Towards a New Way of Seeing: Finding Reality in Postwar Japanese Photography, 1945-1970
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This study examines postwar Japanese photography and the influence of World War Two, the Allied Occupation (1945-1952), and social and economic transformations during the Era of High-Speed Growth (1955-1970) on ways in which photographers approached and depicted reality. In the late 1940s, censorship erased the reality of a devastated society and evidence of the Allied Occupation from photography magazines. Once censorship ended in 1949, photographers reacted to miserable living conditions, as well as the experience of producing wartime propaganda, by confronting reality directly. Finally, photographers responded to social transformations and resulting challenges during the Era of High-Speed Growth by shifting from an objective reporting to a subjective critique of reality. A study of photography from 1945 to 1970 not only demonstrates how socio-historical forces influence photography but also reveals key changes in Japanese society and the urban landscape as Japan transitioned from a defeated, occupied nation to an economic powerhouse.