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Confusion Era Art & Culture of Japanby Mark Sandler
Synopses & Reviews
The Allied Occupation witnessed American involvement in virtually every aspect of life in Japan, forever changing the relationship between the countries. Numerous studies addressing politics, economic and constitutional development, and education reform have been published but very little has appeared concerning the conditions of the visual arts during this formative era. As the world marks a half century since the events of the Occupation, it is time to reflect on the creative environment that profoundly affected the cultural life of the country. The Confusion Era: Art and Culture in Japan During the Allied Occupation, 1945 — 1952 brings together an eminent, lively group of authors for a critical exploration of the achievements and experiments of the time.
Film historian and writer Donald Richie probes the ironies, missteps, and politics of the Occupation censors and their new colleagues in the Japanese cultural community. Citing incidents both famous and infamous, he deftly touches on painting, theater, and film. Scholar Keiko McDonald examines the conflicted and provocative evolution of women's roles in film while Linda Ehrlich discusses two films by Japanese directors looking back on the period. In a revealing look at nine visual artists who not only suffered reversals of fortune during the war but also a fundamental confusion of values in the aftermath, author Emiko Yamanishi describes the caution and experimentation that characterized the era. Ranging in purpose from soliciting donations of clothes for returning refugees to promoting cosmetics and "Peace Cigarettes", a selection of posters forms a vibrant portfolio assembled by James Howard Fraser, author of several books onJapanese graphic design. Director emeritus of the Cleveland Museum of Art and distinguished author Sherman Lee provides a telling first person account of his experiences during those difficult years. His job with the Arts and Monuments Division of SCAP (Supreme Commander of the Allied Powers) in Tokyo led him to inspection visits of temple sites and art collections all over Japan at a time of intense national scrutiny.
This compelling and beautiful volume promises to be an essential addition to the appreciation and study of the art and culture of Japan and to the literature of Japanese-American relations.
Book News Annotation:
Six contributors discuss the state of Japanese arts during the allied occupation after the second World War. Topics include missteps by occupation censors, caution and experimentation on the part of nine artists of the era, the preservation of cultural property, and the conflicted roles of women and confused depictions of democracy in film. The editor includes numerous b&w photographs and stills from films, and color reproductions of paintings and of posters for movies, advertising, and emergency food and health announcements.
Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Includes bibliographical references (p. 104-106) and index.
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