Part 2: French and Japanese cultural exchanges

Chapter 2: Art

Western art had already been introduced to Japan before the Edo Era; however the reception of art and music consciously as something from the country of France, did not occur until the Meiji Era onward. After Western-style art was introduced in earnest, based in the Kobu Bijutsu Gakko (lit. Art School of the Ministry of Engineering), the Western-style painting world formed, mainly around ASAI Chu (1856-1907) and others of the Meiji Bijutsukai (lit. Meiji Fine Arts Society), and KURODA Seiki (1866-1924) returned from France, bringing pleinairisme style art to Japan. Thereafter, there were changes in which style was mainstream at different times, however the letters sent by those who had travelled to France, and the art and music works brought to Japan from across the ocean, conveyed the spirit of French arts which shone as the leading example for the times, and captured the fascination of the Japanese. This Chapter will introduce the artists who visited France, and explore how French art permeated Japan. The Chapter will also discuss the music field, which influenced Japan through different pathways than art.