All-Japan Band Association

All-Japan Band Association

The All-Japan Band Association (AJBA) is an organization that exists solely for the purpose of facilitating an enormous annual competition among Japanese wind bands. This competition has largely promoted the concert band idiom (called buraban in Japanese), but in recent years AJBA has also included separate entries for marching band and smaller chamber music ensembles within its national competition.

The AJBA competition includes categories for elementary school, middle school, high school, university, company, and community bands. It is an extremely competitive three-tiered contest, with local, regional, and national levels of competition. In some categories - middle school for example - the school bands that manage to reach the national level of competition are among the top 2% in all of Japan.

The renowned Tokyo Kosei Wind Orchestra is usually hired to make the definitive premier recordings of the required pieces commissioned each year for AJBA's enormous national competition. The final (national) stage of the competition is regularly held in Fumon Hall, an enormous auditorium located on the campus of the Rissho Kosei Kai religious organization in central Tokyo.

World's Largest Music Contest

In recent years, more than 14,000 Japanese bands have participated annually in the AJBA competition (totaling around 500,000 contestants nationwide), making it the world's largest music competition in terms of the number of active participants. The other largest music competitions in the world are the Eurovision and American Idol competitions in the field of pop music singing. While these do not exceed the AJBA competition in terms of the number of competitors, they may be larger in terms of the number of individual entrants, operating budgets, or fans (as these contests involve popular music, are marketed internationally, and enjoy a much higher global profile).

AJBA Contest Divisions

The following chart displays a breakdown of competing wind bands in terms of region and category:

2007 Oct. 1 statistics

Since the average Japanese wind band has around 35 to 40 members, the total national figure appears to be around 500,000 contestants on any given year.

ee also

*Wind band
*School band
*Education in Japan
*Music of Japan

Further reading

* [ All-Japan Band Association Official Website]
* [ David G. Hebert] (forthcoming). "Wind Bands and Cultural Identity in Japanese Schools" (Dordrecht and New York: Springer Press).
* [ David G. Hebert] (2008). “Inside the World's Largest Music Competition: Application of an Ensemble Ethos Model,” "Cultural Diversity in Music Education (CDIME-IX) - conference proceedings" (Seattle, March 20-23, 2008). .
* [ David G. Hebert] (2007). “Kokusaiteki Shitendemiru Nihonno Suisogaku,” (tr. Japanese Wind Bands in International Perspective). "Japanese Band Directors Association Journal", Vol. 13 (pp. 35-46).
* [ David G. Hebert] (2005). "Music Competition, Cooperation, and Community: An Ethnography of a Japanese School Band". Doctoral Dissertation, University of Washington. Ann Arbor: Proquest/UMI.
* [ David G. Hebert] (2001). “Hoshina and Ito: Japanese Wind Band Composers,” "Journal of Band Research", Vol. 37, No. 1 (pp. 61-77).
* [ UW Wind Ensemble Breezes Through Japan]
* [ Tim Reynish on Japanese band repertoire]

*Philip V. Bohlman (2004). "The Music of European Nationalism". ABC-CLIO [scholarly discussion of the Eurovision competition] .
* [ Nielsen ratings for the American Idol competition]

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