Flip through the pages of the Shin-Bijutsukai and you’ll be able to experience just what the vogue readers of Japan’s Meiji era (1868-1912) enjoyed during their free time. Available now in digital form thanks to Smithsonian Libraries, the Shin-Bijutsukai was once a monthly Japanese design magazine showcasing stunning collections of design trends of the time. In the words written in the pages of the magazine itself, it was “the new monthly magazine of various designs by the famous artists of to-day.”
The Shin-Bijutsukai was first published in 1902 as a new version of what was formerly known as the Bijutsukai magazine. The issues were put together by Furuya Kōrin, a notable designer of the Meiji period as well as the disciple of Kamisaka Sekka.
Despite being published over 100 years ago, many of the designs displayed in the Shin-Bijutsukai have a surprisingly modern touch. Blending traditional Japanese designs in a rather contemporary style, these luxurious designs can be said to have been, in part, the products of an increasingly Westernizing Japanese society.
These issues of the Shin-Bijutsukai are currently being published by Unsodo, but they can also be enjoyed right in the comfort of your own living room. If you fall in love with certain prints, you can even download the pages for free as PDFs or ebooks. They’ll make wonderful additions to any scrapbooking project or white wall begging to be decorated!