Category: Japanese Art

  • A Brief History of the Onna Musha, the Female Samurai

    A Brief History of the Onna Musha, the Female Samurai

    What comes to mind when you hear the word samurai? Men wielding katanas? Ironclad Japanese warriors about to strike a blow? Or perhaps a robed samurai on the verge of self-sacrifice. What about a kimono-wrapped lady on the verge of kicking ass? While most women in feudal Japan were expected to adhere to traditional roles,…

  • Hayami Gyoshū: Modern Nihonga in Blue

    Hayami Gyoshū: Modern Nihonga in Blue

    BY: IKB WIND | February 08th, 2024 [ABOUT HAYAMI GYOSHU] Hayami Gyoshū (1894-1935) was a Nihonga painter from the Inten Revival era. His paintings were luminous in nature, with a contemporary sense of perception. For instance, in Tokyo Dancer, the soft, asymmetrical outlines that emphasize the woman’s blue-gowned figure also make her appear airbrushed! Painted…

  • Hasui Kawase & His Stand-Out Perspective

    Hasui Kawase & His Stand-Out Perspective

    Within the vastness of the floating world, one perspective stands out for its distinctiveness: that of Hasui Kawase. Born in 1883, he became a prominent figure in the shin hanga movement. Shin hanga prints are essentially modernized ukiyo-e, characterized by a more Westernized influence in terms of pigments used and artistic perspective. Some of Hasui…

  • Ohno Bafuku’s Creative Nature Prints

    Ohno Bafuku’s Creative Nature Prints

    Ohno Bafuku (1888-1972) was a Japanese shin-hanga painter best known for his inspired naturely art works or sosaku-hanga (“creative prints”). Though nature is a frequent theme in Japanese art, Bafuku expresses an intensity and perspective that feels alternative to his era. One need only see Mebaru (20th. CE; above) to appreciate its conceptual beauty. The…

  • Itō Shinsui: Master of Bijin-ga

    Itō Shinsui: Master of Bijin-ga

    Itō Shinsui is an expert in beautiful women — or at least in painting them. An icon of the Shin-hanga (modern ukiyo-e) movement, Shinsui specifically excelled at bijin-ga: portraits of beautiful women. What makes Shinsui’s prints so special? Women are certainly not a new topic in the art world, and definitely not in ukiyo-e. From…

  • The Photography of Yoshihiko Ueda

    The Photography of Yoshihiko Ueda

    I first became aware of Yoshihiko Ueda after stumbling upon a cover of his photography book, Quinault (1993). I was instantly struck by its dark, ethereal feel — dusky and liminal. I felt like I was traveling undaunted through a mysterious patch of forest, or an unexplored segment of my own unconscious. As it turns…

  • Itō Jakuchū: Potential for Flight

    Itō Jakuchū: Potential for Flight

    I am enraptured by Itō Jakuchū’s art. The stark contrast between the ink-black background and the bold use of color on the foreground is immediately striking, sure. But it’s more than that. The hues on Swallow and Camellia are not jump-at-you bright, but they are made dazzling nonetheless by graceful saturation. The crimson on the…