Keisuke Yamada

Fourth Year Graduate Student in Ethnomusicology
103, Music Building

Keisuke Yamada is a PhD student in ethnomusicology at the University of Pennsylvania. He specializes in the music of Japan. His research interests include traditional Japanese music, iemoto guild systems, social theory, performance theory, critical organology, material culture, ecomusicology, cultural extinction, human and nonhuman agency, multispecies ethnography, popular music fandom, media studies, and media ecology. Keisuke is currently working on a long-term ethnographic project involving shamisen (Japanese three-stringed musical instrument) in East and South East Asia and North America, especially focusing on transnational circulation of raw materials that constitute the instrument. Through this organological study, he attempts to examine creative––and sometimes conflictive––intersections and interconnections of music, natural sciences, and technology.

Keisuke is a contributing author to Asian Music (forthcoming) and Journal of World Popular Music (forthcoming). He is also at work on a book for Bloomsbury Publishing’s new 33-1/3 Japan Series. This book focuses on the Japanese eleven-piece creator group Supercell and its eponymous first album Supercell (2009), which features virtual pop idol Hatsune Miku. He has presented papers on topics of both Japanese traditional and popular musics at the national conferences of the Society for Ethnomusicology and the international conference of the International Council for Traditional Music. Keisuke has earned a BM in Jazz Studies (summa cum laude) from DePaul University, Chicago in June 2011, and an MM in Historical Musicology (honors) from Northwestern University, Evanston in June 2012.

Conference Presentations

“Shamisen Skin on the Verge of Extinction.” Paper to be presented at the Society for Ethnomusicology’s 61st National Conference, Washington, DC, November 10-13, 2016.

“An Invisible Part of Pop-Idol Performance: Exploring Aidoru Otaku’s Cheering as a Performative Act.” Paper presented at the Society for Ethnomusicology’s 60th National Conference, Austin, TX, December 3-6, 2015.

“Agency, Creativity, and Cultural Literacy: An Ethnographic Depiction of an Oyama-ryū Tsugaru Shamisen Player.” Paper presented at the International Council for Traditional Music’s 43rd World Conference, Astana, Kazakhstan, July 16-22, 2015.

“Individual Agency and Duality of Structure: Toward a Reinterpretation of the Iemoto Society.” Paper presented at the Society for Ethnomusicology’s 59th National Conference, Pittsburgh, PA, November 13-16, 2014.

Selected Publications: 

Book (peer-reviewed):  Superell’s “Supercell” Featuring Hatsune Miku (33-1/3 Japan Series). New York: Bloomsbury (under contract).

Journal Article (peer-reviewed):   “Rethinking Iemoto: Theorizing Individual Agency in the Tsugaru Shamisen Oyama-ryu.” Asian Music 48(1) (forthcoming January 2017).

Book Review:   Review of Galbraith, Patrick W. and Jason G. Karlin, eds. 2012. Idols and Celebrity in Japanese Media Culture. Basingstoke: Palgrave. Journal of World Popular Music (forthcoming 2016).