About this artwork
Here, two beauties, or moga—short for modan gaaru, or modern girls—sit on the beach, dressed in the latest sportswear and enjoying their ample leisure time. A delicately scalloped gray shape encircles the two friends, and we soon realize that it is the shadow cast by an unseen umbrella.
The woman on the right in particular stares confrontationally, as though daring us to gaze at her. She wears a sheer blouse, and her bathing suit and arms are slightly visible beneath it. She has a Western-style bob haircut and one of the newfangled permanent waves popular in the 1930s. Her friend lounges in a sleeveless jumpsuit. At the height of fashion for the beach are their stripes, seen in their clothing and accessories, and even carried into the way the artist, Yamakawa Shūhō, has rendered their hair. They are surrounded by their accessories—a broad-rimmed hat, a ukulele, and a purse shaped like a volleyball with a handle.
The woman on the right has been identified as Yamamoto Chiyoko, the daughter of a prominent Tokyo family and one of Shūhō’s students. One day after class, she was to meet a friend, Ota Misuzu, for an excursion to a coastal area close to Tokyo. The artist accompanied them and made sketches for this final composition.
- Yamakawa Shûhô
- Relaxing in the Shade
- Two-panel screen; ink and color on silk
- 188.5 × 173 cm
- Kate S. Buckingham Fund