- 美術研究 = The bijutsu kenkiu : the journal of art studies
- no.398, pp.52-81, 2009-08-31
Introduction The magazine Seitô (Bluestockings) was first published in September 1911 by a group centered on Hiratsuka Raichô. It was the first magazine in the history of modern Japan to assert women's liberation through literary works. At the time, the term “atarashii onna,” literally “new woman, ” was popular in Japan, largely in journalism. The aim of this research note is to test the hypothesis that Yorozu Tetsugorô had this “new woman” image and the new expressive form of Italian Futurist paintings in mind when he created his work entitled Woman with a Balloon.1. A meeting at a Zen center, Ryobôan: Yorozu Tetsugorô and Hiratsuka Raicho This article indicated that, at the very least, Yorozu Tetsugorô and Hiratsuka Raichô knew each other's faces, even if they had not actually met, thanks to having both attended a Zen center in Tokyo called Ryobôan for a few months in 1906.2. The “New Woman” as visual image Yorozu exhibited his Landscape with Chimney featuring a dazzling sun in the Fusain Society exhibition held in October 1912. Hiratsuka Raichô and her fellow Seitô members went to see this exhibition and undoubtedly saw Yorozu's entry. While Hiratsuka layered images of the sun with images of women, Yorozu, influenced by Van Gogh and others, painted a glittering sun. Further, Hiratsuka' s statement at the time likened herself and her magazine fellows as “balloons” created by journalism and like those balloons, they would float away in many different directions. The article indicates that amidst such influences, Yorozu linked the image of “new woman” with that of “balloons.”3. From Italian Futurists to Woman with a Balloon In June and July 1913, two major general magazines of the day, Taiyo and Chûô Kôron, both featured special issues on the question of “the female problem” which evoked great reaction. Around that time “the new woman” was created as both a social issue and as a visual image. Concurrently, the painter Yorozu's interests turned from his earlier focus on Post-Impressionist painting to the early 20th century Italian Futurists and Cubism. Yorozu was also interested in the theater and he provided the stage decoration for Matsui Sumako's theater group in September 1913. Indeed, “actresses” could be seen as one form of “new woman.” The article concludes that Woman with a Balloon was a symbolic expression of an unidentified “new woman” created by Yorozu at that time in the “new expression” of contemporary European art.