Aomori-born Shiko Munakata’s 1937 work “In Praise of Tohoku” is a visual prayer on the hardship of life in northern Honshu. The 10-meter-wide set of folding screens features a dense, chaotic wall of semi-abstraction with Amida Nyorai, the Buddha of limitless light and compassion, at its center. The piece shares a grim energy with Pablo Picasso’s “Guernica,” which was created the same year.

It is a standout work in the retrospective exhibition of one of Japan’s most internationally successful and storied modern artists, “The Making of Munakata Shiko: Celebrating the 120th Anniversary of the Artist’s Birth.” The exhibition is a major affair in terms of size and reach, having traveled down from the print artist’s home prefecture to The National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo, where it is currently being shown through Dec. 3, before it goes on to Toyama Prefecture, where Munakata lived between 1945 and 1951.