Sonic Japan: Studies in Sensory Anthropology

Sound blog and sound maps featuring recordings from Japan

Latest sounds

Dosimeter reading in Iitatemura, Fukushima
A recording of Geiger Counter blips taken while driving through Iitatemura (2014/01/12)
Ema at Yohashira Shrine, Matsumoto
Ema (picture horse) are small wooden plaques that can be found at Shinto shrines. Worshippers can buy an Ema and inscribe a message on its back to the deity (kami) of the Shrine and the priests. The message may request good luck for an exam or marriage (depending on the specific shrine) but is left to hang alongside other Ema and later burn't as part of a ritual to release the wish to the shrine deity. In early Shinto religion, horses were understood to carry messages to deities. The Ema make a rattling sound in the wind as they bump up against each other. (04/19/2019)
Soba Restaurant Ebisu Station
At the west exit of Ebisu station, inside the ticket gate is a soba restaurant. It is a small restaurant and customers eat their soba quickly and move on down to the platform or exit into Ebisu to continue their day. (2019/04/13)

Latest posts

Premodern Sonic Security Systems: the Nightingale Floor

Wed Nov 13 2019 by Carolyn Stevens

This a recording of a temple located in Ohara, just outside Kyoto, named Sanzenin. An important site for the Tendai school of Buddhism, this large complex houses many artistic and religious treasures. One of the compound buildings featured a uguisubari (translated as ‘nightingale floor’). This kind of flooring was...>>

Kyoto Jazz Club

Wed Jul 10 2019 by Carolyn Stevens

Last May I travelled to Japan to participate in Professor Hosokawa's 'Otomimikai' (sound and listening research group) at Nichibunken, and as luck would have it, I was there at same time as Professor Merry I White from Boston University. Many know her work Coffee Life in Japan and Perfectly...>>

Pokemon Go

Fri Dec 07 2018 by Richard Chenhall

Public places in the crowded streets of Shinjuku in Tokyo are usually filled with movement, talking and the sounds emanating from shops. Whilst walking through West Shinjuku, I was minding my business walking to my destination. I stopped when I saw a sea of people standing outside Yodabashi camera. There...>>