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Author: Naoko Gunji
How do you reconstruct a tradition of religious art wiped out by another religion? Naoko Gunji takes up this challenging question in Amidaji. Amidaji was a Buddhist temple in western Japan that, from the twelfth century onwards, overlooked the strait of Dannoura and commemorated the tragic protagonists of The Tale of the Heike who perished in the strait at the end of the Genpei War (1180–1185)―the Heike or the Taira clan and the child-emperor Antoku (1178–1185). Amidaji was destroyed, however, in 1870 amid a nativist, royalist movement of persecuting Buddhism, and replaced by an imperial Shinto shrine. Its art, architecture, and rituals were lost, and have until now been understood through the lens of the current shrine and a few surviving objects. By investigating numerous historical sources and artistic, literary, religious, political, and ideological contexts, Gunji reveals a carefully coordinated program of visual art and rituals for the salvation of Antoku and the Taira.
(De)Colonialism, Orientalism, and Imagining Asia
Author: Ayelet Zohar
In The Curious Case of the Camel in Modern Japan Ayelet Zohar critically analyzes camel images as a metonymy for Asia, and Japanese attitudes towards the continent. The book reads into encounters with the exotic animals, from nanban art, realist Dutch-influenced illustrations, through misemono roadshows of the first camel-pair imported in 1821. Modernity and Japan’s wars of Pan-Asiatic fantasies associated camels with Asia’s poverty, bringing camels into zoos, tourist venues, and military zones, as lowly beasts of burden, while postwar images project the imago of exotica and foreignness on camels as Buddhist ‘peace’ messengers. Zohar convincingly argues that in the Japanese imagination, camels serve as signifiers of Asia as Otherness, the opposite of Japan’s desire for self-association with Western cultures.
Japanese Visual Culture is an academic series devoted to the visual culture of the Japanese archipelago of every era. It includes studies on the history of painting, prints, calligraphy, sculpture, architecture and applied arts, but also extends to the performing arts, cinema, manga and anime. Despite the recent trend away from monographs on individual artists or object-based studies, the Japanese Visual Culture series recognizes the still-crucial need for research on Japanese artists or previously neglected categories of art to help build the foundation for the further development of the field. It also actively seeks interdisciplinary or theoretical approaches to archaeology, religion, literature, and the social sciences. Though all volumes are published in English, the series encourages submission by scholars based in Europe.
The series is attractively designed and allows for copious illustrative material, using the latest technology for high-quality colour reproduction. The books rely on Brill’s well-established distribution networks to research libraries in Europe, North America, and East Asia, especially Japan. While the primary readership will be specialists and students of Japanese art history and related fields, we expect the attractively designed format will attract wider audiences.
Free access
In: Journal of Japonisme
Author: Elizabeth Emery

Abstract

This article extends the conclusions of “A Japoniste Friendship in Translation: Hayashi Tadamasa and Philippe Burty (1878–1890)” (Journal of Japonisme, 6:1, 2021), an essay dedicated to the translation and analysis of a set of French letters documenting the friendship between Hayashi Tadamasa and Philippe Burty. The present article focuses on a second set of letters sent from Hayashi to Burty while on a trip to the United States in 1887 during which he sold fourteen French paintings for Burty. Hayashi’s descriptions of transatlantic voyages, the tastes and practices of American clients, and his personal reflections on travel, religion, and the tensions among French and American japonistes provide valuable insights into his character, the art market, and the social and aesthetic situation of Japonisme in 1887.

In: Journal of Japonisme
Author: Akiko Takesue

Abstract

This essay was developed while translating the article by Matsuo Tomoko, Senior Curator at the Chiba City Museum of Art which was originally published in 2001 (see Appendix). While Matsuo’s article focuses on the historiography of netsuke in Japan, this essay discusses the historical reception of this form of art in the West from the mid-nineteenth century to the turn of the twenty-first century. It is hoped that the essay and the translation together provide a critical perception on netsuke, which has rarely been discussed within the narrative of Japanese art history.

In: Journal of Japonisme
Author: Karen Schneider

Abstract

Katharine Nash Rhoades, a painter, Charles Lang Freer’s assistant, and a member of the Stieglitz Circle, met Freer at Mount Kisco, New York, the country home of Asian art collectors Agnes and Eugene Meyer on June 29, 1913. Their friendship lasted until Freer’s death on September 25, 1919. Although their relationship was relatively short in duration, it was characterized by loyalty, warmth, and mutual respect. Rhoades and Freer shared the pursuit of beauty as the guiding principle in their lives. Rhoades’s paintings reveal the influence that the Japanese art in Freer’s collection had upon her work. She was instrumental in the creation of the Freer Gallery of Art as it is known today. This article, based on extensive research using primary sources, sheds new light on the relationship between Katharine Rhoades and Charles Lang Freer and the ways in which the art of Japan played a key role in their lives.

In: Journal of Japonisme

Abstract

In the late nineteenth century, Catalonia witnessed an exponential increase in the use of and predilection for the designs and aesthetic characteristics of Japanese art in the design of stained glass. At the time, oriental forms were received with enthusiasm, which resulted in the development of production of artistic stained glass, inspired by these new models.

This article focuses on the different ways in which Japanese-based designs made their way from Japan to the stained glass workshops of Catalonia, where they were transformed into spectacular pieces, some of which are still preserved today. In addition, the article examines how stained glass makers assimilated the aesthetics and compositional concepts of Japanese art and made them their own, adapting them to their needs while creating innovative stained glass that helped them to, paradoxically, converge with the medieval stained glass on which they were based.

In: Journal of Japonisme
In: Journal of Japonisme