'From Postwar to Postmodern, Art in Japan 1945—1989: Primary Documents offers a panoramic look at more than four decades of Japanese art, both as it unfolded and from the perspective of the present day. The anthology brings together artist’s manifestos, critical writings, and other key primary documents from the postwar period (many of them translated into English for the first time) that discuss a range of artistic mediums—including photography, film, performance, architecture, and design—as well as their various points of convergence. Interspersed throughout the volume are newly commissioned texts by contemporary scholars that contextualize and supplement the primary materials. The collection is organized chronologically and thematically to highlight individual works, artists’ groups, movements, and publications, such as the pioneering collectives Gutai and Hi Red Center, the influential photography periodical PROVOKE, and the emergence of video art during the 1980s. From Postwar to Postmodern, Art in Japan 1945—1989 is an invaluable critical resource for students, scholars, and others who wish to learn about avant-garde art in Japan after World War II.

'This volume is part of MoMA Primary Documents, an ongoing publication series by the International Program of The Museum of Modern Art that makes crucial art historical writings from regions outside the United States available in English. Paperback. 464 pages; 100 color illustrations.' (from website of Museum of Modern Art)

Includes sections called 'In Focus' written by contemporary scholars to contextualise the texts, a postscript and a chronology compiled by the editors.

Access level


Location code REF.CHD3


Publication/Creation date


No of pages




No of copies


Content type


Chapter headings
About this Book - Doryun CHONG, 정도련
Japan's Postwar And After, 1945-1989: An Overview - Harry HAROOTUNIAN
Introduction - Michio HAYASHI, 林道郎
Ground Zero: A New Beginning
A Proposal To The Artists Of Japan (1946) - Shunsuke MATSUMOTO, 松本竣介
In Focus: Reestablishing The Art World During The Occupation, 1945-1952 - Bert WINTHER-TAMAKI
What Must 'Artists As A Group' Do? (1953) - Hiroshi KATSURAGAWA, 桂川寛
Avant-Garde - Technology - Mass Culture
Avant-Garde Manifesto: A View Of Art (1949) - Taro OKAMOTO, 岡本太郎
In Focus: Artists' Groups And Collectives In Postwar Japan - Ken YOSHIDA
A Meditation On Apples (1950) - Kiyoteru HANADA, 花田清輝
In Search Of The Real
For A New Realism: The Meaning Of Reportage (1952) - Kobo ABE, 安部公房
In Focus: The Realism Debate, 1946 - 1950 - Yuri MITSUDA, 光田由里
On Beggar Photography: The Importance Of Photographing Street Urchins And Lumpen (1953) - TANAKA Masao, 田中雅夫
Modernity And Tradition
An Introduction To Tradition (1955) - Taro OKAMOTO, 岡本太郎
The Japanese Character Of Tange Kenzo (1955) - Noboru KAWAZOE, Kazuo IWATA
Calligraphy East And West (1957) - Shuzo TAKIGUCHI, 瀧口修造
Disfigured Corpses Or The Critique Of Humanism
Locked-Room Painting (1956) - Yusuke NAKAHARA, 中原佑介
In Focus: The Birth Of New Art Criticism - Michio HAYASHI, 林道郎
Ivan The Fool (1955) - Yayoi KUSAMA, 草間彌生
The Experimental Workshop And The Gutai Art Association
The Experimental Workshop: Our Contention (1953) - Shozo KITADAI, 北代省三
Gutai Art Manifesto (1956) - Jiro YOSHIHARA, 吉原治良
The Idea Of Executing The Paintbrush (1957) - Shozo SHIMAMOTO, 嶋本昭三
Introduction - Doryun CHONG, 정도련
Art Informel
A Mental Reckoning Of My First Trip To Japan (1957) - Michel TAPIE
Material And Humans (1957) - Ichiro HARIU, 針生一郎
After Informel (1963) - Atsushi MIYAKAWA
The Avant-Garde In Transition
At The Yomiuri Independent Exhibition: The Energy Of A Young, Active Generation (1960) - Shuzo TAKIGUCHI, 瀧口修造
In Focus: The Yomiuri Independent Exhibition - Reiko TOMII, 富井玲子
Conditions Of The Art World And Conditions Of Creation (1960) - Ichiro HARIU, 針生一郎
Notes On The 'Young Seven' (1964) - Yoshiaki TONO, 東野芳明
In Focus: Tono Yoshiaki And The Influence Of American Art - Imura YASUKO
Anti-Art: The Descent to the Everyday (1964) - Atsushi MIYAKAWA
A Dissenting View: Anti-Art - After Miyakawa Atsushi (1964) - Yoshiaki TONO, 東野芳明
The Word of a Fabricator (1962) - Yoko ONO, オノヨーコ
Room as Alibi: Gentle Criminals (1963) - Yusuke NAKAHARA, 中原佑介
A Woman Alone Entering the International Art World (1961) - Yayoi KUSAMA, 草間彌生
Photography and Film
On the Method of Avant-Garde Documentary Film (1958) - Toshio MATSUMOTO, 松本俊夫
The New Problem of Visual Language: 'The Visual Image' (1960) - SHIGEMORI Koen, 重森弘淹
The Birth of a New Photography (1960) - Yonosuke NATORI, 名取洋之助
A Young Photographer's Statement: I Refute Mr Natori (1960) - Shomei TOMATSU, 東松照明
Urban Transformation
The Tower-Shaped City (1959) - Kiyonori KIKUTAKE
In Focus: The Era of the World Design Conference - Iguchi TOSHINO
Preface to Metabolism 1960: A Proposal for Cities (1960) - Noboru KAWAZOE, Kiyonori KIKUTAKE, Masato OTAKA, 大高正人, Fumihiko MAKI, Kisho KUROKAWA
A House is a Work of Art (1962) - Kazuo SHINOHARA, 篠原一男
In Focus: Artists' Collectives: The City as Stage - Doryun CHONG, 정도련
Eyedrops Special Bulletin (1964) - Hi Red Centre, ハイレッド・センター
Art and Everyday Life
The Intent of the Act Based on the Intent of the Act - Before Passing Through the Courtroom (1966) - Genpei AKASEGAWA, 赤瀨川原平
Between Art and Design (1966) - Yoshiaki TONO, 東野芳明
The Idea of Liminal Art (1967) - Shunsuke TSURUMI, 鶴見俊輔
In Focus: Fluxus International: New York, Tokyo, and Beyond - Midori YOSHIMOTO, 由本みどり
Locality and the Body
Ankoku Butoh: Founded On Anxiety of the Body (1968) - Tatsuhiko SHIBUSAWA, 澁澤龍彦
Reaction in Summer '68: Do It Without Happenings (1968) - The Play
The Hypertheater of Individual Actionists (1970) - Yoshie YOSHIDA, ヨシダヨシエ
Redefining the Relationship Between Humans and the World
Anticivilization Exhibition (1965) - Yutaka MATSUZAWA, 松澤宥
In Focus: The Shadow Debate - Michio HAYASHI, 林道郎
Painting as a Theory of Painting (1968) - Junzo ISHIKO, 石子順造
In Focus: Provoke, 1968 - 1970 - Ryuichi KANEKO
What is Possible for Photography? (1970) - Koji TAKI, 多木浩二
In Search of Encounter: The Sources of Contemporary Art (1970) - LEE Ufan, 이우환
Existence Beyond Condition (1970) - Kishio SUGA, 菅木志雄
Between Man and Matter (1970) - Yusuke NAKAHARA, 中原佑介
Insisting on the 'Here And Now' (1970) - Toshiaki MINEMURA, 峰村敏明
Intermedia and Expo '70
The Objective of the 'From Space to Environment' Exhibition (1966) - Environment Society
In Focus: Intermedia - Fumihiko SUMITOMO, 住友文彥
A Tectonic Shift in Art: From the Expo to the Hippie Movement (1967) - Yasunao TONE, 刀根康尚
Artists Participating in the World Expo, Speak Out! (1970) - Yoshiaki TONO, 東野芳明
In Focus: Tange Kenzo and the Building of National Identity - Ken Tadashi OSHIMA
Institutional Critique of Art
Why are We 'Artists'? (1969) - Kohsai HORI, 堀浩哉
The Sharpened Boundary Line (1972) - Kohsai HORI, 堀浩哉
In Focus: Mono-Ha and After - Mika YOSHITAKE
Alternatives to Subjectivity
Why an Illustrated Botanical Dictionary? (1973) - Takuma NAKAHIRA, 中平卓馬
The Lived System (1974) - Toshiaki MINEMURA, 峰村敏明
Beyond the Closed Circle: What Can We Learn from Gutai's Trajectory? (1973) - Naoyoshi HIKOSAKA, 彦坂尚嘉
Multiple Eyes and Individual Vision (1973) - Arata TANI, 谷新
In Focus: Photography And Art - Kenji KAJIYA, 加治屋健司
Environment and Community
An Objection to Mega-Buildings (1974) - Yuichiro KOJIRO
In Focus: Japan's Housing Conditions and Residential Architects - Taro IGARASHI, 五十嵐太郎
Temple or Prison? (1971-1972) - Takashi HASEGAWA
In Focus: From Rental Galleries to Alternative Spaces - Izumi NAKAJIMA, 中嶋泉
Painting After the End of the Avant-Garde
The Autumn of Japanese Contemporary Art - From Portrait Painting to Objets (1971) - Teruo FUJIEDA, 藤枝晃雄
In Focus: Beyond Modernism: The 'Return of Painting' - Midori MATSUI, 松井みどり
The Business of Taking Down the Grammar of Art (1978) - Shigeo CHIBA, 千葉成夫
The Disappearance of Artists (1976) - Keiji USAMI, 宇佐美圭司
Consumer Culture and Everyday Life
The Vertical Fair that Changed Shibuya: On Parco's Cultural Cachet (1977) - Yoshiaki TONO, 東野芳明
Preface to Sentimental Journey (1971) - Nobuyoshi ARAKI, 荒木経惟
From Literary Media to Image Media (1978) - Akiko HYUGA, 日向あき子
Introduction - Akira TATEHATA, 建畠晢
The Originality of Architecture and Design in Japan
Ma: Space-Time in Japan (1978/2009) - Arata ISOZAKI, 磯崎新
The Japanese City and Inner Space (1978/2008) - Fumihiko MAKI
A New Architecture is Possible Only in the Sea of Consumption (1989) - Toyo ITO, 伊藤豐雄
In Focus: Japanese Design in the 1980s - Paola ANTONELLI
The New Wave
For the Innocent Gods of Wind (1984) - Tomoaki ISHIHARA, 石原友明
Kansai in the 1980s (1990) - Shinichiro OSAKI, 尾崎信一郎
In Focus: The Cho-Shojo Movement - Yuko HASEGAWA, 長谷川祐子
Flyer for Plan for Sleep #1 (1984) - Dumb Type, ダムタイプ
In Focus: The Growth of Media Art - Barbara LONDON
Minimalism and Tradition
Half-Hopeless Repetition (1984) - Toshikatsu ENDO, 遠藤利克
Untitled (1990) - Tadashi KAWAMATA, 川俣正
In Focus: Outdoor Exhibitions, Festivals, and Events - Motoi MASAKI, 正木基
Conceptualism and its Critical Alternatives
Beyond Cosmology: The Painterly Concepts of Arakawa Shusaku (1984) - Hiroshi ICHIKAWA, 市川浩
To Prolong the Thrilling Now (1989) - Kenjiro OKAZAKI, 岡崎乾二郎, Keiji USAMI, 宇佐美圭司
Locality and Global Art
The Depopulated Megalopolis (1985) - Junji ITO, 伊東順二
Introduction and Postscript to A History of Deviations in Japanese Contemporary Art, 1945-1985 (1986) - Shigeo CHIBA, 千葉成夫
In Focus: Japanese Art Abroad - Miwako TEZUKA, 手塚美和子
A Postscript to Reconstructions: Avant-Garde Art in Japan 1945-1965 (1986) - Kazu KAIDO
Avant-Garde Art in Postwar Japan (1987) - Yoshiaki TONO, 東野芳明
Untitled (1989) - Akira TATEHATA, 建畠晢
From Postwar to Postmodern, Art in Japan, 1945-1989: Primary Documents
Rights statement

In Copyright

What does this mean?

This item is covered by one or more copyrights. It is available for research only or use within Hong Kong’s fair dealing rules. Please do not copy, re-use or reproduce this item without the permission of the copyright holder.

From Postwar to Postmodern, Art in Japan, 1945-1989: Primary Documents

AAA Library is currently closed for renovation. Please stay tuned on our social media for the opening date. We look forward to welcoming you back.