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Envisioning fascist space, time, and body : Japanese-painting during the Fifteen-Year War (1931-1945) Ikeda, Asato


This dissertation investigates how fascist ideology—the modern political ideology that promotes spiritual collectivism—was translated into the Japanese context and was mediated through the visual culture. My study ultimately locates wartime Japan in the global politics and culture of the 1930s and the 1940s. The dissertation scrutinizes the development of both Japanese-style paintings (Nihon-ga) and Western-style paintings (yōga) in the wartime period, exploring how they manifest fascist imaginations of social space, historical time, and the human body. It considers the Japanese paintings in relation to ideas that have been identified as fascist. I examine works by such artists as Saeki Shunkō, Uemura Shōen, Miyamoto Saburō, and Fujita Tsuguharu, focusing on issues of social regimentation, new classicism, eugenics, and the mechanized human body. My study is not only an important contribution to scholarship on the art produced during the war—the period that was long considered “the dark valley”—but is also the first comprehensive study to investigate the question of Japanese fascism in the discipline of art history. Using cultural translation as a model of analysis and developing a nuanced vocabulary to describe wartime Japan within the framework of fascism, I challenge the notion that fascism was a phenomenon that existed only in Europe.

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Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International