Monday, May 28, 2012

The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston has great collections.

I went to Tokyo two weeks ago for seeing the exhibition in Tokyo National Museum. They exhibit Japanese Classical art collection, which the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston has.

In Meiji Era, about a hundred years ago, Japan was changing dynamically by the influence of western culture, and many Japanese old artworks and crafts were sold out. Additionally, Japanese government took a policy to avoid Buddhism culture to improve Shinto religious, which worship Japan’s original deities. It made many Buddhism statues destroyed mandatorily by Japanese themselves.

In that situation, Fenollosa and Bigelow bought variety kind of arts crafts, and Buddhism statues, and they took all of them home U.S.A. Fortunately, they respected these Japanese artworks, and tried to preserve them. After they died, they were donated to the museum. That’s why the museum has high quality and worthwhile Japanese old traditional art.

I was looking forward to meeting them when I hard that they come back to Japan in 2012, because I had been to the museum in Boston in 2008 to see Japanese art. However, I couldn’t see all of them because they didn’t always show all of them (especially valuable works) there and they were renovating some parts of their building just at that time.

When I went to the exhibition in Tokyo, I was surprised that those old classical works had very good condition. I realized that they were mended and maintained with respect by their enormous effort for a long term. I felt really thankfulness for the foreign people who deal with them regardless they were created in the far eastern little country.

I had some other surprised points. I am strongly interested in Rimpa art. Rimpa is a kind of way of art in Edo era. Ogata Korin is representative of Rimpa artist. The museum has one of his artwork, ‘Waves at Matsushima’. I have seen a lot of his artworks at many museums, but I have never seen more unique than it. It just shows some small stone island in wild wave. The artist used colors of orange, green and navy blue to these islands. This navy blue was very devastating expression for me. It was my discovery of Ogata Korin.

Second thing was Kano Tannyu’s artwork. Kano Tannyu was an painter in Edo era. ‘Kano-ha’ was a group of artists that began in fifteen’s century. They had very traditional way and techniques of art. However, I think that Kano Tannyu was a unique artist in their group, because I think that his screen structure was very simple and modernized. It was as the way of Rimpa as not Kano-ha. The museum showed one of his artworks in the exhibition. It was very small size of work, but I felt that it showed his unique aspect more strongly than his other works.

I found many new things for me in the exhibition. I’d like to go there again and I must do so.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Artworks of Sakai Houitsu

I went to Himeji city museum of art last month. They exhibited the work of Sakai Houitsu, Japanese Painter in the 18th century. This year is the 250th anniversary of his birth, and many museums held exhibitions of his work which were selected from Japanese collectors' collections.

He was the second son of the family of old Himeji's Daimyo, the feudal lord, so this museum made a big exhibition series at the month. Himeji is in the west part of Japan, but he was actually growing up in Edo, which was in the east part of Japan and the actual capital city at that period. At that period, families of some Daimyo had to live in Edo city, because the governor called it them to prevent from riot. Sakai Houitsu created his work there, the biggest city in Japan. In addition, the job of family as Daimyo was taken charge by his elder brother. It made him enable to spend a lot of time for art and make connections with many artists and poets in Edo.

At the beginning, he preferred to paint beautiful women as known as Ukiyo-e style painting or ordinal Japanese painting such as flowers, landscapes. After that, he found the artwork by Ogata Korin, who was a Japanese painter in 17th century. Houitsu was strongly impressed by Korin, the creator 100 years before for him.

Korin’s way of art was different from Japanese traditional way of painting. For example, they laid weigh on the construction of things, flowers, trees and creatures on a screen, with their own intention. They sometimes used even abstracted shape of creatures. It was like a modern graphic design. Houitsu learned a lot of things from these old art and improved them by his own sense of art.

I’m very interested in this process. My profession is digital creation, making digital animations, designing web site and developing software. I think I can learn something for it from the past art and how Houetsu created art with his background. Off Couse, I also enjoy the beauty of his artwork.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

The source of modern art of Japan

A large closed up moon appears in the center of the first scene. The moon emits silver light. There are some flowers and leaves of bush clover left under the moon. The scene scrolls to right, then some bunch of bush clover are showed one after another making lines like waves and reflect the silver moonlight. The bunch of bush clover changes vain as the scene is scrolling, and leaves of vain are closed up, took far and close up again like beating out a rhythm.

In another creation, you are in a bamboo forest and you look at some golden bamboos as closely as you can see their joints. The scene scrolls to right, then you look a plum tree and blossoms. Two long branches have grown leftward like guiding you. You walk left over turf and find some bunch of azalea on the ground. Azalea’s flowers look like bowing you. You go ahead and find the golden vine leaves hang down from above the scene. You go the leaves closely, and the leaves occupy the full of scene.

There could be these kinds of expression in modern artistic movies. Actually, these are my explanation of the Japanese old picture scrolls. They were created by Tawaraya Sotatsu and Hon-ami Koetsu in the 16 century in Japan. Koetsu wrote some quotations of Japanese old poems with his calligraphy and Sotatsu painted what I explained above under these poems on the scrolls. They made the same kind of artwork as a series. Japanese deers or cranes are used as motif in other artworks. These motifs were painted more abstractly than realistically, and it effects the expression of poetic space in the scrolls.

I was impressed that the creations created in the 16th century have had the exactly modernized feeling, so I considered that they could create them by a kind of their predictive or future-minded ability. However, I changed my opinion recently. I think that the modern feeling that we are calling has already begun in this period. We can find one of sources of our modern art creation feeling in their artwork.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Tea and Blood

Many people enjoy the Japanese Tea Ceremony, which is Japanese traditional way of tea started in the 15 century. It has a strict way for preparing and tasting tea, so it might be looked like a kind of ritual. It is one of reasons why they take the strict way that they practice it as like a sport, so they learn how to control their behavior, take concentration, or make beauty of their movement through it. They not only enjoy practicing the way of tea but also love artistic tea utensils and many variety of things, for example scroll picture, follower setting, the form of tea room and Japanese garden. They love talking about what are made careful selection of in the tea ceremony, and someone make them by themselves. Therefore, the Japanese tea ceremony is a kind of culture. This culture has been learned, followed and improved for a long time in Japan.

The other day, I explained this culture to my English teacher. I had difficulty for it, because she was a Filipina who teach me English from Cebu through the Internet. This lesson used the real-time online video chat, so we could have talk interactively. I told her about the tea ceremony in English, and if she had some questions, I answered them there and then.

When I finished my explanation, I asked her if there is a similar culture of the Japanese tea ceremony in the Philippines. She had a few seconds for thinking, and said that it resembled a "blood compact". I asked her what was a blood compact. She told it was a kind of ritual for unity of citizens in the fight against something. They drink their blood each other as a ritual.

At first, I thought that it didn't resemble the Japanese tea ceremony at all, because I thought the blood compact was very eccentric and barbaric, but the tea ceremony was neat and elegant. However, in a while, I changed the mind and figured out that she was right.

The culture of Japanese tea ceremony began at 15 century. Actually, there was a lot of provincial war in Japan at this period, so to say the age of civil wars. Despite many battles, some shoguns like practicing the tea ceremony, building the their own unique tea room and collecting favorite goods for it. The most powerful shogun, Hideyoshi Toyotomi hired a person who was a famous tea ceremony master. His name was Sen-no Rikyu. He established the form of the tea ceremony, as we modern people know it.

Shoguns had some reasons to do the tea ceremony. It was not only enjoyable for them but also it was a kind of their status symbol, and useful for practicing keeping their cool and concentration. Additionally, I think that it was like a tool for improving human relationship. They must have invited their fellows or the person who might become enemies in the future. They tried to develop their mutual understanding through drinking tea in spite of blood. Traditional tea room have Nijiri-guchi and Katana-kake. Nijiri-guchi is a very small entrance. Everyone who is getting in the room has to bend down. It showed they had no battling spirit there. Katana-kake is a hook of swords. It must be at the outside of the tea room, so they have to leave any weapon in the tea room. These things show warriors improved just their relation through the tea ceremony. I think that it was not to make contract for unity like as a blood compact, but it is similar to the blood compact on a point of view as a kind of ritual for developing human relation. It began originally at such a period of civil war in Japan.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The work of Touhaku Hasegawa

I went to the national museum Tokyo the other day. They exhibited work of Hasegawa Touhaku. He is a 15th century Japanese painter. Touhaku started as a religious painter at a local region, and he went up to the capital city Kyoto.

He had big rivals, Kanoh Eitoku and his group. Kanoh group already had powerful patrons, strong warrior or shogun, when Touhaku came out. They had built up a certain painting style and it had been very major. Touhaku learned Kanoh style and added his own style. Additionally, he challenged variety type of painting, so it made him a unique painter. Then, he finally got great success.

I’m interested in not only his paintings but also his strategies.

Monday, March 29, 2010

A seminar in English

I went to Tokyo last week. This trip's main purpose was to take part in the seminar by a computer software maker. They sometimes give seminars about their new products. The product which was discussed there was a kind of computer software development environment, and 500 people who use it or are interested in the market around it attended the seminar.

I excited variety of speakers. One of them was an engineer from their American head office, and the others were artists who used this software from Europe, and Japanese independent software creators. They informed a lot of things from new functions of the new one to their strategy on some markets and its expected effects with customer’s satisfaction. I could know not only its technical tips but also impress by their creative work. I was strongly stimulated by them.

I had one more impression. Foreign speakers made speech in English in the seminar. The seminar gave an interpreter receiver service, but some Japanese audience seemed to be able to hear without it and some of them asked questions in English to the speakers. I felt that our world is globalizing quickly and I should study English harder.

Saturday, March 27, 2010


I watched the movie "Surrogate" the other day. This is a near future sci-fi story. In this story, everybody has his or her own robot and they make it be a surrogate to do all activities out of home. People wear goggles and sensors on the special chair at home, and then control their own robot remotely. They enjoy life as Surrogates, because not only it makes their life safer but also they looks younger, healthier or more beautiful as a robot than their real figure.

However, it makes them have had a lot of fear for their life. For example, after the hero lost his surrogate because of being destroyed by anti-surrogate people during chasing a criminal who run away to the anti-surrogate people’s domain, he had to go to his FBI office by himself as his real body. One of his colleague said that he should have another Surrogate as soon as possible, because it is very dangerous to be out of home by his real body. She seemed to want to say no surrogate was insane.
I think that this plot might allegorically mention an aspect of our modern life. Many people use the Internet, and we can do a lot of things at home through it, for example, shopping, learning, or meeting with other people. Some people have avatars as they say in the Internet, and even enjoy fashion and virtual activities there.

This movie might alert us that it is possible that these kinds of life make us increase fear or negative feeling for the real life. The more dreadful thing is that we get around to feel them general, and nobody finds them something strange if there are.