This project showcases student project work from Japan and the World, a modern Japanese history course offered at Kanda University of International Studies. It focuses on important themes and individuals from the Meiji (1868-1912) and Taisho (1912-26) periods, when Japan was beginning to open to the world after centuries of government-enforced isolation.

All submissions are researched, whether in English or Japanese, and references provided. Comments responding to and exploring ideas, suggesting connections or further reading, are most welcome. As entries are written by non-native English speakers, please refrain from non-constructive comments about language use.

Thursday, 31 July 2014

Edoardo Chiossone

By Haruka Sato

Edoardo Chiossone
First, I will introduce background of Edoardo Chiossone. He was born in Italy as a son of printer in 1833. He started to learn copper-plate engraving at Academic Ligustica aged 15, graduated the institution aged 22 and then he got special prize at competition, so he became a printing instructor from 1857. He started to work at Italian national bank in 1867. 1 year later, he was sent to Dondorf-Nauman company where made Japanese banknotes in Germany. In 1875 he was invited to and arrived in Japan as a leader at Japanese National Print Bureau. He died in 1898 in Tokyo.

He made portraits of Meiji emperor and Saigo Takamori. He made over 500 products which are banknotes, postage stamps, portraits and so on in Japan.

Secondly I would like to summarize discussion. One group member mentioned that Chiossone had high potential skills for painting and making postage stamps because he was a son of printing family. That means his youth influenced his work. When he was young, he could learn many printing skills and was able to experience printing technology at his home because of son as a printing. I agree with the idea. Another said his youth was not so important for him because he just only learned printing. I was not able to understand the idea little bit, however that was very important opinion because before I heard the opinion, I only thought his youth influenced to his work, so this opinion let me notice there is another side’s opinion. When I led the discussion, it felt hard for me because sometimes my group members did not answer my question because my questions were unclear. I know that was my fault of this discussion however I wanted a little help from group members if they was not able to understand the meaning of my questions. I had to think of more specific and clearer answers and lead the discussion.

Finally, in my opinion, Edoardo was an important person for Japan because he was one of the pioneers of printing, especially postage stamps and banknotes. If he had not brought the skills to Japan at that time, we might not be able to send letters today. He was also popular as a collector of Japanese arts, so he loved Japan. I concerned he had close Japanese feelings. He could understand Japanese feeling and culture because he was collector of Japanese arts. That is why he was able to succeed in Japan. He had talent to make and lead Japanese national printing Bureau.

As I mentioned when I asked group members two questions, at first my group members did not answer them. That showed my questions were not clear to answer and not specific. When I led actually the discussion I really noticed the position of leader is difficult and hard. I had to prepare for the presentation and discussion. If I researched Edoardo Chiossone before presentation and discussion, I might come up with specific ideas. On the other hand, I thought that I could do my best to my power point. Through this project I learned the difficulty of leading members in case of discussion. I had many faults in this project, so I learned many things from these faults and I will try to be good leader next time.


Ernest Fenollosa

Ernest Fenellosa
By Fumiya

Life of my focus person
Ernest Fenollosa is famous as a student of Japanese art. He was born in the US in 1853 when the Black ships came to Japan. He studied philosophy at Harvard University. After graduation, he was interested in art and entered an art school. When he was 25 years old, he found a job offer with information of Tokyo University and he came to Japan in the same year. He taught economy and philosophy in Tokyo University. After came to Japan, he was really impressed by the beauty of Japanese art and he began to study it by collecting antiques and traveling to old temples. Later, he was shocked that Japanese didn’t respect Japanese art because they aimed at westernization. Then, he began to protect Japanese art. He taught the beauty of Japanese art to Japanese by giving lectures to them and researching antiques with Okakura Tenshin who contributed to Japanese art greatly. In addition, he tried to develop Japanese art by creating new style of art with Kanou Hougai, who was a great painter, and researching the present conditions of western art with Okakura Tenshin. In 1888, Fenellosa established Tokyo school of Fine Arts with Okakura Tenshin and became a vice-president. Later, he went back to the US and tried hard to introduce Japanese art there. Therefore, he contributed to reviving and developing Japanese art greatly.
Summary of discussion
I asked three discussion questions about Ernest Fenollosa to my group members. Firstly, I asked them “Why do you think Fenollosa decided to go to Japan?” Student A answered that she thought his relationship with his family was not so good or his parents were divorced. Student B answered that she thought Fenollosa was interested in Japanese art since he was a child, so he wanted to go to Japan. Student C answered that she thought Fenollosa liked Japanese culture and art, so he wanted to learn about them in Japan. Secondly, I asked “Why do you think Japanese traditional art was treated badly and a lot of temples and statues of Buddha were destroyed when Fenollosa came to Japan?” Student B answered that it was very surprising and she thought because Japan aimed at the westernization at that time. Student A answered that she thought it was because of Haibutsukishaku [the move to abolish Buddhism in Japan, especially during the Meiji period - Ed]. Student C answered that it was difficult, but she thought it was because Japanese liked western art and culture at that time. Finally, I asked “Why do you think Fenollosa loved Japanese art?” Student B answered that she thought because Japanese art was not colorful but simple such as an ink painting and Fenollosa was impressed by this feature of Japanese art. Student A answered that she thought because Japanese art was different from western art, so Japanese art was fresh for him and attracted him. Student C answered that she thought because Japan had many kinds of art and each art was very beautiful.
Reflection on person and project
Through this project, I could understand about Ernest Fenollosa. Also, I could understand that he really loved Japanese art and culture. He let Japanese turn their attention to Japanese art when Japan aimed at the westernization and he carried out various activities to revive and develop Japanese art actively. Therefore, Fenollosa contributed to Japanese art greatly. I thought he was a benefactor of Japanese art. Also, I thought we should respect him and Japanese art. Finally, through this project, I felt that learning the history was very interesting and useful because the history sometimes taught us what we should do.
Nihonn no onnzinn Fenollosa [A benefactor of Japan, Fenollosa] Retrieved from