In 1998, Japan's Ministry of Education amended the country's national curriculum to require the inclusion of traditional Japanese instruments in kindergarten through twelfth grade (K-12) music education. Over the last two decades, Japanese ethnomusicologists, music education scholars, and performers of hōgaku (musical genres with roots in premodern Japan) have begun to grow a body of literature and pedagogical techniques aimed at helping K-12 music teachers, mostly untrained in hōgaku, fulfill this requirement. In this article, I explore the innovations of this new hōgaku pedagogy and argue that coolness, a concept widely deployed in Japanese economic, political, and media discourse, is central to its understanding.

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