For many years, I have been fascinated by modern Japan — everything from the Meiji period (1868 – 1912) to current day. One of my favorite periods is a rather short one known as Taishō (1912 – 1926). What strikes me most about Taishō is the amazing blend of Japanese and Western aesthetics.
I think my interest in Taishō really began when I read Yukio Mishima’s novel Spring Snow (Haru no Yuki). This novel is actually a period piece — published in 1969, but set around 1912 – 1914. Mishima gives a detailed look at the Japanese class system of the period through a romantic tragedy (although I’m not sure Mishima saw this story as such).
My interest in Taishō developed further through a series of college courses on modern Japanese literature. I even did a project involving costume designs for a Taishō-set short story, involving research on fashion of the period from Kimonos and beyond.
I also find advertisements from this period interesting. Actually, the Shiseido ads from the 1900s through the 1930s are really remarkable! You can find out more about these ads on MIT’s Visualizing Cultures website.
Anyway, I just wanted to share a number of my favorite images:
Disclaimer: I do not own any of the following images!!
Copyright 2012 by G. E. Gallas