Donnerstag, 27. Januar 2022, 18:30 - 20:00 iCal

u:japan lectures s03e13 - Eriko Tomizawa-Kay

Transition from Painted to Painter: The Female Body of Okinawa and its Women Artists

A virtual u:japan lecture by Eriko Tomizawa-Kay (University of East Anglia)

27.01.2022 18:30 - 20:00


Online Event

| Abstract |

In pre-war Okinawa, while male painters were striving to be recognized and acknowledged by central art circles, with the exception of female students under the tutelage of Okinawan male teachers, opportunities for Okinawan women as artists were extremely limited. The emergence of Okinawan female artists had to wait until the post-war period. This paper discusses the significance of depictions of Okinawan women wearing Ryukyuan apparel - a favourite subject of both Japanese painters and Okinawan male painters during the war emergency period (1930s and 1940s) - in order to elucidate the social complexities of Okinawan women at that time when Okinawa was under the dominion of the Japanese Empire.

This paper examines three issues: first, how the representations of the Okinawan female body were appropriated to express the relationship between subjugated Okinawa and mainland Japan, and justify discrimination against the Okinawan people. Secondly, during the post-war period, how Okinawan female artists establish their careers and identity under the periphery of the nation-states of Japan and the patriarchy in Okinawa. Finally, I discuss contemporary Nihonga, which is also labelled as contemporary Ryukyu painting, painted by female artists in Okinawa. This presentation will also reconsider contemporary Okinawan painting by female painters in relation to both Japanese and East Asian art histories in order to cast a new view of Okinawan painting as the living Traditional Painting, and also Modern Okinawan Painting as a descendant of Ryukyu.


| Bio |

Eriko Tomizawa-Kay is lecturer in Japanese Language and Culture, at School of Politics, Philosophy, Language and Communication Studies, the University of East Anglia. She specializes in modern Japanese art history, particularly nihonga (Japanese style painting):

She is the organizer of 2019 international conference, entitled "Okinawan Art in its Regional Context: Historical Overview and Contemporary Practice". The conference report (Japanese/English) will be available on the website shortly as Sainsbury Institute Occasional Papers 2.

Her publications include ‘Reinventing Localism, Tradition, and Identity: The Role of Modern Okinawan Painting (1630s - 1960s)’ In East Asian Art History in a Transnational Context, edited by Tomizawa-Kay, E. & Watanabe, T. Routledge, 2019.


| Date & Time |

u:japan lecture | s03e13

Thursday 2022-01-27, 18:30~20:00 CET

max. 300 participants


| Plattform & Link |

Meeting-ID: 990 9668 6098 | PW: 884788


| Further Questions? |

Please contact

or visit

Zur Webseite der Veranstaltung


Institut für Ostasienwissenschaften/Japanologie und AAJ (Akademischer Arbeitskreis Japan)


Florian Purkarthofer
Department of East Asian Studies