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Re-Envisioning Japan is an open-ended recuperative project based on an original collection of tourism, travel and educational ephemera in a wide range of media. Most of the objects in the collection are common use items; they all document personal experience, cross-cultural encounters, and changing representations of Japan and its place in the world in the early to mid 20th century. read more
May is for celebrating the Boy's Festival (Tango no sekku), when carp streamers are displayed on long poles outdoors (it's as if they are swimming upstream in the wind), and wisteria, peony, and azalea bloom in Japan (1930s Fujiya Hotel promotional calendar, illustration for the month of May.)
The illustration for the month of April, from a ca. 1930s (?) promotional calendar for Fujiya Hotel, in Miyanoshita, depicts the April 8 festival scene of “Busshoe,” Buddha’s birthday celebration. The description on the back of the card explains that this is more popularly called Hanamatsuri or Flower Festival, because it takes place in cherry blossom season. The festival was at the time “quite in vogue . . . In Tokyo, for instance, thousands of young Buddhists, in gala attire, each carrying some flowers, assemble in Hibiya Park or some other large public place . . . and hold exercises and dances in honor of the Lord Buddha, founder of Buddhism.” Notice the signboard advertising the hotel in the lower left hand corner, just behind the central burst of cherry blossoms. The beautiful calendar can be viewed in full on https://rej.lib.rochester.edu/
Van Gogh first encountered Japanese prints in 1885 while he was working in the Belgian port city of Antwerp, whose docks he said were teeming with Japanese wares: They were “fantastic, singular, strange,” he wrote.
Enjoyed speaking about REJ as faculty-library collaboration, as part of the Presidential Panel during the plenary session of the annual Council on East Asian Libraries (CEAL) conference, Washington D.C.
Last month I started posting the month by month illustrated cards that comprise a gorgeous promotional calendar put out by the Fujiya Hotel in Miyanoshita (still in business, established in 1878). Here is the illustrated card for March, commemorating "Hinamatsuri" (Doll Festival), celebrated on the third day of the third month (March 3rd). The description on the back of the card explains that the Doll Festival has many interpretations, "but above all families observe it because of the love of children by Japanese parents, their joy and pride in them, and their desire to please them."
Japan as destination in 20th century visual and material culture.
The World's Fair in a Nutshell
Chocolat d'Aiguebelle "The Russo-Japanese War" Trade Cards
Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition Button Pin
Come Back to Bamboo Land