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Optical Allusions

Screens, Paintings, and Poetry in Classical Japan (ca. 800-1200)

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Joseph T. Sorensen

In Optical Allusions: Screens, Paintings, and Poetry in Classical Japan (ca. 800-1200), Joseph T. Sorensen illustrates how, on both the theoretical and the practical level, painted screens and other visual art objects helped define some of the essential characteristics of Japanese court poetry. In his examination of the important genre later termed screen poetry, Sorensen employs ekphrasis (the literary description of a visual art object) as a framework to analyze poems composed on or for painted screens. He provides close readings of poems and their social, political, and cultural contexts to argue the importance of the visual arts in the formation of Japanese poetics and poetic conventions.
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Edwardian London through Japanese Eyes

The Art and Writings of Yoshio Markino, 1897–1915

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William S. Rodner

Edwardian London Through Japanese Eyes considers the career of the Japanese artist Yoshio Markino (1869-1956), a prominent figure on the early twentieth-century London art scene whose popular illustrations of British life adroitly blended stylistic elements of East and West. He established his reputation with watercolors for the avant-garde Studio magazine and attained success with The Colour of London (1907), the book that offered, in word and picture, his outsider’s response to the modern Edwardian metropolis. Three years later he recounted his British experiences in an admired autobiography aptly titled A Japanese Artist in London. Here, and in later publications, Markino offered a distinctively Japanese perspective on European life that won him recognition and fame in a Britain that was actively engaging with pro-Western Meiji Japan. Based on a wide range of unpublished manuscripts and Edwardian commentary, this lavishly illustrated book provides a close examination of over 150 examples of his art as well analysis of his writings in English that covered topics as wide-ranging as the English and Japanese theater, women’s suffrage, current events in the Far East and observations on traditional Asian art as well as Western Post-Impressionism. Edwardian London Through Japanese Eyes, the first scholarly study of this neglected artist, demonstrates how Markino became an agent of cross-cultural understanding whose beautiful and accessible work provided fresh insights into the Anglo-Japanese relationship during the early years of the twentieth century.
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Elizabeth Lillehoj

During the first century of Japan’s early modern era (1580s to 1680s), art and architecture created for the imperial court served as markers of social prestige, testifying to the enduring centrality of the palace to the cultural life of Kyoto. Emperors Go-Yōzei and Go-Mizunoo relied on financial support from ruling warlords—Toyotomi Hideyoshi and the Tokugawa shoguns—just as the warlords sought imperial sanction granting them legitimacy to rule. Taking advantage of this complex but oftentimes strained synergy, Go-Yōzei and Go-Mizunoo (and to an unprecedented exent his empress, Tōfukumon’in) enhanced the heriditary prerogatives of the imperial family.
Among the works described in this volume are masterpieces commissioned for the residences and temples of the imperial family, which were painted by artists of the Kano, Tosa and Sumiyoshi ateliers, not to mention Tawaraya Sōtatsu. Anonymous but deluxe painting commissions depicting grand imperial processions are examined in detail. The court’s fascination with calligraphy and tea, arts that flourished in this age, is also discussed in this profusely illustrated volume.
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Zília Papp

Traditional Monster Imagery in Manga, Anime and Japanese Cinema builds on the earlier volume Anime and its Roots in Early Japanese Monster Art, that aimed to position contemporary Japanese animation within a wider art historical context by tracing the development of monster representations in Edo- and Meiji-period art works and post-war visual media.
While the previous volume concentrated on modern media representations, this work focuses on how Western art historical concepts and methodology might be adapted when considering non-Western works, introducing traditional monster art in more detail, while also maintaining its links to post-war animation, sequential art and Japanese cinema.
The book aims at a general readership interested in Japanese art and media as well as graduate students who might be searching for a research model within the fields of Animation Studies, Media Studies or Visual Communication Design.