Japanese Modernism Across Media


Edo Period

 1603-1868 : Origin of Tokyo

Meiji Period

          1868-1912 : Modernization of Japan

Daiichi Daiku Ju Kyobashi Shinbashi Made Sekizo Shoka Ban Sho Kisen Yabuzawa Shigeru Kei

Western products, stone architectures, carriges, and paved roads decorated the road of Tokyo.

At the end of the Edo period, Japan opened the country to the West and the rest of the world.

The great influx of Western technologies and culture after over 200 years of national isolation policy, caused the rapid modernized and industrialized in Japan during the Meiji Period.

Under the slogan of “Bunmei-kaika” (Civilization and Enlightenment), Japanese government adopted the Western models of civilization, urbanization, and modernization, and promoted Japan to gain the international status and recognition as the civilized nation. 



Taisho Period

          1912-1926 : Reconstruction Era

Tokyo Meisho Manseibashi Hirose Chuza Dozo

Tokyo Meisho Manseibashi Hirose Chuza Dozo

by Richard Nelyon

Even though Taisho period lasted only for 15 years, that was the era of dynamic changes both within and outside of Japan.

The World War I brought Japan the growth of the industry and economics, and at the same time, the liberal movement called “Taisho Democracy” was spread among intellectuals.

Among those historical events, the Kanto Great Earthquake was one of the most catastrophic.

The disaster damaged and changed all aspects of people’s lives in Tokyo, from its economics, politics to cultural activities. 

Showa Peiod 

1929-1989 : Growing to a Global City

Showa Peiod

Tokyo Tower, being built.

Tokyo reconstruction project was continued to the early years of Showa. 

And around that time, One Hundred Views of Tokyo was created between 1929 and 1932.

During 60 years of Showa period, the Sino-Japanese war, the WWII, the Pacific War, the first Tokyo Olympic and the rapid economic growth occurred, and the views of Tokyo the artists printed at that time would greatly change.