Monday, 27 May 2013

The 70s in Japan - Exhibition at Hiroshima MOCA - Part I

Marie's Suitcase is a little bit sad to leave the Waitpinga farm and its sheep and its grapefruit, but let's hope that the future roads travelled will bring us good things. We'll stay in Japan for a little while.

During my last stay in Hiroshima I saw a fantastic exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art, about art in Japan during the 70s. I wanted to show you some of the pieces exhibited. The pictures are taken from the catalog of the exhibition, and for most of them, because my command of Japanese is close to non-existent, all I did was enjoy the art for what it looks like, without knowing too much about the context. The few paragraphs below are taken from the leaflet handed out at the entrance of the museum.

-  'From 1968 to the early 1970s, Japan passed through a heated period, with intensification of student activism, Expo '70 fever, and other events.
A movement arose in which creators in various fields such as design, drama, and music adventurously interacted with each other and questioned radically what art should be.
Creators endeavored to doubt existing expressions and to seek the essential, while there arose anti-Expo movements against Expo '70 and resistance to organisations that were perceived as authoritarian (= mostly the USA <--- me).

Distinctive, avant-garde books and magazines such as The Design Review and Film Quarterly Magazine were created by groups of designers, photographers and writers in unison. Further, various magazines such as the woman's magazine An-an and the town magazine Pia were published, sensitively capturing the new era and the trends of the streets. By the late 1970s, the mood of the times changed dramatically and painting was reinstated, as if making a fresh start from its origins.

Focusing on youth culture, magazines such as Popeye and Brutus were published one after another, and the magazine covers were adorned with light, easy and cozy illustrations. The period was coloured by the brilliance of what is called the "Saison Culture" today, including designs and posters that emanated from PARCO and SEIBU department stores, and the Seibu Museum of art.'  -

Atomic bomb and the 26 saints + 1 newcomer

This is a giant add promoting the Seibu Department store. Samurais performing the act of Seppuku on kamikaze airplanes?? On the yellow stripes it says "whahahahahaha" and "Hiahahahahaa". 

Oooookkkayyy  :-o

Expo 70 shaping up. The next three panels show some of the designs for pavillions and their walls.

Yes, this one too :-)) 

Jun Ropé. A clothes brand? Hmm... yes, that would actually make sense.

The 70s saw the birth of the Capsule Apartments. I'm not sure if the Nagakin Capsule Tower was designed especially for Expo' 70, but it did inspire the now popular Capsule Hotels. Think how nice it would be to live in 5m2. And not just for one night. Living there for real. You can cook and not leave your bed. You'll have to get up to take a shower, though. Nothing's perfect.

And I am ending the first part with this visual poem, no need for words, everything is there in only one page.

I hope this has eased our way back to Japan, there will be more of the 70s....


  1. That last frame; looks like a wonderful piece of work.

  2. Just back from a visit to one of those cube hotels, and all I could say while (virtually, thank heavens!) trapped inside there was -- Lemme outa here!

    Recognizing that "space is at a premium" in Japan, I've still got to say that for any one with even a hint of a touch of claustrophobia -- OMG Lemme out here!!


    Gives new meaning to the expression "the walls are closing in..."

    "...passed through a heated period, with intensification of..."

    brain temperature, yes.

    If these are not meant to be spaces for going mad in, but spaces to keep the business traveller fresh and alert, I'd have to ask, for what sort of business exactly?

    Grinding the serial number tags on microchips down to ever finer points, perhaps and stacking them in neat hygienic rows in antiseptic cubicles somewhere in Deep Space, where living organisms fear to tread?

    (Flashback to the Computer Tomography Motel of the Future... maybe it would be better not to visit the Cube Tube Hotel with a slight fever... next time.)

  3. WB, I really like the last frame too. I was standing in front of it for a long time before even noticing something (a pill?) falling from the hand.

    'Give each floor a feeling of openness' ... ah, so it really didn't work for you ,Tom. Sigh.. I thought you would have liked the idea [not]. Now I feel terrible the capsules have given you a fever. What should we do? Would a piece of Krazy Ket poetry help?

    Every tic, A birth -
    Every toc, A death -
    and wiza woiza -
    Every tic, A second -
    Every toc, A milyin years -
    Every tic, A nothing -
    Every toc, A something -
    and wiza woiza

    (Karzy in front of El Nido de las Horas, which may or may not mean The Nest of the Hours)

    Hors-sujet, but we really needed to get outa here

  4. and by Karzy I mean Krazy, of course

  5. Wowza! Ah-choo!

    It's absolutely my favourite hue of noir -- that dark nocturnal desert inking!

    Remembering that Herriman had a home in Navajo country (Arizona), and that the Great Slab of the Black Mesa (The Nest of the Hours) was... a gigantic Clock. Analog naturally.

    ("Tusayan" = Tucson.)

    It must have been all those long nights under the starry spaces and deep skies: Krazy (and of course Ignatz as well) apprehended the Cosmic Mysteries, although Offissa Pup was never quite able to apprehend anything. That's just how things were meant to be. Or not.


    And yet, wit me for a instinct wot time is it for me?

    Time to wash my tooth? No, already I did it -- lest wik -- or was it the wik before?

    It aint time for me to change my (pardon me) unda wear, no, I dunt wear none.

    So by me, afta dew kinsiddirations -- time is nothing.

    Ahh -- but wit Ignatz, wot time is it, by him -- l’il sodium poppa --

    (A flying brick hits Krazy Kat on the head. Sound effects: “Pow!” “Zip!”)

    I knew it -- time for he to toss a “brick” at me.

    Offissa Pupp (chasing Ignatz): Mmm -- time for me to get that miserable “mouse.”

    Ignatz: Oh hoh -- time for me to get out of here --


    Can one imagine that cast trapped in a Cube Capsule Capture? Like imagining Waitpinga relocated to the Vatican. Oh how the fur (and bricks) would fly!

    What is space, anyway? Where is time?

    "In this world, time is like a flow of water, occasionally displaced by a bit of debris, a passing breeze. Now and then, some cosmic disturbance will cause a rivulet of time to turn away from the mainstream, to make connection backstream. When this happens, birds, soil, people caught in the branching tributary find themselves suddenly carried to the past...

    "Some few people are born without any sense of time. As consequence, their sense of place becomes heightened to excruciating degree. They lie in tall grass and are questioned by poets and painters from all over the world. These time-deaf are beseeched to describe the precise placement of trees in the spring, the shape of snow on the Alps, the angle of sun on a church, the position of rivers, the location of moss, the pattern of birds in a flock. Yet the time-deaf are unable to speak what they know. For speech needs a sequence of words, spoken in time."

  6. l'il sodium poppa :-)) That promenade in time and space is my favourite one of the book so far, But I still have plenty to go, yay. Wot sims to be the meta? Waitpinga relocated to the vatican capsule, hahaha. I think we would all grow less and less legible with thought too. Time-deaf, time-blind, free of any cosmic disturbance. How awful. Would we slowly lose all our senses, I wonder. And our sense of speech too? Maybe we would all be sitting on that bed, waiting. Ah-h - Somehow, or udda, I knew would soon come a messidge of love from he - l'il heart failyaa -

  7. Japan has so many great artists, it's a shame I do not know much about them. (Time to do something about it.) Oh Capsule home, suddenly I am very grateful for my large space here at the edge of the forest...

  8. I'm sure the bohemian girl would be very unhappy incapsulated. Oh, but you would have liked the exhibition a lot, Carina. I wanted to take all the posters home. I found some gorgeous replicas in that booktown shop (yes, THAT one) which I never saw anywhere else, but arggg..., no, not going back there, no.