Archive for the 'Illustration' Category
In November 1855, the Great Ansei Earthquake struck the city of Edo (now Tokyo), claiming 7,000 lives and inflicting widespread damage. Within days, a new type of color woodblock print known as namazu-e (lit. “catfish pictures”) became popular among the residents of the shaken city. These prints featured depictions of mythical giant catfish (namazu) who, according to popular legend, caused earthquakes by thrashing about in their underground lairs. In addition to providing humor and social commentary, many prints claimed to offer protection from future earthquakes.
1. Earthquake victims take revenge on the giant catfish responsible for the destruction [+]
The popularity of namazu-e exploded, and as many as 400 different types became available within weeks. However, the namazu-e phenomenon abruptly ended two months later when the Tokugawa government, which ordinarily maintained a strict system of censorship over the publishing industry, cracked down on production. Only a handful are known to survive today.
In the 1920s and 1930s, Japan embraced new forms of graphic design as waves of social change swept across the nation. This collection of 50 posters, magazine covers and advertisements offer a glimpse at some of the prevailing tendencies in a society transformed by the growth of modern industry and technology, the popularity of Western art and culture, and the emergence of leftist political thought.
“Buy Domestic!” poster, 1930 [+] Continue reading ‘Japanese graphic design from the 1920s-30s’