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Japanese Visual Culture (JVC) 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.


If you are working on a book that would be suitable for this series, please do not hesitate to contact Acquisitions Editor Teddi Dols (Teddi.Dols@brill.com).
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.
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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.
(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.
An “Ise monogatari” Reader is the first collection of essays in English on The Ise Stories, a canonical literary text ranked beside The Tale of Genji. Eleven scholars from Japan, North America, and Europe explore the historical and political context in which this literary court romance was created, or relate it to earlier works such as the Man’yōshū and later works such as the Genji and noh theater. Its medieval commentary tradition is also examined, as well as early modern illustrated editions and parodies. The collection brings cutting-edge scholarship of the very highest level to English readers, scholars, and students.
Contributors are: Aoki Shizuko, Fujihara Mika, Fujishima Aya, Gotō Shōko, Imanishi Yūichirō, Susan Blakeley Klein, Laura Moretti, Joshua S. Mostow, Ōtani Setsuko, Takahashi Tōru, and Yamamoto Tokurō
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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.
The Bokujinkai—or ‘People of the Ink’—was a group formed in Kyoto in 1952 by five calligraphers: Morita Shiryū, Inoue Yūichi, Eguchi Sōgen, Nakamura Bokushi, and Sekiya Yoshimichi. The avant-garde movement they launched aspired to raise calligraphy to the same level of international prominence as abstract painting. To this end, the Bokujinkai collaborated with artists from European Art Informel and American Abstract Expressionism, sharing exhibition spaces with them in New York, Paris, Tokyo, and beyond. The first English-language book to focus on the postwar history of Japanese calligraphy, Bokujinkai: Japanese Calligraphy and the Postwar Avant-Garde explains how the Bokujinkai rerouted the trajectory of global abstract art and attuned foreign audiences to calligraphic visualities and narratives.
300 Years of Japanese Design
Editor:
The Kimono in Print: 300 Years of Japanese Design is the first publication dedicated to the examination of the kimono as a major source of inspiration and experimentation in Japanese print culture from the widely circulated woodblock prints and illustrated books of the Edo period (1603–1868) to the modern design books of the Meiji period (1868–1912). Print and book designers from these eras, such as Hishikawa Moronobu and Kamisaka Sekka, profoundly shaped the ever-evolving trends in material culture and fashion, including the popularization of certain styles of dress and even the creation of kimono designs. Five essays by the leading art and social historians Nagasaki Iwao, Ellis Tinios, Matsuba Ryōko, Fujita Kayoko, and Stephanie Su and a catalogue of about seventy works off er insight into the intersection of the worlds of the Japanese print and kimono as well as their social, cultural, and global import.