Dieselpunk doesn't really exist as a genre in Japan. There are some anime that suit the genre aesthetics (I'll write about them some other time) but the historical period itself is a fascinating and singular one in the nation's history.
The Taisho period lasted from 1912 to 1926 and was a time of liberalism and social experimentation, as the nation came to grips with increasing westernization and a natural disaster (The Great Kanto of Earthquake of 1923) that destroyed the capital city. The Showa Period began in 1926, with progressive and liberal thinking in the arts and politics being gradually overshadowed by an increasing militarism.
Recently, I came across a book that's a fascinating document of the time. It's "The Scarlet Gang Of Asakusa", written by Yasunari Kawabata, the first Japanese writer to win the Nobel Prize for Literature and author of the world-famous novel "Snow Country". "The Scarlet Gang of Asakusa" was written in 1930 and is basically a chronicle of the downtown Bohemian area of Tokyo known as Asakusa, where artists and novelists hung out in the kissaten coffee shops listening to the latest jazz albums, mixing with burlesque dancers, hookers, pimps, thieves and con artists. It's also written in a style that has been called 'Modernist', which means that it shares elements of the stream of consciousness technique pioneered by James Joyce, Virginia Woolf and William Faulkner.
Joyce was first introduced into Japan in 1918, and the noted author Ryunosuke Akatagawa translated and published a section from "A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man" in 1922. From 1925, the use of the interior monologue and the works of other Modernist poets such as Ezra Pound and T.S. Eliot started to gain ground in Japan, so it's possible that these were influences on Kawabata when he was writing the book.
Here's an excerpt:
"--I guess you'll need the red ones tonight. And I glance at the votive sticker in Haruko's hand. We're on the sidewalk on the lonely side of the street.
--Oh shoot. That reminds me. I've only got red ones left. I use the green ones way too much, so you can see how much I like to chase the boys.
The votives are the Scarlet Gang's innocent prank, a downtown kind of a joke. But sometimes, they double as your name cards, ID cards, or warning signals.
On the thick paper like that used for doors, yet so small you can tuck them in the palm of your hand, with the three words - Asakusa Scarlet Troupe - printed in Kantei style (bold, round white letters), there are both red ones and green ones. The whole system works like streetcar signals.
For example, say Haruko picks up a man and takes him to the shop where they sell Meiji brand candy in front of Kaminari Gate. She drops a green sticker at the store entrance. One of her buddies passing by notices the sticker and shakes the guy down for money."
The novel - although 'novel' doesn't feel like the right word - is illustrated by the contemporary artist Ota Saburo. Which gives us, yes, airships and kimonos!