Jonathan M. Reynolds
's new book looks carefully at how photographers, architects, and others wrestled with a postwar identity crisis as they explored and struggled with new meanings of tradition, home, and culture in modern Japan. Building on the work of Walter Benjamin, Allegories of Time and Space: Japanese Identity in Photography and Architecture
(University of Hawaii Press, 2015) takes readers into a range of media in which writers and artists engaged with these questions. From photographs of rural inhabitants of the Snow Country of northern Japan to photobooks on Japanese architecture to special structures built to serve young female nomads in Tokyo, the objects of Reynolds's study all served their makers as spaces for working through problems of identity, Japaneseness, and their transformations. It's a fascinating study that beautifully integrates images as an integral part of the text, and it is well worth reading.