Taisho Japan (1912-1926) and Uzaki Sumikazu: Postcards and children
Lee Jay Walker
Modern Tokyo Times
It is nigh impossible to get a real glimpse into any country through the prism of art, archeology, history books, and so forth. After all, countless monuments throughout history – on all continents – hide the hidden reality of slavery, enforced labor, and the horrors that often happened in the same environs. Therefore, this small glimpse of the Taisho period through the prism of art, children, and postcards – can only be taken at face value.
However, the liberal feel of the images, including children waiting for Christmas, does depict a world that was very different from the Edo Period (1603 to 1868). Likewise, society appears more liberal to women – at least in highly developed cities – compared with the Edo Period. Thus, the brief glimpse in these postcards of the late Meiji Period (1868-1912) and the Taisho Period (1912-1926) by Uzaki Sumikazu (1889-1954), concerning the joys of children, does provide a small snippet.
Emperor Taisho suffered from ill-health. Thus, the Emperor rarely spoke in public during the later stages of his life. Indeed, he was sidelined and remained aloof of the political mechanisms of the day. Ironically, this enabled the strengthening of democratic chambers. Hence, the period is known by the terminology of Taisho democracy.
Postcards in this article concern the delightful work of Uzaki Sumikazu. His postcards in this article have a lovely nostalgic feel. Also, the sheer joy of children waiting for Christmas is a real treasure. It is known that he was popular throughout the Kansai region – often focusing on children and females.
Uzaki Sumikazu provides great warmth in many of his delightful postcards concerning children. Indeed, other subject matters he focused on – when depicting a dreamy atmosphere – also depict a certain array of magic – even when the subject matter is mundane. Therefore, despite Uzaki Sumikazu not being known by most people in modern times, he still produced delightful postcards that entice people today concerning the atmospheric effect of his most accomplished postcards.
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