Art of Japan and Sakai Dōitsu: Traditional art during the Meiji era

Art of Japan and Sakai Dōitsu: Traditional art during the Meiji era

Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

The Japanese artist Sakai Dōitsu (1845-1913) was born in the last few decades of the Edo period. Yet, despite the revolutionary changes of the Meiji Restoration, his art is shaped by tradition.

Hence, while many Japanese artists looked to international art, notably European, Dōitsu remained faithful to the artistic world of rinpa (rimpa).

I mention in another art piece, “His Confucian scholar father, Yamamoto Sōdo, is known to have admired the rinpa art of Sakai Hōitsu (1761-1828) and Suzuki Kiitsu (1796-1858). Hence, Dōitsu was well versed in such great artists, while in his informative years he studied under Nozaki Shin’ichi (1821-1899).”

In this sense, Dōitsu had a firm artistic path open to him. Thus the convulsions of the Meiji period bypassed his world. Therefore, he could focus on preserving the richness of rinpa art.

Of course, Dōitsu was firmly aware of the momentous changes taking place within the art world of Japan. Similarly, he knew that a sense of modernization in major cities was taking root. However, for Dōitsu, just like his Confucian scholar father, the old world was precious and worth preserving – and reaching out to a new generation.

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