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Songs for Modern Japan: Popular Music and Graphic Design, 1900 to 1950

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Songs for Modern Japan: Popular Music and Graphic Design, 1900 to 1950

Text by (Art/Photo Books)  Kendall Brown , Anne Nishimura Morse , Hiromu Nagahara
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A delightful primer on early-to-mid-20th-century Japan's fruitful fusion of music and design, as materialized in sheet music

Japanese society underwent a whirlwind of change during the first half of the 20th century, a time period marked by rapid modernization. While Western influences catalyzed an increasingly rapacious appetite for consumer goods, new sounds and mass-produced images flooded the stereos and screens of Japanese citizens.
Perhaps more than any other objects from the period, sheet music covers graphically embodied this vortex of sights, sounds, events and ideas. Most commonly arranged for harmonica, piano, guitar and violin, music scores encompassed songs ranging from traditional Japanese folk tunes to movie scores, Western jazz, opera and patriotic marches. Publishers of music churned out sheets bound in graphically designed covers as diverse as the music within, illustrated in both Japanese- and European-influenced styles, including Art Nouveau, Modernism, Constructivism, collage and Art Deco.
Featuring vibrant reproductions alongside essays by leading scholars, Songs for Modern Japan provides a window for the specialist and nonspecialist alike into Japanese society and culture during this time of immense change. Sheet music covers from a glittering array of artists are showcased: Takehisa Yumeji (1884-1934), who was often called the "modern Utamaro" and the "Japanese Toulouse-Lautrec and Edvard Munch"; Saito Kazo (1887-1955), contributor of erotically tinged Art Deco designs; Onchi Koshiro (1891-1955), the first to produce Japan's first purely abstract work; and Suzuki Shigeyoshi (1900-76), whose oeuvre was infused with radical leftist imagery. Art historians provide contextualizing information on the artists' works, delineating the genres and themes present in each as well as their impact on fashion and media at large.

ISBN: 9780878468973

ISBN-10: 9780878468973

Publisher: MFA Publications

Publication Date: 07/30/2024 - 12:00am

On Sale: 06/11/2024 - 12:00am

Pages: 232

Language: English


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