Spring 2019

The Replicated Image in Japanese Art: Woodblock Prints, Postcards, and Photographs

Listed in: Art and the History of Art, as ARHA-384  |  Asian Languages and Civilizations, as ASLC-384


Samuel C. Morse (Section 01)


(Offered as ARHA 384 and ASLC 384) An image that can be replicated serves a very different function from a single unique work of art; it addresses new audiences and elicits a wider range of responses. This class will explore three different types of replicated images in Japan—woodblock prints, lithographs, and photographs. With the unprecedented achievement of literacy among urban populations during the early seventeenth century, Japan developed highly inventive woodblock texts and images. The class will begin with an investigation of the Japanese print in the Edo period (1615–1868) through the works of artists such as Suzuki Harunobu, Kitagawa Utamaro, Katsushika Hokusai, and Utagawa Hiroshige. It will subsequently examine the early history of the photograph in the nineteenth century and then how the postcard replaced the print as the favored format for the dissemination of images during the early twentieth century, becoming the primary visual means for communicating Japan’s modernity before the advent of World War II. The class will conclude with a study of photography from the 1920s to the present day. Photography also documented Japan’s modern era, the social tensions that appeared in the high-grown era after WWII, and today often transcends national boundaries.

Spring semester. Professor Morse.


Fine Arts for Non-majors, Transnational or World Cultures Taught in English


2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2019