Bodies and Structures 2.0: Deep-Mapping Modern East Asian History

Art Schools

Tokyo School of Fine Arts (Tōkyō bijutsu gakkō) constituted the pinnacle of professional training in Japan. It administered entry exams and required its applicants to have graduated from high schools. Many of its graduates went on to work as art teachers at middle and high-schools throughout Japan and in colonial Korea and Taiwan (Kaneko 2015).

Tokyo School of Fine Arts and other specialized art schools, such as the Imperial Art School, Culture Academy, Tama Imperial Art School, and the Women's Art School, as well as art schools in Kyoto and Osaka accepted students from Korea and Taiwan as well as Japanese who were born or grew up in the colonies. Because no public art schools were established in Taiwan before 1945, some aspiring artists moved to Japan or Europe to enroll in such an institution.

Tokyo School of Fine Arts accepted in total 30 male Taiwanese students and 89 male Koreans in the pre-1945 period (Yoshida 2009, 10.). The majority of male students from the colonies came to Japan to pursue oil painting. The numbers of those interested in studying nihonga increased only gradually. In general, aspiring artists from Taiwan enrolled at these institutions came from wealthy backgrounds. (See also Kate McDonald's discussion of mobile students from the colonies and their experiences in Tokyo; and Wong 2013.)

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