On Other Surfaces│7│

Table of Contents

Doboku (civil engineering) and Bijutsu (art) are two concepts that were newly formulated during the Meiji era’s advancing modernization. However, in direct contrast to the concept of Bijutsu, which encountered internal conflict and failure in its importation and localization, the concept of Doboku permeated the areas of law and scholarship far more smoothly. This is also evident by the fact that in the same year the Old River Act, a modern civil engineering law, was enacted, an exhibition established by and centered on Tenshin Okakura, who attempted to combine Western-style painting and Japanese-style painting, was criticized.
In Japan, Yuichi Takahashi is regarded as the father of modern Western-style painting; in his Doboku paintings, the elements of Doboku and Bijutsu, which are often thought of as two separate entities, intersect. Takahashi’s Doboku paintings, which depict spring water flowing from the tunnels and the raw scars of excavation projects, do not simply record the civil engineering projects of the time, but also depict the new Meiji concept of Doboku itself.
In this article, Kurose examines the late career of Yuichi Takahashi as well as the early Meiji era in which he lived. Kurose also analyses the circumstances that led to Yuichi painting Doboku paintings. Furthermore, Kurose examines HIROSHIMA, a collection of a bird’s-eye view paintings painted in 1949 by Hatsusaburō Yoshida, as well as the 1954 special effects monster film Godzilla, in order to elucidate a genealogy of Doboku paintings ranging from the Meiji era to postwar Japan, as well as the unique realism that these works embody.