my pal too! oh i love Shimada-san!



When I first saw the ad around town for the Asian Art Museum’s “Lords of the Samurai” exhibition, my heart sank a little. (Really.) The ad seemed to pander to the romantic Western notion of samurai as mysterious, nearly invincible swordsmen. If the AAM was using the samurai as the centerpiece of an exhibit, and accompanying marketing campaign, their ad might have avoided calling up stereotypes. However, this didn’t seem to be the case.

In the ad, a shadowy suit of armor seems to glow against a red background; it’s a menacing image.Unlike other AAM exhibition titles, which are long and descriptive, “Lords of the Samurai” is short and evocative, the punchy words suggesting prestige and power. The word “samurai” is far bigger than any other and stands out in white, suggesting its importance; without further explanation, the viewer can easily project ill-informed associations onto the ad…

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