The movie Out of This World: Occupation Forces Clubs (Kono yo no soto eKurabu shinchūgun, 2004) brought to a general Japanese audience the hitherto largely unknown story of the jazz musicians who played in occupation-era American military base clubs. A year later, researcher Tōya Mamoru's book From Clubs to Kayokyoku: Dawn of Japanese Popular Music after the War (Shinchugun Kurabu Kara Kyokyoku e sengo nihon popura ongaku no reimiki, 2005) brought this world into Japanese academia by exploring how these bases became a nurturing ground for almost all of the musicians, singers, and entertainment figures who would go on to remake postwar Japan's entire show business infrastructure. This article brings Tōya's work to an English audience and also broadens it by examining the role of young Japanese women, whether as dance companions of soldiers at base club dances or as vocalists fronting jazz bands, in making the military base camp an incubator for the careers of legendary vocalists and movie stars Eri Chiemi (1937–82) and Yukimura Izumi (b. 1937). The early lives of these important singers and their experience of the military bases is examined as part of a deeper probe into the complex cultural crucible that allowed them so effectively to embrace the rhythm and romance of American jazz music.


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pp. 36-62
Launched on MUSE
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