Eighteenth century Edo (now known as Tokyo) was the world’s largest city. It was the military headquarters of the shoguns, a cosmopolitan city with a vibrant milieu of merchants, samurai, actors, courtesans, craftsmen and artists. By the nineteenth century, it was transformed into Tokyo, the imperial capital with a reformed political infrastructure. This course will focus on the artistic traditions that were transformed and transplanted from Edo into Tokyo. Topics of discussion will include the revival of classical imagery, popular culture during the eighteenth century, the conflicts brought on by the opening of Japan to the West in the nineteenth century, the reconstruction of Tokyo and its artistic practices after the World War Two, and the impact of Japanese architecture, design and popular culture over the past twenty years.
Assessment: 100% coursework.