Arts and Culture
The recent humanities emphasis on global modernism acknowledges the complex mutual interactions and exchanges across cultures that stimulated new and innovative forms of artistic expression in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Japan provides one of the most compelling examples of these transnational discourses. The official “opening” of Japan in 1854 following more than two centuries of isolationism witnessed the importation of various elements from Western art and culture into Japan, while simultaneously aspects of Japanese art, aesthetics, and design entered into Europe (broadly conceived) at a key moment of Western artistic innovation. The European side of this dialogue has been well documented, with the role of Japanese woodblock prints on a number of leading Impressionist and Post-Impressionist artists forming one of the best known examples. However, the role played by European arts and culture on the formation of Japanese modernism has been less studied. This panel expands on recent scholarship to examine the impact of European-Japanese interactions on developments in Japanese artistic modernism in varying contexts ranging from debates over the concept of originality to the role of periodicals in facilitating artistic exchanges to the emergence of new media and genres such as watercolour painting and modernist photography. A selection of case studies focusing on intersections between Roger Fry and Okakura Kakuzo; the Fyūzankai (Charcoal Sketch Society); Japanese encounters with photographers such as E.O. Hoppé, and Rudolph Durkhoop; and the discourse between British and Japanese watercolour painters will shed new light on the complex roles served by dialogues with European artists in the formation of Japanese modernism.