DREAMS AND OPTIMISM OF JAPAN’S MODERN AGE: JAPANESE MODERNISM AT THE NGV – TAASA Review June 2020
Wayne Crothers B etween the destruction caused by the Great Kant earthquake of 1923 and the calamities of the Pacific War (194245), the Japanese cities of Tokyo and Osaka developed into some of the world’s most vibrant and modern metropolises.
Bustling streets filled with glamorous department stores, fashionable cafes, popular movie theatres, swinging dance halls and high-tech transportation catered to a new generation of confident and financially liberated youth who challenged conservative views and delighted in disrupting the establishment by making their own lifestyle choices.
Coined by the media during the mid-1920s as moga and mobo modern girls and modern boys this new generation represented the arrival of modernity to Japan and in turn spurred the inspiration, iconography and dynamism behind a creative movement that energised Japanese imagination and innovation during the early 20th century. During this era a group of artists emerged with a desire to celebrate modernity and distinguish themselves from the orthodoxy of traditional painting that had been established during the Edo period and consolidated during the Meiji period...