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May 17 2022

Distinguished Lecture Series with Makoto Harris Takao

Green Room

Makoto Harris Takao etches out a broad narrative of the developing musical practices and identities of Japanese Christian (kirishitan) communities that began to take shape in the early decades of their formation. It also speaks to the broader need for intercultural methodologies that facilitate a more nuanced understanding of “Western” music as produced, interpreted, and reformed by entanglements of the early modern world.

“My dear brethren, with these little boys Our Lord is going to bring fire all over Japan, that it may flare up in the fire of his love.” So claimed the Portuguese missionary Luís de Almeida of the young viol players trained at the Jesuit elementary school in the city of Funai (present-day Ōita) in 1562. Situated in the ancient province of Bungo, this region is a recurrent reference in the annals of Japan’s so-called Christian Century (1549–1650). An epicenter for the Jesuit mission endorsed by its ruling daimyo, it was here that a standard was set for the “Western” music education of Japanese children, encompassing both vocal practices and instrumental tuition. In this talk, Takao will trace the presence of these children in Jesuit records throughout the 1560s, looking to how their training in and performance of liturgical and secular musics fulfilled key proselytic and political objectives. Indeed, there has been a tendency in scholarship to date to approach these instances of music-making as detached episodes when, in fact, there are deep connections between people and places that warrant closer inspection.

Makoto Harris Takao is Assistant Professor of Musicology and Affiliated Faculty with the Center for East Asian and Pacific Studies and the Center for Global Studies at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Trained as a historian of religion and emotion, Takao’s approach to music is interdisciplinary, reflected in his historical and contemporary work on Japan’s relationship with Europe, North America, and Australia. As a player of the viol, his research has also informed performance projects both in Australia and Europe, including the Australian and UK premiere revivals of Mulier fortis, a musical drama about a Japanese Christian noblewoman composed by Johann Bernhard Staudt in 1698. Takao’s publications have appeared in Early Music, Journal of Jesuit Studies, Journal of Religious Studies, and Contributions to the History of Concepts, among others. His work on emotions history and Tokugawa Confucian preaching has recently been awarded the Bruce Mansfield Prize in Religious History.

Like most of UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music’s programs, this event is FREE! Join in person or virtually via Zoom.

Attending in person? RSVP via Eventbrite below.

Early arrival is recommended. Seating is on a first-come, first-seated basis.


Proof of full vaccination against COVID 19 – This means two weeks since the final dose of the vaccine

Proof of Negative COVID test no older than 72hrs
This test result must include: First & Last Name, Date of sample collection, Negative result


No Food or Drink allowed in the building.

Can’t attend in person? Register via Zoom.

Attending this Program?


This virtual event is FREE! Tune in via Livestream.


Self-service parking is available at UCLA’s Parking Structure #2 for events in Schoenberg Music Building and the Evelyn and Mo Ostin Music Center. Costs range from $1 for 20 minutes to $20 all day. Learn more about campus parking.


The UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music is eager to provide a variety of accommodations and services for access and communications. If you would like to request accommodations, please do so 10 days in advance of the event by emailing ADA@schoolofmusic.ucla.edu or calling (310) 825-0174.


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Food and drink may not be carried into the theaters. Thank you!


The UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music acknowledges the Gabrielino/Tongva peoples as the traditional land caretakers of Tovaangar (the Los Angeles basin and So. Channel Islands). As a land grant institution, we pay our respects to the Honuukvetam (Ancestors), ‘Ahiihirom (Elders) and ‘Eyoohiinkem (our relatives/relations) past, present and emerging.