Western Cultural Influence on Japanese Artistry.

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With the onslaught of European, Asian and North American tourism and beliefs, Japanese culture has not only changed in terms of its economics, politics and other social factors but its artists have changed their focus as well (Martinez, pp.25-29).


Between the Meiji Restoration in the latter half of the 19th century and the Taisho Era prior to the First World War, Japanese culture was significantly changed due to Western influence and the styles of traditional Japanese art were changed or largely abandoned for Western artistic techniques.

During the period of Japanese isolation, artists were inspired to draw from their own cultural history and to create artwork based on the development of traditional techniques. Their work was heavily influenced by religious beliefs such as Buddhism and the Yoga lifestyle; after Western cultures were introduced to the nation, artists would study abroad and bring home classic European techniques such as impressionism, post-impressionism and eclecticism that would both stand alone and change the traditional Japanese techniques into new styles. During the early years of Western perception of Japanese art, many traditional styles were viewed as identical, due simply to the fact that European and North American audiences were not accustomed to them (Tipton, pp.53-55). While post-war Japan would be indisputably influenced by international cultures, it was the years of the Meiji Restoration and the Taisho era that started the artistic shift from traditional Japanese to modern Western styles.

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