1st Edition

The Visual Culture of Meiji Japan
Negotiating the Transition to Modernity

  • Available for pre-order. Item will ship after November 26, 2021
ISBN 9780367612849
November 26, 2021 Forthcoming by Routledge
232 Pages 11 Color & 55 B/W Illustrations

USD $150.00

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Book Description

This volume examines the visual culture of Japan’s transition to modernity, from 1868 to the first decades of the twentieth century.

Through this important moment in Japanese history, contributors reflect on Japan’s transcultural artistic imagination vis-a-vis the discernment, negotiation, assimilation, and assemblage of diverse aesthetic concepts and visual pursuits. The collected chapters show how new cultural notions were partially modified and integrated to become the artistic methods of modern Japan, based on the hybridization of major ideologies, visualities, technologies, productions, formulations, and modes of representation. The book presents case studies of creative transformation demonstrating how new concepts and methods were perceived and altered to match views and theories prevalent in Meiji Japan, and by what means different practitioners negotiated between their existing skills and the knowledge generated from incoming ideas to create innovative modes of practice and representation that reflected the specificity of modern Japanese artistic circumstances.

The book will be of interest to scholars working in art history, Japanese studies, Asian studies, and Japanese history, as well as those who use approaches and methods related to globalization, cross-cultural studies, transcultural exchange, and interdisciplinary studies. 

Table of Contents

Introduction. In-Between Temporality and Spatiality: Visual Convergences and Meihi Hybridity

Ayelet Zohar and Alison J. Miller

1. Japan as Far West: An Allegorical Reading of the Katakana Space
Michio Hayashi

2. Modernization as Rejection of Westernization: The Case of Japanese Calligraphy
Eugenia Bogdanova-Kummer

3. Classical Greece in Japan and Why It Matters: A Postcolonial Perspective
Michael Lucken

4. Medievalism, Modernity, and Militarism in Imperial Japan
Oleg Benesch

5. Dinner Table Negotiations: Tableware and the presentation of Japan at the Enryōkan
Mary Redfern

6. Imaging Industry: Woodblock Prints, Factory Women, and Sericulture in Meiji Japan
Alison J. Miller

7. Negotiating Realism: Kawabata Gyokushō’s Strive for Modern Japanese Painting
Katharina Rode

8. Mural Paintings in late 19th and early 20th century Western-style Public Buildings in Japan
Emiko Yamanashi

9. Framing Scenery: A Potential History of Landscape Photography in Colonial Hokkaidō
Ayelet Zohar

10. Colors of Empire: Watercolor in Meiji Japan
Chinghsin Wu

11. Exploring Tokyo’s Hidden Spaces in Nagai Kafū’s Hiyorigeta (Fair-Weather Clogs, 1914) with Charles Baudelaire’s Flâneur and Walter Benjamin’s Porosity
Evelyn Schulz

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Ayelet Zohar is Associate Professor of History of Art at Tel Aviv University.

Alison J. Miller is Assistant Professor of Art History at University of the South.