Buddhist hells are frighteningly human

Aug 8, 2017

Buddhist hells are frighteningly human

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Popularly known as Genshin (942-1017), the high-ranking Buddhist prelate Eshin Sozu was said to have been born following his devout mother's prayers to the Kannon of Takaoji Temple in Taima, Nara Prefecture. Genshin began the road to monkhood in youth, studying at Kyoto's Enryakuji Temple ...

Straddling East and West in art

Jul 25, 2017

Straddling East and West in art

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Hybridity and eclecticism may be key concepts in much contemporary art, yet they are not new phenomena. In the Taisho Era (1912-1926), Tetsugoro Yorozu virtually personified the idea of hybrid art: As Japan rushed toward modernization, he not only experimented with the very latest ...

A tribute to the women of '70s Okinawa

Jul 16, 2017

A tribute to the women of '70s Okinawa

Photographer Mao Ishikawa, whose work frequently depicts personal, political and racial intersections in her native Okinawa, has published a new volume revisiting her 1970s portraits of Japanese bar hostesses and U.S. servicemen near the Kadena Air Base. "Red Flower: The Women of Okinawa" ("Akabana: Okinawa ...

Painting between the lines

Jul 11, 2017

Painting between the lines

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The pairing of Hideki Kimura's prints with the seemingly sculptural assemblages of Sadaharu Horio is perhaps unexpected. What draws them together, however, are conceptions of their practices as painting. Both veterans of Japan's contemporary art scene, they pursue painting by other means, working within ...

The scope of cultural displacement

Jun 27, 2017

The scope of cultural displacement

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Mercedes Benz Art Scope is an exchange program that allows Japanese artists to spend time in Germany and German artists to visit Japan. The Hara Museum of Contemporary Art has been a partner in this project since 2003, and in this year's group show, Stuttgart-based ...

Japan’s 'kanban' are still hanging in there

Jun 18, 2017

Japan’s 'kanban' are still hanging in there

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Little information remains about the personal life of the artisan Kojiro Shimizu. His personality and interests, his passions and motivations — all are shrouded in mystery. What we know is that he worked in Kyoto in the late 19th and early 20th century and ...

Kaikei: the name behind the gods

May 23, 2017

Kaikei: the name behind the gods

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Kamakura Period (1185-1333) Buddhist sculptures often come down to us under the individual names of makers (when known) though they were often fashioned in workshops by multiple hands. A significant 13th-century work would employ a dozen or so team members and assistants and draw ...

Kaiho Yusho: painting privilege

Apr 25, 2017

Kaiho Yusho: painting privilege

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The Momoyama Period (1573-1615) artist Kaiho Yusho (1533-1615) was renowned among the elite painters of his time, and still is. More remarkable, however, is that fame came when he was in his 60s during what is called his "early" period. Over the following two ...

Ken Domon and the artistry of real life

Apr 16, 2017

Ken Domon and the artistry of real life

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By 1957, photographer Ken Domon had reached the peak of his creative powers. A picture taken that year in Hiroshima, which he was visiting for the first time to chronicle the lingering effect of the bomb, shows him supremely confident: ram-rod straight on a ...

Kakiemon: Generations of beauty

Apr 11, 2017

Kakiemon: Generations of beauty

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There's still time to enjoy cherry blossoms. Through May 14, the Toguri Museum of Art in Tokyo is exhibiting a stunning new work by Sakaida Kakiemon XV, the current inheritor of one of the most famous names in Japanese porcelain. The very large lidded ...