Rinpa art: The bridge of Edo and Meiji on his artistic soul

Rinpa art: The bridge of Edo and Meiji on his artistic soul

Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

The Japanese artist Sakai Dōitsu (1845-1913) belongs to the world of Edo and Meiji despite dying in the early Taisho period. Like many artists who spanned a similar timeline, he witnessed enormous convulsions. However, despite the modernization of the Meiji era, he belongs to the world of rinpa (rimpa) art.

Dōitsu’s father was a Confucian scholar who focused heavily on rinpa art. Hence, the new ideas of the revolutionary Meiji period met a child of the old world.

Dōitsu understood the importance of fighting the rinpa corner during such momentous artistic times. Thus he felt the responsibility to preserve rinpa art for the next generation. Therefore, exhibitions and meetings were essential to preserve such a rich artistic tradition.

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).

The legacy of Dōitsu is important because new art forms entering Japan during the Meiji period were challenging the old world. However, he preserved the natural beauty of rinpa art.


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