Undergraduate Degree



DD8009 Japanese Art: Edo to Contemporary

Studio Contact Hours: 39 hours; Pre-requisites: Nil; Academic Unit: 3.0]

Pre-requisite : NIL

Academic Unit :3 AU

Course Description :

This course will focus on the developments in Japanese art from the Edo period (17th century) to contemporary. We will examine a broad range of visual materials, from Japanese woodblock prints to contemporary art, photography, architecture and design, towards identifying and understanding major themes and critical issues in Japanese art. 

Learning Objective

Students will gain a chronological overview of modern and contemporary Japanese art history. As an upper-level seminar class, this course aims to engage students in the process of both textual and visual research through lectures, discussions, presentations, readings, writing assignments and a final research paper.


This course is an introduction to Japanese art history.

1. Japanese art history from Edo period 

2. Artists and art practices in contemporary Japanese art

3. Japanese architecture and design

4. Contemporary Japanese cinema

Course Outline

​S/N​ ​Topic Lecture Hours​
​1​ ​Japan in the context of East Asia ​3
​2 ​​Japan’s Historical Milestones
​3 ​Art in Edo Japan: Kano School of Painting and Rimpa ​3​
4 ​Ukiyo-e (Japanese woodblock prints)
5 ​Tea Culture ​3
​6 ​Early 20th Century: Yoga painting and MAVO movement ​3
​7 ​East-West ​3
​8 ​Documentary to Contemporary Photography ​3
​9 ​Film and Animation: Case Studies ​3
​10 ​Architecture and Design: Case Studies ​3
​11 ​Contemporary Art: Beyond SuperFlat? ​3
​12 ​Field Trip ​3
​13 ​Coursework Consultation ​3

Learning Outcome

Students will know about the major forms of visual arts production in Japan from the Edo period to the present. 

Student Assessment

Continuous Assessment (100%)

Students will be assessed on: 

a) Written assignments e.g. exhibition and film reviews (30%); 

b) Quizzes (10%); 

c) Class participation and presentations (20%);

d) Final Research Paper (40%)


a. Mason, Penelope. History of Japanese Art. New York : Abrams, 1993

b. Stanley-Baker, Joan. Japanese Art. London : Thames & Hudson, 2000

c. Lee, Sherman. History of Far Eastern Art. New York: Harry N. Abrams, 1994

d. Sadao, Tsuneko. Discovering the Arts of Japan. Tokyo;New York: Kodansha International, 2003

e. Nishi, Kazuo. What is Japanese Architecture? New York: Kodansha USA, 2012

f. Okakura, Kazuo. The Book of Tea. Boston: Shambhala, 2001