Nihonga didn't ignore the West

Feb 26, 2015

Nihonga didn't ignore the West

by Matthew Larking

From the early 1880s, painting in Japan became bisected. Yōga was used to categorize works in oils that were inspired by European painting movements and nihonga became the umbrella term for a whole array of earlier Japanese painting traditions that were later modernized. The ...

'Art Brut of Shiga'

Feb 26, 2015

'Art Brut of Shiga'

by Daisuke Kikuchi

March 3-15 During the postwar era, many social welfare establishments were created in Shiga Prefecture, including the child welfare facility Omi Gakuen, which was founded by Kazuo Itoga, Ichiji Tamura and Taro Ikeda in 1946. One of the then-unique activities of Omi Gaukuen was ...

A stitch in time does much more than save nine

Feb 20, 2015

A stitch in time does much more than save nine

by Kenta Murakami

One of Tokyo Dome’s most attended annual attractions might come as a surprise to some. Aside from being home to baseball games and big-name concerts, the huge stadium also hosts a number of fairs, including the Tokyo International Great Quilt Festival — which is ...

'Kawaii: Cute Girls in Ukiyo-e'

Feb 19, 2015

'Kawaii: Cute Girls in Ukiyo-e'

by Daisuke Kikuchi

March 1-26 Girl’s fashion in Tokyo’s Harajuku district has become a notable symbol of contemporary Japanese kawaii (cute) culture. However, it may come as a surprise to find out that the roots of kawaii trends are far older. On show at Ukiyo-e Ota Memorial ...

When nostalgia entangles with an unsettling past

Feb 5, 2015

When nostalgia entangles with an unsettling past

by John L. Tran

When Koichi Watari, the director of the Watari Museum of Contemporary Art contacted Yoshitomo Nara to organize a solo exhibition of his work, the artist was traveling around Hokkaido and Sakhalin with photographer and hard-core explorer Naoki Ishikawa. Nara suggested to Watari that they ...

'Seiho Takeuchi'

Feb 5, 2015

'Seiho Takeuchi'

by Daisuke Kikuchi

Last year marked the 150th anniversary of the birth of Seiho Takeuchi (1864-1942), a pioneer of nihonga (Japanese-style painting), whose influence on the genre helped it develop even further from its traditional restraints. Having traveled around Europe for seven months when he was 36, ...

Art is long, when life can be short

Jan 29, 2015

Art is long, when life can be short

by Matthew Larking

Given Japan’s continual seismic activity, what happened at 5:46 a.m. on Jan. 17, 1995, was unavoidable. The devastation and loss of life that occurred with the magnitude 7.3 quake in Kansai became a yardstick only now surpassed by the Great East Japan Earthquake of ...

'Yokoo Tadanori: Great Nirvana'

Jan 22, 2015

'Yokoo Tadanori: Great Nirvana'

by Daisuke Kikuchi

This collection of more than 300 nehanzo (nirvana statues) was originally accumulated by the artist Tadanori Yokoo. Such statues usually depict Buddha reclining as he awaits death to enter parinirvana, a realm also known as nirvana-after-death. This exhibition, however, includes all kinds of figures ...