MUTUAL IMAGES 7th International Workshop


Painting East: Artistic Relations between Japan and the West (Artists, Aesthetics, Artworks)

3-4 June 2019

University of Vigo (Spain)

Nowadays, intense influences between cultures are commonly associated with new technologies and globalisation. However, when it comes to art, the new millennium is but the last step in a long process of hundreds of years of artistic interaction and cultural exchange between artists from countries all over the world.
The relationship between Japan and Europe, strengthened after the Meiji Restoration, richly exemplifies how artists and their production benefit from outside influences, which ultimately permeates between different artistic and cultural manifestations such as cinema, photography, fashion, graphic design, comics or contemporary art.
This workshop aimed to gather researchers and practitioners who wish to discuss the mutual influence between Japan and Europe on artists, their works and styles. 

Ana Soler BAena

University of Vigo (Spain)



José andrés santiago iglesias

University of Vigo (Spain)


Manga à la Mode. Exploring Lastman from a Mangaesque Perspective



[Bio statement]

In 2001 Frédéric Boilet unveiled his ‘La Nouvelle Manga’ manifesto and claimed a new space halfway between the French bande dessinée and the Japanese manga, bringing together the best of both worlds. However, for many readers those works were far from what an ‘European manga’ should be. To a certain extent, La Nouvelle Manga was but a commercial label intended to gather different independent works under the same umbrella term. In a similar fashion to what happened with the Impressionist artists and Japonisme, the manga label plays an important role within La Nouvelle Manga as a marketing tool, since this artistic movement aestheticises manga without seeking a deeper understanding of the medium. Created by Bastien Vivès, Balak and Michaël Sanlaville, Lastman was never born with Boilet’s ideas in mind, nor with high conceptual expectations, but as a mainstream product. However, within the last few decades, it has become —in many regards— the French comics series which has best managed to capture manga’s essence. Surprisingly, unlike other works often labelled as manfra, Lastman does not mimic manga aesthetics and formal features but manga marketing and production. Defined by its authors as a “French-style manga”, Lastman is inspired by manga as a product, printed in kanzenban sized volumes with dust-jacket, and rendering in colour the first pages of each (otherwise monochrome) volume. Moreover, this series relies heavily on manga’s mediamix potential, with several products such as a prequel animated series, video-games, and merchandising products. Ultimately, in this paper I will try to explore the mangaesque elements within Lastman, pondering the strong authorial perspective, with the distinguishing features that are popularly perceived as “manga style”.

Aurore Yamagata-montoya

Mutual Images Research Association (Lithuania)


[Bio statement]

Tatiana Lameiro gonzalez

University of Vigo (Spain)

Taking the bilateral influences in Graphic Design between Japan and the West as a starting point, in this paper we will try to highlight how the Swiss International Style has deeply influenced some of the most prominent graphic designers and artists within the Japanese sphere. In order to do so, we will analyse Shigeo Fukuda’s remarkable posters designs. Fukuda is now acknowledged as one of the most distinguished and influential designers of his time, ambassador of a world-spread artistic movement which still remains broadly referred and deeply influential within the contemporary artistic scenario. Graphic design —understood as a discipline of its own— was born in the mid 20th century, but its origins can be traced back much further. As culture changes, different cultural movements arise, in literature, painting, etc. Likewise, over time graphic design has undergone a similar transformation giving birth to myriad of different styles. One of the most important and characteristic movements in graphic design is the Swiss International Style, which emerged (mostly) in Switzerland after the Second World War. The Swiss International Style grew in Switzerland and Germany in the 1950s and was on the rise until the 1970s. Many of the distinguishing theories from the Swiss International Style —especially when it comes to typographic form and grid composition— are still broadly applied in todays design schools. Moreover, these formal parameters played an important role in Shigueo Fukuda’s artworks. Fukuda developed a style of his own, communicating complex ideas through simple images, which is one of the key premises in contemporary’s graphic design. Therefore, in this presentation, we will try to trace a multidirectional formal relationship between Europe and Japan, by analysing — through various graphic works — the influence of European design in Japan in he second half of the 20th century. Ultimately, we will also highlight how these Japanese references became an important part of contemporary graphic design.

Bilateral Influences in Graphic Design between Japan and The West: Shigeo Fukuda, a Case Study



Roman padin

University of Vigo (Spain)

Panel chair


[Bio statement]

Christopher J. Hayes

Cardiff University (UK)

Manga à la mode. Exploring Lastman from amangaesque perspective



[Bio statement]

Despite the relative ease of international travel these days, many Europeans have not visited Japan and thus rely on the media for their knowledge of Japan. While anime and manga are very popular in Europe, and their popularity continues to grow, in constructing an image of ‘real Japan’, people often get their knowledge of Japan from factual sources, such as newspapers, news websites and documentaries. When one reads a news story, one expects the content to be factually correct, but what happens when news sources present completely different images of Japan? What if a newspaper writes about Japan as being one thing in one article, but prints a seemingly contradictory narrative a few weeks later?

Technology is a particularly interesting example of where media portrayal is inconsistent. For many years, Japan has been known as a technologically advanced nation. In the 80s it was seen as far beyond the West and was seen as the vision of a hypertechnified future, inspiring an entire genre of literature, cyberpunk. This image persists, especially in the last couple of years with the introduction of service and retail robots such as Softbank’s Pepper. Sometimes news publications present this as a positive image of the future, an idea of what we in the West have to look forwards to. Other times, however, the image of technology in Japan is decidedly negative. Sometimes it has too much technology, or it has technologies that ‘we in the West’ would not see a use for.

How do these conflicting views arise? And which, if any, is true? This presentation addresses these questions by examining the discourse surrounding Japanese robots in the British press in the last few years. It also raises the question: is it possible to construct an accurate image of Japan from these disparate narratives?

Ken Nakata Steffensen

Birkbeck College, University College Dublin (Ireland)

When an honest man speaks, he says only what he believes to be true; and for the liar, it is correspondingly indispensable that he considers his statements to be false. For the bullshitter, however, all these bets are off: he is neither on the side of the true nor on the side of the false. His eye is not on the facts at all, as the eyes of the honest man and of the liar are, except insofar as they may be pertinent to his interest in getting away with what he says. He does not care whether the things he says describe reality correctly. He just picks them out, or makes them up, to suit his purpose.

The last sentence in Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale There is No Doubt About It reads: ‘It got into the papers, it was printed; and there is no doubt about it, one little feather may easily grow into five hens’. In September 2015 a process very similar to the rumour-mill in Andersen’s satire swept across the internet. An inaccurate–and on inspection highly implausible–report was picked up and amplified by several British and US news organisations. Thus, an improbable claim about the Japanese government’s decision to effectively abolish the social sciences and humanities quickly became established as a morally reprehensible truth. Once the ‘facts’ of the matter were reported by authoritative English-language media organisations, the outrage spread to other languages, and an online petition was launched to make the government ‘reconsider’ a decision it had not taken. In light of the ‘misunderstandings’ that had circulated in the foreign press, the Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology eventually felt compelled to issue a statement, in English, to clarify that it had no intention of closing social science and humanities faculties.

What transpired in these transactions between Times Higher Education, Bloomberg, the Wall Street Journal, Time, the Guardian, and other news outlets is of more than passing anecdotal interest. Consideration of the case offers insights into the dominant role of the English-using media in constituting Japan and Asia as an object of Western knowledge and of the part played in this by what Harry Frankfurt theorised as the sociolinguistic phenomenon of ‘bullshit’. The Times Higher Education article and the ones that followed were all examples of the ‘bullshit’ that arguably increasingly proliferates in both journalistic and academic discourse, especially when ‘circumstances require someone to talk without knowing what he is talking about’. It would appear that the kind of ‘bullshit journalism’ represented by the global media storm in question is more likely to be produced when the West reports about ‘the rest’. The paper uses the case of the purported existential threat to the social science and humanities in Japan to discuss wider arguments about the role of ‘bullshit’ in journalistic and academic knowledge production and dissemination about the non-Western world.

Ene Selart

Tartu University (Estonia)

The Russo-Japanese war (1904-1905) was the first major military conflict between Eastern and Western countries where the latter was defeated. Russian empire was won by the overwhelming Japanese military success and tactics. At the time of the war Estonia was a province of czarist Russia and Estonian men were conscripted to the imperial army. Although Estonians made up only marginal 0.8% of the total forces, for the nation of 1 million the conscription of 10 000 men was a considerable proportion of the population.

In logical result the war stirred an all-national surge of interest in Japan. The main mediators of information were larger Estonian newspapers (“Teataja”, “Olevik” and “Postimees”) that published in almost every single issue the war news, foreign policy reviews and other articles about Japan. The soldiers’ letters from war field turned out to be one of the most popular newspaper sections among the readers.

The current paper focuses on the analysis of the content of soldiers’ letters from Russo-Japanese war (n=53). Theoretically the letters were subjugated to double censorship: military and media, in reality they might have escaped the notice of the officials because of their quantity and secondary importance from the viewpoint of war-related materials published in newspapers. At least this can be an explanation why the content of the letters does not always correspond to the conventional censored topics and descriptions of war enemy.

The thematic analysis has been used for studying the content of the letters that cover the chronology (spring 1904 up to spring 1905) of the decisive battles where Estonian soldiers were involved (Port Arthur, Yalu, Mukden, Tsushima). Main issues in the letters have been divided into directly war related topics or descriptions of the surrounding environment. In both categories the positive or negative images of Japanese have been analysed.

Michael Tangeman

Denison University (USA)

Avebury, Arsenic, and Thistle:

Matsumoto Seichō’s Celtic Travel Diary


[Bio statement]

There are over 700 novels, short stories, and scholarly essays in the oeuvre of Matsumoto Seichō 松本清張 (1909-1992). Throughout his forty-year career, three topics appear repeatedly across his works – history, crime, and travel – so it should come as no surprise that his notes from a trip to the United Kingdom feature reflections on these same three topics.

This paper considers Seichō’s observations on that trip to England and Scotland as recorded in his research notes in 1985 and published posthumously by NHK Shuppan as Matsumoto Seichō’s Celtic Travel Diary松本清張のケルト紀行』(2000). As these are but research notes, there is no unified narrative per se, but observations and anecdotes arise that make this traveler’s diary edifying and entertaining.

Seichō’s expressed intention for visiting Europe on this trip finds a parallel in his interest in Japanese archeology. As he visits Jarlshof and the Broch of Mousa in the Shetland Isles, and Stonehenge and Avebury in Southern Britain, he remarks on similarities shared with ancient structures found in Japan that he wrote of in his study of Japan’s ancient kingdom, Yamatai-koku.

Even on this trip to the British Isles, Seichō is unable to escape his past as Japan’s most important postwar crime writer. He witnesses solicitation from a prostitute that brings to mind the Yorkshire Ripper, revisits murder cases in London, and is approached by someone with an idea for a mystery novel.

Perhaps most typical of Seichō’s stylistics is the care he takes to recount the various aspects of travel: timetables and schedules, modes of travel, routes, loneliness, people encountered, unique architecture, and memorable food. The author’s brusque affection for the everyday comes through even in his notes of an exhausting journey through space, and back in time.

Alessandro Tripepi

University of Milan (Italy)

Japan in the Gonzaga communication network.

The first Japanese embassy in Italy in 1585

[Bio statement]

Leaving from Nagasaki in 1582 by the Jesuits’ will, the first Japanese delegation arrived in Italy to reach Roma in 1585. Since the very first few days of their travel the four young and noble ambassadors attracted the attention of the Italian Sovereigns. One of the most important of them was the Duke of Mantua Guglielmo II Gonzaga.

He was intrigued by the possibility of a so suggestive meeting with the four princes, in particular because they were passed off as ambassadors of three Japanese kings. He ordered his trusted men, who were located in different Italian Courts, to write down all the information they considered important and then to send their letters to Mantua. In this way a real informative network was created by the Duke’s men, with Florence, Rome and Venice connected with the Gonzaga’s domains.

The Cavalier Vinta, Camillo Capilupi and Gabriele Calzoni give us, through their dispatches for the Duke, what the idea of Japan, its morals and habits were in Italian Renaissance. From the accurate and clear descriptions of the princes’ appearance and disposition, it emerged the image of a proud, rich and charming Japan, with which Mantua and its Duke would be able to talk and connect.

Long before our contemporary attention for Japan and its culture, an Italian Sovereign discovered its beauties back in the XVI Century. So, through these dispatches, a kind of media that is very far from our idea of communication, with all the information in the hands of the Sovereign and his Court, we are trying to rebuild the original Italian image of Japanese world, between reality and mental projections: an image that still persists nowadays, despite presented through the new and constantly updated media of contemporaneity.

Sarah Walsh

University of California (USA)

Postmodern Paradise, or Glorified “Trade Show”? The Reception of 1980’s Japan Style Exhibition


[Bio statement]


In this presentation, I will discuss the planning and public reception of the Victoria and Albert Museum’s 1980 exhibition, Japan Style. The proper story of the exhibition begins when museum director Roy Strong visited Tokyo during the planning stages; while the Japanese staff summoned to work with the director, including designer Tanaka Ikkō, had planned to present Strong with a fairly conventional collection of examples of modern Japanese art and design for the proposed exhibition, Strong turned these plans on their head by focusing his energies instead on consuming the “hybrid” Tokyo cityscape, from pachinko parlors to electronics stores. The resulting exhibition was a pastiche befitting Japan’s burgeoning postmodern image, presenting “traditional” items like teaware beside Yamaha synthesizers, and offering immersive experiences in replicas of sushi shops. At the same time, Tanaka’s accompanying catalogue made a forceful visual argument that the eclectic explosion in the exhibition space could in fact be read as a cohesive depiction of “Japanese culture,” via the deep aesthetic and ethnic continuities embodied in each individual object.

Despite a formula designed to attract audiences to this display of exotica, however – and to reinforce a message about Japanese culture approved by the V&A’s collaborator, the Japan Foundation – the reaction in the UK press was profoundly ambivalent. Some commentators dismissed the exhibition as mere fluff, while others perceived a more sinister problem: that of the exhibition’s ties to contemporary industry and consumerism. I thus argue that the reception of Japan Style was heavily influenced not only by the respective visions of its creators, but by the contemporary political and economic climate, in which Japan was increasingly regarded as a threat in Europe and the United States.

Aurore Yamagata-Montoya

MADE'IN (France)

Roman padin

University of Vigo (Spain)

Panel chair


Emily Cole

University of Oregon (USA) and

University of Tokyo (Japan)

My paper examines cross-cultural encounters between Japanese and Western photographers during the Allied Occupation of Japan (1945-1952), asking how these encounters influenced Japanese photographic trends, as well as how photographic images and discourse shaped postwar Japanese cultural identity. Building upon research framed by theories of contact zones, cross-cultural encounters, and hybridity (see Mary Louise Pratt, Melissa Miles & Kate Warren, Homi Bhabha), I argue that photography magazines functioned as contact zones by providing spaces for exchange between Western and Japanese photographers. These photographic contact zones facilitated cross-cultural encounters through multiple platforms: interviews and round table discussions of photographic trends; articles on and photo series by Western photographers; and images by both Western and Japanese photographers depicting Western cultural material and landscapes, such as photographs of Western-style fashion, domestic space, and daily life in European and American cities. Such encounters directly influenced photographic trends in Japan. Features on Henri Cartier-Bresson, Robert Capa, and Ernst Haas, for example, contributed to the postwar popularity of humanism. Further, these encounters provided a conduit through which photographers and readers confronted or embraced Western cultural material at a time when Japan underwent a cultural identity crisis brought on by the devastation of defeat and foreign occupation. In this way, photographic contact zones simultaneously functioned as spaces that mediated what exactly “Japanese culture” meant in Japan’s new postwar world. An analysis of photographic media during the Allied Occupation reveals ways in which Occupier and Occupied encountered each other outside strict social hierarchies imposed under occupation regimes. Photography magazines in particular provided spaces for consistent contact, interaction, and cultural exchange between Japanese and Western photographers, as well as for the magazines’ readership—encounters that went beyond simply influencing Japanese photographic trends to shape postwar constructions of Japanese cultural identity, especially as it was formed vis-à-vis the occupying ‘Other.’

KArim el mufti

Sciences-Po Beirut (Lebanon) and

 Saint-Joseph University (Lebanon)

The UFO-Grendizer Japanese manga was introduced in the Arab world in the mid-1970s in an Arabic dubbed version and met a gigantic success. Its main dubbing artists, mainly Lebanese (among whom M. Jihad El Atrache) and Palestinian, as well as the singer of the credits song (M. Sami Clark) were among the makers of this particular success within the Arab cultural scene. Indeed, the Japanese manga quickly became a cultural phenomenon for an entire generation in Arab countries, from the Gulf to the Levant. Today, many Arab artists, studios and underground circles continue to refer to the Grendizer myth, an object that has transformed into a cult object, symbolizing both humanistic and alternative (or left-wing) values. The latter have been formulated in the Arabic lexicon by the term "progressive" and shaped political, cultural and artistic trends going back to the 1980s. A recent mural illustration of the robot-hero produced in Beirut in 2014 by the Ashekmon group claiming in Arabic: "A people with Grendizer by its side cannot die", has created a real buzz on the Internet and confirmed the great appeal of the manga character within the Lebanese society. This communication suggests exploring the reasons behind this success in a region commonly cursed by war and destruction. In the 1975-1985 phase which coincides with the screening of the show towards the first generation of fans, no less than three wars agitated the Middle East: the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the neighboring Lebanon which will experience a bloody fifteen years civil war (1975 to 1990), in addition, from 1980 to 1988, to the first Gulf War struck between Iraq and Iran. From there, it would be interesting to understand how the Arabic Grendizer, Japanese story of an invasion against Earth and battles successively won by an invincible robot piloted by the hero Daysuki / Duke Fleed (Dayski/Doq Fleed in Arabic), has impacted a region familiar with this type of narrative, ultimately forging a stature of myth and legend at the hands of Arab artists. The themes of war, justice, peace, occupation, resistance, forgiveness and comradeship brought by the Japanese manga Grendizer have struck a deep cord across generations of Arab fans, hence mirroring the violence and the expectations of an whole era.

Damaso ferreiro

Hiroshima University (Japan)

Painting the West in the 20th Century Japanese Modern Literature: Akutagawa´s Attitude Towards the Modernization of Japan Seen Through the Works of Gauguin and Renoir


[Bio statement]

By the beginning of the 20th century, when Japan took the West as a model for its own modernization, Western artists, especially painters, played an important role in this process. This presentation explores the ontological ways of understanding the works of Gauguin and Renoir seen through the eyes of Akutagawa Ryūnosuke, a famous writer of Taishō period who wrote his poetic testament before committing suicide in 1927. In this last essay titled Bungeitekina, amarini bungeitekina, Akutagawa goes further a mere description of the works of both French painters and chooses them in an attempt to universalize the two possible ways of facing the psychological pain modernity causes to humankind. Of course conflicts between culture and nature, education and instincts, tradition and modernity are tackled by several different authors of the same period and they are visible even in some of Akutagawa´s earlier works such as Yoshinakaron. However, the fact of giving an ontological dimension to Gauguin and Renoir in order to explain his own conception of modernity is something completely innovative. In this presentation I would like to clarify the following two main questions: by conferring that dimension to Gauguin and Renoir is Akutagawa falling into contradiction within his own poetry? If Shiga Naoya is the model Akutagawa proposes to follow in literature and Gauguin the one to follow in painting, what can be the possible connection between them?

Oscar Garcia Aranda

Pompeu Fabra University (Spain)

Representations of Europe in Japanese Anime:

An Overview of Study Cases and Theoretical Frameworks


[Bio statement]

My paper consists in a literature review about the different academic sources that have been written discussing and theorizing the iconographic representations, settings and visions of Europe in Japanese anime. Understanding “Europe” as a cluster of cultural elements related with nations, cities and historical periods, the project compiles and analyzes a dense field of theories, concepts and multidisciplinary approaches related with the representation of those contents in anime that, actually, are still on work and development. Following this aim, a chronological overview of the question has been developed arguing different theoretical frameworks, such as the condition of anime as a transcultural media, Koichi Iwabuchi’s (2002) concept of “mukokuseki”, the media pilgrimage phenomena and different theories regarding the representation of Western contents in relation with the internationalization of the media. Through these approaches, the European cultural baggage has been identified and studied as an eclectic source to create fictional imaginaries (settings based on the Middle Ages or an steampunk Industrial Revolution, among others) while being an useful resource to develop other narrative meanings and themes in the case of 1970s shōjo series and the Nippon Animation “meisaku genre”. On the other hand, some other particular studied cases as Hayao Miyazaki’s films show us the accurate depiction of European settings through an intense fieldwork by their artists and producers, a case that exemplifies the viability of the media pilgrimage framework to the development of future researches that would like to deepen in other particular cases and related issues. This presentation will be based on my final degree project for the University of Barcelona’s Art History degree, submitted and defended in June 2018.

ELettra Gorni

Independent Scholar and Artist (Italy)

A method of representation always brings a system of thought, a specific notion of space: through the dissemination of the treatise "Perspectiva pictorum et Architectorum" by Andrea Pozzo, operated by the Italian brother Jesuit Giuseppe Castiglione in the East, two worldviews, two ways of representation of reality meet and compare. In 1735 Castiglione edits the first chinese-language book on the mechanics of perspective entitled SHIXUE (Visual Learning), adapting some sections of the first volume of the Pozzo’s “Perspectiva Pictorum et Architectorum”. The publication of SHIXUE represented the first formal dissemination of techniques and mechanisms used in western art at the Qing court to the Chinese public. In Japan, the treatise was probably imported by the Jesuits or by the Western merchants who traded in southern areas such Nagasaki and Kobe. The contact with the western techniques of representation and painting arouses interest among Japanese artists, especially the mokuhanga artists, who are open to comparison with the representation of the third dimension, that seems an interesting method to give more realism to their prints. Starting around 1740 mokuhanga artists embark on study and interpretation of the perspective technique: the effort leads to uki-e prints by Okumura Masanobu and Utagawa Toyoharu and to megane-e prints by Maruyama Oukyo. During the first half of XIX Century Western realism and perspective are investigated with a new sensibility by ukiyo-e masters Hokusai Katsushika and Utagawa Hiroshige: their prints went over realism, resemblance and Western works copy. They clearly show an interiorization of the perspective view of the landscape that is completely different from Western art and its imitation, and at the same time they also deeply renew Japanese tradition. It’s singular that these prints – synthetizing a perspective view introduced into Japan one Century before – are so deeply influencing Western art when it is trying to get free from tradition - specially impressionists and post impressionists - during the second half of Nineteenth Century. Van Gogh's paintings depicting the prints of Hiroshige witness the final step of a journey there and back of the influences and the knowledge.

Linet heredia otero

University of Vigo (Spain)

[ A E S T H E T I C ] Iconography:

Appropriation of Japanese Pop Culture Images Through Vaporwave Music.



Vaporwave is an electronic music genre that firstly emerged around 2010. As an internet-based music genre, it has been acknowledged as an underground and subcultural product, created and mainly consumed by anonymous people; however it has recently caught the eye of many music labels. When we talk about Vaporwave we have to take into consideration both sound and image, since vaporwave music heavily depends on its imagery — popularly known as “A E S T H E T I C”— in order to build the atmosphere that has ultimately become the genre’s signature. Whereas the sound involves slowed down samples (a portion of music cut and reused, often in looping ways) of aging 80s and 90s hits (pop, jazz and elevator music) remixed with retro synthesizers, the aesthetics mainly feature a deliberately awkward mixture of visual tropes, such as 3D rendered objects, grainy VHS footage, Japanese characters, late 90s popular entertainment and technology, anime, neon signs and cyberpunk Tokyo- inspired landscapes. This aesthetic is often seen in cover artworks and fan-made videos on youtube channels, and has spread throughout the internet, becoming a code that defines a recognisable and unifying identity to this genre. Vaporwave has recently become an object of study for critics and academics as an issue that is still open for discussion. So far, it has been linked to an ambivalent attitude towards consumer capitalism, longing for the past and a quite new manifestation of techno-orientalism, based on the assumption that it deals with elements of Japanese pop culture that embody escapism, nostalgia and a sense of strangeness (the new) and familiarity (the old), striving to create a distorting and ethereal atmosphere, almost mesmerizing and fairly bizarre. Regardless of the socio-political readings, Vaporwave is but another example of how Japanese pop culture (J-pop, manga, anime, technology, video games, etc) continues to impact the West to a significant level, creating openings and new possibilities in terms of artistic creation.

Hirabayashi mariko

University of York (UK)

Albert Moore (1841-1893), a Victorian Aesthetic artist, depicted Japanese artefacts and ancient Greek-style women in paintings famed for their beautiful colour harmony. This paper will explore the influence of ukiyo-e (Japanese prints) on Moore’s paintings, emphasising the formal, political, and art historical significance of Moore’s Greco-Anglo-Japanese style in the broader context of British Japonism. Following the Great Exhibition in 1851 and the International Exhibition in 1862, interest in Japanese art in Britain quickly grew, and collections were built up by both museums and individuals, particular of ukiyo-e. Among artists, James Abbott McNeill Whistler played a central role in British Japonism, collecting ukiyo-e by Katsushika Hokusai and Torii Kiyonaga. Whistler was a close friend of Moore’s, whose enthusiasm for ukiyo-e directly affected him, although Moore preferred Kiyonaga’s harmonious beauty to Hokusai’s bold and eccentric prints. Examining the connection between Moore and ukiyo-e further, I reveal clear parallels between Moore’s paintings and ukiyo-e by Kiyonaga, whose depictions of ‘the Venus[es] of the Edo era’ draw them together, and draw into alliance British, Japanese, and Greek art. In so doing, the paper will deepen our understanding of Moore as the only British artist who integrated Japanese, British and Greek styles, and as a key player in British Japonism besides the better-known Whistler and Dante Gabriel Rossetti.

Sara martinez perez

University of Vigo (Spain)

Mutual Influences Between Japan and Europe Across Fashion. Pattern Design Making as Constructive Thinking


[Bio statement]


The research work presented focuses on the mutual influences between Japan and Europe through Fashion, from the end of the Meiji period to the 90's decade of the past XX century. The speech will focus on fashion as a social and cultural phenomenon that reflects the interconnection between both cultures, deepening the idea of the pattern as constructive thought that reflects the way in which each culture develops itself and how they have influenced each other. Due to the changes that have been experienced from the Meiji period to the 90s decade of the last century, the evolution of the pattern has been influenced by Japan in Europe and vice versa, so that we have witnessed a mutual interest between both cultures, exporting and transferring patterns and uses from one culture to another with different adaptations, transformations and hybrids; Firstly, westernizing Japanese fashion and at the same time orientalizing European fashion, adapting clothes from one culture to the other. Secondly, through the transformation of patterns, new uses of fabrics and creating new types of garments, and thirdly creating a new language that will bring fashion to art, understanding fashion as a plastic language, where Japanese designers have transformed the concept of fashion in a radical way. In this way, an understanding could be made in relation to how both cultures have been mutually influenced throughout the 20th century, creating a language that has transformed the concept of contemporary fashion, transcending its own limit as a discipline.

laura mesa lima

Higher School of Art and Design Fernando Estévez  (Spain)

The Japanese and Canarian archipelagos are separated by 12,369 km. The influence of Japanese art in the Spanish islands has never gone beyond a theoretical relationship, mental, ideal if we want. Historically, there have been no departures or arrivals of works from overseas in any of the ways. Japan has been a conceptual reference, but not a palpable and close plastic influence on techniques or expressions. However, and this is where the confluence is found, there is a special relationship between our ways of looking and letting ourselves be enlightened. Unwittingly, modeled by an insular medium man have been character building with a certain way of being, as García Cabrera would say. both geographies and architectures share similarities in the treatment of light, and this has made Canarian artists especially comparable to Japanese aesthetics. Contemporary creators such as Gonzalo González, Julio Blancas, Davinia Jiménez Gopar, Laura Mesa and Marco Alom show these similarities in their drawings in a latent way. In their works the importance of darkness, the treatment of light close to the concept of the recently discovered liquid light, the use of the concept of space -empty- or the austere use of compositional resources, go hand in hand with the complex concepts wabi, sabi, yûgen or shibumi. From the assumption of a geographical-conceptual positioning in both cases determined by an insular spatiality, many artists from both archipelagoes construct parallel narratives strongly based on the intention of dominion, that is, containment, of light and space. In this way, the most representative works of these Spanish artists in this sense will be analysed, relating them directly not only to the most theoretical aspects of Japanese aesthetics, but also to authors such as Michiko Kon, Misato Kurimune, Reiko Tsunashima, Hiraku Suzuki or Satoru Aoyama.

Teresa perez contreras

University of Granada (Spain)

Japanese Graphic Design: Cultural Identity in a Global World



In a globalized and increasingly “Japanized” world, new aspects of design culture need to be studied from an academic perspective. In terms of graphic design theory, there is a void, being Western countries the ones that have traditionally led the discourse on research into this discipline. Little is known about Japanese graphic design, a recent and creative field of Japanese visual culture that is extremely fascinating to the outside world due to the ability of the designers to absorb new developments without denying the heritage of the past, constantly renewing it. This nostalgia for tradition coupled with constant reinvention is what makes it unique, a fusion of a religious tradition based on concepts such as simplicity and Zen Buddhism with more contemporary trends such as kawaii culture and manga. Although Japanese graphic designers have been influenced by Western culture, they will produce a steady stream of masterpieces that reflect the living heritage of the traditional and distinctive forms of Japanese art. A journey through Japanese Graphic Design images is the best way to know the evolution of a society and its culture: from ukiyo-e woodblock print that had a strong communicative appeal to the masses and opened the way for a commercial graphic communication within Japan, to a revision of the work of some of the most experimental authors up to the present day. Simultaneously, Japanese design culture has permeated the work of some European graphic designers enriching the recent history of graphic design. This paper aims to offer a more inclusive and renewed perspective of Graphic design history valuing the role of Oriental design and its different approaches to design thinking, methodology and practice. This difference in perception is important to understand graphic design culture from a global perspective and the power of images to communicate and forge bonds between cultures.

iria ros pineiro

University of Valencia  (Spain)

After the Great London Exposition in 1862 European art was overwhelmed by what would later be considered "Japonism", affecting all its facets: painting, design, illustration, and fashion. London and Paris were the main centers of dissemination of Japonism, artists from all over Europe illustrated what they believed was Japanese art, creating a new vision of it that affected the European dress design. The illustrations and designs of James McNeill Whistler, Vincent Van Gogh, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Aubrey Beardsley - among others - had idealized the image of traditional Japanese costumes, such as the kimono. In these illustrations the cut of the dresses idealized the figure of the woman, and created sinuous forms covered by endless kimonos, creating a mixture between fantasy and reality regarding the possibility of clothing in Europe. Thanks to the opening to imports from the West in Japan, the fabrics really arrived in Europe and began to be used in the fashion of that time. The bustles began to be sewn with these fabrics, and although it did not change their form in structure, it did in the combination of fabrics, colors and designs. In some cases, even real kimonos were used to transform them into bustles. At the same time, the bustle arrived in Japan in dresses and patterns. Therefore, the idealized image that is given in the plastic arts is somewhat removed from the real dresses that could be seen both in the streets of Japan and in European cities. Thus, I intend to show these differences with a reconstruction of European clothing inspired by Japan, and its counterpart in the painting of the late nineteenth century. As well as the relationship between the bustle and the kimono at the end of the 19th century.

alejandro M. sanz guillen

University of Zaragoza (Spain)

The Perception of Japan in Seventeenth-Century Europe: Illustrated Books and the Construction of an Image


[Bio statement]


At the beginning of the seventeenth century, after more than fifty years of relations between European nations and Japan, the first images about the Japanese archipelago were created in Europe. These images evolved during the century but were conditioned by the traumatic persecutions of the Catholics at the end of the sixteenth century and the isolation of the country from 1639. These illustrations were based on the reports published before the closure of the Japanese borders, mainly written by Iberian missionaries, and by the information of the workers of the Dutch East India Company, who will be the only Westerners in contact with the Japanese until the mid-nineteenth century. The objective of this communication is to analyse the prints in the books about Japan published in Europe during the seventeenth century. With this research, we can determinate how the first images of Japan and its inhabitants were built in Europe. As well, we can study how these illustrations changed considering some factors as the relations between both territories. For this proposal, we will present several analyzes of the different illustrated works. From the publication of Beschryvinghe vande voyagie, (Amsterdam and Rotterdam, 1601) with the voyages of the Dutch navigator Olivier van Noort in, to the most richly illustrated title on Japan in this period, Gedenkwaerdige Gesantschappen (Ámstredam, 1669), written by the pastor Arnoldus Montanus. Furthermore, we will prove the importance of these images in the influence on other prints of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

antonio joao saraiva

CEMRI - Universidade Aberta  (Portugal)

In Japan, Pines (Matsu) expressively/ impressively mark different spatial-temporal places with high symbolic power in the Japanese landscape mental construction. The pine tree is a symbol of longevity. It is also considered a warrior who fights against adversity, resisting against the cold, the wind and the snow. The Japanese place the pine at the top of the tree hierarchy. we travel through the virtues of the pines, inseparable from the virtues of the gardeners who care for them. We listen to their voice. How did the episteme represented by the Pine impact Japanese culture? In view of this question the presentation will address the question concern with a milieu/ mindscape which is a specific ground of human experience within a geographical setting. We presented a photo essay with four spatial-temporal points of observation. Point 1: Mountain Landscape Point 2: Wenceslau de Moraes Point 3: Namban Screen Point 4: The Garden is also a Picture

ana trujillo dennis

Universidad Pontificia Comillas (Spain)

Advancing Japan. Photomontage as Propaganda in the Context of Japan’s Diplomacy in the 1930s


[Bio statement]


When studying how Japan has been perceived from a foreign lens, it is also important to understand the different efforts by which Japan has tried to consolidate an image of itself outside its borders. In this regard, Japan’s cultural diplomacy, in its efforts of self-representation in different historical moments, has used art as a visualization of Japaneseness. These efforts can be related to ideas of Orientalism and Self-Orientalism. This proposal for the Mutual Images 7th International Workshop focuses on the efforts carried out by Japanese diplomacy in the 1930s to promote abroad a positive image of a modern Japan, and more specifically, in the use of photomontage as a tool for self-representation. Attention will be placed on Japan’s participation in international fairs, such as the International Exposition of Art and Technology in Modern Life organized in Paris in 1937, or the New York World’s Fair, in 1939, analysing how photomontage was used in the Japanese pavilions, as a vehicle to communicate with images specific ideas that can be considered propagandistic. This practice was not exclusive to the Japanese organizers. In the Japanese case, the use of these photomontages has to be contextualized in the background of Japan’s rising imperialism in the 1930s, a moment when the use of photomontage was very important, not only in international exhibitions, but also in multiple magazines published at the time with clear propagandistic intentions, under the guidance of organizations such as Kokusai Bunka Shinkokai. Furthermore, the style of these photomontages reveals the influence of European trends, for example, the Bauhaus.

jami watson

University of Minnesota  (USA)

In 1914, Japonisme was divided into two eras—the traditional era pre World War I and the contemporary era post WWI. This past year, Paris organized a grand festival entitled: Japonismes 2018 to celebrate the 150th year of French-Japanese relations. This season featured many sponsored events and exhibitions including art, music, and theatrical performances but didn’t include events within the role of literature in Japonisme. In celebrating the beginning of French-Japanese relations since the Meiji restoration, some of the most influence of Japonisme is portrayed in literature—fictional works written by French, Japanese, and biracial writers. While the influence of Japanese culture on French writers isn’t a new idea, the influential effects of Japonisme has made a lot of impact over this era. It is not uncommon to read subtle mentions of Japan in French fictional writing, along with stories based on fictional characters of different races and nationalities featured within a French and Japanese backdrop. A few of these current writers including: Reiko Sekiguchi, Elisa Shua Dusapin, Sébasiten Raizer, and Maëlle Lefèvre, have undertaken the role of publishing their fictional works based off their personal and imaginative experiences within the Occidental and Oriental worlds. In my paper, I will discuss the importance of literature in the field of Japonisme and the intersectional influence of French and Japanese worlds within in the works of the writers mentioned above. By analyzing the role of their writings within contemporary Japonisme, I will address how these writers portray themselves within French and Japanese contexts. Through an analysis of a selection of these writings, my paper will explore contemporary French-Japanese literature and engage in scholarship on Orientalism and Japonisme by Edward Said, Gabriel Weisberg, and Pamela Genova to better express the role of French and Japanese writers and their literary role within contemporary Japonisme.