Forgotten Japonisme The Taste for Japanese Art in Britain and the USA 1920s-1950s



Entrance Hall, No. 1 Kensington Palace Gardens, London, House conversion by Wells Coates (Arch.), As featured in the Architectural Review, Vol. 72, July 1932.

This conference with international renowned speakers from Japan, USA and UK will consider, among other questions, the received view of the West as the sole purveyor of modernity in art, Japanese inspiration within the development of modernism in the West, and the relationship between the taste for Chinese and Japanese art during this period. The boundaries of the notions of the West and also of Japonisme will be tested.

We are pleased to announce the keynote speaker for the Forgotten Japonisme conference will be Professor Shigemi Inaga of the International Research Center for Japanese Studies, Kyoto, Japan who is an expert on comparative literature and culture and on history of cultural exchange, including Japonisme. He is the author of a number of award-winning scholarly books.

Other speakers include:
Professor Stan Abe of Duke University, North Carolina, USA who specialises in Chinese art, theory and criticism. His research focuses particularly on Chinese Buddhist art, and the role of China and Japan in Early Rockefeller Collecting.
Author of Longfellow’s Tattoos: Tourism, Collecting, and Japan, Dr Christine Guth leads the Asian Specialism on the V&A/RCA MA History of Design Course.
Dr Angus Lockyer, Lecturer in the History of Japan and Chair of the Japan Research Centre at SOAS, University of London.
Dr Sarah Teasley, historian of Japanese design and tutor in the Departments of History of Design and Critical & Historical Studies at the RCA.

Members of the Forgotten Japonisme project:
Professor Toshio Watanabe, Principle Investigator
Dr Yuko Kikuchi, Co-investigator
Rebecca Salter, Co-investigator
Dr Julian Stair, Co-investigator
Professor Yasuko Suga, Tsuda University, Tokyo, External team member
Dr Sachiko Oguma, Guest Researcher, The National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo, External team member
Dr Anna Basham, AHRC Research Fellow
Helena Capkova, AHRC PhD Research Student
Piotr Splawski, AHRC PhD Research Student

2 days at full price £40 (lunch not included)
1 day at full price £25 (lunch not included)
2 days concession* £15 (lunch not included)
1 day concession* £10 (lunch not included)

*Eligible are students, unemployed and 65+

Book tickets

For questions please contact Eva Broer


Friday 9 July 2010

Morning Chair: Professor Deborah Cherry, University of Amsterdam, Associate Director of TrAIN and Co-director of Critical Curating, Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London.

10.00 – 10.20 Registration

10.20 – 10.30 Introduction by Professor Toshio Watanabe

10.30 – 11.15 Keynote speaker Professor Shigemi Inaga:
Question of Oriental Aesthetics: antithesis to Design?

11.15 – 11.30 Coffee

11.30 – 12.00 Rebecca Salter: ‘Object as Metaphor’ – anthropologist collector of Japanese artefacts, Frederick Starr

12.00 – 12.30 Dr Sachiko Oguma: The Distribution of Japanese Artefacts in the USA from 1900s to 1960s

12.30 – 13.00 Professor Stanley Abe:
A Modern Taste for Chinese and Japanese Art

13.00 – 14.30 Lunch

Afternoon Chair: Dr Nicole Coolidge Rousmaniere, Director of the Sainsbury Institute for the Study of Japanese Arts and Cultures (SISJAC)

14.30 – 15.00 Dr Julian Stair: Japanning the Sung: The Emergence and Impact of Japonisme in Interwar English Studio Ceramics

15.00 – 15.30 Dr Anna Basham: Wells Coates’ Modernist Japonisme: Dovetailing East and West in 1930s Britain

15.30 – 15.45 Tea

15.45 – 16.15 Helena Čapková: St. Luke’s International Hospital: a transnational project in the heart of modern Tokyo

16.15 – 16.45 Piotr Spławski: From Japonisme to a Paradigm Shift in American Art Education: Arthur Wesley Dow’s Educational Vision Becomes Paradigmatic

16.45 – 17.15 Dr Christine Guth:
The Forgotten Japonisme of Pearl Buck’s The Big Wave

17.15 Close

Saturday 10 July 2010

Chair: Professor Oriana Baddeley, Deputy Director of TrAIN and Associate Dean of Research CCW (Camberwell, Chelsea and Wimbledon), University of the Arts London.

10.00 – 10.20 Registration

10.20 – 10.30 Introduction by Professor Toshio Watanabe

10.30 – 11.00 Professor Yasuko Suga: Promotion of Modern Japonisme: national representation through ‘sangyô-kôgei’

11.00 – 11.30 Dr Yuko Kikuchi:
American Occupation and Cold War Japonisme: containment and mixed marriage in design and film

11.30 – 11.45 Coffee

11.45 – 12.15 Dr Sarah Teasley:
When is Toshiba not ‘Japanese design’? The postwar politics of design, craft and Japaneseness

12.15 – 12.45 Dr Angus Lockyer: Forgettable Japan? A refuge from the world on show, before and after the war

12.45 – 14.15 Lunch

14.15 – 14.45 Professor Toshio Watanabe: Transnational Identity of a Garden: Gardens of Manzanar Internment Camp, California and Queen Lili’uokalani Garden at Hilo, Hawai’i

14.45 – 15.00 Annotated Bibliography and Chronologies
Presentation by Dr Anna Basham

15.00 – 15.15 Tea

15.15 – 17.15 Panel discussion

17.15 Close


Related Projects

  • Projects_images_fj_thumb

    Forgotten Japonisme

    Led by TrAIN Director Professor Toshio Watanabe, Forgotten Japonisme was a major three year research project funded by the AHRC. Between October 2007 and October 2010, this project explored a previously neglected period in the study of Western attitudes towards Japanese art: from the 1920s to the 1950s.
    Find out more about Forgotten Japonisme

Related People

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    Arts & Humanities Research Council

    Project Partner

    Find out more about Arts & Humanities Research Council

  • Anna_basham_image_thumb

    Anna Basham

    Completed PhD - From Victorian to Modernist: the changing perceptions of Japanese architecture encapsulated in Wells Coates’ Japonisme

    This thesis chronicles the change in perception of Japanese architecture from the Victorian era, where it was little recognised, to its becoming an inspiration for inter-war modernist architecture and lifestyle; it aims to record how Japanese art, particularly the way in which it was displayed, underwent a similar renaissance, and the part played by architect-engineer, Wells Coates, in this reversal of opinion.

    Japanese ‘influence’ on British design from the mid-1850s until the development of Art Nouveau is generally accepted, but during the inter-war period inspiration from Japan is less readily acknowledged.
    Find out more about Anna Basham

  • Jasienski_1_thumb

    Piotr Splawski

    Completed PhD - AHRC Studentship for the project Forgotten Japonisme

    I was born and grew up in Poland. In 1994, I moved to London, which has been my home ever since.
    Find out more about Piotr Splawski

  • Aus_japan_1927_thumb

    Helena Capkova

    Completed PhD - Interpreting Japan : Central European Architecture and Design 1920 – 1940

    Central Europe has historically been an area with rich cultural networks and significant centres such as Prague, Berlin or Vienna. These centres were cultural melting pots with multilingual and multicultural environments accommodating a mixture of nationalities.
    Find out more about Helena Capkova

  • Anna_basham_image_thumb

    Dr Anna Basham

    Partner - AHRC Fellow for the Forgotten Japonisme project

    I was born and educated in the UK, but for long as I can remember I have been fascinated by East Asia. I trained as a fashion designer at Epsom School of Art and Design, now part of the University for the Creative Arts, where I specialised in knitwear design.
    Find out more about Dr Anna Basham

  • Stan Abe

    Guest Speaker - Guest Speaker

    Professor Stanley Abe has written about Chinese Buddhist art, contemporary Chinese art, Asian American art, and the colonial contexts of art historical knowledge. His book Ordinary Images (University of Chicago Press, 2002) was recipient of the 2003 Shimada Prize for distinguished scholarship in the history of East Asian art.
    Find out more about Stan Abe

  • Christine Guth

    Guest Speaker

    Dr. Christine Guth leads the Asian design history specialism in the Royal College of Art and Victoria and Albert Museum’s post-graduate design history program.
    Find out more about Christine Guth


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