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Among the longest continuously performed dramatic forms in the world, nō and kyōgen have a wealth of connections to Japanese culture more broadly construed. The current book brings together under one cover the most important elements of the history and culture of the two arts, profiting from the research of both Japanese and non-Japanese scholars, and offering many new insights.
It takes a more ambitious view of nō and kyōgen than previous studies and represents the achievements of a diverse range of scholars from a broad range of disciplines.
Part of a formidable publishing industry, cheap yet eye-catching graphic narratives consistently charmed early modern Japanese readers for around two hundred years. These booklets were called kusazōshi (“grass books”).
Graphic Narratives from Early Modern Japan is the first English-language publication of its kind. It enables anyone new to kusazōshi to gain comprehensive knowledge of the field. For the specialist, our edited volume marks a turning point in scholarship, uncovering fresh research avenues.
While exploring the powerful effects of the visual-verbal imagination, this collection opens up bold new vistas on the act of reading and advances provocations around comics and manga.
Contributors are: Jaqueline Berndt, Joseph Bills, Michael Emmerich, Adam L. Kern, Fumiko Kobayashi, Frederick Feilden, Laura Moretti, Matsubara Noriko, Satō Satoru, Satō Yukiko, Satoko Shimazaki, Takagi Gen, Tanahashi Masahiro, Ellis Tinios, Tsuda Mayumi and, Glynne Walley.
Is the Sublime Sustainable? introduces the key points of debate around the sublime while opening new avenues for future inquiry, especially through its comparative aesthetics approach. In it, you will discover how thinking on the sublime emerged historically and then engage with the recent critical scholarship on the topic, including from the fields of theology, philosophy, and literature. The critiques of the sublime are then expanded in dialogue with perspectives from Japanese aesthetics and art, shaping the argument that what is needed today is a sublime that enriches human lives by cultivating profound, participative relationships.
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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.
This book examines the cultural networks that connected people during the Edo period (1603-1868) by surveying a wide range of visual representations of the Orchid Pavilion Gathering produced mostly in Japan. The Orchid Pavilion Gathering is one of the most important painting themes in the cultural history of East Asia, yet there has hitherto been no monograph focused on this subject in the English language. This project introduces the many important images representing and related to the Gathering, some of which have never before been published.
(De)Colonialism, Orientalism, and Imagining Asia
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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.
The Evolution of a Japanese Folk Deity from Hell Figure to Popular Savior
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The first comprehensive study in English of the Japanese hell figure Datsueba explores her evolution since her eleventh-century emergence as a terrifying old woman who strips the clothes of the dead in the afterworld.
Drawing widely on literature, art, and worship practices, the author reveals how the creative utilization of Datsueba’s key attributes—including a marker of borders, a keeper of cloth, and an elderly woman—transformed her into a guardian of the human journey through life and death and shaped a figure that is diverse and multifaceted, yet also strikingly recognizable across the centuries.
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During the Fifteen Year War, Japan's 'little citizens' were educated via a curriculum centering patriotic and militarist ideologies. Patriotic Pedagogy: How Karuta Game Cards Taught a Japanese War Generation, explores karuta, a poetry card game developed in this period as progressive early childhood pedagogy. As karuta became popular as an educational toy, educators and publishers soon noted karuta's engaging physical play and short slogans and poems made them ideal for conveying patriotic ideals to children.

Including reproductions of the images and translations of the poems, Kelly offers an analysis of the race, class and gender ideologies the cards conveyed, suggesting that these semingly innocuous children's toys were effective tools of a propagandist pedagogy.
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Printed and Painted: The Meiji Art of Ogata Gekkō (1859–1920) is the first English-language publication to offer an in-depth look at the life and career of the Japanese painter and woodblock-print designer Ogata Gekkō. This publication brings together 140 prints and paintings by Gekkō, his students and his contemporaries such as Kawanabe Kyōsai, Tsukioka Yoshitoshi and Yōshū Chikanobu across five subject areas: history and legend; pictures of beautiful women; the natural world, rural and city views; literature and theatre; and modern wars and modern soldiers. The extensive introduction brings to life the character and art of Gekkō, including a translation of a personal account by his accomplished student, the shin-hanga (New Print) artist Yamamura Kōka. An artist often overlooked in discussions of the art of the Meiji period (1868–1912), the publication seeks to highlight the vibrant printed and painted world of the era.
Men in Metal
Open Access
A Topography of Public Bronze Statuary in Modern Japan
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In his pioneering study, Men in Metal, Sven Saaler examines Japanese public statuary as a central site of historical memory from its beginnings in the Meiji period through the twenty-first century. Saaler shows how the elites of the modern Japanese nation-state went about constructing an iconography of national heroes to serve their agenda of instilling national (and nationalist) thinking into the masses. Based on a wide range of hitherto untapped primary sources, Saaler combines data-driven quantitative analysis and in-depth case studies to identify the categories and historical figures that dominated public space. Men in Metal also explores the agents behind this visualized form of the politics of memory and introduces historiographical controversies surrounding statue-building in modern Japan.