Margaret Mehl

Published On


Page Range

pp. 181–202


  • English

Print Length

22 pages

7. Shikama Totsuji

Music Reform and a Nationwide Network

Chapter 7, ‘Shikama Totsuji: Music Reform and a Nationwide Network’ introduces one of them, whose importance is equal to Isawa’s. In 1890, just before the debate about the role of the Tokyo Academy of Music took off, Shikama Totsuji founded Japan’s first magazine devoted to music: Ongaku zasshi, with the additional English title, The Musical Magazine. Shikama had completed a short training course for music teachers at the Academy, and his stated purpose was to promote music reform. In addition, Shikama Totsuji engaged in several other music-related activities to further his agenda. They underline the scope of his ambitions and illustrate the way individual actors, often (like Shikama himself) with minimal training in Western music, contributed to transforming musical culture.
Shikama and other individual actors continued to pursue music reform after official efforts had ceased.


Margaret Mehl

Associate Professor at University of Copenhagen

Margaret Mehl is a historian of modern Japan with a special interest in musical culture. She is currently an Associate Professor at the University of Copenhagen, having previously held appointments at the universities of Cambridge, Edinburgh, Stirling, and Berlin. As well as a doctorate from the University of Bonn, Margaret Mehl holds a Dr. Phil. (Habilitation) from the University of Copenhagen. She has lived and worked in Japan as a researcher on several occasions, where she has had affiliations with the University of Tokyo, and with Waseda University. Margaret Mehl has published widely on the history of historiography, education, and music in modern Japan. Her previous books include History and the State in Nineteenth-Century Japan (which has been translated into Japanese), Private Academies of Chinese Learning in Meiji Japan: The Decline and Transformation of the Kangaku Juku, and Not by Love Alone: The Violin in Japan, 1850–2010. When she is not reading, writing or teaching, Margaret Mehl enjoys playing her violin and has performed in amateur orchestras and chamber ensembles in several countries.