At the same time as the Dada movement was finding followers in Japan, the Futurists were also gaining ground. The leading exponent, the artist Tai Kambara, published the first Japanese Futurist poem, “The Dynamism of the Automobile”, in Shincho magazine in 1917. One translated excerpt reads:
Volume of sound
Volume of movement
Desire of light
Feeling of light…
In the same year, he exhibited a painting entitled “Beautiful City Streets! Oh, Confusion! Oh, Annoyance!” which gathered considerable acclaim but has since been lost, probably destroyed. In the early 1920s, he worked on a series of paintings entitled “Flow of Life” (including the pictured “Subject from Scriabin’s Poem of Ecstasy”, and formed a society of cultural activists known as Group Action. Tokyo was awash with anti-establishment, anti-government, pro-anarchism groups of artists, such as Group Action, the Nika Society, the Hakka-sha … but their volatile nature meant that they couldn’t agree on anything, or stay together for long.
Dada and Futurism in Japan received a shot in the arm, however, when Tomoyoshi Murayama returned from Berlin in 1923.
To be continued …