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For Goze artists, music was a life of servitude

Mar 19, 2014

For Goze artists, music was a life of servitude

by Stuart Munro

Walking in a line, hands gently touching the person in front and guided by someone able-sighted, blind female entertainers, known as Goze, would travel up and down Japan, come rain or snow, to play the shamisen and perform jōruri narrative music. Walking in unimaginable ...

Hasekura Tsunenaga's portrait has a tale to tell

Mar 12, 2014

Hasekura Tsunenaga's portrait has a tale to tell

by Rhiannon Paget

History is littered with grand projects and dashed expectations that are no less intriguing than its moments of triumph and heroism. A large portrait in oils of a splendidly attired, mid-ranking samurai posing regally in a Roman palace in the early 1600s bears witness ...

The many reinventions of Masamu Yanase

Mar 12, 2014

The many reinventions of Masamu Yanase

by Jeff Michael Hammond

If ever an artist was in a constant state of reinvention, it was Masamu Yanase (1900-1945), now the subject of a full-scale exhibition at The Museum of Modern Art, Hayama. “Yanase Masamu: A Retrospective 1900-1945″ brings together more than 500 of the artist’s works, ...

All-genre focus is the key to Art Fair Tokyo's success

Mar 6, 2014

All-genre focus is the key to Art Fair Tokyo's success

by Edan Corkill

It is difficult to criticize Art Fair Tokyo, the commercial art fair that celebrates its ninth edition at Tokyo International Forum in Yurakucho this weekend. Truth be told, it’s a wonder that the event has reached nine editions at all, what with the inherent ...

'The refusal of time' is worth every minute

Feb 19, 2014

'The refusal of time' is worth every minute

by Matthew Larking

The former Rissei Elementary School site, nowadays an occasional cultural events center, was earlier home to the Kyoto Dento, the electric company whose technology helped industrialist Katsutaro Inabata to demonstrate the Lumière Brothers’ cinématographe camera in 1897 — Japan’s first experience with film. Significant ...

Ryuichi Kakurezaki: on clay and legends

Feb 19, 2014

Ryuichi Kakurezaki: on clay and legends

by Robert Yellin

It’s not easy to make profound changes in a ceramic style that has a 1,000-year history. Take, for instance, the style known as Bizen. Bizen pottery is one of Japan’s most celebrated high-fired unglazed ceramic styles, and continues to be so to this very ...