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Over Two Centuries of Cooperation and Competition
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.
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.
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.

The Legend of Giō and Hotoke in Japanese Literature, Theater, Visual Arts, and Cultural Heritage
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.
In this comprehensive study of the Tenjukoku Shūchō Mandara, Chari Pradel provides a new interpretation of this assemblage of embroidered textile fragments associated with Prince Shōtoku (574–622). By analyzing the scant visual evidence in the context of East Asian visual art of the period, the author recreates the subject represented on the seventh century artifact and demonstrates that it was not Buddhist (as previously believed), but associated with the funerary iconography of China that arrived in Japan with immigrants from the Korean peninsula. In addition, by closely investigating the context for the compilation of each of the documents associated with the artifact, Pradel illuminates the history of the embroidery and its changing significance and perception over the centuries.
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.
The Influence of Japanese Sexual Imagery on Western Art
At its height in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, Japonisme had a tremendous impact on Western art. In this publication, author Ricard Bru approaches the cultural phenomenon of Japonisme from an innovative standpoint. He presents an in-depth discussion of the influence of Japanese printed erotic imagery by ukiyo-e masters such as Kitagawa Utamaro, Katsushika Hokusai, and Utagawa Hiroshige on European artists, including Edgar Degas, Auguste Rodin, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Gustav Klimt and Pablo Picasso, as well as writers, critics, and collectors, such as Edmond de Goncourt, Joris-Karl Huysmans, and Émile Zola. With over 160 color illustrations sourced from public and private collections, Erotic Japonisme demonstrates the rich artistic dialogue that existed between Europe and Japan.
A Short Introduction to Their History, Bibliography and Format
Editors: 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.
Riddles in Japanese Woodblock Prints
The Tōkaidō highway, connecting Edo with Kyoto, was the most vital thoroughfare in Japan. Its cultural presence in pre- to early modern Japanese society led to the publication of woodblock print series, such as the widely known landscape prints by Hiroshige, that took this famous road as their theme.
The prints of Utagawa Kunisada, the most sought-after woodblock print designer of his day, represent a different treatment of the Tōkaidō, in which popular kabuki actors in specific roles are paired with Tōkaidō post stations. This study discusses the phenomenon of serialization in Japanese prints outlining its marketing mechanisms and concepts. It then proceeds to unravel Kunisada’s pairings of post-stations and kabuki roles,
which served as puzzles for his audience to decipher. Finally, this study analyses Kunisada’s methods when he invented and developed these patterns.
Kunisada’s Tōkaidō is a valuable visual source for the print collector, illustrating over 700 prints and it has been selected for an Honorable Mention at the 2014 IFPDA (International Fine Print Dealers Association) Book Award.