Irie Hako and Japan art (1887-1948)

Irie Hako and Japan art (1887-1948)Buddhism 

Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

The Japanese artist Irie Hako (1887-1948) was born in Kyoto. High culture and the arts were natural appeals for Hako. Similarly, he was influenced by Japanese and European art.

His visit to Europe had a profound effect on Hako. This notably concerns ancient and Italian Renaissance art. Therefore, the cultural traits of Japan were fused with new ideas and influences that he witnessed in Europe.

The Kyoto City KYOCERA Museum of Art says, “Irie Hako was born in Kyoto City. He studied under Morimoto Tokaku and went to the Kyoto City School of Painting. He won the award at the Kokuga-Sosaku Japanese Painting Association and became its member. He went to Europe and became fascinated with ancient and Renaissance Italian paintings. He was involved in reproducing the murals of Horyu-ji Temple, and expressed his emotional state in Sumi ink paintings. His profoundly poetic paintings backed by deep knowledge of Eastern and Western paintings sparkles with the radiance of gems.”

After the disbanding of the Society for National Paintings in 1928, Hako changed direction. Thus he focused on research work pertaining to ink-wash paintings. This notably applies to Buddhist paintings.

In the final years of his life, suffering from cancer, he worked on copying amazing Buddhist wall paintings at Horyuji Temple. One can only imagine how his love of Buddhist paintings and the spiritual dimension enlightened him during the final stages of his life. 

Nichiren, the holy Buddhist monk, said, “Life in this world is limited. Never be in the least bit afraid!”


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