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Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Vol 35 no. 16. 1972

Our Centre Spread

Our Centre Spread

"In the Japanese Manner"

For those of you who thought the Downstage 'Narrow Road to the Deep North ' neither a have nor a compromise in the best bourgeois non-taste, and who just loved the cute Japanese costumes, Salient here reproduces a rare actor print of the Sharaku school of Okiyo-e'

In the harsh milieu of the Tokugawa dictatorship, the verve of the Japanese intellectuals and entertainers expressed itself in a movement known to scholars as 'ukiyo' of 'floating world'. Courtesans, actors, samurai, and poets all found solace and some self-expression in this anti-establishment outpouring of prints, writing, music, painting and drama. The art of woodblock printing reached a never supassed peak in Edo (Tokyo) in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, expressing itself in erotica, picture-books, prints of courtesans, and actor prints, as here. Sharaku was a 'kabuki', or popular drama, actor who produced a stunning series of prints of favourite actors in the year 1794-95 and then disappeared from the woodblock scene entirely, reverting to occasional acting until his death. His prints are noted for their biting realism in an era when most artists relied on use of colour and stylised line to achieve their effect.

Scholars are at a loss to understand who is represented in this fine print. As a survey taken in 1967 revealed only three people at VUW knew where Japan is, the editors of Salient feel the reaction to this print will be a useful indicator of the interest this campus shows in anything unusual or unexplained. It is worth noting that the publication of this sort of picture was continually suppressed by the Bakufu, or Tokugawa thought police as subversive and riot- inciting.

(Explanation & drawing by Wellington artist 'Apadravya', who also did the illustraion and lettering on the back of Salient 14.)


Produced by Gil Peterson (Ed.) and Roger Steele (Assoc. Ed.) with the assistance of Peter Franks, Michael Murphy, David McLatchie, Don Carson and Cynthia.

Photography - Jothiram and Lee

Advertising - Bryan Pratt (758-684) Roger Green (793-319).

Salient Office: 70-319 ext. 81 or 75. P.O.Box 1347, Wellington N.Z.

Printed by the Wanganui Chronicle Ltd. P.O.Box 433 Wanganui, and published by the Victoria Univeralty of Wellington Studennts Association (Inc) P.O.Box 196 Wellington.