Japan art and continuity despite rapid political changes: Sakai Dōitsu (1845-1913)

Japan art and continuity despite rapid political changes: Sakai Dōitsu (1845-1913) Lee Jay Walker Modern Tokyo Times Sakai Dōitsu (1845-1913) was a Japanese artist who witnessed the demise of the Edo period and the rapid changes of the Meiji era. However, he actually died during the early Taisho period that promised further modernization and greater liberty. …

Japanese Buddhist poetry from centuries ago

Japanese Buddhist poetry from centuries ago Lee Jay Walker Modern Tokyo Times The holy Buddhist monk Jien (1155-1225) followed Tendai Buddhism. Naturally, with the passages of time and the political power dynamics of the day, it is important to enter his world. However, for Jien, “All the flowers are but the flower of the law”…

Japanese Buddhist poetry: Saigyō, nature, and solitude

Japanese Buddhist poetry: Saigyō, nature, and solitude Lee Jay Walker Modern Tokyo Times The young Saigyō Hōshi (birth name Satō Norikiyo) was born to a noble family in Kyoto. However, the cultural dynamics were shifting because Buddhism was increasingly being questioned during his period of life – despite Buddhism remaining potent. Therefore, with Saigyō living between 1118-1190,…

Buddhist nun: Art, poetry, Japanese anti-Buddhism, and sadness of Rengetsu (1791-1875)

Buddhist nun: Art, poetry, Japanese anti-Buddhism, and sadness of Rengetsu (1791-1875) Lee Jay Walker Modern Tokyo Times Ōtagaki Rengetsu is widely acclaimed as being one of the greatest poets of nineteenth-century Japan. Indeed, her legacy is great concerning art, calligraphy, poetry, and being a graceful potter.  The life of Rengetsu was shaped greatly by Buddhism.…

Japanese Buddhism and art: Hakuin Ekaku and Chinese philosophy

Japanese Buddhism and art: Hakuin Ekaku and Chinese philosophy Lee Jay Walker Modern Tokyo Times The revered Zen Buddhist, Hakuin Ekaku (1686-1769), understood the importance of connecting with ordinary people. Hence, under his tutelage and wisdom, he helped to restore the vitality of Rinzai Buddhism that was stagnating.  Hakuin was born in Hara in the province…

An artistic Buddhist monk of bygone days in Japan

An artistic Buddhist monk of bygone days in Japan Lee Jay Walker  Modern Tokyo Times Kaō Ninga belongs to the world of the fourteenth century. Thus his art connects with this intriguing period of Japanese history. Therefore, Kaō fused the Buddhist ideals that impacted this esteemed holy monk by elevating religious thought patterns within his…

Japanese art: The desolate Japanese Buddhist path

Japanese art: The desolate Japanese Buddhist path Lee Jay Walker Modern Tokyo Times Sawako Utsumi is a gifted contemporary Japanese artist. In her latest art piece, titled “The desolate Japanese Buddhist path,” Utsumi once more fuses culture, nature, and Buddhism. Ironically, she does this despite being a follower of Shintoism.  This concerns her connection with old Buddhism that…

Art of Japan: A flower cut down before full bloom

Art of Japan: A flower cut down before full bloom Lee Jay Walker Modern Tokyo Times The esteemed Japanese artist Sakai Hōitsu (1761-1829) must have been crestfallen on hearing of the death of Suzuki Reitan (1792-1817). After all, Reitan had studied under Hōitsu. Therefore, one of the flowers he was teaching would never bloom. Hence,…

Art of Japan and Rinpa inspired art in modern times

Art of Japan and Rinpa inspired art in modern times Lee Jay Walker Modern Tokyo Times The Japanese contemporary artist, Sawako Utsumi, produced an adorable art piece based on rinpa (rimpa). In the past, Utsumi also heavily focused on Sakai Hōitsu (1761-1828) concerning rinpa. However, in her latest rinpa art piece, the emphasis is on…

Art of Japan and wisdom of Watanabe Kazan (1793-1841): Covid-19, economic struggles, and Confucianism

Art of Japan and wisdom of Watanabe Kazan (1793-1841): Covid-19, economic struggles, and Confucianism Lee Jay Walker Modern Tokyo Times The wisdom of Confucius impacted enormously on the Japanese artist Watanabe Kazan (1793-1841). Hence, this esteemed artist helped the marginalized in the Tahara Domain (the environs of Aichi Prefecture in modern-day Japan) during the Tenpo…

Japan art and the Edo artist Katsukawa Shunshō

Japan art and the Edo artist Katsukawa Shunshō Lee Jay Walker Modern Tokyo Times Katsukawa Shunshō was blessed with an independent artistic spirit. Of course, he understood the commercial angle of ukiyo-e but Shunshō wasn’t afraid to go against the grain. Outside Japan, Shunshō isn’t particularly famous but he produced many stunning art pieces. Indeed,…