Saturday, September 21, 2019


Debora Cordero Martinez- Japonism

After living in America and being American for so long, it is often easy to become trapped within the confines of our culture’s bubble. Afterall, there are a multitude of cultural bubbles worldwide, full of various ideas, visual aesthetics, and influence waiting to be uncovered. With that being said, this blog post will be about Japanese contemporary art and its influence on western culture.

When Japanese contemporary art is discussed, there are a few big names that come to mind; Takashi Murakami and Yayoi Kusama particularly. Takashi Murakami’s work has been seen on Louis Vuitton, Billie Eilish videos, and far more recognizable global influencers. Similarly, Kusama has also been featured in a variety of collaborations with recognizable brands and institutions. 

Asides from Murakami and Kusama, there is a vast network of other Japanese contemporary artists on the rise who are contributing to the influence Japanese culture is having on America. In fact, this exact phenomenon has been coined as Japonism in the 19thcentury after trade facilitated the exchange the Japanese artwork in Europe. Even the most iconic artists such as Monet and Van Gogh couldn’t resist adding elements of this particular Asian culture into their work. This influence lived past its birth in the 19thcentury and continues to thrive in Western culture.

For instance, in Disney’s Big Hero 6, there are paper lanterns, mecha bodysuits, and grinning cats. Likewise, Pok√©mon are plastered everywhere; cards, notebooks, drawings, games, and television. Another far more popular example of Japanism in modern western culture is anime. There are various references to popular characters in rap music, anime-like animations in music videos, fan-art of artist’s favorite characters, and much more. To resume, although the cultural bubble that is America seems so large, impenetrable, and all mighty, it is under the constant influence of other cultures, especially Japanese culture.


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