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Shelley Brunt


Contact Shelley

T: +61 3 9925 3789

Dr Shelley Brunt is a Senior Lecturer in the Music Industry program at RMIT University, Melbourne. As a popular music ethnomusicologist, Shelley focuses on ethnographic approaches to music and has a particular interest in Japan’s popular music world. One of her long-running research projects is an examination of identity, community and nationalism in the annual NHK Red and White Song Contest (Kouhaku uta gassen紅白歌合戦) – a live television program that can be loosely described as “Japan’s Eurovision Song Contest”. Shelley has conducted fieldwork backstage at the event in Tokyo on numerous occasions since 2000, including 2013-14 and 2019-2020 as a two-time recipient of the Japan Foundation Japanese Studies Fellowship. A recent publication on the contest can be found in the book Made in Japan: Studies in Japanese Popular Music (Routledge, 2015).

Shelley is an experienced public speaker on Japanese popular music topics and is available for English language media commentary, seminars and other engagements. She has presented talks in Japan at Tokyo University of the Arts (Tōkyō Geijutsu Daigaku), Kyoto Seika University (Kyōto Seika Daigaku), Hosei University Research Centre for Intercultural Studies in Tokyo, and Kansai University in Osaka. More locally, she has presented a seminar on the genre enka for The Japan Foundation, Sydney, and from 2008-2011 served as a regular on-air presenter and ‘world music’ industry commentator for the Radio New Zealand Concert network. Her research about Japanese popular music has been quoted in international media outlets such as the arts section of The Financial Times, and she was profiled in a special Japanese television program about the 60th edition of the Red and White Song Contest.

Shelley is keen to support new and emerging scholars of Japanese Studies. She has written an article about strategies to do so (co-authored with Elicia O’Reilly), as guest editor for the journal New Voices in Japanese Studies, and is also an editorial board member for the Bloomsbury “33 1/3 Japan” book series about Japanese popular music. She is currently the co-editor of Perfect Beat: The Asia-Pacific Journal of Research into Contemporary Music and Popular Culture. Shelley is a lapsed taiko player, and helped form the now highly successful O-Taiko ensemble at the University of Otago, New Zealand, when she was a Lecturer in the Department of Music.


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