Forthcoming Books
Exhibition Books

Songs for Modern Japan
Popular Music and Graphic Design, 1900 to 1950

Format Regular Price Member Price
Softcover $40.00

ISBN: 978-0-87846-897-3; 232 pages; 8.25 x 11 in.; 130 color illustrations

The years between 1900 and 1950 were a whirlwind of change in Japan, with increasing modernism, consumerism, and influence from the West, alongside a revolution in sound and mass-produced images via movies and radio. Like no other objects, sheet music covers graphically embody this vortex of sights, sounds, events, and ideas.

Music scores presented songs ranging from traditional Japanese folk tunes to movie scores, Western jazz, opera, and patriotic marches. Publishers of music churned out sheets bound in graphic covers as diverse as the music within, illustrated in both Japanese- and European-influenced styles.

Featuring vibrant reproductions alongside essays by leading scholars, Songs for Modern Japan provides a window into Japanese society and culture during this half century of immense change.

About the Author

Kendall Brown is Professor of Asian Art History at California State University Long Beach

Anne Nishimura Morse is William and Helen Pounds Senior Curator of Japanese Art, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Hiromu Nagahara is Associate Professor of History at M.I.T.