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Laura Moretti

In Recasting the Past: An Early Modern Tales of Ise for Children Laura Moretti recreates in image and text the unresearched 1766 picture-book Ise fūryū: Utagaruta no hajimari (The Fashionable Ise: The Origins of Utagaruta). The introduction analyses Utagaruta through a discussion of the textual scholarship relating to chapbooks and kusazōshi. It also contextualizes this work to shed new light on the reception history of the canonical Tales of Ise and to position Utagaruta within the realm of children’s literature. This is followed by the full transcription and translation of Utagaruta, with annotations to each image. Learned and visually rich, Moretti’s study permits the reader to enjoy the inventiveness and beauty of early modern Japanese literature.

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Akiko Walley

Featuring the renowned seventh-century gilt-bronze Śākyamuni (Shaka) triad at the Hōryūji, Constructing the Dharma King reveals how the impression of a Buddhist image evolved in Yamato, Japan, from the indistinct sense of divine otherness at the early stage of the transmission to more concrete ideals and values concerning families, authority, and kingship.

According to the accompanying inscription, the Kashiwade, a low-ranking bureaucratic clan, commissioned the triad to commemorate the deaths of its family members. Considering the triad as an endpoint of a dynamic political re-envisioning spearheaded by Soga no Umako (d. 626) and the members of the Yamato sovereignty, Akiko Walley argues that the Kashiwade constructed the Shaka triad not simply as a private act of devotion, but a pivotal political act that demonstrated their allegiance and loyalty. This publication contends that the appearance of the Shaka triad was chosen to echo the new vision of a “Dharma King” that was manifested in Prince Umayato as the political persona orchestrated by Umako, and in the preceding Shaka triad statue at Asukadera produced by Umako and his closest allies. In the course of discussion, this book also reexamines the key points of debate surrounding this statue, including the reliability of the accompanying inscription, identity of its makers, and the statue’s ties to the sculptural trends on the Asian continent.

Mirroring the Japanese Empire

The Male Figure in Yōga Painting, 1930–1950

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Maki Kaneko

In this groundbreaking study of a subject intricately tied up with the controversies of Japanese wartime politics and propaganda, Maki Kaneko reexamines the iconic male figures created by artists of yōga (Western-style painting) between 1930 and 1950. Particular attention is given to prominent yōga painters such as Fujita Tsuguharu, Yasui Sōtarō, Matsumoto Shunsuke, and Yamashita Kiyoshi—all of whom achieved fame for their images of men either during or after the Asia-Pacific War. By closely investigating the representation of male figures together with the contemporary politics of gender, race, and the body, this profusely illustrated volume offers new insight into artists’ activities in late Imperial Japan. Rather than adhering to the previously held model of unilateral control governing the Japanese Empire’s visual regime, the author proposes a more complex analysis of the role of Japanese male artists and how art functioned during an era of international turmoil.

Understanding Japanese Woodblock-Printed Illustrated Books

A Short Introduction to Their History, Bibliography and Format

Edited by Jun Suzuki and Ellis Tinios

Understanding Japanese Woodblock-Printed Illustrated Books offers a wider understanding and appreciation of the illustrated books produced in Japan between 1603 and 1912. It is a valuable tool for scholars of early modern Japanese art and literature and a broad range of other disciplines who wish to integrate the content of Japanese illustrated books into their teaching and research. As a handbook aimed at collectors, curators and librarians, it is also an essential resource to assist in evaluating, describing and conserving the books in their care. The background essays, a detailed glossary and case studies are equally of interest to students of the history and art of the book, publishing, printing and book illustration.