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Symphony no. 3 “Risen from the Ashes"


The inspiration behind this dissertation stems almost exclusively from my Japanese heritage and ancestry, in tandem with my passion for history. Naturally, this union of interests yields a more focused dedication: a steadfast determination to garner a thorough knowledge of Japanese history, both pre-modern and modern. The dissertation consists of two volumes. The first volume is an essay analyzing the depictions of World War II using two notable cinematic examples: Grave of the Fireflies (1988) and Kuroi Ame (1989). Key areas of focus in the analysis include a study of the accompanying musical score determinant on it having a significant role in the narrative or serving a noteworthy thematic purpose. Further areas of focus consist of a careful analysis on themes and motifs within the films, as well as the graphic, and in many cases, horrific depictions of the events in which the various plots detail. In addition, the first volume includes a detailed account of the final months of the Pacific War, serving as context to the background and story of each of the four cinematic examples. The second volume is the full score to my Symphony no. 3 “Risen from the Ashes”. Rather than require a vocalist to narrate the compositionʼs storyline, a solo violinist leads the orchestra through approximately fifty minutes of evolving music. A wordless oratorio of sorts, the symphony recounts the remarkable comeback of the Japanese nation following a war of such titanic proportions. While the roots of both volumes exist in two different realms, that is, cinema and concert music, they are nevertheless linked together by their subjectʼs respective abilities of storytelling. It is my hope this dissertation can provide valuable insight and perspective for any individual seeking to immerse himself in the vast catalogue of post-war Japanese dramas, particularly those that center around the Pacific War.

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