The period of national music ended with the modernization of Japan when the country was opened to the outside world in 1868. Since then Japan has developed under liberalism and capitalism as well as socialism and has delved enthusiastically into all kinds of Western classical and popular music. Traditional music has gradually lost some of its importance, and many efforts have been made to combine traditional Japanese and Western idioms in both art and popular music. It is evident also that Japan has, with its remarkable energy and talent, contributed to the creation of new styles in international contemporary music.
Since the 1970s Japan has also become more involved with other non-Western musics: thus one might encounter young Japanese performing Balinese kecak among the skyscrapers of Tokyo. The growth of ethnomusicology, ease of travel, the ‘World Music’ phenomenon and increased media access to diverse cultural products have all had an impact on music activity in Japan.