‘Showa no Joseitachi’


Kiyokawa Taiji Memorial Gallery
Closes March 22

Taiji Kiyokawa (1919-2000) is best known for his works in oil, having produced hundreds of paintings at his Tokyo, Setagaya residence/atlier, which he built himself during the 1960s. Before devoting himself to oil painting in the 1940s, however, Kiyokawa studied at Keio University’s Business School in the ’30s, where he also joined a photography club.

The photographs that he took during the late ’30s and the early ’40s are archived, along with his life works, at Taiji Kiyokawa Memorial Gallery; and this spring the gallery will be giving the public the opportunity to see some of the photos in a special exhibition. Being held just below the children’s nursery, in what used to be the artist’s atlier, “Showa no Joseitachi” (Women of the Showa Era) is as the title suggests — an appreciation of the ladies.

During the Showa Era (1926-1989), Japan went through significant political, economic and philosophical changes. This exhibition explores the affect such changes had on women through five themes: Showa modern, kimono, family, everyday life, and mother. During the 1940s many women began shunning their domestic aprons, preferring to been seen in fashionable high heels and dresses. World War II also drastically changed the role of women in society, as did the country’s recovery during the postwar years. The wide scope of the Showa Era allows us to observe such developments through the eyes of Kiyokawa, whose images not only reflect growing female empowerment, but reveal a personal respect for motherhood and feminism.

Kiyokawa Taiji Memorial Gallery is a 3-min. walk from Seijogakuenmae Station. (Odakyu line); open from 10 a.m.- 6 p.m., closed Mon.; admission ¥200. For more information, visit www.kiyokawataiji-annex.jp