This issue of Mutual Images Journal presents, in this special section, a collection of essays centred around the theme of “Japanese Arts and Politics”. The articles within this section focus on the relations between Japanese art and political themes.
This section of the journal is, in part, the output of a workshop and research project designed by Eriko Tomizawa-Kay—a lecturer at the University of East Anglia (UEA)—and titled Reflective Transitions of Politics in the Arts: Examining the Atomisation of Japanese Socio-political Milieus through Art. The workshop was held at UEA, in Norwich, on 24 August 2017, bringing together scholars to investigate how Japanese arts have been shaped by political forces in the “neoliberal” world order, as an analytical dimension to study and comment on the process of atomisation of society as it can be perceived in the arts. The workshop’s papers presented empirical examples of internalised art productions and art currents in Japan, in juxtaposition to, or contrast with, art expressing national or regional politics. The contributors focused on the presence of political notions and messages in Japanese fine arts, popular visual media, visual entertainment forms, and visual arts at large, and on the possible intersections among “western” arts and artistic representations of political themes concerning the Japanese context.
As a collaborative endeavour that expands interdisciplinary research contributing to a growing literature, this project attempts to break new ground in [...]