The war-related art produced in Japan during World War II is often discussed by scholars in terms of a top-down dynamic, with directives flowing from the government to the people. Art supporting Japan’s militarism is presented as the visual projection of the will of those in power upon the masses. In this view, art was sponsored and guided by the government, and thrust into the lives of average citizens to manipulate them towards political objectives. However, to adhere to this narrative is to oversimplify the nature of how much art came into being, and to overlook entirely the subjectivity of the grassroots citizens who were not only the audience for this art, but in some cases its creators.
The Nagoya soldiers’ statues are an example of how one community came together in wartime Japan to mourn, memorialize, and promote the expansionist cause for which their sons, husbands, brothers, friends, and neighbors lost their lives. Private citizens worked together at their own expense to produce works of art of their own devising without the involvement of governmental authorities. The story of the Nagoya soldiers’ statues shows how Japanese war art was not always a top-down discourse, but could originate at the bottom.
|Advisor:||Brown, Kendall H.|
|Commitee:||Holliday, Peter, Paquette, Catha|
|School:||California State University, Long Beach|
|Department:||Art, School of|
|School Location:||United States -- California|
|Source:||MAI 55/03M(E), Masters Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||History, Art history, History|
|Keywords:||Japan, War art, War memorials, War memory, War monuments, World War Two|
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