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Yoko Haruhara

For Yoko Haruhara's latest contributions to The Japan Times, see below:

Late Edo Period villainy is captured in violent ukiyo-e prints

Art Jun 12, 2018

Late Edo Period villainy is captured in violent ukiyo-e prints

In the waning years of the Edo Period (1603-1868), a darkness seized hold of the public consciousness and bloody murders, acts of arson and sexual scandal were rampant. Well, at least in Japanese art. The 19th century saw the commoner class become ascendent, and Japan's ...

The maven of Japanese sword fittings

Art Nov 21, 2017

The maven of Japanese sword fittings

The special exhibition "Pinnacle of Elegance: Sword Fittings of the Mitsumura Collection" at the Nezu Museum offers a fascinating look at the collection that Toshimo Mitsumura (1877-1955), a wealthy businessman, amassed at the end of the Meiji Era (1868-1912). Mitsumura's passion for swords is ...

The sweet  artworks of Tetsuya Nagata

Style & Design Jul 2, 2017

The sweet artworks of Tetsuya Nagata

Osaka-born artist Tetsuya Nagata has found a unique way to breathe new life into two time-honored crafts of Japan — washi (Japanese paper) and wagashi (Japanese sweets). By pressing Nishinouchi washi into carved wooden molds that were originally used for shaping sugar, he creates delicate ...

Keeping up with the Joneses, Edo style

Art May 9, 2017

Keeping up with the Joneses, Edo style

The Edo Period (1603-1868) is renowned for the flourishing of material culture — a time when major advances and innovations in Japanese folk crafts and design were prized by the burgeoning commoner class of Edo (present-day Tokyo) and Osaka. "The Golden Age of Mingei: Life ...

Maruyama Okyo melded styles to pioneer a new path in art

Art Nov 15, 2016

Maruyama Okyo melded styles to pioneer a new path in art

The 18th century was an exciting time for Japan. After unification in 1603, a remarkable spirit of innovation pervaded as urban centers grew and the arts flourished. The creativity came despite a policy of sakoku that the ruling Tokugawa shogunate enacted in 1633 to close ...

The Korean roots beneath Japan's folk art movement

Art May 3, 2016

The Korean roots beneath Japan's folk art movement

The folk craft movement in Japan owes a great debt to Soetsu Yanagi (1889-1961), who coined the term "mingei" ("folk crafts") in 1925. Yanagi pioneered the notion that Japan's vernacular crafts had their own intrinsic artistic worth, and should be valued, collected and curated. ...

Behind the scenes of ukiyo-e prints

Art Sep 8, 2015

Behind the scenes of ukiyo-e prints

Everyday life in Edo (present-day Tokyo) was befitting of a capital city — an era of beautiful women, graceful kabuki actors, bustling streets and breathtaking sights. The peace and stability imposed by the Edo Period (1603-1868) Tokugawa Shogunate allowed the city to flourish and ...

The Edo samurai knew how to look sharp

Art Jun 30, 2015

The Edo samurai knew how to look sharp

'The World of Edo Dandyism: From Swords to Inro" at the Nezu Museum is a splendid collection of Edo Period (1603-1868) swords and sword accessories that includes blades, scabbards and metal fittings, as well as decorative sets of inrō (pill boxes) and netsuke (carved ...

Transforming the splendor of Japanese art

Art Sep 25, 2014

Transforming the splendor of Japanese art

Every culture treasures its arts, and art museums are at the forefront of art preservation, engaging curators and specialists to ensure works remain as faithful to the originals as possible. Japan, however, has a long cultural and philosophical tradition that runs counter to the contemporary ...