This rich and nuanced study examines a set of paintings produced in Japan during the 1930s and early 1940s that have received little scholarly attention. Asato Ikeda views the work of four prominent artists of the time - Yokoyama Taikan, Yasuda Yukihiko, Uemura Shoen, and Fujita Tsuguharu - through the lens of fascism, showing how their seemingly straightforward paintings of Mount Fuji, samurai, beautiful women, and the countryside supported the war by reinforcing a state ideology that justified violence in the name of the country's cultural authenticity. She highlights the politics of "apolitical" art and challenges the postwar labeling of battle paintings - those depicting scenes of war and combat - as uniquely problematic. Although these artists employed different styles and favored different subjects, each maintained close ties with the state and presented what he considered to be the most representative and authentic portrayal of Japan. Ikeda reveals the global dimensions of wartime nationalist Japanese art and opens up the possibility of dialogue with scholarship on art produced in other countries around the same time, particularly Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy.
University of Hawaiʻi Press,
Includes bibliographical references and index.