The Dialogue: Arts & Women

It was only through forming jwcm and starting our activities that I learned of Michiko Toyama. Ai Watanabe came across her biography in a long-out-of-print book "女性作曲家列伝” (Women Composers: A Biography, edited by Midori Kobayashi) in the library of Geidai (Tokyo University of Arts).

Toyama, we learned, was the first Japanese composer selected at the International Contemporary Music Festival (now "ISCM World Music Days"). She studied under Milhaud and Messiaen after moving to France at the age of seventeen, and even trained in electronic music at Columbia University afterwards. The only work of hers that we currently have access to is Waka for electronics.

Given such an illustrious career, how could we have been so unaware of her?
―from "Epilogue" 


Price: 1,500 yen (1,650 yen incl. tax) 
Shipping: 280 yen (domestic)/ 480yen (overseas) 
*incl. handling fee
Size: A5 (148x210x5mm)
Number of pages: 72 pages
Language: Japanese and English (written in both Japanese and English except 02)
※Limited to 350 copies.

Published on December 2021 
Publisher: Japanese Women Composers Meeting 
Editing: Chikako Morishita, Yukiko Watanabe, Ai Watanabe, Reina Ashibe 
Translation: Satoko Hayami, Chikako Morishita, Kiyo Kamisawa 
Proofreading: Ai Higashikawa, Daniel Portelli, Braxton Sherouse 
Assistant: Akiko Yamane, Akiko Ushijima
Design: Satoko Miyakoshi
Printing: JAM


Contents ■


What Gender Ratios in the Japanese Classical Music Industry Can Tell Us About Where Decision-Making Power Lies

Timeline: Japanese Women Composers and History

Interview with Shoko Shida

Interview with Mieko Shiomi 


Interview with Shoko Shida
Once I decided to give up my music career to make a living.

The request for this interview was made by Ai Watanabe, a member of jwcm, who has been interested in Shida for some time and hoped to hear about electronic music from the 70s and other musical topics. We thought of Shida as a stable and active artist on the front line, however, what Watanabe discovered was surprising, "I had decided to give up my music career and went without composing for ten years.” This valuable interview which unexpectedly revealed the transition of Shida’s activities and her struggles is published in this book as we, jwcm, believe it should be widely publicized. 

Interviewee: Shoko Shida
Interviewer: Ai Watanabe (composer)
Editor/Writer: Ai Watanabe
Translator: Chikako Morishita
Interview with Mieko Shiomi
Mieko Shiomi continues to create as an autonomous composer as she incorporates daily life into art and art into daily life.

In 2020, jwcm produced a short documentary film, Shadow Piece. While Mieko Shiomi is known for her international artistic career, most notably joining Fluxus after she moved to the U.S. in 1964, this film probes into her intimate side and captures her life as a woman. In this interview, the members of jwcm spent a whole day asking Shiomi about her artistic activities, her philosophy, and her personal life. Shiomi’s straightforwardness reveals how she has been tactfully adapting to various environments in her unceasing artistic endeavours, highlighting the essence of her way of living.

You can watch Shadow Piece online for free (password: shadow):

Interviewee: Mieko Shiomi
Interviewers: Chikako Morishita (composer), Akiko Yamane (composer)
Editor/Writer: Chikako Morishita
Translator: Kiyo Kamisawa

This book was published with the support of Arts Council Tokyo (Tokyo Metropolitan Foundation for History and Culture). ​​​​​​​