War Art in Japan By Ikeda, Asato
Under Japan’s totalitarian state during World War II, most Japanese artists participated in the war effort. Their activities included producing works commissioned by the state, displaying works in state-sponsored exhibitions, donating the proceeds of art to the state, and dedicating works, as symbolic gestures, to religious sites, important battles, seminal state officials, or to those who gave their lives in the war. War artists produced works in diverse media, styles, and subject matter, ranging from painting, photography, woodblock prints, and sculpture to architecture and interior design. However, their works invariably glorified Japan’s military occupation in Asia and war against the West, or they resonated with the wartime state ideology that sought to recreate a traditional Japanese culture uncontaminated by modernity.