Contemplative in Gunma

Aug 28, 2008

Contemplative in Gunma

The Hara Museum ARC in Shibukawa, Gunma Prefecture, has just opened a revolutionary new space designed by world-renowned architect Arata Isozaki that interweaves motifs of Japanese traditional architecture and art with modern ones. Called the Kankai Pavilion, the exciting new exhibition space is being ...

The soul of the samurai on show

Jun 26, 2008

The soul of the samurai on show

Referred to as the soul of the samurai, the Japanese sword is a wonderful blend of elegance and power, artistry and craft. A careful examination of swords and their accouterments reveals exquisitely designed works of craftsmanship. The exhibit “Celebrated Swords of the Seikado Collection: ...

Tea and swords for the Shogun

Nov 22, 2007

Tea and swords for the Shogun

As with all military leaders of the preceding Momoyama Period (1573-1615), the Tokugawa were celebrated patrons of the arts. The sheer output of the craftsmen they employed reveals an indefatigable support of the arts that extended to the amassing of beautifully crafted swords, armor, ...

Little friends for the other world

Oct 11, 2007

Little friends for the other world

Tomb artifacts have a powerful effect over their viewers, reminding us of the grandeur of the past. The design of tombs and funeral vaults on a monumental scale and with luxurious details stand as symbols of a desire for immortality. In contrast to the ...

Banners for the boys

May 3, 2007

Banners for the boys

Celebrated on May 5, Japan’s Children’s Day originated as an ancient Chinese festival from the old lunar calendar that marked a day to ward off evil spirits and pray for good health. After the Tokugawa Shogunate came into power at the beginning of the ...

Treasures from out of the tombs

Feb 1, 2007

Treasures from out of the tombs

A monstrous face spans an entire ax blade, with protruding eyes, uplifted eyebrows, and a gaping mouth with serrated teeth. Weighing 5 kg, this imposing blade from a Shang Dynasty (16th-11th century B.C.) royal tomb site in Shandong Province, China, was used in sacrificial ...

Japan Folk Crafts Museum celebrates 70th anniversary

Nov 23, 2006

Japan Folk Crafts Museum celebrates 70th anniversary

On first encountering Korean folk paintings, the avid collector Soetsu Yanagi (1889-1961) was so intrigued that he wrote, “The beauty of this Korean painting is beyond compare.” Yanagi coined the term minga — paintings by the people — in the 1930s to refer to ...

Seikado Bunko Art Museum shows off one-of-a-kind collection

Jun 8, 2006

Seikado Bunko Art Museum shows off one-of-a-kind collection

Depictions of swashbuckling fights on Japanese battlefields have often graced the silver screen, bringing international fame to the samurai and his indispensable sword. Admired for their craftsmanship, swords hold a special place in Japan not only as weapons, but as an art form as ...

Bridging cultural currents

Dec 15, 2005

Bridging cultural currents

SEOUL — It has long been known, though usually not mentioned in public discourse in Japan, that Korea has played a vital role in the transmission of Chinese culture to the country, starting with the introduction of Buddhism in 538. As of Oct. 28, ...

The aesthetics of the Korean noblewoman

Oct 20, 2005

The aesthetics of the Korean noblewoman

Korean aesthetics can be summed up in one word, mot. Used frequently in casual conversation, the term refers to stylishness, elegance and the state of being chic. “Mot: The Beauty and Style of Joseon Dynasty Korean Women,” currently being hosted by the Japan Folk ...