Propaganda Kimono
Man's Haori |  Silk, yuzen dyed and painted silk haura |  39 x 48"

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Propaganda Kimono

Some of the earliest, idealized, conventions of the "City of the Future", including aerial roadways from skyscraper to skyscraper, and cantilevered landing pads for planes, helicopters, and auto-gyros, appear on the haura of this man's garment. Zeppelins, emblems of genuine futurity, were well known in Japan after the Graf zeppelin stopped in Tokyo on August 18, 1929 on its "Round the World" flight sponsored by, among others, William Randolph Hearst. Leaving Tokyo five days later, the giant air-ship flew to California - 5,998 miles in just three days, the first non-stop flight over the Pacific.

With its streamline trains at home and in Manchukuo, and up to date military hardware like battleships and bombers, the Japanese could rightly boast of staying abreast of Western technological modernity. But the artist of this charmingly naïve haura went one step further by dipping into what was by then the standard imagery of science fiction pulp and "mechanix" magazine illustration art, as if to proclaim - "the imaginary future is ours to share as well."