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Bryson’s “Westernizing Bodies”

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1 Bryson’s “Westernizing Bodies”
Women as objects of modernity Diplomatic arena, artistic arena

2 Kawakami Tôgai (1827-1881) 1827 born to wealthy farming family
Adopted by Kawakami samurai family on move to Edo Trained in western art, believer in rationality, practicality, scientific skills Portrait here by Koyama Shotaro, 1881.

3 Kawakami and technical mastery
1857 joins Tokugawa bakufu institute for study of the barbarians 1869 Kawakami founds private art school for Western art State patronage: Kawakami primer in pencil drawing part of elementary school curriculum Early 1870s Kawakami instructor in military academies Technological Art School founded--Antonio Fontanesi

4 Kuroda Seiki (1866-1924) and artistic mastery
Satsuma samurai family In Paris to study law, 1886 switched to art 1893 returns to Japan Founds White Horse Society, 1896 1907 helps create “Bunten” gov’t-sponsored salon

5 Bryson’s assertion, p. 114 “The imagery of Western women produced by Meiji artists working in France reveals much the same pattern of male-female power relations as that of European modernism as a whole: what constitutes the modernity of the paintings is inseparable from representation of the supremacy of men over women.”

6 Manet’s Le Déjuner sur l'herbe, 1863
(Musée d'Orsay, Paris)

7 Kuroda Seiki Lakeside (1897) [Kuroda Memorial Hall]
Morning Toilette (1893)

8 Rokumeikan era

9 Rokumeikan Charity Bazaar

10 Rokumeikan ladies meeting

11 Whose orient? Pierre Loti
1880s Rokumeikan comment about “Lady Arimasen” Parallel of 1860 Japanese Ambassador Muragaki’s comments “Madamme Chrysanthemum”


13 Meiji painters who studied in Raphaël Collin’s studio
Kuroda Seiki Kume Keiichirô Yamashita Shintarô Wada Eisaku Okada Saburôsuke Kojima Torajirô White Horse Society gathering in Paris, 1900 Kuroda painting of Kume, in their shared rooms/studio Paris, 1889 Images from Kume Museum of Art Kume’s lecture notes Tokyo Art School

14 Questions How does yôga fit with nihonga? Shared space at 1907 Bunten exhibition--parallel but separate development? How do we reconcile Nolte and Hastings’ “cult of productivity” with Bryson’s assertion of male subjectivity, female essentially passive “objectivity?” How do we reconcile the Meirokusha’s early 1870s attempts to achieve gender equality, in the name of raising Japan’s level of civilization, with Bryson’s interpretation of gender relations in Europe and late Meiji?

15 Yokoyama Taikan, Ryûtô 1909 Close-up
Miriam Wattles on Ryûtô-- “In its ambiguity, Ryûtô reconciled the perceived dichotomies of East versus West and tradition versus modernity. Through its Indian subject, it asserted a Japanese Asia. In its fusion of styles, techniques, and genres, this idealized painting made tangible Taikan’s fantasy of India. Its success made his fantasy public.” “The 1909 Ryûtô and the Aesthetics of Affectivity,” Art Journal (Fall 1996), p. 48 Link to Tenshin Memorial Museum of Art

16 Japan and Asia: Escape or embrace, Rescue or mastery?
Source: Both images taken from Peter Duus, “Presidential Address: Weapons of the Weak, Weapons of the Strong--the Development of the Japanese Political Cartoon.” Journal of Asian Studies 60.4 (November 2001).

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