From 1945 onward, post-war artists in Japan encountered two interrelated challenges: to both adjust to the war’s aftermath, and also to create a new visual language which expressed new ideas and emotions. For women artists in Japan, this time of distinct culture change allowed for a re-defining of their role in the art community as well as society. However, there were strict boundaries surrounding the institutional and academic realm of art, one that was not inviting to women, or one that allowed opportunity or growth. Nevertheless, many women artists sought to explore gender roles, the idea of womanhood, sexuality, and expression of the self. These topics were not met willingly by male counterparts or art critics, which forced women artists to constantly engage with a society that did not openly support their work. It was a tumultuous environment; however, women artists of this era truly showcased some of the most influential, explorative, experimental, and exciting avant-garde pieces that deeply affected the history of art.

In the artistic community, new conversations and ideas were challenging the rigidity of a traditional Japanese society. Women artists saw this as an opportunity to insert these challenges into their art. There was an ongoing exploration of ideas that critiqued the rigid structure that the establishment enforced upon artists. In the early ‘50s, many women produced artworks that explored ideas such as self-expression, gender norms and responsibilities of womanhood.

Thesis Completion




Thesis Chair/Advisor

Geppert, Melissa


Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)


College of Arts and Humanities


School of Visual Arts and Design

Degree Program

Art History



Access Status

Open Access

Release Date