Friday, November 18, 2016

Japanese Propaganda at the Saint Louis Art Museum

Today we checked out the latest special exhibit at the Saint Louis Art Museum, which is on a subject matter dear to my heart: Japan.

"Conflicts of Interest: Art and War in Modern Japan showcases extraordinary visual material documenting Japan's rise as a military power in East Asia, starting with the Meiji Restoration in 1868, then depicting events of the Sino-Japanese War (1894-1895) and the Russo-Japanese War (1904-1905), two wars between Japan and its imperial neighbors China and Russia, and then culminating with Pearl Harbor." Per the museum's website.

We happened to pop in during a guided tour so we tagged along a bit.

This one was my favorite. Mishima Shoso, 1856-1928 published by Fukuda Hatsujiro. The Qing Army's Foolish Plan of Using Tigers as Weapons, 1895. Color woodblock prints. On a moonlit night, a group of Japanese soldiers and their commander confront a pack of tigers set upon them by their enemy during the Sino-Japanese War. Ferocious as they seem, the tigers would have proved no match for the rifles and bayonets aimed at them. While tigers could be found in the mountains of Korea, they were certainly never used by the Chinese troops for the purpose of engaging the enemy. The idea behind the imagery is mockery of the Chinese Qing Army, whose troops were reputed to withdraw ahead of Japanese assaults, not wishing to come face-to-face with the disciplined and determined men of the Imperial Japanese Army.

This was another of my favorites. It's a fireman's jacket. They would wear these thick cloth jackets and soak them in water to protect themselves from the fire's heat.

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