Japan in the 1920’s and 1930’s was a stimulating melting pot of domestic and foreign social and cultural influences. In art and design some of the most exciting work was created in the cross current of these competing and complementing forces. New York Japan Society is currently hosting a fabulous exhibition from a private collection, supplemented by works from the Museum of Fine Arts Boston, of works from this creative period.
This is the era of the ‘modern boy and the modern girl’ (mobo moga) that was presented in a significant exhibition at the AGNSW in 1998 and explored in an accompanying catalogue edited by Jackie Menzies and Chiaki Ajioka. A worthy addition to your library if you don’t have it. (Catalogue available here)
For those with a serious academic bent, I recommend the following essay ‘URBAN EXOTICISM AND ITS SINO-JAPANESE SCENERY,1901-1923’ (click to read) for a fascinating study of the cultural and social changes of the times, much of which was focused on the ‘foreign’ settlements in Yokohama. I was fascinated to read that Junichiro Tanizaki, author of the much-loved and intensely culturally chauvinistic ‘In Praise of Shadows’ was one of the first adoptees of foreign café society and loose manners!
Read Full Article: New York Times
View exhibition trailer