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Decentering Japanese Art History
ようこそ・イイソネカ・めんそーれ ・ Welcome
This is a free open educational resource to promote learning and teaching about visual cultures of the Ainu and the Ryukyu Archipelago.
The purpose of this project is to dismantle the underlying colonial hegemonic classifications about ideas surrounding art, art history, and Indigeneity by providing practical tools to teach about different perspectives of Japanese art histories.
See the About page to learn more about this project and the people behind it.
Decentering has a range of meanings in this project, but the first phase focuses on two broad cultural regions: the Ainu of Northern Honshū and Hokkaidō and the peoples of the Ryūkyū Archipelago, including present-day Okinawa. These materials are drawn from library, museum, and community archival collections from across the world. Explore the sections below to see how these materials can be utilized in your community.
Ryūkyū Archipelago Cultures 琉球諸島の文化・Uchinānchu ウチナーンチュ
The Ryūkyū Archipelago stretches between the islands of Kyūshū and Taiwan.
Ainu Cultures アイヌの文化
Ainu peoples have lived in the region that is now part of northern Japan and Russia for centuries.
Includes material for use in classrooms, museum work, community revitalization and outreach, and more.
Curriculum guides provide guidance on integrating material from Ainu and Ryūkyūan visual cultures into educational settings. These guides include, but are not limited to: powerpoint slides with images and captions, discussion prompts, in-class exercises outlines, and cross-cultural connections of material.
Image: Sunazawa Chinita, Sad Fox (illustration for Ainu folktales), 1991.
Each object page introduces a work, site, or practice through high-quality open-access images, an essay on historical and cultural contexts, and additional resources including translated primary sources, annotated bibliographies, and teaching materials.
Image: sanshin instrument known as the “Murishima Kējō 盛嶋開鐘” (Shuri dialect), n.d., formerly Ryūkyūan royal collection, now Okinawa Prefectural Museum.
The DJAH blog is a community resource for sharing current developments in the field, ongoing conversations, more information about decentering projects, and guest curators’ expertise and work. We’re open to contributions from our growing community such as community members, practicing artists, curators, scholars, professionals, librarians, and students.
- Hello WorldIn this inaugural post, we describe our initial reasons for starting this project and how we became involved. Kevin: My interest in this topic starts with dissatisfaction about art history and the way I have been practicing it. By 2015, I had been teaching my “survey” of Japanese art history for about a decade. I… Continue reading Hello World