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“Repro Japan” at Williams College

Repro Japan: Technologies of Popular Visual Culture combines a wide variety of media, themes, and cultural traditions.

Williams College Museum of Art, Repro Japan: Technologies of Popular
Visual Culture

October 1, 2021-March 20, 2022
Event: January 10, 2022, 7:30pm, Anime and Art Film Series: Miss Hokusai

In Japan’s Edo period (1603–1868), the growth of urban audiences and new popular entertainments from kabuki theater to travel tourism developed in tandem with new printing technologies. This resulted in the rise of new forms of visual culture—including color woodblock prints and printed textiles—that could be mass produced, transformed, and consumed.

Subsequently, photography and electronic media have fostered the global spread of Japanese popular visual culture, including manga, anime, cosplay, and subcultural fashion. This spread across different technologies, eras, and cultures has produced an incredible diversity of material—reproductions, appropriations, reverse-importations, parodies, remixes, and tributes. At the same time, the central themes and motifs—sports, fashion, and fighting, along with fantasies of all kinds—have remained remarkably consistent. A catalogue is available on the exhibition website.

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