Call for paper: Japonisme and Colour

Following their visit to Japan, team members Charlotte Ribeyrol and Stefano Evangelista have been asked by the Society for the Study of Japonisme to co-organise their next international symposium on 'Japonisme and Colour'.

Japanese Board Game, published by Yokoyama, 1887-1894, colour woodblock print. Accession number: EA2021.8 © Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford

In the early twentieth century, Lafcadio Hearn / Koizumi Yakumo called Japan ‘the land of perfect good taste in chromatics’. Hearn was by no means unique in expressing such a marked fascination with the use of colours in Japanese art, culture and society. Indeed, ever since the nineteenth century, colour has acted as a hinge in the exchanges between Japanese and Western cultures that lie at the heart of Japonisme: it is an object of study and imitation, a means of revealing both cultural differences and similarities. Moreover, as colour technologies transformed across time (e.g. with the invention of new artificial dyes and printing/reproduction techniques), Japanese colours have come to embody the tension between tradition and modernity. Straddling all media (painting, photography, architecture, literature, etc.) and disciplines (art history, anthropology, sociology, science, etc.) colour is thus an ideal topic to explore the multi-faceted nature of Japonisme. We therefore welcome proposals on topics relating to Japonisme and colour from all disciplinary and trans-disciplinary perspectives. These might include:

  • The use, perception and translation of the colours of Japan across the arts
  • Colour symbolism, exoticism, eclecticism
  • Colour materialities and technologies (traditional and new crafts of colour, pigments and dyes)
  • Colour and the body (fashion, textiles, cosmetics)
  • Colour and the senses
  • Colour and the home (architecture, interior decoration and design)
  • Colour and performance (theatre, the stage)
  • Colour in nature and the environment (seasonality, gardens)
  • Scientific and/or religious uses of colour


Date: Sunday December 1, 2024

Place: Musashino Art University, Ichigaya Campus Access | Musashino Art University ( / Hybrid Symposium

Organizers: The Society for the Study of Japonisme / Ebara Hatakeyama Memorial Foundation / Charlotte Ribeyrol (Sorbonne Université) & Stefano Evangelista (Oxford University)

Language: Japanese or English (with simultaneous interpretation)

Requirements: The Society for the Study of Japonisme membership.

Non-members may sign up when submitting their proposals (see the “Join Us” page on our website

Your proposal will be considered once the Board of Directors approves your membership application.


Please email an abstract for a 20-minute presentation as attachment (single-page A4 document of about 300 words) to the address below by 17:00, Wednesday, July 10, 2024, Japan Standard Time.

Submissions will be reviewed by the Board of Directors and accepted applicants will be notified around Thursday, August 15. 

Please note that we do not accept papers which have been published elsewhere.


Accepted applicants will be asked to submit their manuscripts by Sunday, November 17 for the purpose of simultaneous translation. If you will be participating in the symposium virtually, please also submit pre-recorded video presentations.

The symposium will be held in person in Tokyo, with the option of participating online via zoom.


Send enquiries and proposals to:

(The Society for the Studies of Japonisme, Directors in Charge: Hitomi INOUE, Yu KISHI)

If you wish to get in touch

Contact US