All-Japan Band Association

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The All Japan Band Association (AJBA) is an organization that exists solely for the purpose of facilitating an enormous annual music competition among Japanese wind bands. This competition has largely promoted the concert band idiom (called buraban in Japanese), but in recent years AJBA has also included separate entries for marching band and smaller chamber music ensembles within its national competition.

The AJBA competition includes categories for elementary school, middle school, high school, university, company, and community bands. It is an extremely competitive three-tiered contest, with local, regional, and national levels of competition. In some categories - middle school for example - the school bands from the most competitive urban districts that manage to reach the national level of competition are statistically among the top 0.5% in all of Japan.

The renowned Tokyo Kosei Wind Orchestra is usually hired to make the definitive premier recordings of the required pieces commissioned each year for AJBA's enormous national competition. The final (national) stage of the competition is regularly held in Fumon Hall, an enormous auditorium located on the campus of the Rissho Kosei Kai religious organization in central Tokyo.

World's Largest Music Contest[edit]

The All Japan Band Association annual contest appears to be the world's largest music competition in terms of the number of active contestants,[1] with approximately 800,000 competing musicians in more than 14,000 bands.[2] The other largest music competitions in the world are the Eurovision and American Idol competitions in the field of pop music singing. While these do not exceed the AJBA competition in terms of the number of competitors, they may be larger in terms of the number of individual entrants, operating budgets, or fans (as these contests involve popular music, are marketed internationally, and enjoy a much higher global profile).

AJBA Contest Divisions[edit]

The following chart displays a breakdown of competing wind bands in terms of region and category:

1 October 2007 statistics

Divisions Grade School Junior High School High School College/University Company Community Total by Region
Hokkaido 117 373 226 24 7 115 862
Tohoku 256 742 397 34 12 194 1,635
E.Kanto 221 1,026 525 29 12 227 2,040
W.Kanto 45 775 336 27 5 149 1,337
Tokyo 34 583 274 29 14 113 1,047
Hokuriku 23 210 119 16 2 69 439
Tokai 96 846 502 27 13 188 1,672
Kansai 62 934 531 47 11 337 1,925
Chukoku 76 538 295 39 6 111 1,065
Shikoku 17 254 126 10 2 54 463
Kyushu 132 774 450 44 14 222 1,636
National Totals 1,079 7,058 3,781 326 98 1,779 14,121

Since the average Japanese wind band has around 45 to 55 members, the total national figure probably exceeds 800,000 contestants on any given year, and according to the most recent figures (2007–2008) may even exceed 1 million.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Hebert, D. G. (2008). Alchemy of Brass: Spirituality and Wind Music in Japan. In E. M. Richards & K. Tanosaki (Eds.), Music of Japan Today. Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, pp.236-244.
  2. ^ Togashi, T. et al., (2007). Ichi on no nyu kon!. Tokyo: Kawade Shobo Shinsha.

Further reading[edit]