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Since MeijiPerspectives on the Japanese Visual Arts, 1868-2000$
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J. Thomas Rimer

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780824834418

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824834418.001.0001

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Fashion Altars, Performance Factors, and Pop Cells

Fashion Altars, Performance Factors, and Pop Cells

Transforming Contemporary Japanese Art, One Body at a Time

(p.168) 7 Fashion Altars, Performance Factors, and Pop Cells
Since Meiji

Eric C. Shiner

University of Hawai'i Press

This chapter examines three culturally specific and generation-specific thematic fiters or screens that have been used by many contemporary Japanese artists engaged in social commentary: bodily transformation (henshin) through costuming, makeup, or computer manipulation; performance (engi), including role playing and identity reification; and the depiction of fantasy worlds in animation (anime) and the comic book (manga). The chapter begins with a discussion of the so-called “low art” that became pervasive in Japan in the 1950s in the form of comic books and animated films. It then considers the emergence of Japanese fashion designers, namely Issey Miyake and Rei Kawakubo, who radically altered the body through their rejection of traditional modes of clothing design in favor of new shapes and styles that more closely resembled architecture. It also explores the use of henshin, fantasy, and myth as a filter through which the West was to be translated and Japan was to be understood. Finally, it looks at artists associated with the neo-pop movement but are producing images under the rubric of self-contained pop.

Keywords:   performance, bodily transformation, fantasy, comic books, animated films, fashion design, henshin, neo-pop, self-contained pop, Japanese art

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