Mirror of the Japanese Empire: Japanese “War Art” and its Legacies

Shimizu Toshi (1887-1945), Refugees, 1941. Oil on canvas, 162.1 x 130.3 cm.
Third Thursday lecture - Sainsbury Institute

Thursday 17 September, 2020
6:00pm BST


Dr Sherzod Muminov (University of East Anglia)

Professor Maki Kaneko (University of Kansas)

We are pleased to announce that September’s Third Thursday Lecture will be presented online on 17 September. You can enjoy the lecture live from the comfort of your own home, complete with slides and an audience Q&A. We look forward to seeing you there virtually, and we particularly welcome new attendees.

About the Talk

In this online event, Maki Kaneko, associate professor of Japanese art history at the University of Kansas, will be in discussion with Sherzod Muminov, Lecturer in Japanese History at the University of East Anglia, looking into Japanese “war art” (sensō bijutsu) made during the Asia-Pacific War (1937-1945) and its postwar legacies. After Japan’s unconditional surrender in 1945, “war art,” especially the art made in the service of the Japanese Empire, was stigmatized as taboo and remained largely unknown outside Japan. Yet the last twenty years witnessed a significant resurrection of “war art” in Art History, museums, and the contemporary art practice. By analysing wartime art, as well as reincarnations of “war art” in contemporary Japanese and global art scenes, Kaneko and Muminov will consider the entangled nature of Japanese war art, history, and memory that continue to haunt the Japanese and international societies seventy-five years after the end of WWII. 

About the Speakers

Sherzod Muminov is Lecturer in Japanese History at the School of History, University of East Anglia, where he teaches an eclectic mix of courses on Japan, the Soviet Union, World War II, detention camps, and the Cold War. His first book, a transnational history of the captivity of over 600,000 Japanese former servicemen in the Soviet labour camps, will be published next year by Harvard University Press. 

Maki Kaneko is an Associate Professor in the Kress Foundation Department of Art History at the University of Kansas, where she researches and teaches modern and contemporary Japanese visual arts and the art of Asian Americans and the Asian diaspora. Her publications include the single-authored book Mirroring the Japanese Empire: The Male Figure in Yoga Painting, 1930-1950 (Brill, 2015) and the co-edited volume “Modern & Contemporary East Asian Art,” special issue, Spencer Museum of Art The Register VIII, no. 5 (2019). She also has published the book chapter “Japanese Modern Art History in North America and the Perspective of Asian American Art Studies,” in Taniguchi Fumie Studies (Toyonaka: Ryūshidō, 2018), “War Heroes of Modern Japan: Early 1930s War Fever and the Three Brave Bombers,” in Conflicts of Interest: The Art of War in Modern Japan (St. Louis: St. Louis Art Museum, 2016), and the journal article “New Art Collectives in the Service of the War: The Formation of Art Organizations During the Asia-Pacific War, 1937-1945,” Positions: East Asia Cultures Critique 21, no. 2 (Spring 2013). Kaneko is currently working on a book-length study of and an exhibition on Jimmy Tsutomu Mirikitani and Japanese and Japanese American artists in the post-9/11 era.  

How to book

Booking is essential. Use our booking form or email us.

We will send you an email containing a link for joining us before the event. To view the lecture or participate in the Q&A, please click on the link provided and enter your details when prompted. We recommend using Google Chrome web browser.


We are currently adjusting to remote working, and as such we will not be able to cancel your place at this event. If you do not plan to attend this online event, please disregard subsequent emails.

If you have any questions or concerns about this event, please contact us.

This event is part of the Japan-UK Season of Culture 2019-2020

Image: Shimizu Toshi (1887-1945), Refugees, 1941. Oil on canvas, 162.1 x 130.3 cm.

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The Third Thursday Lecture series is funded by the Gatsby Charitable Foundation, the Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation and Yakult UK.