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Review of Japanese Culture and Society
Number of Followers: 5  
 
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ISSN (Print) 0913-4700 - ISSN (Online) 2329-9770
Published by Project MUSE Homepage  [305 journals]
  • Images

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      Abstract: This issue is dedicated to my beloved mother, Aviva Zohar (1935–2020), who passed away on November 26th 2020, during the final preparations of this issue. Born in and having lived her entire life in Tel Aviv, my mother was the epitome of a Sabra, who believed in Israel in times of turmoil and success, of angst and happiness.A short chapter in Roland Barthes’ Camera Lucida: Reflections on Photography (1980) could not better express how I feel today. I quote Barthes’ chapter here in its entirety, in honor of my mother’s memory.Now, one November evening, shortly after my mother’s death, I was going through some photographs. I had no hope of “finding” her, I expected nothing from these “photographs of a being before ... Read More
      PubDate: 2021-05-05T00:00:00-05:00
       
  • Preface: A Difficult New Dawn

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      Abstract: In a televised address on January 7, 1989, chief cabinet secretary Obuchi Keizō announced the name of a new era of imperial reign: Heisei. The dispassionate delivery of the proclamation contrasted with the historic gravity of the moment. The ascension of Emperor Akihito (b. 1933) to the chrysanthemum throne marked the end of his father Hirohito’s (1901–89) sixty-four year reign. Hirohito was by far the longest serving modern Japanese monarch. With its sheer length and historic potency, his reign, the Shōwa era (1926–89), had become a multi-faceted, deeply complex amalgam of decisive national and international events. It combined the horrors of the Asia-Pacific War with the postwar economic boom that propelled Japan ... Read More
      PubDate: 2021-05-05T00:00:00-05:00
       
  • Introduction: Between the Viewfinder and the Lens—A Journey into the
           Performativity of Self-Presentation, Gender, Race, and Class in Heisei
           Photography (1989–2019)

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      Abstract: Morimura Yasumasa (b. 1951) created his iconic image Portrait (Futago) (Twins) (fig. 2.1) (hereafter referred to as Futago), a reenactment of Edouard Manet’s Olympia (1863), in 1988.1 Morimura’s photograph was displayed in Osaka’s ON Gallery before it was included in Against Nature: Japanese Art in the Eighties, a group show organized by the Japan Foundation that traveled to the United States in 1989. It was the first time that Futago was presented outside Japan, and it stimulated great interest and received high acclaim from audiences and critics alike. The importance of Futago as a turning point in the history, practice, and language of Japanese photography at the beginning of the Heisei era (1989–2019) cannot be ... Read More
      PubDate: 2021-05-05T00:00:00-05:00
       
  • Acknowledgments

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      Abstract: Work on this issue for the past five years was intensive and involved the help and generosity of dozens of people. It was made all the more special by the brilliant artists and their galleries, colleagues in academia, and others who contributed their art, scholarship, translations, editing, and assistance in innumerable other ways.First and foremost, we would like to thank Miya Elise Desjardins. Without her dedicated editorial work this issue would not have been realized. Miya worked relentlessly, meticulously, and graciously to realize and finetune this issue. Tajima Miho, editorial assistant, and Natta Phisphumvidhi, production editor, were essential to completing this project.We thank the artists who generously ... Read More
      PubDate: 2021-05-05T00:00:00-05:00
       
  • Yoneda Tomoko

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      Abstract: From behind a large reflecting window on the Chōwaden Reception Hall balcony, Emperor Akihito, the empress, and close family members face us. The elderly emperor speaks, while the other household representatives listen. We see two guards in front of the building, emphasizing the barrier between the imperial family and the public. This photograph by Yoneda Tomoko (b. 1965) shows Akihito greeting the public on New Year’s day. It was the artist’s first time attending this annual event, and she went with the express purpose of taking this photograph.Born in Japan and photographically trained in Chicago and London, Yoneda now divides her time between London and Helsinki. However, when she took this photograph in 2012 ... Read More
      PubDate: 2021-05-05T00:00:00-05:00
       
  • Twice Infinity: Sugimoto Hiroshi’s Architecture Series

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      Abstract: Photography was once considered the vera icon in modernity, a reputation that it has tried to justify ever since. But the “world out there” became increasingly suspect and uncertain as modernity unfolded, with the ultimate result that so-called reality no longer attracted the imagination. At that juncture there was no more use for photographic realism; that is, for capturing external reality. Every technique looks old when its motives look old. Photography no longer shows us what the world is like, but what the world was like at a time when people still believed that they could possess it in the photograph.Based both in Tokyo and New York and with a long record of international exhibitions and publications ... Read More
      PubDate: 2021-05-05T00:00:00-05:00
       
  • Ghost in the Shell: An After-Thought on Pierre Huygue’s Human Mask

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      Abstract: The animal looks at us, and we are naked before it. Thinking perhaps begins there.1In the opening sequence of Human Mask (2014) by Pierre Huyghe, the eye-level camera (a drone') moves slowly and smoothly, with occasional fast-forward effects, in an abandoned village and captures the remains of ruined houses and buildings one by one.With no sign of human presence, the ghostly structures—surrounded by empty streets, parking lots, and dysfunctional electricity poles—suggest that time there no longer unfolds through anthropocentric actions or narratives. As the camera proceeds midair into the depths of the deserted town, one hears in the background a now-useless evacuation order, coming out of a loudspeaker ... Read More
      PubDate: 2021-05-05T00:00:00-05:00
       
  • Watanabe Toshiya

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      Abstract: It is well known that the bubble economy began at the end of the Shōwa era (1926–89), collapsed shortly after the dawn of the Heisei era (1989–2019), and was then followed by a long period of stagnation referred to as Japanese society’s “lost 20 years.” The Great East Japan Earthquake occurred soon after the passing of these two decades, in 2011. In the immediate aftermath of the disaster, the Japanese media was flooded with stimulating and easy-to-understand images such as “abandoned livestock carcasses,” “a single flower in the rubble,” and “a miracle pine tree that survived the tsunami”—images that were easy to verbalize and used to illustrate predetermined narratives. This “populism of images” provided viewers ... Read More
      PubDate: 2021-05-05T00:00:00-05:00
       
  • The Predicament and the Reflexive Turn: Japanese Street Photography since
           1990

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      Abstract: The 43rd Kimura Ihei Photography Award (hereafter, Kimura Award), announced in March 2018, was awarded to two female photographers, Komatsu Hiroko and Fujioka Aya. Founded in 1975 under the auspice of the Asahi Shimbun Company, the annual Kimura Award is given to prominent emerging photographers.1 The Japanese photography community has been notorious for its gender inequity, but the rise of female photographers was marked by this 2018 event, in which two women received the prestigious award.2 Furthermore, their winning the prize also indicated the persistence of the genre of street photography in Japan. Despite differences in style and subject matter, both Komatsu and Fujioka take sunappu (a derivative of ... Read More
      PubDate: 2021-05-05T00:00:00-05:00
       
  • Cardboard Houses and Miyamoto Ryūji’s Visualization of Alternative
           Urban Realities in Heisei Japan

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      Abstract: Miyamoto Ryūji, Tokyo 1983, from the series Cardboard Houses, 2003.If asked to select one photograph to encompass the history of the built environment in modern Japan, I might settle on one created by Miyamoto Ryūji in the Nihonbashi district of Tokyo in 1983 (fig. 9.1). Miyamoto made this photograph while standing in the middle of the Tokiwa Bridge, a site laden with the history of the city’s transition from feudal castle town to modern metropolis.1 The edifice of the Bank of Japan dominates the entire upper half of the image. Completed in 1896 as an explicit expression of the Meiji government’s push toward westernization, the recessed pediments and ionic pilasters of the original building signal the power and ... Read More
      PubDate: 2021-05-05T00:00:00-05:00
       
  • Kitano Ken

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      Abstract: Flow and Fusion, Kitano Ken’s first project, is a series of cityscapes shot mainly in Tokyo. The series began the same year as the starting year of the Heisei era, following the death of the Showa Emperor, who reigned from 1926 to 1989. This was also the era during which Japan was at the peak of its “bubble economy,” and Japanese money circulated throughout the world, buying anything and everything, including Columbia Pictures and the most expensive of museum-quality paintings by Van Gogh and Renoir. The photographs in Flow and Fusion were taken throughout this dramatic period of change in Japanese society during the “bubble” period.Setting his camera on the streets of Tokyo, Kitano took pictures using a slow ... Read More
      PubDate: 2021-05-05T00:00:00-05:00
       
  • Sudo Ayano’s Portrait Photography: Artificially Modified Beauties
           and the Uncanny

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      Abstract: Sudo Ayano, Untitled, 2011. Inkjet print.Sudo Ayano’s (b. Osaka, 1986) photographed portraits, which frequently feature non-organic, synthetic bodies, provoke a sense of confusion, sometimes followed by emotional uneasiness. This essay draws on psychological models of animism, such as Ernst Jentsch’s notion of the uncanny (Das Unheimliche in the German original), and what the roboticist Mori Masahiro termed “the uncanny valley effect,” in order to discuss the concept of transgressive and intensified beauty that is expressed in the extremely artificial, doll-like appearance of Sudo’s self-portraits (fig. 11.1) and explore the way in which the idea of physical perfection is constructed in the uncanny eeriness of her ... Read More
      PubDate: 2021-05-05T00:00:00-05:00
       
  • The Position of Ninoshima

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      Abstract: In the depths of a panorama photograph that shows level scorched earth, just beyond the edge of all visual obstruction, lies the silhouette of an island that appears similar to Mount Fuji. It is the island of Ninoshima, long extolled as “The Little Fuji of Aki.”2 Ninoshima also has a pseudonym, Minoshima, and whether called Minoshima3 or Fujishima, it seems to have been named for its likeness to the form of a mountain.4 The photograph was taken about two months after the bombing of Hiroshima at the start of October 1945 by Bunkasha’s Hayashi Shigeo,5 who was dispatched from Tokyo to serve as a member of the Atomic Bomb Casualty Commission. He shot it from the northern side of the Hiroshima Chamber of Commerce and ... Read More
      PubDate: 2021-05-05T00:00:00-05:00
       
  • Linking Disaster to Natural History, A Visit to Sasaoka Keiko’s
           Exhibition: Tanesashi, Ninoshima (Hachinohe City Museum of Art)

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      Abstract: Sasaoka Keiko, ninoshima, 2015.At a talk during the opening of her exhibition, the photographer Sasaoka Keiko remarked, “For me, Ninoshima is an untouchable.” Ninoshima is an island to which large numbers of the dead and badly wounded were transported after the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima. In Sasaoka’s words we can glean—to the extent that such a thing can be expressed—the weight of what she has learned from studying the history of her hometown Hiroshima, as she wandered around ground zero of the bombing and took photographs.Sasaoka digs into the challenges of relating an event that rode roughshod over the individuality of each person’s death and does not stop in her attempt to communicate it. And she does ... Read More
      PubDate: 2021-05-05T00:00:00-05:00
       
  • The Story of Two Women: Ishiuchi Miyako and Iwasaki Chihiro (Excerpts from
           a Conversation between Ishiuchi Miyako and Ueno Chizuko—On Mother’s
           and Hiroshima)

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      Abstract: Saturday, November 30, 2019 15:00 - 16:30, Chihiro Art Museum Tokyo1 Ishiuchi Miyako (photographer) and Ueno Chizuko (sociologist) discuss the lifestyles of working women, in particular the lives of Fujikura Miyako (1916–2000, Ishiuchi’s mother) and Iwasaki Chihiro (1918–74, illustrator). What follows is an excerpted and edited version of their conversation; for a full transcript, see the Women’s Action Network (WAN) website https://wan.or.jp/article/show/9142.Today, we have a conversation about what it means for women to live and work, a discussion about the lives of Fujikura Miyako and Iwasaki Chihiro. I am sure everyone here is familiar with the two interlocutors, but I would like to begin by giving a brief ... Read More
      PubDate: 2021-05-05T00:00:00-05:00
       
  • Arai Takashi and Nagashima Yurie through the Historical Frame of
           “Japanese Photography”

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      Abstract: Arai Takashi, A Maquette for a Multiple Monument for the Wristwatch Dug Up from Ueno-machi, Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum, 2014.Many artists working with photography today have begun to deviate from the two-dimensional traditional format of the medium and are extending their artistic range to include installation art, video, and performances. It has therefore become extremely difficult to identify the techniques and forms of expression that the term “photography” indicates. In light of these global trends, this essay examines Arai Takashi (b. 1978) and Nagashima Yurie (b. 1973), two renowned Japanese artists of the 2010s, by considering their work against the backdrop of the genealogy of Japanese photography. At ... Read More
      PubDate: 2021-05-05T00:00:00-05:00
       
  • Photography as Embalming: Yokota Daisuke’s Post-Production Process

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      Abstract: Yokota Daisuke, Untitled from the series Backyard, 2011.In recent years the name Yokota Daisuke (1983-) has appeared with increasing frequency in international exhibitions and photography publications. Following the self-publication of his photobook Back Yard (2012), Yokota’s prolific output has been so diverse that it is nearly impossible to grasp a picture of it as a whole. Most of the texts about Yokota’s work to date have been published, not in Japanese, but in English, which can be taken as eloquent testimony to Yokota’s strong presence in the international art scene.How is Yokota’s work received in the context of contemporary photography' Reference to the self-published magazine Provoke (1968–70) almost ... Read More
      PubDate: 2021-05-05T00:00:00-05:00
       
  • A Memorandum on the Photograph: Movement and Time in Blurs and Stills

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      Abstract: Yoneda Tomoko, Abe Kobo’s Glasses–Viewing the Manuscript of The Box Man, from the series Between Visible and Invisible, 2013. Gelatin silver print.Prints taken and developed by a photographer used to be called “pictures,” and films taken by a cinematographer used to be called “photographs,” nowadays, however, we never see or hear these words being used in this way; except by those who delight in bucking the current trend (or, at least, appearing to), with the pride of a computer geek.1Of course, this kind of inverted snobbery may well have been shared by the avant-garde who set themselves against bourgeois perspectives on Art, as defined by Gustave Flaubert’s Dictionary of Received Ideas: “What is its point now ... Read More
      PubDate: 2021-05-05T00:00:00-05:00
       
  • The Story of The Inflated Man

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      Abstract: I was introduced to an artist who only ever painted pictures of caves, and I listened to his story. This is what he told me.1I never completely bought the story about the children kidnapped by the circus who were forced to drink vinegar because it made their bones supple; but I had no doubt that “once upon a time” this kind of thing really happened. That tale used to hide, coolly and quietly, among the ancestral ashes, in the middle of a darkened room, from where it would leak out in a faint, rasping voice. I had absolutely no idea exactly how long ago “once upon a time” meant, that had been left deliberately vague. In attempting to picture such a time in the past, I had to test the limits of my imagination; but I ... Read More
      PubDate: 2021-05-05T00:00:00-05:00
       
  • Postwar Japanese Photography: A Selected Bibliography

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      Abstract: Kawada Kikuji, The Last Sunrise of Showa Era, 1989 January 7, from the series The Last Cosmology.The first daguerreotypes and cameras arrived in Japan in 1848, less than a decade after the invention of photography in the West. From that moment on, photography has remained a central aspect of Japanese visual culture, ranging from the portrait studios of Yokohama to the contemporary photographers of today. The history of photography in Japan is as intertwined with its visual and popular culture, as it is in Europe and the United States.The study of Japanese photography in Europe and the United States has been growing steadily since the end of World War Two and, in particular, since 1974 when the Museum of Modern Art ... Read More
      PubDate: 2021-05-05T00:00:00-05:00
       
  • On the Contributors

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      Abstract: Guest Editor:Ayelet Zohar is a Senior Lecturer in the Art History Department, Tel Aviv University. She received her Ph.D. from the University of London (2007). She is the recipient of postdoctoral and research fellowships at Stanford University (2007–9); Smithsonian Institution (2011); Hokkaidō University (2012); and Waseda University (2017–18); and was a Visiting Associate Professor at Yale University (2018). Zohar’s research focuses on Japanese photography from the nineteenth to twenty-first centuries. An Israeli Science Foundation Grant (2016–20) supported her work on war memory in Japanese photography; Ishibashi Foundation for Art Research Grant at Nichibunken (2020) was postponed. Zohar has published ... Read More
      PubDate: 2021-05-05T00:00:00-05:00
       
 
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