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Laura Moretti

In Recasting the Past: An Early Modern Tales of Ise for Children Laura Moretti recreates in image and text the unresearched 1766 picture-book Ise fūryū: Utagaruta no hajimari (The Fashionable Ise: The Origins of Utagaruta). The introduction analyses Utagaruta through a discussion of the textual scholarship relating to chapbooks and kusazōshi. It also contextualizes this work to shed new light on the reception history of the canonical Tales of Ise and to position Utagaruta within the realm of children’s literature. This is followed by the full transcription and translation of Utagaruta, with annotations to each image. Learned and visually rich, Moretti’s study permits the reader to enjoy the inventiveness and beauty of early modern Japanese literature.


Elizabeth Lillehoj

During the first century of Japan’s early modern era (1580s to 1680s), art and architecture created for the imperial court served as markers of social prestige, testifying to the enduring centrality of the palace to the cultural life of Kyoto. Emperors Go-Yōzei and Go-Mizunoo relied on financial support from ruling warlords—Toyotomi Hideyoshi and the Tokugawa shoguns—just as the warlords sought imperial sanction granting them legitimacy to rule. Taking advantage of this complex but oftentimes strained synergy, Go-Yōzei and Go-Mizunoo (and to an unprecedented exent his empress, Tōfukumon’in) enhanced the heriditary prerogatives of the imperial family.
Among the works described in this volume are masterpieces commissioned for the residences and temples of the imperial family, which were painted by artists of the Kano, Tosa and Sumiyoshi ateliers, not to mention Tawaraya Sōtatsu. Anonymous but deluxe painting commissions depicting grand imperial processions are examined in detail. The court’s fascination with calligraphy and tea, arts that flourished in this age, is also discussed in this profusely illustrated volume.

Aesthetic Strategies of The Floating World

Mitate, Yatsushi, and Fūryū in Early Modern Japanese Popular Culture


Alfred Haft

Japan’s classical tradition underpinned almost every area of cultural production throughout the early modern or Edo period (1615–1868). This book offers the first in-depth account of three aesthetic strategies—unexpected juxtaposition ( mitate), casual adaptation ( yatsushi) and modern standards of style ( fūryū)—that shaped the way Edo popular culture and particularly the Floating World absorbed and responded to this force of cultural authority. Combining visual, documentary and literary evidence, Alfred Haft here explores why the three strategies were central to the life of the Floating World, how they expanded the conceptual range of the
popular woodblock print (ukiyo-e), and what they reveal about the role of humor in the Floating World’s relationship with established society. Through a critical analysis of prints by major artists such as Harunobu, Koryūsai, Utamaro, Eishi and Hiroshige, Aesthetic Strategies of the Floating World shows how the strategies made ukiyo-e not merely the by-product of a demimonde, but an agent in the social and
cultural politics of their time.

Dismissed as elegant fossils

Konoe Nobutada and the role of aristocrats in Early Modern Japan


Lee Bruschke-Johnson

Konoe Nobutada (1565-1614) was a famous calligrapher and head of a high-ranking aristocratic family. Nobutada's contributions to the art and culture, have frequently been overlooked, largely because of the common misperception that aristocrats were too outdated, impoverished and powerless to be worthy of discussion. Dismissed as Elegant Fossils seeks to reinstate aristocrats as key players in the competition for political and artistic supremacy by examining Nobutada's calligraphy and painting, his turbulent relationship with Tokugawa Ieyasu, and his family's role in marital politics.


Sex and Pleasure in Japanese Art

Edited by Timothy Clark, C. Andrew Gerstle, Aki Ishigami and Akiko Yano

In early modern Japan, 1600–1900, thousands of sexually explicit paintings, prints, and illustrated books with texts were produced, known as ‘spring pictures’ (shunga). Frequently tender, funny and beautiful, shunga were mostly produced within the popular school known as ‘pictures of the floating world’ (ukiyo-e), by celebrated artists such as Utamaro and Hokusai. Early modern Japan was certainly not a sex-paradise; however, the values promoted in shunga are generally positive towards sexual pleasure for all. Official life in this period was governed by strict Confucian laws, but private life was less controlled in practice.
Shunga is in some ways a unique phenomenon in pre-modern world culture, in terms of the quantity, the quality and the nature of the art that was produced. This catalogue of a major exhibition at the British Museum marks the culmination of a substantial international research project and aims to answer some key questions about what shunga was and why it was produced. In particular the social and cultural contexts for sex art in Japan are explored.
Erotic Japanese art was heavily suppressed in Japan from the 1870s onwards as part of a process of cultural ‘modernisation’ that imported many contemporary western moral values. Only in the last twenty years or so has it been possible to publish unexpurgated examples in Japan and this ground-breaking publication presents this fascinating art in its historical and cultural context for the first time.
Drawing on the latest scholarship from the leading experts in the field and featuring over 400 images of works from major public and private collections, this landmark book looks at painted and printed erotic images produced in Japan during the Edo period (1600–1868) and early Meiji era (1868–1912). These are related to the wider contexts of literature, theatre, the culture of the pleasure quarters, and urban consumerism; and interpreted in terms of their sensuality, reverence, humour and parody.

This title is only available through Hotei Publishing in the United States of America, Canada and the Philippines.

Written Texts - Visual Texts

Woodblock-printed Media in Early Modern Japan


Edited by Susanne Formanek and Sepp Linhart

This volume brings together essays discussing various aspects of Japanese illustrated books, some of which were originally included in the German publication Buch und Bild (1995), while others appear here for the first time. Titles include 'The First Japanese Newspapers' (Sepp Linhart), 'The Cooking- and Eating Culture in the Second Half of the Edo-Period and its Dissemination' (Harada Nobuo), 'The Printing of Illustrated Books in Eighteenth-Century Japan' (Shirahata Yozaburo), 'The Socio-Historical Background of the Depiction of Measles' (Hartmund O. Rotermund), 'Documentary Literature in the Late Edo Period' (Stephan Kohn), 'Discourses on Femininity on Edo-Period Sugoroku Games' (Susanne Formanek).


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.

Understanding Japanese Woodblock-Printed Illustrated Books

A Short Introduction to Their History, Bibliography and Format

Edited by 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.

Reflecting Truth

Japanese Photography in the 19th Century

Nicole Coolidge Rousmaniere and Mikiko Hirayama

This publication shows how scholarly investigation of Japanese photography in recent years has entered an important transitional stage – moving beyond its focus on the introduction of new discoveries and descriptions of collections, to a more sophisticated investigation of photography in historical and cultural contexts. At one time marginalised as either a practical technique or amateur art form, photography has now earned full recognition as an area of scholarly inquiry. It now invites reflection on issues of visuality, technology, and national identity in Japanese art during its transition to modernity as well as in contemporary society.
Contributions by Himeno Junichi (on the early development of photography in Japan), Sebastian Dobson (focussing on the colourful figure of Felice Beato), Luke Gartlan (on Baron Raimond von Stillfried-Ratenicz), Allen Hockley (on photographic albums produced by commercial studios in the 1880s and 1890s), Kinoshita Naoyuki (exploring the tradition of war portraiture in Japan) and Mikiko Hirayama (describing the transition from the pioneering stages of photography in Japan into the modern era).


Roberta Strippoli

Dramatic changes occurred to the story of Giō and Hotoke with the approach of the Tokugawa period (1603–1868), the early modern era of Japanese history. Already, in the sixteenth-century noh play Rō Giō, examined at the end of the previous chapter, fresh approaches could be seen. There, the