• Otaru, Hokkaido


Regarding the Feb. 7 AFP article “Put pants on ‘David’ replica, locals urge“: Who would have thought that there was such a level of modesty in a culture that created such graphic works of erotica as the Shunga illustrated texts for newlywed couples or the modern “adult” manga? What gives?

How many Japanese suffer from this “fig leaf” complex?

Have the residents of Okuizumo, Shimane Prefecture, ever stopped to realize how ridiculous they’d look if the town did in fact dress up the five-meter-tall replica of Michelangelo’s Renaissance nude masterpiece “David” in pants? What about a simple, old-fashioned Victorian Era fig leaf?

This celebrated sculpture of the Old Testament king was inspired by the boyhood story of David’s battlefield slaying of the giant Goliath in one-on-one combat.

Surely a nation like Japan, which takes pride in its Bushido heritage can admire such heroics. Perhaps the town elders should put up an information plaque next to the statue to give an artistic interpretation of the statue and Michelangelo’s towering reputation in the world of art.

The good people of Okuizumo might not know of the Italian Renaissance and its role in European culture and modern art. It would be absolutely ludicrous to have “David” attired in underwear to “preserve his modesty”! In the ancient world, nudity was very common in public life. Children thought nothing of it. Has the town of Okuizumo no sense of aesthetics?

It is noteworthy that some see the statues of “David” and “Venus de Milo” as “good for the art classes at the high school.” No, the statues are not utilitarian tools for mere educational enrichment. That’s not why the artists created them, nor why they’ve been celebrated for hundreds of years. It’s about beauty.

robert mckinney
otaru, hokkaido

The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.