Exercise 2, Throwing Off Asia

Bunmei Kaika: The Role of Art in Promoting Government Policy

Working in a group in class, your task is to create a PowerPoint or print presentation that explains and illustrates the meaning of one of the three slogans used by the Meiji government to inform and mobilize Japanese people behind sweeping modernization efforts. Your teacher will assign your group one of the following slogans:

  • Bunmei Kaika: Civilization and Enlightenment
  • Fukoku Kyohei: Enrich the Nation; Strengthen the Army
  • Shokusan Kogyo: Encourage Industry

In your group:

  1. Review the woodblock prints that take modernization as their theme from the Throwing Off Asia I Core Exhibit.
  2. Select six woodblock prints that illustrate or exemplify the modernization slogan assigned to your group. These selections will be open to your own interpretation. Keep in mind that many of the woodblock prints address multiple aspects of "becoming modern" and so could work under one or more of the modernization themes.
  3. Create a PowerPoint or paper presentation that explains, in concrete examples, what the slogan meant for Japanese people and the nation.

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