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A Review of Soundscape Studies in Japan

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Soundscape studies in Japan since 1984, when the Institute of Kanda Soundscape Studies was established, are reviewed along the lines of the work by members of the Soundscape Association of Japan, which was founded in 1993. The Kanda group started their research activities by conducting fieldwork, which had a substantial impact on subsequent Soundscape studies in Japan. This is because it is desirable for Soundscape studies to conduct fieldwork so that the researchers know the local subjective sonic environment, and quite a number of field studies have been carried out ever since. Some of the researchers conducting soundscape fieldwork studies are environmental acousticians who have previously carried out social noise surveys and who are inspired by the concept and philosophy of acoustic ecology. In parallel with the research studies based on fieldwork, the concept of soundscape has been investigated by musicologists, sociologists, philosophers of aesthetics and environmental scientists. It is hardly necessary to mention the musicologists' and ethno-musicologists' outstanding contributions to soundscape studies in Japan. Designing the garden of Rentaro Takis's Memorial House in 1993 is a prominent example of soundscape design. It was a design of the garden of the house made on the basis of the soundscape concept, and the fieldwork was conducted in the local town by the designer. The soundscape concept has also stimulated researchers of music education who are critical about the present state of music education in Japan. Studies concerning the analysis of Japanese poems as earwitnesses are reviewed, in order to examine diachronical changes in the Japanese soundscape and its features. A new approach to soundscape study has appeared in the field of environmental literature. Sounds are presented in public spaces as sign sounds or signal sounds, or as background sounds to improve the atmosphere, which occasionally cause noise problems. These are also investigated by soundscape researchers by means of laboratory experiments and field surveys.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: November 1, 2006

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  • Acta Acustica united with Acustica, published together with the European Acoustics Association (EAA), is an international, peer-reviewed journal on acoustics. It publishes original articles on all subjects in the field of acoustics, such as general linear acoustics, nonlinear acoustics, macrosonics, flow acoustics, atmospheric sound, underwater sound, ultrasonics, physical acoustics, structural acoustics, noise control, active control, environmental noise, building acoustics, room acoustics, acoustic materials, acoustic signal processing, computational and numerical acoustics, hearing, audiology and psychoacoustics, speech, musical acoustics, electroacoustics, auditory quality of systems. It reports on original scientific research in acoustics and on engineering applications. The journal considers scientific papers, technical and applied papers, book reviews, short communications, doctoral thesis abstracts, etc. In irregular intervals also special issues and review articles are published.
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