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Kingdom of Beauty: Mingei and the Politics of Folk Art in Imperial Japan
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Kingdom of Beauty: Mingei and the Politics of Folk Art in Imperial Japan

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A Study of the Weatherhead East Asian Institute, Columbia University

Kingdom of Beauty
shows that the discovery of mingei (folk art) by Japanese intellectuals in the 1920s and 1930s was central to the complex process by which Japan became both a modern nation and an imperial world power. Kim Brandt’s account of the mingei movement locates its origins in colonial Korea, wher
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Paperback, 320 pages
Published July 20th 2007 by Duke University Press Books (first published 2007)
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Chelsea Szendi
May 03, 2010 Chelsea Szendi rated it it was amazing
Shelves: japan
I was kind of skeptical about how interesting I would find this book, although I know that Professor Brandt is a very smart woman. Upon reading it, however, I came to feel that this is as good as history writing gets. Brandt sucks her subject dry and demonstrates exactly how cultural identity was “made and not born, and crafted in the context of efforts by Japanese state and society to cope with the process of rapid industrialization within a volatile and competitive international order.”
Jeremy Hurdis
Nov 19, 2012 Jeremy Hurdis rated it really liked it
Brandt's book is really great. This is a solid analysis of the folk art culture that arises out of imperial Japan, through its colonization of Korea. The idea of 'Oriental Orientalism' is interesting because it renders orienatlism as a global phenomenon not limited to the single direction Europe >> Other. Orientalism is instead a feature of imperialism in general. She could spend more time discussing labour in these movements, or aesthetics, but the book is worth reading regardless.
Craig Scanlan
Jan 28, 2014 Craig Scanlan rated it liked it
Interesting to see how Korean folks art was co-opted by the Japanese and used to socialize Imperialism + why every prefecture has a bunch of "authentic" and "local" mingei crap to this day.

Also interesting to see how a few key people can shape an entire movement.

If it was more my cup of tea, would probably get more stars
morning Os
4.5 stars. It is beautifully written, and neatly done. Great analyses of the social, political and economic contexts that she tells through the focus on the Mingei movement.
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