Cover: Aesthetic Life: Beauty and Art in Modern Japan, from Harvard University PressCover: Aesthetic Life in PAPERBACK

Harvard East Asian Monographs 400

Aesthetic Life

Beauty and Art in Modern Japan

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Product Details


$45.00 • £36.95 • €40.50

ISBN 9780674237308

Publication Date: 01/21/2019


332 pages

6 x 9 inches

5 photos, 30 color illus.

Harvard University Asia Center > Harvard East Asian Monographs


  • List of Illustrations*
  • Acknowledgments
  • Chronology
  • Introduction: On First Becoming a Painting
  • 1. All Too Aesthetically: The Bijin in the Era of Japonisme
  • 2. “Fair Japan”: Art, War, and the Bijin at the St. Louis World’s Fair, 1904
  • 3. True Bijin: The Debate on Truth and Beauty
  • 4. Bijin Graphic: Illustrated Magazines and the Popular Ideology of Beauty
  • 5. “Short-Lived Beauty”: Illustration and the Bijin Heroines of Literary Realism
  • 6. Living Works of Art: Sōseki’s Aesthetic Heroines
  • 7. Bijinga: The Nihonga Genre and the Fashioning of Material Beauty
  • Coda
  • Notes
  • Bibliography
  • Illustration Credits (Chapter and Bibliography Frontispieces)
  • Index
  • * Illustrations
    • I.1. Takeuchi Seihō, On First Becoming a Painting (E ni naru saisho), 1913
    • I.2. Japan: Where Tradition Meets the Future, 2016
    • I.3. Uchida Kuichi, Portrait of the Empress, 1872
    • 1.1. James McNeill Whistler, La Princesse du pays de la porcelaine (The Princess from the Land of Porcelain), 1863–65
    • 1.2. Artist unknown, Japan, Japanese Women, late Meiji period (1897–1912)
    • 1.3. Frontispiece to Charles MacFarlane, Japan: An Account, Geographical and Historical, 1856
    • 1.4. Charles Wirgman, The Village Beauty, frontispiece to Rutherford Alcock, The Capital of the Tycoon: A Narrative of a Three Years’ Residence in Japan, vol. 1, 1863
    • 2.1. Dainty Geisha Girls and Quaint Arched Bridges in Fair Japan, Louisiana Purchase Exposition, St. Louis, MO, 1904
    • 2.2. Geisha Girls of Fair Japan, from Walter B. Stevens, The Forest City Comprising the Official Photographic Views of the Universal Exposition Held in St. Louis, 1904
    • 2.3. Fair Japan, the most popular as well as the most beautiful attraction on the Pike at the World’s Fair, advertisement, 1904
    • 2.4. Types and Development of Man, frontispiece to J. W. Buel, ed., Louisiana and the Fair: An Exposition of the World, Its People, and Their Achievements, 1904
    • 2.5. Postcards published in Nagai Kafū’s short story, “The Inebriated Beauty” (Suibijin, 1905), in American Stories, 1908
    • 3.1. Yōshū Chikanobu, True Beauty No. 13 (Shin bijin 13), from the series “True Beauty” (Shin bijin), 1897
    • 3.2. Yōshū Chikanobu, Chrysanthemum Creations (Zōgiku), from the series “Magic Lantern Comparisons” (Gentō shashin kurabe), 1890
    • 3.3. Matsumoto Fūko, illustration from Kōda Rohan’s The Elegant Buddha (Fūryū butsu), 1889
    • 3.4. Auguste Rodin, Hanako, 1907
    • 4.1. Momoyakko, from Bijin gahō (Bijin Graphic) 1, no. 1 (March 1910)
    • 4.2. Thirty-Four Beauties of the Year of the Boar (Koku i no toshi sanjū-yon bijin), from Bijin gahō (Bijin Graphic) 2, no. 1 (January 1911)
    • 4.3. Who Are the Present-Day Bijin? (Gendai no bijin wa dare da?), from Bijin gahō (Bijin Graphic) 7, no. 1 (January 1912)
    • 4.4. Cover of Bijin gahō (Bijin Graphic) 1, no. 1 (March 1910)
    • 4.5. Kumazawa Kitarō, Tōkyō bijin (Tokyo Beauties), 1889
    • 5.1. Kaburaki Kiyokata and Hirezaki Eihō, preparatory drawing for the frontispiece to Izumi Kyōka’s novel, A Woman’s Pedigree (Onna keizu), ca. 1907
    • 5.2. Kuroda Seiki, Portrait of Namiko (Namiko-zō), 1899
    • 5.3. Kaburaki Kiyokata, The Gold Demon (Konjiki yasha), 1902
    • 5.4. Kaburaki Kiyokata, The Gold Demon, Miya in a Dream (Konjiki yasha, yume no Miya), 1947
    • 5.5. Kawamura Kiyoo, The Viscount’s Camera (Shishaku no shashinki), frontispiece to the second volume (1899) of the five-volume version of The Gold Demon (Konjiki yasha)
    • 6.1. Iwai Hisako, Supreme Ephemerality (Mujō no tsuyu), 2011
    • 6.2a-l. Natori Shunsen, selected illustrations from Natsume Sōseki’s Sanshirō, serialized in Asahi Shimbun from September to December 1908
    • 7.1. Kajita Hanko, Women’s Dress of the Future (Mirai no josō), cover for Miyako no hana (Flower of the Capital) 45 (May 1901)
    • 7.2. Takahashi Yuichi, Beauty (Courtesan) (Bijin [Oiran]), 1872
    • 7.3. Chōkōsai Eishō, Hanaōgi of the Ōgiya, from the series “Contest of Beauties of the Pleasure Quarters” (Kakuchū bijin kurabe Ōgiya uchi Hanaōgi), ca. 1795–97
    • 7.4. Kuroda Seiki, Lakeside (Kohan), 1897
    • 7.5. Kajita Hanko, Bitter Spring Evening (Shunshōen), 1902
    • 7.6. Kaburaki Kiyokata, Tsukiji Akashi-chō, 1927
    • C.1. Kaburaki Kiyokata, Grave of Higuchi Ichiyō (Ichiyō joshi no haka), 1902
    • C.2. Hashimoto Kunisuke, Woman with Butterflies, from the series “Gold Color, Silver Paint” (Kin’iro ginsai), late Meiji era, cancelled 1907

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