The Art Movements Which Preceded Shirakaba : Myoujyou, Subaru, Housun, and the Situation Surrounding Them

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  • 『白樺』に先行する芸術運動 : 『明星』『スバル』『方寸』とその時代状況
  • シラカバ ニ センコウ スル ゲイジュツ ウンドウ ミョウジョウ スバル ホウスン ト ソノ ジダイ ジョウキョウ

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The literary magazine Shirakaba (『白樺』, 1910-1923) published many art-related articles and had a lasting impact, particularly through its introduction of various elements of Western Art. There were a number of publications at the time which featured both literary and artistic contents, yet originally this tradition is seen as having been established by Myoujyou and carried on by both Subaru and Shirakaba. There was a major change that took place in the art world in between the time of Myoujyou and that of Shirakaba, so it is difficult to view these publications' combination of art and literature as having occurred under the same conditions. This paper, therefore, examines the links between art and literature by taking up Myoujyou, Subaru, and Housun—identifying the unique characteristics as well as their points of divergence between each of the movements they represent. Myoujyou (『明星』, 1900-1908) was published as an organ of Shinshisya under the supervision of Yosano Hiroshi. Under his editorial direction, the covers and inserts featured Western style paintings and included several writings related to art. It realized ‘collaboration' with the still developing Japanese Western Art World and became a ‘great monument' that straddled the fields of art and literature. Japanese Western Art World, however, began its own independent activities which resulted in new types of art publications, but also marked the end of the‘ collaboration' with Myoujyou. Subaru (『スバル』, 1909-1913) was Myoujyou’s successor in poetry. The covers and articles incorporated artistic elements and in addition featured Takamura Kōtarō'scriticism and translations. Despite this, however, it never developed into the kind of artistic movement that was associated with Myoujyou. This confirms that the particular union between art and literature produced by Myoujyou was a one-time phenomenon that resulted from Japanese Western Art World still being in its infant stages. Housun (『方寸』, 1907-1911) was a literary coterie magazine centered on Ishii Hakutei'sartist group, which featured poetry and art criticism. Through its covers and inserts, creative woodblock printing spread and it also offered an opportunity for literary figures and artists to gather at the “Pan no kai.” Housun was the result of friendly competition between like-minded people. It functioned as a place for the people on the side being judged to voice opposition to the Bunten exhibition, which was established in 1907. In that way, even though these were all magazines that allowed for the coexistence of art and literature, the movement connected to each of them was distinctly independent. Looking at the situation surrounding art at the time, however, there were serious problems facing the viewers as well—they had to develop their own criteria for evaluation. Through its introduction of a wide range of Western art, Shirakaba can be considered as having provided an important foothold for these experienced viewers.


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