Statue-building in Japan goes back to the nineteenth century. The first statue of a historical personality erected in public space was the sculpture of Yamato Takeru set up in the city of Kanazawa in 1880.
The sixty years between 1880 and 1940 saw a rapid growth in statue-building. Around 900 public sculptures were erected throughout the country during this period.
Most of these statues were melted down during World War II for the production of ammunition, but many were rebuilt after the war--and many more were added.
What kind of personalities are depicted in these statues, and for what puropose are these monuments set up?
My book Men in Metal. A Topography of Public Bronze Statuary in Modern Japan gives you the answers you are looking for.
This website introduces some of the main findings of the book and presents additional visual material that could not be used in the book.
Enjoy browsing these pages!
Sven Saaler, Tokyo, 2020