Matthew Larking

For Matthew Larking's latest contributions to The Japan Times, see below:

Kasuga's grand treasures hold history high

May 29, 2018

Kasuga's grand treasures hold history high

Around a half-century after Heijo (present-day Nara) became Japan's capital in 710, Minister of the Left Fujiwara no Nagate constructed Kasuga Grand Shrine at the behest of Empress Shotoku in 768. The shrine complex went up at the foot of the sacred Mount Mikasa, ...

The funny side of Edo Period culture

May 8, 2018

The funny side of Edo Period culture

Sometimes vulgar or ridiculous, and occasionally cliched, the toba-e of Nichosai, Kuniyoshi, Hokusai and Kyosai at the Osaka City Museum of Fine Arts offer a panorama of what the historically amusing.

Ike no Taiga: The 'true view' travel painter

Apr 24, 2018

Ike no Taiga: The 'true view' travel painter

"The Genius of Ike no Taiga: Carefree Traveler, Legendary Painter," at Kyoto National Museum, is magisterial. Edo Period (1603-1868) Kyoto teemed with big name painters, but Taiga (1723-1776) was superlative. Taiga began the practice of calligraphy when a child, and was pseudo-certified in 1729 as ...

Kyotographie is still on the up and up

Apr 10, 2018

Kyotographie is still on the up and up

The sixth edition of Kyotographie, Kyoto's annual celebration of local and international photography, which opens in venues across the city on April 14, is titled "Up." This year, the collection of exhibitions address France-Japan relations: the 160th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations ...

When art met craft in Meiji Era Japan

Apr 3, 2018

When art met craft in Meiji Era Japan

The focus of "The 150th Anniversary of the Meiji Period: Making and Designing Meiji Arts and Crafts" at The National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto, concerns the relationship between nihonga (Japanese-style) painters of Kyoto and craft production during a time when craft and design ...

Turner: The landscaper of art genres

Mar 13, 2018

Turner: The landscaper of art genres

J.M.W. Turner (1775-1851) remains among the most adored of British landscapists. His natural draftsman talent, in union with the hard work ethic of his time led to recognition and formal training at the Royal Academy of Arts, where he was elected to become one ...

The multifaceted talents of Seiji Togo

Feb 27, 2018

The multifaceted talents of Seiji Togo

Seiji Togo (1897-1978) has been characterized as having two distinctive career phases corresponding to youth and maturity. The first was as a pioneer of European modern movements in Japan. The second was as a postwar painter of simplified and smoothly contoured female beauties that ...

An excavation of hu-man traits

Feb 13, 2018

An excavation of hu-man traits

The excavation of the tomb of the Tang Dynasty general Mu Tai (660-729, buried in 730) took place in Qingcheng County in China's Gansu Province in 2001. Unearthed were colorfully painted and realistically detailed small-scale sculptures of "foreign" peoples and their animals, such as ...

Van Gogh's long-distance love affair

Jan 30, 2018

Van Gogh's long-distance love affair

"Van Gogh & Japan" concerns a love affair of creative misperceptions between temporally and geographically distant admirers. Van Gogh (1853-1890) never went to Japan, though he idealized it briefly as a utopia in which artists worked communally in converse with nature. Attempting to establish what ...

The zero hour of Kobe's avant-garde

Jan 2, 2018

The zero hour of Kobe's avant-garde

Hyogo Prefectural Museum of Art's present draw card is the Saint Petersburg collection, "Old Masters from the State Hermitage Museum." But on a lower level, at the far end of a long corridor gallery, are photos and grainy videos — the small-scale documentation of ...