Japanese Art: Historical Context And Analysis

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Japanese art is one of the most popular and most collected ones all over the world. The paintings, composition of the history, clothing, and colour combinations, all are unique, which is why the country is observed to be quite different from its fashion. There is a discussion about the image named as La Japonaise presented by Claude Monet, which was typically an inspiration in which Camille Monet is shown in the Japanese costume. The entire world has its attention on Japanese art because of which many French artists have adapted Japanese art in the middle of the 20th century. The main aim of the paper is to demonstrate the idea of cultural appropriation origin as well as existence at the time of Japonism.

Define key concepts

Japonism was a new term that appeared in the art world in the late 1800s. It came from the French ‘Japonisme’, which means the influence of Japanese art, culture, and aesthetics。 Japonism started with a craze for collecting Japanese art in society, and particularly ukiyo-e (Japanese woodcut print). Considering and discussing Japonism, there are several key terms that are required to be understood for the better acceptance of the entire illustration of the ideology. The main discussion includes the overall explanation of French society and the Japanese culture relationship for an extended period. It is explained by the painting designed by Claude Monet in which Camille Monet is wearing the Japanese costume. This picture is considered as one of the significant inspirations which evolved the art industry. This image includes one of the famous Japanese costume depictions with the overall fantasy of art and culture. The image also included several other essential features that include the uniqueness of the culture and that’s why it became one of the great pictures in the entire western market. It is necessary to mention that the painting is now presented to the public in gallery 208 of the Behrakis Wing of Museum of Fine arts Boston (MFA). Entirely this process is named as conservation in action in which the painting is initially preserved by cleaning and stabilizing after being displayed for more than 15 years. La Japonaise is considered as the last picture of the Monet in which he painted his wife, Camille, in Japanese costume.

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It is known that Japan is culturally different from the entire world. There is no relevance to even the Chinese and Korean cultures, which is why it is observed all over the world. Cultural appropriation in fashion is perceived to be intensively high. It is essential to mention that the country on one side have accepted and adopted the American way of living which includes short skirts and suits for men, but on the other hand they are also very tightly connected to the traditional culture.

There is a concept of Orientalism in which western culture has admired eastern art. It is a book published by Edward W. Said in 1978 (Janeira, 2016). Understanding this piece of the art movement, it involves the overall art history, literature, lifestyle, and cultural studies. Orientalism is also considered as imitation as well as the depiction of different as well as distinguished aspects in the Eastern world (Akagawa, 2016). Orientalism is mostly performed by writers, designers, and artists. The very first movement of Orientalism was observed to be in France where the majority of the art produced was considered to be highly influenced by the Japanese culture, Korean Society, as well as a little bit of Chinese.

The Western people are considering the Asian culture as a piece of entertainment in which they are enjoying the colours and the quiet peace in the festivals (Young and Young, 2019). It is observed that the West is highly diversified when it comes to culture and ethnicity due to which the majority of the people are facing the issues of multi-culturalism. In multiculturalism, the stereotype of Asian culture is highly pumped. One of the essential concepts is supported as the colonial ambitions of Western power.

With the increase of the global impact on almost all the indigenous nations, Japan also suffered massively of cultural change in society. The people liked the western style of fast food and quick life in the corporate world due to which they are enjoying life as per the west of practices (Akagawa, 2016). The Asian dresses are now available and sold by different international clothing brands due to which the modified Japanese cultural dresses are also highly preferred for special occasions like prom and wedding functions (Rein, 2016).

Historical context

The history of the culture of Japan being involved in western society is quite dramatic. It is to be brought to notice that the Japonism in the world of the west including the two major countries, England and France is observed after the Japanese trade with the West started in the mid-19th century. It lasted for more than a generation in both countries but seen to be deep-rooted in the history of art and fashion.

Japonism was considered to be relevant to western culture because of its diversified involvement in the art and the high demanding dresses, fabric, accessories and many more. There are many artists as well as painters including Édouard Manet, Edgar Degas, Claude Monet, and many others who participated in the Japonism due to which the concept got popularity.

The stereotype of Asian culture in the eyes of western observers was quite significant. According to a critical study about the eastern culture, the west has mentioned that the entire eastern culture and the art that includes Japan, Korea, China, Malaysia, Singapore, and several others are seen to be of the same phenomenon (Sakai, 2017). According to an essential western analyst, eastern culture is far more complex and complicated than a stereotype. The past Asian cultural influence upon western society was known to be a presentation of the Orientalist stereotypes (Komatsu and Rappleye, 2018). This type of stereotype is considered for understanding the differences between the communities. The best example here is the discussion of Japanese culture and its connectivity to European Art and fashion.

Japanese fashion is less concentrated on design accuracy and more focused on the artistic depiction, imperial resolution, perfection, colours, and other similar stuff. Japanese are currently practising highly cultural as well as western fashion in their everyday life. The use of makeup for both men and women was every day since the end of the 20th century. After the globalization and the enhanced impact of the western culture of the nation, the people are now practicing both the Japanese as well as western culture as a part of their routines (Hinton, 2015). Currently, the people are preferring both the international as well as local brands which are helping them concerning the country statistical position.

It is sure to know that capitalism is one of the many manifestations of globalization. As per the analysts, capitalism is the part of the monetary system which is growing more complicated with the enhanced interconnectivity among the nations (Bonnett, 2017).

According to a critical study based on the art and culture and their influences, the past connectivity of the western communities with the Japanese played an essential role in the increased importance of the literature (Janeiro, 2016). The first bridge of connection was based on the trade, but later on, it was strengthened with the additional and collaborative works of art and fashion of the two nations.

Analysis (visual/object)

Japan is located in the east-most part of the world. The nation has a unique identity concerning fashion and culture. The people of the country were observed to be completely different concerning lifestyle, business, and culture. It is known that the Americans entirely differentiate the personal and professional life in which they don’t disturb the employees during their time zones. Similarly, Japan also has an approach in employee and business management (Hinton, 2015). If an employee is hired, he is personally as well as professionally part of their family. They will help him to become comfortable at his residence as well as would also give him opportunities to grow. The difference between personal life as well as professional experience is considered to be non-existent in the country (Russell, 2017).

The culture is quite similar to business management. The people of Japan are less concerned about integrity, and fashion brand and more concentrated towards fashion, lifestyle, and colour as well as related concerns. According to the French artists, Japonism have included several different approaches in connecting the Japanese culture to French society. The French word for Japonism is Japonisme. The French named it as Japonism in which the artists have shown an influence of Japanese art on Western art.

The Japanese didn’t focus on the pragmatic approach for the management of the trade and its sustainability, but they have transported the art pieces that included costumes, dishes, women accessories and many more in massive numbers. This resulted in the filling of the gap in a highly successful manner (Bonnett, 2017). The western societies were found to get attracted towards the Japanese art objects and later on they became part of their daily basis life. Impressionism is considered to be an essential modern art movement, and it is observed to be a highly popular and prevalent form of art today. Japanese art had a significant influence on impressionism. The other types of art which are named, in Japanese woodblock prints have prominent importance in the overall movement of art.

In 1874, officially impressionism formally was observed to emerge with Claude Monet’s painting. It is essential to know that the Japonism was undoubtedly a prominent figure to be discussed with the change of history. There was a great appreciation of art in French society due to which numerous people didn’t understand the central theme of the Japonism (Hinton, 2015). Due to the massive improvement in the culture and artworks in Japan, the artists from around the globe started to send their artworks to different institutes, which were highly appreciated. Meanwhile, Japan was considered to be the most infusive figure (Komatsu and Rappleye, 2018). The Japanese work of art profoundly influenced the artists like Claude Monet and Edgar Degas, and they started to reproduce them in a more dramatic way that included the use of the Japanese dresses in the paintings and several others.


It is essential to know that Japonism is considered as a critical movement which has entirely changed the world. The thinking of the western culture towards the art was also slightly changed due to which the entire global image towards western culture has affected the market.

According to an estimate, cultural appropriation is essential to be considered. Cultural appropriation is known as the adoption of elements of one culture by members of another culture (Bonnett, 2017). The Japanese people have got access to trade with distant locations around the globe due to which they initially started to work with the sharing of art and specific regional objects. The French people were bombarded with all of that stuff, and they became used to these things. This entire cultural appreciation is essential and is significantly applicable to be understood.

It is observed that the western people are getting used to the eastern culture, more specifically the Japanese as a piece of entertainment. It is not a fun-related concept but a legitimate effort of getting engaged in the culture and its essential relationships. The paper has started the discussion with the painting made by Claude Monet, named as La Japonaise in which Camille Monet in Japanese costume. It was made after the Japanese trade was being started and the people used to find beautiful tapestries, dresses, and several other festivals oriented costumes (Komatsu and Rappleye, 2018). At the end of the study, the analysis has been made in which it is demonstrated that the French people smoothly accepted the Japanese culture and the entire cultural appropriation was observed.


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