The Politics of Painting: Fujita Tsuguharu’s Events in Akita

Fujita Tsuguharu, detail from Events in Akita, 1937. Oil on canvas, 365 x 2050 cm. Hirano Masakichi Foundation. Tsuguharu Foujita © 2016 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris.

Asato Ikeda
Assistant Professor, Fordham University
Wednesday, February 27, 2019, 6:00–7:00 pm

807 Schermerhorn Hall

In The Politics of Painting: Fascism and Japanese Art during the Second World War (University of Hawaii Press, 2018), Asato Ikeda examines a set of paintings produced in Japan during the 1930s and early 1940s that previously received little scholarly attention. Ikeda discusses works by prominent artists of the time through the lens of fascism – showing their seemingly straightforward paintings of Mount Fuji, samurai, beautiful women, and the countryside – which, in reality, supported the war by reinforcing a state ideology that justified violence in the name of the country’s cultural authenticity.

In this presentation, she will focus on Fujita Tsuguharu's Events in Akita (Akita no gyōji, 1937), and explain how this mural painting, which depicts customs and festivals of the snow-covered rural regions of Akita, embodied the ideals of Japanese fascism.