Contemporary Japanese art: between globalization and localization

Eimi Tagore-Erwin (Department of Arts and Cultural Sciences, Lund University, Lund, Sweden)

Arts and the Market

ISSN: 2056-4945

Publication date: 1 October 2018



The purpose of this paper is to identify and analyze the influence that globalization has had on the development of the contemporary Japanese art production. The study also aims to expand the global narrative of Japanese art by introducing concepts behind festivals for revitalization that have been occurring in Japan in recent years.


Guided by Culture Theorist Nira Yuval-Davies’ approach to the politics of belonging, the paper is situated within cultural studies and considers the development of contemporary art in Japan in relation to the power structures present within the global art market. This analysis draws heavily from the research of art historians Reiko Tomii, Adrian Favell, and Gennifer Weisenfeld, and is complemented by investigative research into the life of Art Director Kitagawa Fram, as well as observational analyses formed by on-site study of the Setouchi Triennale in 2015 and 2016.


The paper provides historical insight to the ways that the politics of belonging to the western world has created a limited benchmark for critical discussion about contemporary Japanese art. It suggests that festivals for revitalization in Japan not only are a good source of diversification, but also evidences criticism therein.

Research limitations/implications

Due to the brevity of this text, readers are encouraged to further investigate the source material for more in-depth understanding of the topics.

Practical implications

The paper implies that art historiography should take a multilateral approach to avoid a western hegemony in the field.


This paper fulfills a need to reflect on the limited global reception to Japanese art, while also identifying one movement that art historians and theorists may take into account in the future when considering a Japanese art discourse.



Eimi Tagore-Erwin (2018) "Contemporary Japanese art: between globalization and localization", Arts and the Market, Vol. 8 No. 2, pp. 137-151

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