Lasse Lehtonen

We tend to nurture the image of a world that is more international and networked than ever. And indeed, thanks to technological advancement, information travels with an unimaginable speed across the globe. However, this has not necessarily brought cultures closer or fostered mutual understanding between different cultural spheres. Sometimes it feels even the opposite: global networks and the widespread use of the English language can easily lead to the illusion that lingual and cultural barriers are gradually disappearing. However, the world still looks very different when conceptualized through a linguistic or, say, an artistic lens that differs from that of our own.

My research addresses such issues at the intersection of two disciplines, Asian studies, and musicology. Broadly put, my work focuses on music in Japan as a human activity, cultural history, and social force—including popular music, Western art music, and video game music. I have been affiliated with the University of Helsinki, the University of Tokyo, and the Tokyo University of the Arts. I also work as a part-time lecturer at the Aichi University of the Arts in Nagoya. For an overview of my research interests, see my Finnish-language monograph, Japanese Music (Gaudeamus, 2019), which was a finalist for the Finnish Scholarly Book of the Year Award. But if Finnish is not your thing (we obviously do have a language barrier here!), you may also enjoy reading Yuming’s The 14th Moon (Bloomsbury Academic’s 33 1/3 Series, 2022), which discusses Japanese popular music in the 1970s.