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“Women Artists of Kyoto: Bearing Burdens / Burdens Born” is ostensibly about the classification of female artists since the late 19th century. The term “keishu-gaka” refers to accomplished women artists, “joryu-gaka” to post-World War II artists who created trends among male colleagues and “josei-gaka” simply emphasizes the feminine gender of an artist.

Distinguishing between male and female interpretations of art has been historically important in Japan, and remains so. In the 1990s, the critic Kotaro Iizawa gave the name “onnanoko shashinka” (girl photographers) to an emergent generation of female artists with a penchant for taking brightly-colored photographs of everyday and intimate scenes.

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