Reflective Transitions of Politics in Japanese Art

Event - Sainsbury Institute

Thursday 24 August, 2017

This workshop will kick-off a research-based investigation into how contemporary Japanese arts have been shaped by political forces, from wartime militarism to the ‘neoliberal world order’. In so doing, we will look to identify the processes of atomization of society through art forms. Our focus is on empirical examples of internalized art productions and art currents, in juxtaposition to art expressing national/regional politics – focusing on the presence of political notions in Japanese fine arts, popular cultures such as manga and anime, and visual arts, and on the reflections/intersections between Western arts and representations of Japanese politics.

The aim is to provide insights into the changing boundaries and concepts of Japanese/Far Eastern Art History in the 19th-21st centuries, as seen by the contemporary scholars of both the West and

Some of the key themes to be discussed are: Politics of Art in Japan; Regional, National and International Issues; Popular Culture and Political Art in Japan; Expressions of Atomization and
Internalisation, and Political Processes in Japanese Art; Expressions of Continuity and Change.

View the workshop poster

About the Speakers

Keynote speaker: Professor Atsushi Miura
(The Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, University of Tokyo)

Dr Rayna Denison (University of East Anglia)
Dr Manuel Hemandez-Perez (University of Hull)
Mr Yoshimasa Kamiya (former Itoman City Office)
Dr Ra Mason (University of East Anglia)
Ms Zhiyuan Pan (University of Cambridge)
Dr Marco PelliTteri (Kobe University)
Ms Minjong Shin (University of Tokyo)
Dr Eriko Tomizawa-Kay (University of East Anglia)
Dr Marie Yasunaga (University of Tokyo)

Prof. Toshio Watanabe (Sainsbury Institute and TrAIN, University of
the Arts London )
Dr Shiro Yoshioka (University of Newcastle)
Dr Simon Kaner (Sainsbury Institute and University of East Anglia)


Date: 24 August 2017 Time: 09:30 – 17:30
Venue: Julian Study Centre, floor 3, room 3.02, University of East Anglia, UK
Format: 90 Minute Panels; Speaker (20 mins) + Discussant Comments + Q&A sessions

9.00 Registration

9.30 Welcome address: Ms Mami Mizutori (SISJAC)

10.00 Keynote speaker:
Atsushi Miura (Professor, The Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, University of Tokyo)

The Politics of Contemporary Japanese Paintings: From the history paintings of former Number 1 High School to the war paintings of Tsuguharu Fujita. (Japanese)

11.00 – 12.30 Session 1:
Politics of Art in Japan: Expressions of Regional, National and International Issues
The panel examines empirical case studies of how wartime art in Japan has been integral to the expression of political ideas related to national identity, regional struggle and reflective othering. The aim is to explore linkages and disconnects between these issues and their socio-political framings.

Chair: Dr Marco Pellitteri (Kobe University)
Discussant: Prof. Toshio Watanabe (University of the Arts London)

-Minjong Shin (University of Tokyo)
The politics of colonial painting: The travels of Japanese painters in Korea
-Eriko Tomizawa-Kay (University of East Anglia)
The Dynamics of the Concept of Modern Regional Japanese Art: the Message of Okinawan Arts in Regional Struggle and Politics
-Marie Yasunaga (University of Tokyo)
Politics and Identity in the (Re) presentation of Japanese Art in modern and contemporary museums

12.30 – 13.30 Lunch (JSC 3.02)

13.30 – 15.00 Session 2:
Popular Culture and Political Art in Japan: Expressions of Atomization and Internalization
The panel discusses how contemporary Japanese arts have been interpreted in East Asian and European contexts. We shall focus on how Japanese art has been shaped by political forces in the contemporary ‘neoliberal’ world order, the resulting processes of atomization in society, and the internalization of political issues through Japanese art forms.

Chair: Dr Ra Mason (University of East Anglia)
Discussant: Shiro Yoshioka (University of Newcastle)
-Dr Marco Pellitteri (Kobe University)
From ‘We all are Ashita no Jo’ to revisionist-nationalist rants: notes on political uses and messages of manga and anime from 1968 to the 2000s”
-Dr Rayna Denison (University of East Anglia)
Nationalism in a Superflat World: Anime, Art and the National Representations in Mamoru Hosoda’s Summer Wars
-Dr Manuel Hemandez-Perez (University of Hull)
American politics as a transnational popular narrative: Narratological Structures of shonen manga and their cross-cultural readings in Kaiji Kawaguchi’s Eagle (1997-2001)

15.00 – 15.20 Tea & Coffee

15.20 – 16.50 Session 3:
Politic Processes in Japanese Art: Expressions of Continuity and Change.
The panel reflects on processes underlying the changing currents of contemporary art in Japan’s diverse social milieus: from early 20th Century modernism, pre-war nationalism and post-war Keynesianism, to the neoliberal and neo-nationalist turns. It traces a diverse range of literature and artworks that intersect political and personal lives, examining the shifting messages emerging from a broad range of Japanese art forms, including their regional significance, art’s role in Japan’s international relations and the political expression of Japanese art through various forms of media.
Chair: Ms Mami Mizutori (SISJAC)
Discussant: Dr Simon Kaner (CJS, UEA)
-Dr Ra Mason (UEA)
Political Art in Contemporary Japan: a cursory glance into internalization, neoliberalization and atomization
-Mr Yoshimasa Kamiya (Itoman City)
Peace Promotion through Art in Itoman City
-Zhiyuan Pan (University of Cambridge University)
Tintin in the advent of the Sino-Japanese War: The story of The Blue Lotus and Zhang Chongren

16.50 – 17.25 Final discussion

17.25 – 17.30 Closing remarks.

Organised by:
Eriko Tomizawa-Kay,
Lecturer, School of Politics, Philosophy. Language and Communication
Studies, University of East Anglia

Ra Mason,
Lecturer, School of Politics, Philosophy. Language and Communication
Studies, University of East Anglia

The workshop is supported by:

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