|Mens' omoshirogara hanten (inside out)|
And there were a lot of fabrics celebrating modernity. By the end of the Meiji era (1912), through the Taisho (1912 - 1926) and beyond, Japan leapt into the brave new world of the 20th century. This tumultuous time was documented and commented upon in the arts, literature and design.
At first we thought these illustrations seemed a bit generic - perhaps an artist's flight of fancy. But they were actually grounded in what was going on at the time. With a little sleuthing, we learned why these images were deemed important enough to print on a garment.
First up is an illustration of a train. It's a C55. These train engines were produced in Japan between 1934 and 1937. The trains were identified by the number on the front of the boiler. For this illustration, the artist took a bit of license and labeled it C55 86. Only 62 were ever produced. Nonetheless, this train, though still a steamer, was a leap forward in power and design. It could cruise along at a cool 90 kph. The last of them operated on regular runs until the mid-70s
|C55 Streamline Train|