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Kaleidoscopic Modernisms: Montage Aesthetics in Shanghai and Tokyo Pictorials of the 1920s and 1930s

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Chapter Summary

This chapter describes and gives examples of the four types of photographic arrangements (tabular, thematic, centrifugal, and kaleidoscopic) in Chinese and Japanese popular illustrated magazines of the 1920s and 1930s. It also shows how pictorial magazines from this era reveal the processes of modernity's transnational emergence. It may be that the popularity of kaleidoscopic photomontages at this time was linked to the instability of the age itself. Mu Shiying (1912-40), a prominent New Perceptionist, who met with Yokomitsu Riichi during his two visits to Japan, is well known for his innovative visual descriptions of Shanghai. Fragmentary cinematic views of urban space, as in the literary and photographic examples, were often combined to great effect in Shanghai and Tokyo pictorials. Photomontages were effective visual accompaniments to New Perceptionist fiction. Liangyou, Asahi Graph, and other mass publications were subsequently enlisted to spread nationalist political ideologies.

Keywords: Asahi Graph; kaleidoscopic photomontages; Liangyou; Mu Shiying; nationalist political ideologies; Shanghai pictorials; Tokyo pictorials



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