielsenmedia.com Nielsen ratings for the American Idol competition]
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