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…

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,…

Imperial system in Japan based on revisionism concerning a female leader

Imperial system in Japan based on revisionism concerning a female leader Chika Mori and Lee Jay Walker Modern Tokyo Times Japan is known for being a bastion of political family elites who dominate the ministerial system. Likewise, Japan ranks poorly in countless international benchmarks involving women. This concerns few female business leaders, limited political representation,…

Poetry of Japan: Fusions of cultural ideas in bygone days

Poetry of Japan: Fusions of cultural ideas in bygone days Lee Jay Walker Modern Tokyo Times Yamanoue no Okura (660-733?) lived a very fascinating life. Naturally, many areas of his life remain unknown and are open to interpretation. This is based on the passages of time. Therefore, his true nationality isn’t fully known alongside many…

Images of old Japan based on a commercial illusion

Images of old Japan based on a commercial illusion Lee Jay Walker Modern Tokyo Times The Japanese photographer, Kusakabe Kimbei, was born in 1841 in Edo Japan and died in the 1930s during a period of heightened political tension in this nation. Hence, one can only imagine the things he witnessed throughout his life because…

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,…

Review of Ellery Queen’s Japanese Mystery Stories

Review of Ellery Queen’s Japanese Mystery Stories Special Contribution: Renae Lucas-Hall Originally published by Tuttle in 1984 under the title Ellery Queen’s Japanese Golden Dozen, this cover features a watchful detective smoking in Tokyo’s back streets with Japanese street signs, red lights, and lanterns in the background. Crime fiction is very popular at the moment…