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Roppongi readies for 32-hour art marathon

by Stuart Munro

Art needn’t be strictly visual. That’s how Katsuhiko Hibino sees things. The artist once again serves as artistic director for this year’s Roppongi Art Night, which begins at 10 a.m. on Saturday and runs straight through until 6 p.m. on Sunday. Moving beyond the visual, Hibino has decided on “Move ...

Art on the brink of fragmentation

Apr 9, 2014

Art on the brink of fragmentation

by C.B. Liddell

You can’t go wrong by calling a show “Fragments,” as the curators of this year’s “MOT Annual” exhibition have done. With a name like that, whatever bits and pieces visitors encounter at the annual group show of Tokyo’s Museum of Contemporary Art, they can’t ...

Edo-Tokyo Museum maps out the history of Japan's capital

Apr 9, 2014

Edo-Tokyo Museum maps out the history of Japan's capital

by Rhiannon Paget

The transformation of Edo from a mosquito-infested fishing village to seat of power and cultural center has endlessly fascinated lovers of history. After the imperial capital Kyoto fell to military rule in 1185, ensuing battles for power saw the capital move to Kamakura, then ...

Shimooka Renjo, back in focus

Mar 26, 2014

Shimooka Renjo, back in focus

by Alice Gordenker

It's not surprising that the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography has organized a retrospective on Shimooka Renjo, one of the first commercial photographers in Japan. What is surprising is that it didn't happen sooner.

Mar 26, 2014

On light, wind — and good sake

by C.B. Liddell

Tokyo Station Gallery is one of the more interesting art venues in the city. Occupying part of the renovated Tokyo Station Building, it combines daring modern design with the building’s early 20th-century, red-brick charm. This also makes it a rather suitable venue for “Hakubakai ...

Deep feelings at high altitudes

Mar 19, 2014

Deep feelings at high altitudes

by Danielle Demetriou

The photographs, taken by artist Naoya Hatakeyama, hint at both the beauty and dangers of a mountain, as reflected in the shades of light and darkness alongside textures of soft-edged snow and sharply lined rocks.

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, ...