TAASA Review Issues

June 1998

Vol: 7 Issue: 2
Japan
Editor: Ann MacArthur

Cover Photo
YOROZU Tetsugoro (1885-1927), Bather with parasol 1926, oil on canvas; 117.5 x 81, Iwate Prefectural Museum, from the exhibition Modem Boy, Modem Girl; modernity in Japanese art 1910-1935 at the Art Gallery of New South Wales 18 July – 30 August 1998.

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Editorial

Coolhunters, those consultants who are paid to spot the next fashion trend for corporations, in Sydney recently for Fashion Week were reported as naming Japan as the new hotspot for trend setting. Japanese, they say, are more likely to pick up on and embrace the unique. This isn’t exactly news to even a casual Japan watcher. Japan is after all, the home of the International Society of Unuseless Inventions with four volumes already published on the art of such chindogu as the toilet paper roll that hangs off a hat for handy nose blowing. Well maybe not cool, but certainly unique. That Japanese excel as trendsetters has been proved with the plague of Tamagotchi – pocket computer pets – they unleashed on the globe once they had swept through Japan itself.

This issue of TAASA Review has been timed to focus on Japan to coincide with major exhibitions of Japanese art in Australia this winter – Beauty and desire: images of women in Eda period Japan at the National Gallery of Australia in Canberra and Modern Boy, Modern Girl: modernity in Japanese art 1910-1935 at the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney. The articles prove that the Japanese have long been trendsetters and creators of unique fashion statements. No one would be more at home on today’s catwalks than the Edo period courtesans as portrayed in ukiyo-e paintings and woodblock prints. Beauty and desire curator Gary Hickey describes for us the way these women flaunted their sumptuous silks. In the Taishô era the Ginza was where the ‘modern girls’ strutted their stuff. That consumer’s paradise the department store was born, as was the all-girls musical theatre company Takarazuka. Not everyone was focused on glamour, however: young artists and writers struggled with issues of personal and national identity under the influence of Western values. Modern Boy, Modern Girl curator Chiaki Ajioka explains developing ideals of individualism in Taishô Japan. In other contributions we are reminded of Japan’s influence on Australian style in the visual arts (‘Artist’s view’ by Bonita Ely) and music (‘Spirit of water’ by Jim Franklin). We also introduce aspects of public collections of Japanese art in Australia, namely: Munakata prints in Canberra, a new Amida Buddha sculpture in Adelaide and the Morrissey Bequest at the University of Sydney.

TAASA Management

The TAASA committee is joined this year by author and Southeast Asian expert Dr Milton Osborne and Indian music specialist David Walker. Osborne, author of South-East Asia: an illustrated introductory history will be familiar to members as a guest lecturer at TAASA symposia. Walker, through the Australian Institute of Eastern Music, has produced numerous Asian music and dance concerts. Christina Sumner has taken the reins from Judith Rutherford as head of the Textile Focus Group. Rutherford will concentrate on her role as events coordinator in preparation for TAASA’s next major symposium on Korean textiles, costume and culture in September. Sibylle Noras and Wendy Doolan have volunteered to produce a newsletter of Asia-related events and reviews as well as members’ news timed to fill in the gaps between the quarterly publication of TAASA Review. A new group of enthusiasts met recently in Melbourne to form the Ceramics Focus Group. They are planning an events program under the leadership of Kan Wong. The recent national lecture tour by Dr Elizabeth Barber attracted considerable interest and helped to introduce TAASA to many new members. Credit is due to Gill Green who undertook the mammoth task of organising the tour. She reports back to us in this issue. 

Table of contents

PAINTED WOMEN BEAUTY & DESIRE: IMAGES OF WOMEN IN EDO PERIOD JAPAN – Gary Hickey

INDIVIDUALISM IN TAISHŌ PERIOD JAPAN – Chiaki Ajioka

10  MEIJI PERIOD CERAMICS FROM THE 1879 SYDNEY INTERNATIONAL EXHIBITION – Carol Morrow

12  IN THE PUBLIC DOMAIN MUNAKATA IN CANBERRA – Christine Dixon

EDO PERIOD AMIDA BUDDHA, ART GALLERY OF SOUTH AUSTRALIA – Dick Richards

14  THE SPIRIT OF WATER – Jim Franklin

16  ARTIST’S VIEW TWO GARDENS AND A WASTELAND IN LA – Bonita Ely

18  IDENTITIES A.L SADLER (1882-1970) PROFESSOR OF ORIENTAL STUDIES – Pamela Bell

20  LAST OF THE INDEPENDENT FILM MAKERS ITAMI JUZO 1933-1997 – Freda Freiberg

22  FILM REVIEW SHALL WE DANCE? – Alison Broinowski

23  OBITUARY JOHN HEPBURN MYRTLE

24  EXHIBITION VIEWS OF THE PEARL RIVER DELTA: MACAO, CANTON AND HONG KONG

26  PREHISTORIC THREADS AND MUMMIES TAASA NATIONWIDE LECTURE TOUR BY DR ELIZABETH BARBER – Gill Green

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