Organized Panel Session

1 - Towards a New Conception of Sensoga during the 15-Year War

Friday, March 23
10:30 AM - 12:30 PM
Location: Delaware Suite B, Lobby Level

This presentation addresses the problems generated by the lack of an accurate definition of the genre of sensoga (war painting) while introducing a formulation based on wartime sensoga exhibitions in order to provide a more accurate understanding of the development of a totalizing system of war painting during the final period of the war.
With the seizure, removal, and repatriation of approximately 154 sensoga found in Taiwan, Korea, and around Japan near the beginning of the Occupation there has been a focus on these works and the artists that has unintentionally obscured their overall nature and extent that included major roles for nihonga and noncombat scenes of the occupied territories and the home front.  In addition, the lack of comparative research of international sensoga at the time has made it difficult to judge which features of Japanese sensoga were unique and which were standard for the genre.
This new definition of sensoga based upon the exhibition practices of the time allows the charting of its development from a standard practice with its origins in the Meiji period to an attempt by various means (including the rationing of painting materials to “cooperating” artists) to direct the entire world of Japanese painting activity into the production of various forms of sensoga, reaching its apogee in the Wartime Special Exhibition (Senji Tokubetsuten) of late 1944.

Paul Berry

Kansai Gaidai University, Osaka, Japan


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1 - Towards a New Conception of Sensoga during the 15-Year War

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