Unpinning History: Japanese Posters in the Age of Commercialism, Imperialism, and ModernismMain MenuIntroductionJapan in the Age of Commercialism, Imperialism, and ModernismThe Rise of Tourism and the Era of Ocean LinersThe Rise of Tourism and the Development of Railway NetworksProvocation of Citizenship: Posters for the Ministry of CommunicationsExhibition CultureBijin: Posters with a Beautiful WomanArrival of Modern Commercial DesignBibliographyCollection NoteReuse and Remix this Exhibition
Ōsaka Shōsen Kabushiki Kaisha (Red-Seal Ship)
12020-04-29T17:19:33-07:00Curtis Fletcher3225f3b99ebb95ebd811595627293f68f680673e371405Steamboat lines; Posters, Japanese -- 20th century; Japan -- History -- Taisho period, 1912-1926plain2021-05-15T11:25:33-07:00USC Digital LibraryUSC Libraries. East Asian Library1920Printed by: Osaka and Tokyo, Japan: Ichida Ofusetto Insatsu Kabushiki Kaisha = Ichida Offset Printing Co., Ltd.Osaka, JapanUSC Japanese poster collection: Steamship travel postersCurtis Fletcher3225f3b99ebb95ebd811595627293f68f680673e
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12021-05-12T16:08:42-07:00Curtis Fletcher3225f3b99ebb95ebd811595627293f68f680673eImages in the Full CollectionCurtis Fletcher6plain2021-05-17T11:33:42-07:00Curtis Fletcher3225f3b99ebb95ebd811595627293f68f680673e
12021-05-12T16:07:54-07:00Curtis Fletcher3225f3b99ebb95ebd811595627293f68f680673eImages Used in this ExhibitCurtis Fletcher2plain2021-05-17T11:59:07-07:00Curtis Fletcher3225f3b99ebb95ebd811595627293f68f680673e
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12020-04-28T15:24:35-07:00Ōsaka Shōsen Kabushiki Kaisha [Red-Seal Ship]7plain2020-11-17T13:44:53-08:00This advertisement for the Osaka Mercantile Steamship Company reflects the buoyant mood of the Taishō period (1912–1926), marked by Japan’s internationalization, movement of people and goods, and transmission of cultures. The subject is an old-style ship, popularly called “Red-Seal Ship,” in reference to “red seals,” or permits, that were given to merchants by the Shogunate government during the Edo period (1600–1868). In other words, the poster represents commercial trade between Japan and the rest of Asia.
It is painted in the yōga (Western) style, communicating the sought after ideals of modernization and westernization during a time when Japan’s emerging middle class began to break away from Japanese tradition. This painting style is also emblematic of a unity of cultures, as it integrated the western oil painting tradition with a uniquely Japanese aesthetic. Printed using a modern printing press, the poster is done in rich coloring and creates an almost luminous surface. This recalls the effect of oil painting and can be seen especially in the ocean’s surface where the tonal range of the pigments creates multidimensional shadows and highlights that evoke both the ocean’s opacity and transparency.
Founded in 1884, Ōsaka Shōsen Kabushiki Kaisha (OSK) or Osaka Merchant Shipping Company nearly dominated shipping in East Asia. The poster thus evokes the power and pride of the corporation, as well as a sense of nostalgia and Japan’s cultural identity through the depiction of a Red-Seal Ship. (Shalexxus Aaron and Lilith Coryell Jenkins)