Selected for inclusion on the 2012 Outstanding Academic Title list from CHOICE: Current Reviews for Academic Libraries
The Brittle Decade examines the different ways in which designers and artists visualized modern Japan in the years leading up to World War II. Its 180 full-color illustrations of paintings, textiles, and graphic arts are astonishing not only for their great visual impact but also for the insight they provide into a rapidly transforming nation. Among the more surprising images are kimonos bearing patterns of tanks or futuristic cityscapes, paintings of fashionable Japanese women with bobbed hair in Western dress, and handbills of factory and agricultural workers joined in solidarity. Essays by leading experts on Japanese art and history elucidate the many tensions within Japanese society and show how and why such images of power, progress, and beauty helped the nation celebrate and divert modernity to new purposes during that brittle decade.