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What is the Meiji era?

The Meiji era was a period in Japan, during which Emperor Meiji started Japan's modernization. During Meiji, Japan climbed to world power status. Emperor Meiji's rule went from October 23, 1868 to July 30, 1912. Meiji's restoration effectively brought Shogun's feudal system to an end and restored imperial rule.

The effects of Meiji and the restoration

The Meiji and imperialist recovery were largely responsible for the industrialization of Japan, which allowed Japan to rise as a military force in 1905. This was mainly done in two ways: the first was the 3,000 or so foreign experts brought into Japan to teach on assortment of special topics; the other was government subsidies for students to go abroad to mainly Europe and America. This great influx of Western culture and ideals affected many aspects of Japanese life during this time, one of the arts.

Art in Japan during the Meiji era

These new Western ideas divided Japan in two directions and maintain traditional values ​​or assimilate these new, different - sometimes radical - new ideas into their own culture. In the early 1900s, many European art forms were already well known and their involvement with Japanese art created some notable architectural features such as Tokyo Train Station and the National Diet Building. During the Meiji era, manga was first drawn; manga was inspired by French and English political cartoons. The polarity of traditional versus western causes two distinct art styles: Yooga (Western influenced) and Nihonga (traditional Japanese style).

Yooga was characterized as Renaissance painting - oil paintings on a canvas, dramatic lighting, the subject embellished in western attire, with the third dimension and using techniques as vanishing points and having distant objects to be vague. Two artists that were important for the expansion of Western-style painting and art were Kawakami Togai and Koyama Shoutaro. Because of these two men and Togai's assistant Takahashi Yuichi, Western art became an art school during the Meiji period. But the pendulum swung both ways; while many seemed to embrace the new Western lifestyle, there were also those who opposed change. This rapid influx of foreign culture also caused a state of confusion, many Japanese felt that Japan had lost its identity and would often look to Asia for a reminder of where they fit. This also influenced the style of the time, Yokoyama Taikan & # 39; s "Ryuutou" or "Floating Lanterns" are an example of an attempt to confirm Japan's identity as part of Asia. The Meiji era ended in 1912 with the Emperor's death.

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