Pelimusiikin tutkimus Japanissa ja muualla

Eroja ja yhtäläisyyksiä, kuiluja ja siltoja


  • Lasse Lehtonen


Game music scholarship in Japan and elsewhere: Differences and similarities, gaps and bridges

Japan is a notable producer of video games and game music on an international scale. Considering the global prominence of Japanese game music, however, remarkably little academic research on the topic has taken place within Japan itself – especially when compared with recent, abundantly growing Anglophone academic interest in game music. For example, there are no Japanese conferences or scholarly journals devoted to the research field, and the number of Japanese scholarly articles addressing game music remains just under 30 at time of writing. What explains this difference from Anglophone scholarship, and what are the leading paradigms of game music research in Japan today?

This article seeks to answer these questions by observing the research field in Japan. After introducing and classifying the main paradigms of existing scholarly research, the essay goes on to argue that, due to certain conventions of Japanese academia, addressing only scholarly publications is insufficient to cover all relevant expert discussions on game music in the country. By next addressing non-academic discourse on the topic, the essay shows that non-scholarly literature occupies a significant role in determining the paradigms of game music research in Japan. As a concrete example, the article addresses the possibilities and limitations of a dominant paradigm that focuses on the history of game music from a technology-centric viewpoint. Finally, the essay discusses how academic and non-academic – as well as Japanese and Western – discourses could benefit each other.


Lehtonen, L. (2022). Pelimusiikin tutkimus Japanissa ja muualla: Eroja ja yhtäläisyyksiä, kuiluja ja siltoja . Musiikki, 52(4).