“Places for Hearing” in the City of Edo in 18th Century Japan: A Case Study of an Insect Listening Party on Dokan-Hill


  • Keiko Torigoe Aoyama Gakuin University, School of Cultural & Creative Studies


In Japan, the introduction of the soundscape concept since the late 1980s has shed new light on various pre-modern practices in the context of soundscape ecology. For example, in Edo City (present-day Tokyo) in 18th century Japan, there were locations known as "places for Hearing”. Hiroshige's ukiyoe "Insect Listening Party on Dokan-Hill" illustrates the situation at that time. We can use these paintings as "ear witnesses" to understand that an urban sensibility that interacted with the natural world existed in Edo period, and that there was a particular land-based aesthetics that transcended modern Western art. Through these considerations, I am trying to make a new framework for our future and creative activity that goes beyond conventional musicking.