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Japanese Painting and National Identity
Okakura Tenshin and His Circle
by Victoria Weston, University of Massachusetts

This is the first monograph in English to address the art and philosophy of a group of painters regarded as seminal figures in the development of modern Japanese painting. Lead by the outspoken and widely published art critic Okakura Tenshin, a group of mostly Tokyo-based painters took on nothing less than the modernization of traditional Japanese painting. The painters who looked to Okakura Tenshin as their leader saw themselves not just as artists but as servants of the nation. Their task, they believed, was to give expression to the vitality of Meiji Japan while also helping to shape public opinion at home and abroad. Thus, they chose themes purposefully redolent with what they identified as Japanese cultural values; they experimented with painting techniques based on tradition yet revitalized through innovation. This book details how these artists came to this mission, as well as their training, their philosophical objectives, and their works.

Published by Center for Japanese Studies, University of Michigan
Michigan Monographs in Japanese Studies No. 45
Published 2005, 339 pp, b/w & colour illustrations
ISBN 1 929280 17 3, hardback, 44.00