Sound and vision blog

29 November 2011

Japanese Birdsong

Cheryl Tipp, Wildlife Sounds Curator, writes: 

Early-wildlife-recordings

The first commercially available recordings of Japanese birdsong were released by the Japanese Victor Company in 1954. The publications comprised three beautifully designed albums, each containing a set of three double-sided 78rpm discs and an illustrated booklet describing the birdlife that could be heard on these records. For the first time ever, people could listen to sound recordings of the songs and calls of birds that lived on the eastern fringes of the Palearctic region (Europe, north Africa and northern areas of Asia).

These publications include the earliest known wildlife recordings made in Japan, such as the Japanese Scops Owl and the Japanese Paradise Flycatcher. In addition to individual species recordings, the sets also include dawn chorus recordings featuring a wealth of different birds.

Japanese-birdsongs-booklet

The recordings were made by Tsuruhiko Kabaya, a graduate of Tokyo University, and Kasuke Hoshino, manager of the Hoshino Hot Spring Resort. Kabaya had been experimenting with acetate discs before acquiring an early tape recorder in 1951, while Hoshino had begun to study the sounds of birds found in the woodland surrounding his resort. According to Kabaya, the pair came together because he owned a tape recorder while Hoshino had access to a wealth of birds and, crucially, a nearby power supply!

The recordings featured on Japanese Bird Songs vols 1 - 3 are the latest sounds to be added to Early Wildlife Recordings.

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