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A Guide to the Japan ChoralAssociation

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A brief history of Japan Choral Association Past Presidents

In 1927 Kosuke Komatsu, who had just returned to Japan after studying in France, founded the National Music Association for the purpose of having "all the nation's people sing." In that same year, on November 23, the group sponsored the 1st Choral Competition. That was the starting point of the choral movement throughout the country, of which the current Japan Choral Association is the mother organization. Due to World War II, the 2nd Choral was canceled, but after the war, Komatsu was active in re-starting the competition, and choral associations sprang up all over the country.
Between 1945 and 1947, choral associations were established in the western (Seibu), west central (Kansai), central Pacific (Tokai), and east central (Kanto) portions of Japan; and in 1948 these were amalgamated into the Japan Choral Association. At the same time, other associations in the central (Chubu/Chugoku) and northeastern (Tohoku) areas, as well as in Tokyo, Hokkaido, and Shikoku were born. Thus, under the name of the Japan Choral Association, amateur choruses throughout the land joined hands.
Together with the increasing popularity of choral music and the pace of the postwar period, the Japan Choral Association underwent a restructuring that led to the Asahi Shimbun newspaper's donating a full two-page spread to its activities for the first time. Even today, the Japan Choral Association receives the general co-sponsorship of Asahi Shimbun in its JCA National Choral Competition, JCA Choral Workshop, JCA Cantat for Mothers' Chorus, JCA Mothers' Chorus Festival, JCA Junior Chorus Festival, the public solicitation of songs for its national competition, choral festivals, and other activities. Indeed, without the cooperation of both parties, the scale of the choral competition would most likely never have attained its present scope.
In this manner, the Japan Choral Association, as its name implies, is the largest organization within Japan's choral world and the sole organization to have been granted the long-desired status of a legal corporation, which it was granted in 1970, and which allowed it to take another step forward. In 1979 the much awaited Japan Choral Music Centre was established in Ebisu(Tokyo), and in 1997 the JCA celebrated its fiftieth anniversary.
The Japan Choral Association now operates with a new vigor, and is endowed with a broader viewpoint. Based on the idea of "solidarity and exchange," and acting through the medium of choruses, it works to help foster development in musical culture as well as to bring about a fulfillment of the choral movement.

1927 Founded the National Music Association (later become a Kanto Choral Association) on 28 November.  The Association sponsored the 1st Choral Competition & Music Festival in Tokyo.
1945-1947 Regional choral associations were established in Kanto, Tokai, Kansai, and Seibu areas.
1948 Four regional choral associations were amalgamated, and the Japan Choral Association was founded. The 1st National Choral Competition was took place in Tokyo.
1970 JCA was granted the status of a legal corporation.
1978 1st Mothers' Chorus Festival took place.
1979 The Japan Choral Music Centre & Library opened in Ebisu, Tokyo as one of JCA’s 30th anniversary events.
1982 International Federation for Choral Music was founded by 7 national choral organizations, including Japan Choral Association as its founding organizations.
1987 1st National Children's Chorus Festival took place.
1990 1st National Choral Workshop took place.
1991 New category “Junior high school division” was added into the National Choral Competition.
1997 World Youth Choir took place in Japan as one of JCA’s 50th anniversary events.
2005 7th World Symposium on Choral Music took place in Kyoto.
2010 1st Men’s Chorus Festival took place.
2012 1st National Youth Choir camp took place.
2017 JCA’s 70th anniversary

10. Saeko Hasegawa (2022 - )


1. Kosuke Komatsu
3. Kosuke Komatsu

2. Kunihiko Toyama

4. Osamu Shimizu

5. Kan Ishii

6. Yozo Sato

7. Nobuyoshi Yoshimura

8. Keiichi Asai (2006-14 )

9. Shinsuke Kishi (2014-22 )
Japan is one of the countries in which choruses are extremely popular. Including all the choruses in elementary schools, junior and senior high schools, colleges, companies, women's groups, and private groups of ordinary individuals, there are said to be between twenty and thirty thousand choruses in Japan today. All the people who belong to these choruses are becoming more familiar with music while enjoying themselves in chorus activities, which is certainly transforming Japan into a stage on which its singers are greatly improving the musical culture of the land.
As for goals, the JCA aims to popularize choral music and improve its level, the fostering and leading of choral groups, and the development of musical culture.
Organization and Members TOP
Branch: 9 divisions
Regular members: 53 Prefectural Associations
Number of member choirs : 4,252 (as of 1 January 2022)
Hokkaido Division
Sapporo Choral Association
Asahikawa Choral Association
Hakodate Choral Association
Muroran Choral Association
Obihiro Choral Association
Kushiro Choral Association
Kitami Choral Association

Tohoku Division
Aomori Choral Association
Akita Choral Association
Iwate Choral Association
Miyagi Choral Association
Yamagata Choral Association
Fukushima Choral Association

Kanto Division
Ibaraki Choral Association
Tochigi Choral Association
Gunma Choral Association
Saitama Choral Association
Chiba Choral Association
Kanagawa Choral Assocaition
Niigata Choral Association
Yamanashi Choral Association
Shizuoka Choral Association

Tokyo Division
Tokyo Choral Association

Chubu Division
Nagano Choral Association
Aichi Choral Association
Toyama Choral Association
Ishikawa Choral Association
Fukui Choral Association
Gifu Choral Assocaition
Mie Choral Association
Kansai Division
Shiga Choral Association
Kyoto Choral Association
Osaka Choral Association
Hyogo Choral Association
Nara Choral Association
Wakayama Choral Association

Chugoku Division
Tottori Choral Association
Shimane Choral Association
Okayama Choral Association
Hiroshima Choral Association
Yamaguchi Choral Association

Shikoku Division
Kagawa Choral Association
Ehime Choral Association
Tokushima Choral Association
Kochi Choral Association

Kyushu Division
Fukuoka Choral Association
Oita Choral Association
Saga Choral Association
Nagasaki Choral Association
Kumamoto Choral Association
Miyazaki Choral Association
Kagoshima Choral Association
Okinawa Choral Association
Main Activities TOP
JCA Cantat for Mothers' Chorus
This is a special training course particularly devised for women's choruses. The course provides numerous activities---training for better vocal production, choral consultation for those choruses requesting it, meetings with composers, and choral seminars---all of which help to make the members' dreams come true. The course is offered every year in the latter half of July.
JCA Mothers' Chorus Festival
Started the 1st National Mothers' Chorus Festival in 1978. It was because of the growth of the mothers’ choral population. During the over thirty years of the festival’s existence, the repertoire has become more varied by adding expression to performances.
JCA National Choral Competition
The National Choral Competition is the most important and the biggest event in Japan, and takes place every autumn started in 1948. The competition was categorized into five divisions: junior high school, senior high school, college and university, company, and community choirs. Since 2013, however, the division of college and university, company, and community choirs has been re-categorized into University & Youth choir, Chamber Choir, Equal Choir, and Mixed Choir.
JCA National Youth Choir

Launched a new chorus camp for youth generation in 2012 for an attempt to develop chorus leaders who leads the next generation. Young singers gather from all over the country every year, and study various music under a baton of a worldwide choral conductor. They deepen their musical skills and friendship through this music camp.
JCA KODOMO Chorus Festival
Children's choruses from the nine regionals are chosen to participate in this event, which is held every summer. The Ateliers (rehearsal session) for the participated choirs are given on the first day, and the Festival Concert are held on the second day. This children's festival has been held since 1987.
JCA Men’s Chorus Festival
Men’s Chorus Festival as national event is started in 2010 as a biennial festival. Finally, JCA organize both national festivals for mothers and fathers.
Publication of Choral Magazine and Songbook
JCA publishes the Magazine Harmony. It runs quarterly with a distribution of 20,000 copies. It is the only magazine devoted to Japanese choruses, and is highly acclaimed.

JCA also publishes “Songbook: A Series of Choral Masterpieces" every year. It contains fine choral works around the world. This Songbook has been used as the set pieces for the JCA National Choral Competition.
  Public Solicitation of Songs for the JCA National Choral Competition
Every year since 1971, JCA undertakes public solicitation of songs for its National Choral Competition. The winning songs are awarded the Asahi Composition Prize, used in the national competition, and also published.
Music Library
The Library maintain a collection of scores, CDs, and tapes related to choral music. The Library is open to use by the public. Please refer at JCA Music Library .
  International Exchange Activities
As a member of the International Federation for Choral Music (IFCM), JCA takes an active part in the World Symposium on Choral Music (WSCM) and the World Youth Choir (WYC).
Contact addresses TOP
Head Office (Secretariat)
c/o The Asahi Shimbun
5-3-2 Tsukiji, Chuo-ku, Tokyo 104-8011 JAPAN
Phone: +81- 3-5540-7813
Fax: +81- 3-3544-1964

Music Library of Japan Choral Association
c/o The Asahi Shimbun
5-3-2 Tsukiji, Chuo-ku, Tokyo 104-8011 JAPAN
Phone: +81-3-3547-5141
e-mail: jcmc(a)jcanet.or.jp
(has been moved on 17 July, 2013)