Seminar: Japanese Artists and Art Policy in Japanese-occupied Indonesia and Singapore, 1942-1945
REGIONAL SOCIAL AND CULTURAL STUDIES PROGRAMME
ARTS IN SOUTHEAST ASIA SEMINAR SERIES
Throughout the Japanese occupation of Southeast Asia from 1940 to 1945, approximately 300 Japanese and local artists were sent to the battlefront. This was part of the Japanese government’s policy of utilising the arts as a tool for the military campaign in the region. The collaboration between the army and these prominent Japanese and local artists gave birth to new art projects. This presentation will explore the role of Japanese artists and art policy in Indonesia and Singapore during the Japanese occupation from 1942-1945. It will examine the journey and works of Japanese artists employed in Indonesia and Singapore, such as Tsuguharu Fujita, Tsuruta Gorō, Saburō Miyamoto, Kenichi Nakamura, Kenichi, Koiso Ryōhei and Takashi Kōno among others. It will also address the decades-long debate over the discontinuities in art history caused by the Japanese occupation. Did occupation radically change the course of Indonesian and Singaporean art history and how much did Japanese artists assist to foster a “national art”?