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Publication Date

Fall 2023

Degree Type

Thesis - Campus Access Only

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Art and Art History


Anthony Raynsford; Josine Smits; Michiko Urgu


This research focused on recent Foujita exhibitions in Japan. More than 50 years have passed since Tsuguharu Foujita's death, and his past involvement in war propaganda paintings is beginning to be forgotten. The research revealed the stories of art experts and ordinary citizens who survived WWII, that highlighted the general public’s lack of awareness of the issue. The research then looked into several art movements that took place in the West in the early 20th century. Although the Socialist Realism and Degenerative Art exhibitions have been well analyzed for their significance in art history, the story of Japan’s war propaganda paintings is known only to limited people and is not recognized as a topic of discussion by a wider audience. The paper examined the National Museum of Modern Art’s current practices, tracing the handling of 153 war paintings returned from the United States. The findings were compared with other regional and private art museums in Japan. While the national museum is making slow but steady progress in educating the public about the history of Japanese war painting and Foujita’s true nature as a war artist, other museums still attempt to avoid mentioning Foujita’s involvement in war propaganda.