Unpinning History : Japanese Posters in the Age of Commercialism, Imperialism, and Modernism

Kabushiki Kaisha Tōkyō Tsukiji Kappan Seizōsho/The Tokyo Tsukiji Type Foundry, Ltd.

This lithographic print, which is made to look like a woodblock print, presumably had two purposes. First, to showcase the work of The Tokyo Tsukiji Type Foundry, and second, as a template for companies to purchase from the Foundry and customize it to promote their own product. This explains the unfinished appearance of the poster. This print targeted those who are inclined to a conventional style, for it reflected their generational nostalgia for a pre-Westernized Japan. In addition, this mass-advertisement ironically served as a counter to the younger generation’s consumer culture. Though the poster’s subject, the Seven Lucky Gods, is Chinese-Hindi, the inclusion of the Shinto shrine and blossoms in the female God’s headpiece Japanized and transformed the image into a symbol of a traditional Japanese stronghold during a globalizing period. Therefore, this poster contrasts the visual and marketing tactics of Kattoru (c.1920s) and depicts the generational tension between a population who yearns for, and is nostalgic of, the past, and the mobo (modern boy) and moga (modern girl) who embrace newness, modernity, and Westernization. (Kelli Reitzfeld) 

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