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Since Meiji: Perspectives on the Japanese Visual Arts, 1868-2000
528pp. October 2011
Since Meiji: Perspectives on the Japanese Visual Arts, 1868-2000
Editor: Rimer, J. Thomas;
Research outside Japan on the history and significance of the Japanese visual arts since the beginning of the Meiji period (1868) has been, with the exception of writings on modern and contemporary woodblock prints, a relatively unexplored area of inquiry. In recent years, however, the subject has begun to attract wide interest. As is evident from this volume, this period of roughly a century and a half produced an outpouring of art created in a bewildering number of genres and spanning a wide range of aims and accomplishments. Since Meiji is the first sustained effort in English to discuss in any depth a time when Japan, eager to join in the larger cultural developments in Europe and the U.S., went through a visual revolution. Indeed, this study of the visual arts of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries suggests a fresh history of modern Japanese culture—one that until now has not been widely visible or thoroughly analyzed outside that country.

In this extensive collection, which includes some 190 black-and-white and color reproductions, scholars from Japan, Europe, Australia, and America explore an impressive array of subjects: painting, sculpture, prints, fashion design, crafts, and gardens. The works discussed range from early Meiji attempts to create art that referenced Western styles to postwar and contemporary avant-garde experiments. There are, in addition, substantive investigations of the cultural and intellectual background that helped stimulate the creation of new and shifting art forms, including essays on the invention of a modern artistic vocabulary in the Japanese language and the history of art criticism in Japan, as well as an extensive account of the career and significance of perhaps the best-known Japanese figure concerned with the visual arts of his period, Okakura Tenshin (1862–1913), whose Book of Tea is still widely read today.

Taken together, the essays in this volume allow readers to connect ideas and images, thus bringing to light larger trends in the Japanese visual arts that have made possible the vitality, range, and striking achievements created during this turbulent and lively period.

Contributors: Stephen Addiss, Chiaki Ajioka, John Clark, Ellen Conant, Mikiko Hirayama, Michael Marra, Jonathan Reynolds, J. Thomas Rimer, Audrey Yoshiko Seo, Eric C. Shiner, Lawrence Smith, Shuji Tanaka, Reiko Tomii, Mayu Tsuruya, Toshio Watanabe, Gennifer Weisenfeld, Bert Winther-Tamaki, Emiko Yamanashi.

164 illus., 30 in color

“An excellent textbook for students of the arts and a useful scholarly reference for researchers. But most importantly, [this book] is inspirational reading in how art history takes on the challenge to narrate national stories of visual arts practice against the grain of postmodernism’s resistance to national ‘constructs.’” —Asian Studies Review (37:1, 2013)

“[A] brilliant and somewhat intense work.” —Choice (49:9, May 2012)
Editor: Rimer, J. Thomas;
J. Thomas Rimer is professor emeritus at the University of Pittsburgh.
Read the Introduction (PDF).

Introduction - J. Thomas Rimer

I. Painting and the Allied Arts: From Meiji to the Present 
1. Western-Style Painting: Four Stages of Acceptance - Emiko Yamanashi 
2. Japanese Painting from Edo to Meiji: Rhetoric and Reality - Ellen P. Conant
3. The Expanding Arts of the Interwar Period - Gennifer Weisenfeld 
4. Senso Sakusen Kirokuga: Seeing Japan’s War Documentary Painting as a Public Monument - Mayu Tsuruya
5. From Resplendent Signs to Heavy Hands: Japanese Painting in War and Defeat, 1937–1952 - Bert Winther-Tamaki 
6. HowGendai Bijutsu Stole the “Museum”: An Institutional Observation of the Vanguard 1960s - Reiko Tomii 
7. Fashion Altars, Performance Factors, and Pop Cells: Transforming Contemporary Japanese Art, One Body at a Time - Eric C. Shiner 

II. Japanese Art of the Period in Its Cultural Context 
8. The Creation of the Vocabulary of Aesthetics in Meiji Japan - Michael F. Marra
9. Okakura Tenshin and Aesthetic Nationalism - John Clark 
10. Japanese Art Criticism: The First Fifty Years - Mikiko Hirayama 

III. Individual Forms of Expression 
11. Sculpture - Shuji Tanaka
12. Can Architecture Be Both Modern and “Japanese”? The Expression of Japanese Cultural Identity through Architectural Practice from 1850 to the Present - Jonathan M. Reynolds
13. The Modern Japanese Garden - Toshio Watanabe 
14. Japanese Prints 1868–2008 - Lawrence Smith 
15. Aspects of Twentieth-Century Crafts: The New Craft and Mingei Movements - Chiaki Ajioka 
16. Japanese Calligraphy since 1868 - Stephen Addiss 
17. Adoption, Adaptation, and Innovation: The Cultural and Aesthetic Transformations of Fashion in Modern Japan - Audrey Yoshiko Seo