Sophia University Institute of Comparative Culture presents a workshop on

Contemporary Japanese Art After 1990:

The Representation and the Identity of the Japanese Artists in the Global Context

Since the Meiji Restoration in 1868, the impact of Western culture has significantly affected the development and identity of modern Japanese art and artists. The dissonance of the two prominent driving forces, Western art and the country’s traditional aesthetics, created an ongoing dilemma for Japanese artists. This continued after the Second World War, as the Western audience often regarded post-war Japanese art of being ‘derivative’ and ‘provincial’.

Takashi Murakami, Super Flat, 2000However, a significant alteration in Western perception occurred in the 1980s. This period was characterised by a marked increase in international attention to Japanese art in the context of the bubble economy of Japan and the rise of the postmodernism that emancipated non-Western art from its marginalised position. Despite of the country’s economic decline, the Western attention has continued. Recent generations of Japanese artists appear to be celebrating globalisation in art and culture. Their creations seemingly ignore the dichotomy between Japan and the West; they freely cross the boundaries between the different cultures. They produce both ‘high’ and ‘low’ art and merge traditional aesthetics into a contemporary expression. Their reception in the West is indicative of its strong rapport with the new developments in post-bubble Japanese art. However, there has been criticism of the selectivity of international representations of Japanese art after 1990.

This seminar aims to examine the issues of the relationship between post-1990s Japanese art and the West. The discussion will also encompass issues pertaining to its relationship with Asia in the age of globalization.

Date: July 8 (Sun), 2012
Time: 14:00-17:00
Venue: Sophia University (Room 301, 3F, Building 10)
Language: English with some Japanese / No registration necessary

Download a program of this event (PDF)


Michio Hayashi
Michio Hayashi is Professor in the Faculty of Liberal Arts, Sophia University. Ph. D. from Columbia University. Current position since 2003 specializing in modern/contemporary art history and criticism. Publications include Painting Dies Twice, or Never, vol.1-7 (Tokyo: Art Trace, 2003-2009), “L’asie n’est pas une: pour une vision historique différente,” (in the exhibition catalogue, Cubisme: l’autre rive—Résonances en Asie, Maison de la culture du Japon, Paris, 2007), “Painting Degree Zero—RR’s Whisper” (in the exhibition catalogue, Robert Ryman, Kawamura Memorial Museum of Art, 2004), “Atul Dodiya: Sincere Impurity,” (in the exhibition catalogue, Atul Dodiya-Bombay: Labyrinth/Laboratory, The Japan Foundation Asia Center, 2001), “The Occupied Subject: Painting and Body in Postwar Japan,” (in the exhibition catalogue. À Rebours: The Informal Rebellion, Reina Sofia in Madrid, 1999). “Rosalind Krauss: Beyond Modernism” and “Michael Fried: Criticism and History” (both published in Bijutsu Techo, 1996), “Discourse on/in Pop Art – Its Genealogy” (in the exhibition catalogue, Pop Art, Saison Museum, 1998). Co-curated the international exhibition, Cubism in Asia in 2005 (The National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo-The National Museum of Contemporary Art, Korea-Singapore Art Museum).


Adrian FavellAdrian Favell, Before and After Superflat, 2012
Adrian Favell is Professor of Sociology at Sciences Po in Paris, and taught previously at UCLA, Sussex University and Aarhus University. He is a specialist on international migration, globalisation, and multiculturalism, and in 2007 held an Abe Fellowship of the SSRC/Japan Foundation Centre for Global Partnership, based in Tokyo at Hitotsubashi University. In April this year he published Before and After Superflat, a history of the Japanese art scene since the 1990s. He also writes for art magazines, catalogues and an online blog for the art website ART-iT. For more information see his website:

Yasuko Furuichi
As the exhibition coordinator of the Japan Foundation (the Asia and Oceania Section, Arts and Culture Department), Furuichi Yasuko has coordinated numerous art exchange projects between the Asian region and Japan since the 1990s. She has organized exhibitions on Asian art, including “New Art from Southeast Asia 1992” (1992), “Asian Modernism” (1995), “Fang Lijun” (1996), “Heri Dono” (2000), and “Lee Bul” (2003), co-curatorial project such as “Under Construction” (2002-03), “Out the Window” (2003), “Have We Met?” (2004-05), “Cubism in Asia” (2005-06), “Omnilogue” series (2011-12), and in the more recent years, Japanese contemporary art exhibitions in Asia, including “Beautiful New World” (China, 2007), “KITA!!” (Indonesia, 2008), and “Twist and Shout” (Thailand, 2009). Networking projects consists of the “Asian Museum Curators’ Conference” (since 2006) and guides on art spaces in Asia (2002, 05, 09). Lives and works in Tokyo.

Mami Kataoka
Mami Kataoka is the Chief Curator at the Mori Art Museum (MAM) in Tokyo since 2003 where she most recently curated Lee Bul: From Me, Belongs to You Only, while extending her curatorial practice in many international projects including 9th Gwangju Biennale (2012) in South Korea as the Joint Artistic Director, Phantoms of Asia: Contemporary Awakens the Past (2012) at Asian Art Museum in San Francisco as guest curator and Ai Weiwei: According to What? (2012) at Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington DC which will tour other North American venues. She was the International Curator at the Hayward Gallery in London between 2007 and 2009, curated Laughing in the Foreign Language (2008) and co-curated Walking in My Mind (2009). Kataoka also frequently writes and gives lecture on contemporary art in Asia.

Kiyoko Mitsuyama-Wdowiak
Between 1983 and 1991, when she was an Assistant Curator at the Hara Museum of Contemporary Art in Tokyo, Mitsuyama-Wdowiak organised Japanese and international exhibitions including Hara Annual (VII and IX) and A Primal Spirit (co-organised with the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and toured in the USA and Canada between 1990 and 1991). Since 1992 she has lived in the UK and has worked as an independent researcher. She has lectured at various academic and cultural institutions, including Birkbeck, SOAS, Sotheby’s Institute of Art, the British Museum and the Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation. Her publications include ‘The Hara Annual IX: Towards the 1990s’ in Hara Annual IX (Tokyo: Hara Museum of Contemporary Art, 1989), Umi wo Wataru Nihon-gendai-bijutsu [Contemporary Japanese Art Across the Sea] (Tokyo: Keiso Shobo, 2009) and ‘727: Takashi Murakami’ in Art: The Whole Story (London: Thames & Hudson, 2010). She is a Visiting Fellow at the Institute of Comparative Culture in Sophia University in Tokyo between May and August 2012.

This event is made possible by a generous grant from the Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation.

Images from top to bottom
Takashi Murakami, Super Flat, 2000
Adrian Favell, Before and After Superflat, 2012

David Elliott, Bye Bye Kitty !!!, 2011