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A History of Russo-Japanese Relations

Over Two Centuries of Cooperation and Competition

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Edited by Dmitry Streltsov and Nobuo Shimotomai

This publication is the result of a three-year research project between eminent Russian and Japanese historians. It offers an an in-depth analysis of the history of relations between Russia and Japan from the 18th century until the present day. The format of the publication as a parallel history presents views and interpretations from Russian and Japanese perspectives that showcase the differences and the similarities in their joint history. The fourteen core sections, organized along chronological lines, provide assessments on the complex and sensitive issues of bilateral Russo-Japanese relations, including the territory problem as well as economic exchange.

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Ronald P. Toby

In Engaging the Other: “Japan and Its Alter-Egos”, 1550-1850 Ronald P. Toby examines new discourses of identity and difference in early modern Japan, a discourse catalyzed by the “Iberian irruption,” the appearance of Portuguese and other new, radical others in the sixteenth century. The encounter with peoples and countries unimagined in earlier discourse provoked an identity crisis, a paradigm shift from a view of the world as comprising only “three countries” ( sangoku), i.e., Japan, China and India, to a world of “myriad countries” ( bankoku) and peoples. In order to understand the new radical alterities, the Japanese were forced to establish new parameters of difference from familiar, proximate others, i.e., China, Korea and Ryukyu. Toby examines their articulation in literature, visual and performing arts, law, and customs.

Shirakaba and Japanese Modernism

Art Magazines, Artistic Collectives, and the Early Avant-garde

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Erin Schoneveld

Shirakaba and Japanese Modernism examines the most significant Japanese art and literary magazine of the early twentieth century, Shirakaba (White Birch, 1910–1923). In this volume Erin Schoneveld explores the fluid relationship that existed between different types of modern visual media, exhibition formats, and artistic practices embraced by the Shirakaba-ha (White Birch Society). Schoneveld provides a new comparative framework for understanding how the avant-garde pursuit of individuality during Japan’s Taishō period stood in opposition to state-sponsored modernism and how this played out in the emerging media of art magazines. This book analyzes key moments in modern Japanese art and intellectual history by focusing on the artists most closely affiliated with Shirakaba, including Takamura Kōtarō, Umehara Ryūzaburō, and Kishida Ryūsei, who selectively engaged with and transformed modernist idioms of individualism and self-expression to create a new artistic style that gave visual form to their own subjective reality. Drawing upon archival research that includes numerous articles, images, and exhibitions reviews from Shirakaba, as well as a complete translation of Yanagi Sōetsu’s seminal essay, “The Revolutionary Artist” ( Kakumei no gaka), Schoneveld demonstrates that, contrary to the received narrative that posits Japanese modernism as merely derivative, the debate around modernism among Japan’s early avant-garde was lively, contested, and self-reflexive.

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Karen M. Gerhart

Women, Rites, and Ritual Objects in Premodern Japan, edited by Karen M. Gerhart, is a multidisciplinary examination of rituals featuring women, in which significant attention is paid to objects produced for and utilized in these rites as a lens through which larger cultural concerns, such as gender politics, the female body, and the materiality of the ritual objects, are explored. The ten chapters encounter women, rites, and ritual objects in many new and interactive ways and constitute a pioneering attempt to combine ritual and gendered analysis with the study of objects.
Contributors include: Anna Andreeva, Monica Bethe, Patricia Fister, Sherry Fowler, Karen M. Gerhart, Hank Glassman, Naoko Gunji, Elizabeth Morrissey, Chari Pradel, Barbara Ruch, Elizabeth Self.

Dancer, Nun, Ghost, Goddess

The Legend of Giō and Hotoke in Japanese Literature, Theater, Visual Arts, and Cultural Heritage

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Roberta Strippoli

Dancer, Nun, Ghost, Goddess explores the story of the dancers Giō and Hotoke, which first appeared in the fourteenth-century narrative Tale of the Heike. The story of the two love rivals is one of loss, female solidarity, and Buddhist salvation. Since its first appearance, it has inspired a stream of fiction, theatrical plays, and visual art works. These heroines have become the subjects of lavishly illustrated hand scrolls, ghosts on the noh stage, and Buddhist and Shinto goddesses. Physical monuments have been built to honor their memories; they are emblems of local pride and centerpieces of shared identity. Two beloved characters in the Japanese literary imagination, Giō and Hotoke are also models that have instructed generations of women on how to survive in a male-dominated world.

Ut pictura amor

The Reflexive Imagery of Love in Artistic Theory and Practice, 1500-1700

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Edited by Walter Melion, Michael Zell and Joanna Woodall

Ut pictura amor: The Reflexive Imagery of Love in Artistic Theory and Practice, 1500-1700 examines the related themes of lovemaking and image-making in the visual arts of Europe, China, Japan, and Persia. The term ‘reflexive’ is here used to refer to images that invite reflection not only on their form, function, and meaning, but also on their genesis and mode of production. Early modern artists often fashioned reflexive images and effigies of this kind, that appraise love by exploring the lineaments of the pictorial or sculptural image, and complementarily, appraise the pictorial or sculptural image by exploring the nature of love. Hence the book’s epigraph— ut pictura amor—‘as is a picture, so is love’.

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.

Courtly Visions

The Ise Stories and the Politics of Cultural Appropriation

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Joshua S. Mostow

Courtly Visions: The Ise Stories and the Politics of Cultural Appropriation traces—through the visual and literary record—the reception and use of the tenth-century literary romance through the seventeenth century. Ise monogatari ( The Ise Stories) takes shape in a salon of politically disenfranchised courtiers, then transforms later in the Heian period (794-1185) into a key subtext for autobiographical writings by female aristocrats. In the twelfth century it is turned into an esoteric religious text, while in the fourteenth it is used as cultural capital in the struggles within the imperial household. Mostow further examines the development of the standardized iconographies of the Rinpa school and the printed Saga-bon edition, exploring what these tell us about how the Ise was being read and why. The study ends with an Epilogue that briefly surveys the uses Ise was put to throughout the Edo period and into the modern day.

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Miriam Wattles

Miriam Wattles recounts the making of Hanabusa Itchō (1652-1724), painter, haikai-poet, singer-songwriter, and artist subversive, in The Life and Afterlives of Hanabusa Itchō, Artist-Rebel of Edo. Translating literary motifs visually to encapsulate the tensions of his time, many of Itchō’s original works became models emulated by ukiyo-e and other artists. A wide array of sources reveals a lifetime of multiple personas and positions that are the source of his multifarious artistic reincarnations. While, on the one hand, his legend as seditious exile appears in the fictional cross-media worlds of theater, novels, and prints, on the other hand, factual accounts of his complicated artistic life reveal an important figure within the first artists’ biographies of early modern Japan.