Research Presentation by Visiting Researcher Maki KANEKO

 Maki KANEKO, Assistant Professor in the Art History Department at the University of Kansas, who came to research and study as a visiting researcher in the Department of Art Research, Archives, and Information Systems for one year last July, gave her results presentation at the Department of Art Research, Archives, and Information Systems’s research conference on June 28, coinciding with her visit coming to an end. Ms. KANEKO has been investigating how the Asia-Pacific War and the postwar period were expressed in the work of artists, and as a very interesting problem to emerge from that investigation, she has focused on the change in the evaluations surrounding Kiyoshi YAMASHITA (1922–71), who is known for his simple collages. She presented a topic titled “The Expression of a ‘National Artist’: ‘The Kiyoshi YAMASHITA Boom’ during the Asia-Pacific War and the Postwar Period.”
 Kiyoshi YAMASHITA has been spoken of as a ‘National Artist’ that can create imagery that induces a sense of innocence and idyllic nostalgia since the second time he was noticed during the postwar period in the mid-1950s. In contrast, when he first gained prominence for two years between 1938 and 1940, from around one year after the outbreak of the Second Sino-Japanese War, he was portrayed as the ‘Japanese Van Gogh,’ who exemplified a magnificent creative faculty even while having a mental disability.
 Ms. KANEKO pointed out the possibility that these portrayals of Kiyoshi YAMASHITA reflected the state of the societies during each period, in that during the latter half of the 1930s a system of total war was constructed for the war, while the memories of war were brought back in various ways during the 1950s, when it was said, “it’s still not the postwar period.”
  It was a very interesting experiment that tried to analyze society from how visual representations were received, extending outside of the narrow framework of “art.” Ms. KANEKO returned to her home upon finishing her research here at the end of June.

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