Five blasts from Japan’s not-so-distant past, a period when politicians, artists and fashionistas were looking toward the West for inspiration:
- Crown Prince Hirohito’s tour of Europe exactly 100 years ago not only highlighted Japan’s newfound position alongside Allied powers in the aftermath of World War I, it also had a profound effect on the young man, writes Russell Thomas. But while the theme of the trip was a celebration of hard-won peace, the world would soon find itself again convulsed by war.
- In Japan Times Gone By, read how the JT reported on the aforementioned Europe jaunt at the time, the draft postwar Constitution unveiled 25 years later, the unusual modern trend (in 1971) of men marrying women the same age, and the AIDS-tainted blood scandal of 1996.
- Swiss physicist and Nobel laureate Charles Guillaume once said: “There are, in fact, two satellites orbiting the Earth. One we call the moon, and the other is the eminent Dr. Tanakadate.” Yet despite such praise, Aikitsu Tanakadate, the father of Japanese seismology and Japanese aviation, is pitifully unknown both in his own country and around the world, writes Roger Pulvers.
- “Ayashii: Decadent and Grotesque Images of Beauty in Modern Japanese Art” brings together works that pushed the boundaries of how beauty was portrayed at a time when many artists in Japan sought to move beyond superficiality and probe the human heart, writes Alice Gordenker. The exhibition is on now at Tokyo’s National Museum of Modern Art, before heading to Osaka.
- Come with Michael Hoffmann on a journey back to 1918, the height of the Japan’s “jazz age,” when ero-guro-nansensu reigned — eroticism, grotesquerie, nonsense. New people thronged European-style cafes and breathed new air with new lungs. And at the center of it all were the so-called mobo and moga: modern boys and girls, respectively.