Providing information about the arts of Japan was always one of the main aims of the Society for Japanese Arts. The publication of a periodical was, in fact, high on the list of intentions when the Society was founded in 1937. The first issue of the Society’s Bulletin (in Dutch) appeared in October 1938 and was received with great enthusiasm. Over the following years, the Bulletin would carry articles, reviews, announcements, and Society news, keeping members abreast of developments and events.
Shedding light on Japanese art
During the early years of the Second World War, the board presented an attitude of optimism and made it a point never to refer to what was euphemistically called “the political situation”. But by 1943 the circumstances could no longer be ignored and the Society’s activities, including the publication of the Bulletin, came to a standstill. After the war, attempts were made to restore lost contacts and revive the Society. The Bulletin re-emerged in 1948, but it proved difficult to keep the momentum. It appeared at ever greater intervals and was, in the early 1960s, gradually replaced by a newsletter. As the number of non-Dutch members was steadily increasing, it was decided in 1963 to publish the newsletter in both Dutch and English, and to include information about publications and events outside the Netherlands.
By the end of the 1970s, however, the need for “a proper journal” was keenly felt. So qualms about the costs were set aside and the intention to publish an English-language periodical was officially announced at the General Members’ Meeting of 1980. Its name would be Andon (Japanese for lantern), and its motto and subtitle “shedding light on Japanese art.” The name was an idea of Willem R. van Gulik, later director of the Leiden Museum of Ethnology, and professor of Japanese art and material culture at Leiden University. Andon came into the world early in 1981, as a quarterly publication in black and white.
The first issue of Andon (1981), special issue (2014), the new design (2016)
Distribution costs proved an unpleasant surprise. It was again Willem van Gulik who came up with a solution: advertisements. This took some getting used to, but it turned out to be an excellent idea. Publishing Andon as a quarterly in the end turned out to be too ambitious. Quite often there was simply not enough copy and the costs of postage were, of course, considerable. In 2008 it was decided only to bring out two issues per year, but to increase the number of pages and carry more articles. Specials issues were published on several occasions: Andon 87 (december 2009), for instance, was a special about tattoos in Japanese prints, to go with the Japan Tattoo exhibition at the Leiden Siebold House in 2009-2010; Andon 97 (September 2014) presented the papers of the Society's 75th-anniversary conference on Japanese art and society from 1904 to 1930, Years of irony & paradox (Leiden, January 2013).
Graphic designer Robert Schaap’s 34-year involvement with Andon began in 1982 (issue no. 6), when he took on the layout of the articles. The first 20 Andons had carried a front cover design by Alice Horodisch-Garman, but in 1986 Schaap gave no. 21 a new full-colour cover – all images, however, were still in black and white. Full-colour illustrations first appeared in issue no. 63 (1999), when Schaap introduced a new cover design, and a larger format. The last issue of Andon designed by Schaap was issue 100, which appeared in the winter of 2015. Henri Ritzen and Marga Kanters of Ritzen-Design-Consult took over as designers in 2016, giving Andon a new look and balance. The first issue with the new design was Andon 101 (April 2016).
Over the years Andon has developed into a scholarly journal with an international reputation. However, its focus has ever been, and still is, the art object itself. The articles presented in Andon not only come from scholars, but also from collectors and art dealers. In addition, Andon is keen to be a platform for young scholars: the editorial team has considerable experience with first-time publishers, and is curious and open-minded. (For more details on the history of the SJA Bulletin and Andon, read Arendie Herwig's article in Andon 100, December 2015, pp. 76-86.)
Click here for the Andon style guide. Please do not hesitate to approach the editors if you have any further questions about publishing in Andon.
Click here for information about advertising in Andon.
The Andon team currently consists of: