“Philadelphia and Meiji Japan”
University of Pennsylvania, Sept. 20 – 22, 2018

Thursday, Sept. 20

Keynote Address 5 pm
“Philadelphia, America, and ‘the West’ in Meiji Japan”
Jordan Sand (Georgetown University)

What did Japanese who visited Philadelphia for the exposition of 1876 think of what they saw? This was the high period of “Civilization and Enlightenment” in Japan, commonly thought of as a time when Japanese adulated everything Western. So we might expect that they were awed and sought to imitate the United States. But the place of America and the West generally in the Meiji cultural universe was more complex than this. Focusing on architecture and public spectacle, this lecture will examine the perceptions and manipulations of Western-ness in Meiji elite and popular culture.


Friday, Sept. 21

Panel 1 Japan in Philadelphia and Chicago 9:30 – 11 am

Moderator: Linda Chance (University of Pennsylvania)

“Presenting a “Quintessential” Japanese Product: Green Tea at the Philadelphia and Chicago World Exhibitions”
Robert Hellyer (Wake Forest University)
Following the Meiji Restoration, Japan began to ship increasing volumes of green tea to the United States, challenging Qing China’s long-held monopoly.  For Japan’s tea exporters, the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia presented an opportunity to expand their share of the green-tea dominated US market. At their pavilion adjacent to that of China, Japanese representatives displayed a full range of teas produced in various parts of Japan.  In 1893, Japan competed not with China (which did open a tea pavilion) but with well-financed contingents from India and Ceylon who sought to convince Americans to turn away from green teas and instead consume their black teas, grown on recently established plantations.

For Japanese representatives, both fairs provided chances to display a ‘quintessential’ Japanese product but one that Americans were more familiar with in a different form—heavily roasted and colored. Western export firms controlled processing before shipment and hired Chinese experts who employed time-tested, Chinese processing methods, including the adding of pigments that gave Japanese green tea a rich, green color to meet American tastes. Especially at Chicago, Japanese representatives strove to present less roasted and uncolored varieties, hoping to expand Japan’s overall market share.

The stories of Japanese tea at the two expositions demonstrates first how Meiji Japan competed commercially with the Qing and British empires (the latter in the form of Britain’s South Asian colonies) on the world market.  It also reveals how expanded international engagement during the Meiji period transpired in ways beyond a bilateral encounter of Japan with the West.

“Japanese Archaeological Paintings at the 1893 World Columbian Exposition: Historic and Artistic Significance”
Maho Suzuki (Musashino Art University)
The University of Pennsylvania possesses sixteen paintings of Japanese archaeological artifacts, donated by Japan’s Imperial Museum after their display at the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition.  The display was organized and supervised by Miyake Yonekichi, champion of a scientific approach to Japanese history and ardent critic of ancient myth as propagated particularly in Japanese textbooks.  The paintings recorded artifacts from the Stone Age to the Kofun Period and aimed to prove both that Japan had a long history and that the Japanese were capable of presenting history scientifically.  It was no accident that the artist belonged to the Goseda School, which flourished from the end of the Edo Period. The school was known for its realistic style and use of shadows. This presentation will analyze the historic and artistic significance of these paintings in the context of the art and history traditions of Meiji Japan.

“America’s Japan in the Age of Industrial Modernity”
Naoko Shibusawa (Brown University)
This paper explores the late nineteenth century “Japan craze” in the context of post-Civil War industrial capitalism, settler colonialism, and overseas colonialism. American were fascinated with with things Japanese through the optics of race, gender, maturity, sexuality, and, of course, American exceptionalism.


Panel 2 Meiji Japan at the Philadelphia Museum of Art 11:30 – 1 pm

Moderator: Julie Davis (University of Pennsylvania)

“Philadelphia Collects Meiji”
Felice Fischer (Philadelphia Museum of Art)
The 1876 Philadelphia Centennial Exhibition provided the first opportunity for Americans to view Japanese wares and stimulated early collectors of Japanese art in Philadelphia.  General Hector Tyndale (1821-1880), whose family was in the ceramic manufacturing and import business, served as a judge for the Ceramics Section of the Philadelphia Exhibition and subsequently purchased many of the ceramics.  These came to the Philadelphia Museum of Art by bequest in 1897 and formed the core of the museum’s early Japanese collection.

Ernest Fenollosa (1852-1908) was also moved by the skills of Japanese craftsmen at the Centennial Exhibition.  He subsequently taught in Japan and became America’s first historian of Japanese painting. Fenollosa organized exhibitions for such contemporary artists as Kano Hōgai and Hashimoto Gahō and acquired their paintings for his own collection. The latter were inherited by Fenollosa’s daughter Brenda, who subsequently donated most of them to the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Mary Harris Morris (1836-1924) was a founder of the Women’s Foreign Missionary Association of Friends of Philadelphia, which began a mission in Japan in 1885 and a Friends Girl’s School in Tokyo in 1887. Mary and her husband Wistar Morris acquired a group of Japanese paintings during a three-month sojourn in Japan in 1890. Subsequently bequeathed to Mary’s granddaughter, (Mrs. William) Logan MacCoy, they came to the PMA in 1924.

Samuel S. White, 3rd (1876-1952), heir to the S.S. White Dental Company fortune, amassed a collection of Japanese paintings on several business trips to Japan in the early twentieth century.  Since White and his wife Vera focused on Western contemporary art, their small collection of Meiji era Japanese paintings is virtually unknown to Japanese art historians.

“What is a Painting?: The Art of Two Meiji Eras”
Chelsea Foxwell (University of Chicago)
As far as art was concerned, the Meiji era was actually two eras. Viewers in the early Meiji (1870s and 1880s) defined painting differently than they did in the late Meiji period(1890s to 1911). Competition and cultural differences between Kyoto and Tokyo provoked another dichotomy within the category of Meiji art. Meiji painting was further divided between so-called “new” and “old” schools, a distinction that transcended stylistic difference and stemmed from more profound questions about what a painting is and what functions it should perform. After a consideration of each of these dichotomies, this presentation will discuss mid to late Meiji-era debates about subject matter and conclude by inviting comparison with other fields, such as literature and cultural history. Does it make more sense to speak of one Meiji or two? Or could it be that duality and plurality are themselves crucial to our discussion of Meiji?

“Rethinking the Interplay of Motif and Design: Meiji Ceramics for International Reception”
Sonia Coman (Freer Gallery of Art/Smithsonian Institution)
This paper explores the global circulation, during the Meiji period, of a constellation of Japanese visual motifs, whose aesthetic identity was at the intersection of tradition and innovation. From bird-and-flower variations to non-representational patterns framing vignettes derived from classical literary sources, these motifs were often the result of a circular mechanism of cross-cultural influence, in which Japanese cultural producers reinvented their visual vocabularies in response to 19th-century Euro-American interpretations of older Japanese arts. Featured on multiple mediums, from porcelain to metalwork, samples of these motifs were juxtaposed freely to fill surfaces in complex compositions. As such, they can be said to have functioned as “business cards” for their producers, especially at international expositions and World’s Fairs. The preservation and reinvention of repertoires of visual motifs were inextricably linked to new notions of “design,” defined across the porous boundaries of “art,” “craft,” and “industry,” all against the backdrop of the nascent modern discipline of art history in Japan. Using historiography and visual and sociological analyses, the current paper investigates this interplay of motif and design through the lens of several Meiji-period ceramics in the collection of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Examples include the porcelain vases by Fukagawa Eizaemon (1833-1889), designed and produced to showcase stylistic distinctiveness and technical proficiency for international audiences. Formerly in the collection of General Hector Tyndale (1821-1880), such objects also illustrate the circulation of motifs and of ideas about design in a tightly-knit and multigenerational network of collectors in Japan, Europe, and the United States.


Panel 3 Meiji Gives to Penn: Jpse Artifacts in the Penn Museum 2-3:30 pm

Moderator: Yoko Nishimura (Gettysburg College)

“The World’s Columbian Exposition and Penn: On the Trail of Archaeological Objects”
Yoko Nishimura (Gettysburg College)
There are thousands of Japanese archaeological artifacts stored in the major arts and archaeology museums of the United States. Many of the collections crossed the Pacific in the late nineteenth century, while many others arrived in the first half of the 20th century. The Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology at the University of Pennsylvania houses one of the largest Japanese prehistoric collections. Of the 483 prehistoric Japanese artifacts, 188 items plus sixteen large watercolor paintings of archaeological items and prehistoric sites were given by the Tokyo National Museum (formerly, the Tokyo Imperial Museum) after their display at the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago. The archival record of the Tokyo National Museum identifies the artist of the paintings as Goseida Hōryū II (1864-1943), who was a well-known Western-style painter in Tokyo. After the exposition, the drawings and the 188 objects were transferred to the Penn Museum, while the remaining objects, primarily bronze items and stone beads, seem to have returned to Tokyo. The artifacts and drawings together show that the Tokyo Imperial Museum, supported by the Meiji Government, carefully chose artifacts from different parts of Japan to offer a representative glimpse of all the major ancient Japanese artifact- and site-types known at that time. It was a balanced, informative display of the prehistoric objects reflecting the current state of archeological knowledge. Today, this collection of 204 objects is of great value, not only in terms of research but as an educational tool in the classroom, as well.

“Jōmon Pottery at the World’s Columbian Exposition”
Boxi Liu (Penn EALC)
Horinouchi is a distinctive style of Late Jōmon pottery. Dating to the early Late Jōmon period (2000-1000 BCE), it was named after the Horinouchi shell-midden site in Ichikawa City, Chiba Prefecture by the famous Jōmon scholar Yamanouchi Sugao. This type of pottery is mainly distributed in the Kantō region, and it consists of two substyles, Horinouchi I and Horinouchi II. Archaeologists differentiate the two substyles based on the shapes, decorations, and colors of the pots. Among the various Horinouchi shapes, the morning-glory- and the abacus-bead-shaped pots are the most distinctive and noted. Pottery from the Horinouchi II type onwards generally sports a black surface, in contrast to the reddish-orange surface of Horinouchi I pots. From a comprehensive study of Horinouchi pottery and comparison between the published data and Jōmon shards in the World’s Columbian Exposition collection at the Penn Museum, we can identify over twenty fragments of Horinouchi pots. According to museum records, most of the shards were gathered from Hirayama village in Chiba Prefecture. This collection of Horinouchi shards is a critical resource for the study of Horinouchi pots and the material culture of Late Jōmon society in Chiba Prefecture.

“Lithic Tools at the World’s Columbian Exposition”
Yuyang Wang (Penn EALC)
The stone objects in the World’s Columbian Exposition collection of the Penn Museum offer valuable information about lithic tool manufacture in prehistoric Japan. Although most of these tools cannot be dated to a specific period, they definitely came from the pre-Jōmon and Jōmon periods. People designed and produced these tools for specific needs and understanding the raw material and manufacturing techniques would help elucidate the important role of lithic production in a hunter-gatherer society. The Penn collection includes about 56 lithic tools of various kinds, including hammerstones, scrapers, drills, adzes, and so on. The lack of excavation reports or descriptions makes it difficult to identify the rock types used to make these tools, complicating the investigation of lithic production as a whole. This paper aims to identify the rock types in these tools and to provide a basic description of the material. Since the objects are artifacts, not samples, we did not perform any scientific experiments or collect any data.  But we did use petrographic methods and a Scanning Electronic Microscope (SEM).  This paper will analyze the choice of rock types, specific tools, and geographic origins of the objects as a reflection of Japanese knowledge of prehistoric society.


Saturday, Sept. 22

Panel 4 Architecture Between Tradition and Abstraction: Meiji and Beyond

Moderator: Ariel Genadt (University of Pennsylvania)

“Genesis of Architecture in Meiji”
Hajime Yatsuka (Shibaura Institute of Technology)
The Meiji Restoration re-coded nearly all the institutions of the pre-modern Edo society. Many fundamental Japanese words and concepts, without which we could hardly communicate today, were invented in the Meiji Period. The concept of Architecture was one of them.

While the Japanese had a long tradition of producing prominent structures, those structures cannot be considered “Architectural” since they were designed by people who had no notion of “Architecture” as such.

The Meiji Period was characterized by an eclectic mix of Western architectural styles with their Japanese traditional counterparts. In the first half of the period, buildings called giyōfū (pseudo Western syle) were built by carpenters. Lacking integral knowledge of Western buildings, they combined fragments of both Western and Japanese styles, which sometimes produced unexpectedly interesting results, but which were not architectural pieces, because of the absence of the notion of it.

Therefore, before those works could be considered Architecture, an architectural history covering both the West and Japan needed to be invented. Itō Chūta, one of the first architectural historians in Japan, was strongly opposed to Sir Banister Fletcher’s A History of Architecture on the Comparative Method (1895), which excluded non-Western structures from his category. Fletcher’s exclusion had its own reasoning, but Itō’s nationalism made him refuse to admit it.

Throughout the Meiji Period, a long debate persisted over how to transcribe “architecture” into new Japanese words. The terms zōka and kenchiku were at the center of the debate, with Itō as the main advocate for the latter. That controversy developed into another one over the possible national architectural style at the end of Meiji. Itō was never a modernist, but his conceptualization of kenchiku paved the way to an integration of Western and Japanese architecture through the works of later modernist architects like Horiguchi Sutemi and Tange Kenzō.

“Archetypes, Hybrids, and Novelties: Exhibition Architecture in the Meiji Period”
Alice Tseng (Boston University)
As a medium of national expression, the architecture of international expositions, despite their planned obsolescence, guided lasting impressions of the world’s peoples and places. In the late nineteenth century, fair attendees accepted the Japanese buildings and gardens produced for major European and American fairs as authentic artifacts, not least for being created by materials and carpenters sent directly from the native land. Yet as scholars have argued, producing explicitly “Japanese” architecture overseas proved challenging for the government commissions; their choices of building types and styles were neither predictable nor conventional. Furthermore, large-scale exhibitions of the same period that were held in the major Japanese cities featured substantially different building designs, purposely eschewing the vernacular and historical replicas showcased abroad.

This paper takes into consideration the simultaneity of overseas and domestic exhibition architecture to investigate a range of approaches to architectural nationalism in the Meiji period. Mitchell Schwarzer defines architectural nationalism as “the design of a building according to considerations of how it represents or advances ideas of a nation.” I argue that the rising Meiji nation-state, while striving to establish an identifiable political unity, consciously lacked a unified strategy for architectural expression. This paper explores fluctuating performances of “ideas of a nation” in the exhibition architecture of the Meiji period. It is possible to classify the national buildings into three general types: archetypal reproductions, historical hybrids, and modern innovations. The variety, rather than coherence, of architectural representation demonstrates the plurality of sources and means for defining Japanese unity during these four decades.

“Josiah Conder’s Detached Engagement with Japanese Culture”
Jonathan Reynolds (Barnard College and Columbia University)
The English architect Josiah Conder (1852-1920) was exceptionally successful at facilitating cultural exchange between Japan and Europe, acting as a kind of purveyor in the import/export business of technology and aesthetics. The new Meiji government hired Conder to train Japanese students in European architectural practices in order to promote architecture as a key component in its far-reaching plans for modernization based on Western models. The academic program in architecture that Conder developed at the Imperial Engineering College was an essential institution in the formation of a modern architectural profession in Japan, and he designed some of the canonical public and private buildings of the era. Yet Conder, who was invited to Tokyo to forward the government’s Westernization policies, became deeply engaged with Japanese culture. He studied and wrote extensively about Japan, and his writings were among the most sophisticated treatments of their subjects available in English at that time. He also sought a synthesis of Western and Japanese practices in some of his architectural designs. Although a great admirer of many aspects Japanese art and architecture, he recognized that the abandonment of many of these practices was necessary, and he did not share the sense of loss over the passing of these traditions that was expressed by certain contemporaries, such as Edward Sylvester Morse, Christopher Dresser, and Ernest Fenollosa. This paper explores the complexities of Conder’s position as both an official promoter of Western culture in Japan and as an interpreter of Japanese culture in Japan and in the West.


Panel 5 Women Bridging Philadelphia and Meiji 12:30 – 1:45

Moderator: Ayako Kano (University of Pennsylvania)

“The Quakers and Japanese Women of Meiji”
Tetsuko Toda (Josai International University)
Missionary support for non-Christian women became increasingly popular after the Civil War, including one Quaker women’s organization formed in Philadelphia in 1882.  The Women’s Foreign Missionary Association of Friends of Philadelphia launched a Japan mission in 1885 and a Tokyo Friends Girls School in 1887.  Philadelphia Quaker women taught at the school through the 1970’s.

A founder of this Foreign Missionary Association, Mary Harris Morris (1836-1924), developed close relationships with many Japanese women who would become pioneers in medicine, higher education, and social welfare.  These included Okami Keiko, Tsuda Umeko, and Ishii Fudeko.  Morris visited Japan in 1890 and 1892, and her activities were reported in Jogaku Zasshi (Women’s Magazine).

Morris’s ties with Nitobe Inazo and Tsuda Umeko were particularly important in spreading Quaker influence among educated Japanese women.  Kawai Michi, founder of Keisen Girls School, studied at Tsuda College and Bryn Mawr College.  Though not a Quaker, Kawai founded the Japan YWCA and became an advocate for international goodwill.  Jodai Tano became a Quaker through Nitobe and devoted her life to the Japanese pacifist movement.  She became the sixth president of Japan Women’s University (1958-65).  Fujita Taki, a Tsuda graduate and Quaker, was involved in the prewar suffrage movement.  She served as the fourth president of Tsuda College (1962-1973) and often participated in international conferences for women’s causes.  Quakerism was introduced to Meiji Japan by a Philadelphia Quaker women’s organization; its influence was strong in Japanese women’s higher education.

“Tsuda Umeko and Her Philadelphia Friends: Pioneering Education for Japanese Women”
Iino (President Emerita, Tsuda University)
Sent to the United States by the Japanese government in 1871, Tsuda Umeko (1864-1929) remained until 1882.  She later studied at Bryn Mawr College and made important contributions to women’s education in Japan.  In 1900, with the support of her Philadelphia friends, she founded Joshi eigaku juku (School of English Studies for Women; present day Tsuda University), one of the oldest women’s universities in Japan.

Tsuda considered education, particularly higher education, important for the economic and social independence of Japanese women. She viewed educated, independent American women as models for Japanese women.

This paper will investigate the establishment of the Joshi eigaku juku and highlight the importance of Philadelphia support for the venture.  Tsuda’s efforts demonstrate the importance of American influence on women’s education in late nineteenth-, early twentieth-century Japan.


Panel 6 Diplomats Bridging Philadelphia and Meiji 1:45 – 3 pm

Moderator:  Frederick Dickinson (University of Pennsylvania)

“Robert W. Irwin: Between Philadelphia and Meiji”
Masako Hamada (Villanova University)
In 1860 the Tokugawa shogunate sent a 96-member diplomatic mission to the United States, which paraded down the streets of Philadelphia. Robert Walker Irwin (1844-1925), a fifth-generation descendant of Benjamin Franklin and teenager at the time, observed the parade with fascination.  Six years later, at age 22, he headed for Japan to open a Pacific Mail Steamship service to Yokohama. While in Japan, Irwin met many future leaders of Meiji Japan, and he helped establish the predecessor of the current Mitsui Trading Company.  Later, as the Kingdom of Hawaii’s Minister to Japan, Irwin negotiated the 1886 immigration treaty that brought hundreds of Japanese laborers to Hawaii.

Irwin is known in Japan as the “father of Japanese Immigration to Hawaii,” and because of his many contributions to Japan, he was awarded both the Order of the Rising Sun and the Order of the Sacred Treasure by the Japanese Government. Irwin’s marriage to Iki Takechi was the first marriage between a Japanese and American citizen. The couple had six children, and one of their daughters, Sophia Arabella, established the Irwin Training School for Kindergarten Teachers and an adjoining kindergarten in Tokyo. The school celebrated its centennial anniversary in October, 2016.

“The International Nationalist: Nitobe Inazō’s Lifelong Quest to ‘Bridge the Pacific’”
Alex Bennett (Kansai University)
The year is 1867. Excitement pervades the Nitobe household in the Morioka domain. Relatives and other guests gather in the banquet room to celebrate the Hakama ceremony for five-year-old Nitobe Inanosuke (Inazō) (1862−1933). It signified initiation into the samurai community of honor and the commencement of the roles and responsibilities that came with this status. After seven centuries of hegemony, however, the samurai’s mantle of authority was dismantled in several stages following the Meiji Restoration of 1868. Inazō’s career as a samurai was thus short-lived, but traditional warrior mores instilled in him from an early age were to serve him and his country well with Japan’s entry onto the world stage. Nitobe was destined to become one of the most internationally well-known Japanese nationals of is era.

Nitobe’s career as an educator was long and illustrious, but his life as a diplomat was unprecedented in importance when he was appointed Under-Secretary-General of the League of Nations in 1920. This distinguished position took him to the League’s headquarters in Geneva for seven years, where his affable nature and skill in the art of diplomacy earned him the moniker “Star of Geneva.” Nitobe was also responsible for directing the International Bureau and served as a founding member of the International Committee for Intellectual Cooperation (ICIC, later to become UNESCO).

Nitobe’s connection with Philadelphia was also deep. He converted to Quakerism when studying at Johns Hopkins University, and eventually married Mary Elkinton, member of a prominent Philadelphia Quaker family. Nitobe is mostly remembered now for a book he penned in English in 1899, Bushido: The Soul of Japan. First published by Leeds & Biddle, a small Quaker publishing house in Philadelphia, this little volume is still found on the shelves of bookstores, big and small, throughout Japan and indeed the world, and is influential in contemporary understanding of samurai ethics and the Japanese mind. This was, however, only a small part of a remarkable cross-cultural legacy that Nitobe forged before his death in October 15, 1933.


Please register if you plan to attend the symposium.

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