Edwardian London through Japanese Eyes (Japanese Visual Culture)
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Edwardian London Through Japanese Eyes considers the career of the Japanese artist Yoshio Markino (1869-1956), a prominent figure on the early twentieth-century London art scene whose popular illustrations of British life adroitly blended stylistic elements of East and West. He established his reputation with watercolors for the avant-garde Studio magazine and attained success with The Colour of London (1907), the book that offered, in word and picture, his outsiders response to the modern Edwardian metropolis. Three years later he recounted his British experiences in an admired autobiography aptly titled A Japanese Artist in London. Here, and in later publications, Markino offered a distinctively Japanese perspective on European life that won him recognition and fame in a Britain that was actively engaging with pro-Western Meiji Japan. Based on a wide range of unpublished manuscripts and Edwardian commentary, this lavishly illustrated book provides a close examination of over 150 examples of his art as well analysis of his writings in English that covered topics as wide-ranging as the English and Japanese theater, womens suffrage, current events in the Far East and observations on traditional Asian art as well as Western Post-Impressionism. Edwardian London Through Japanese Eyes, the first scholarly study of this neglected artist, demonstrates how Markino became an agent of cross-cultural understanding whose beautiful and accessible work provided fresh insights into the Anglo-Japanese relationship during the early years of the twentieth century.
is working at the present moment in London, and who has come under the domination of our illustrated press….”1 There can be little doubt that Hind was speaking of Yoshio Markino (ﬁg. 1). A struggling young painter in Edwardian London, newly arrived from Japan by way of the United States, Markino (1869–956) would attain the status of a minor celebrity by decade’s end. In a notable Fig. 3: Night: Lights in Piccadilly 1 jvc4_p001_220_HT.indd 1 25-10-11 18:16 edwardian london through japanese
day of rain and gloom.40 Supplementing Cook’s words, Thompson provided a happy drawing of a jovial driver perched high on his seat, reins held casually in one hand, leaning to the right to chat with two friendly women (ﬁg. 96). Elsewhere, he had drawn the omnibus in full view, topped with an assemblage of passengers, negotiating its way on a busy London thoroughfare.41 Markino could have easily used this illustration for inspiration, although his sparse drawing lacked the former’s sense of social
formally, with the men especially elegant in white tie and tails. Couples dance, converse, come and go. And everything seems highly respectable. Matters of love and sexuality did not entirely escape Markino’s artistic scrutiny. His books abound with accounts of his friendships with English women but only occasionally does the subject of sexual desire surface. He disclosed that during his years in London he “fell in love with some John Bullesses. Unfortunately none of them could love me.” One can
(Noguchi) was as bad as myself,” Markino remembered. “He could not ask the payment.” I have thought of rather a good title for Markino’s book. Sir Rutherford Alcock christened the Japanese A Nation at Play … it would be splendidly ironical for a Japanese to write a book about England, calling it A Nation at Play with a preface saying that England is going to the dogs because it will not take anything seriously except its sports. During this period Markino appeared to have been doing rather well
W. A. Szpilman for bringing this source to my attention and for providing the translation. 9 C.L.H. [Charles Lewis Hind], “An Art Diary. Japanese, British, and French Pictures,” The Daily Chronicle, May 15, 1907; M.H. Spielmann, “Introduction,” in Loftie, Colour of London, v; Douglas Sladen, “An Appreciation,” in Yoshio Markino, A Japanese Artist in London 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 (London: Chatto & Windus, 1910), viii–xii; Frank Harris, “A Talk With Yoshio Markino,” The Academy,