Skip to content. | Skip to navigation

Personal tools

Navigation

The Stakes of Exposure

Anxious Bodies in Postwar Japanese Art

2017
Author:

Namiko Kunimoto

The Stakes of Exposure

The first major English-language study of Japan’s most important postwar artists

Namiko Kunimoto explores art, visual culture, and politics in postwar Japan from the 1950s to the 1970s, examining how anxiety and confusion surrounding Japan’s new democracy manifested in representations of gender and nationhood in modern art. Offering many previously unpublished full-color illustrations, Kunimoto shows how contention over Japan’s new democracy was expressed, disavowed, and reimagined through representations of the gendered body.

Kunimoto’s manuscript is exactly what the field of Japanese postwar art needs at this time.

Alicia Volk, University of Maryland

How would artistic practice contribute to political change in post–World War II Japan? How could artists negotiate the imbalanced global dynamics of the art world and also maintain a sense of aesthetic and political authenticity? While the contemporary art world has recently come to embrace some of Japan’s most daring postwar artists, the interplay of art and politics remains poorly understood in the Americas and Europe. The Stakes of Exposure fills this gap and explores art, visual culture, and politics in postwar Japan from the 1950s to the 1970s, paying special attention to how anxiety and confusion surrounding Japan’s new democracy manifested in representations of gender and nationhood in modern art.

Through such pivotal postwar episodes as the Minamata Disaster, the Lucky Dragon Incident, the budding antinuclear movement, and the ANPO protests of the 1960s, The Stakes of Exposure examines a wide range of issues addressed by the period’s prominent artists, including Tanaka Atsuko and Shiraga Kazuo (key members of the Gutai Art Association), Katsura Yuki, and Nakamura Hiroshi. Through a close study of their paintings, illustrations, and assemblage and performance art, Namiko Kunimoto reveals that, despite dissimilar aesthetic approaches and divergent political interests, Japanese postwar artists were invested in the entangled issues of gender and nationhood that were redefining Japan and its role in the world.

Offering many full-color illustrations of previously unpublished art and photographs, as well as period manga, The Stakes of Exposure shows how contention over Japan’s new democracy was expressed, disavowed, and reimagined through representations of the gendered body.

The Stakes of Exposure

Namiko Kunimoto is assistant professor of art history at The Ohio State University.

The Stakes of Exposure

Kunimoto’s manuscript is exactly what the field of Japanese postwar art needs at this time.

Alicia Volk, University of Maryland

Eschewing group-centric approaches, The Stakes of Exposure focuses on four artists whose aesthetic politics figure postwar bodies in struggle, vulnerability, desire, and connection. Namiko Kunimoto's analysis navigates between history, historical art literature, and theoretical touchstones through her lucid readings.

William Marotti, UCLA

A significant contribution to Japanese art and scholarship published in English.

CHOICE

Kunimoto’s attention to how the gendered body resonated with gendered narratives about society and the nation is an important contribution. Kunimoto offers close readings of the works of Hiroshi Nakamura, Yuki Katsura, Atsuko Tanaka and Kazuo Shiraga to illuminate the responses to shifting ideas about political subjectivity in postwar Japan.

The Japan Times

Kunimoto strategically situates her study between the disciplines of history and art history, opening new lines of inquiry into postwar Japan and, at the same time, challenging many of the underlying assumptions that have informed political and art histories of this period.

Pacific Historical Review

The Stakes of Exposure: Anxious Bodies in Postwar Japanese Art, by art historian Namiko Kunimoto, provides monographic essays on four artists active from the 1930s to the 1970s—Yuki Katsura, Hiroshi Nakamura, Atsuko Tanaka and Kazuo Shiraga—and describes a postwar period of national anxiety that produced new conceptions of ‘gender and nationhood.’

Art Asia Pacific

The Stakes of Exposure

Contents
List of Illustrations
Introduction: Gendered Bodies and the Minamata Disaster
1. Katsura Yuki’s Bodies of Resistance
2. Nakamura Hiroshi and the Politics of Embodiment
3. Tanaka Atsuko and the Circuits of Subjectivity
4. Heroic Violence in the Art of Shiraga Kazuo
Conclusion: Thresholds of Exposure
Acknowledgments
Notes
Bibliography
Index