Exhibit Celebrates 150th Anniversary of the Meiji Restoration and Immigration to Hawai‘i

Wayne Muromoto
Commentary
Special to The Hawai‘i Herald

In the “I Ching,” there is a popular canard, or myth: In crisis or change, there is opportunity. This is based on a false and superficial reading of the Chinese characters, or hanji (in Japanese: kanji). In any case, when I looked up how the myth got started, I saw that the “I Ching,” a book of divination, does offer advice on how to weather crisis, but it is more complicated a matter than a one-liner.

“Celebrating the 150th Anniversary of the Meiji Restoration and Immigration to Hawai‘i,” on exhibit at the Honolulu Museum of Art through Jan. 27, does give us a glimpse into how Japan weathered the shock of rapid modernization at the beginning of the Meiji imperial era, 1868 CE. And, as depicted in the more profound aspects of the I Ching, the series of woodblock prints from the museum’s collection (of over 10,000 prints from the 14th century to the present), Japan’s reaction to modernization was, as they say, complicated.

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