Gospel Music Explosion - in JAPAN??!!
Recently, stateside gospel music fans have become aware of a overseas black gospel music explosion that has a distinctly Oriental flavor.
The black gospel music boom Japan is currently experiencing has exploded in a big way. It is causing folks on both sides of the Pacific to stand up and take notice.
A popular Japanese magazine article declared, "Gospel music, which is known by Japanese people for its unique African-American rhythm and exuberant shout singing, is becoming a tremendous phenomena now in Japan.”
The secular Japanese public, as well as the Christian community and the mainstream media in Japan, have discovered the power of gospel.
Brief History Of Gospel In Japan
Gospel music was introduced to Japan during the late 1950’s when Mahalia Jackson was invited to perform here. Various configurations of the Clara Ward Singers began to perform in Japan during the mid-fifties.
During the following two decades, there was a constant trickle of gospel performers who made it to Japan’s shores and kept the interest in gospel music alive.
The Sixties Through The Eighties
In 1985, the musical, “Mama, I Want To Sing” was brought to Tokyo and for nearly a decade, the show made a bi-annual run in Japan. This played a major role in kicking off the current popularity of black gospel in Japan.
There were numerous spin-off “Gospel In The Night” concerts featuring Vy Higgensen and other configurations of performers that were produced as a continuation of the run of “Mama…”
Currents Trends - The Nineties
The popularity of the “Sister Act” movies, starring Whoopi Goldberg, have, without a doubt, had the strongest impact on introducing the gospel choir to the general population in Japan.
Even now "Sister Act" is periodically rerun as a special TV movie of the week. Furthermore, “The Preacher’s Wife” with Whitney Houston, has helped raised the consciousness of gospel music to all Japanese age groups.
Young and old alike have wholeheartedly embraced it and taken it to new levels. Nowadays, singing black gospel is totally fashionable.
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