Tag Archives: edo-tokyo museum

五百羅漢

29 May

Today we went to a special, temporary exhibit at the 「江戸東京博物館」 (“Edo-Tokyo Museum“) titled 「五百羅漢」 (“Five Hundred Buddhist Saints“).

Originally scheduled to be 2011 Mar 15 - May 29...it was postponed due to the Sendai Earthquake---the exhibit's dates are now 2011 April 29 - July 3.

This exhibit has paintings by the Japanese artist Kano Kazunobu depicting scenes from stories about the “500 Saints of Buddhism”.

I’m not familiar with these stories because I’m not a follower of Buddhism (or any other religion). And I’d say that very few Japanese people know about these stories either.
Buddhism came to Japan from China (which got it from India) and it’s traditions were “Japan-ized” and incorporated with traditions from Japan’s native “religion”, Shinto.
Even though parts of both religions are traditions in Japan (for example, “Shinto” or “Christian”-style weddings, and “Buddhist”-style funerals), almost no Japanese person actually believes in religious doctrine.

Even though I don’t know about the religious stories, like most of the other people at the exhibit, I was interested in the history and artistic value of these paintings that were drawn about 200 years ago (and most were destroyed in the Allied bombings of Japan during World War II).

The "saints" healing animals.

The "saints" saving people from "Hell".

If you want to see these paintings, they’ll be exhibited until 2011 July 3rd.

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新版画

3 Nov

Today I went to the 「よみがえる浮世絵 -うるわしき大正新版画」特別展覧会 (Taisho-era Shin-hanga Ukiyo-e Prints Special Exhibit) at the 「江戸東京博物館」 (“Edo-Tokyo Museum“).

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I like Japanese 浮世絵 (Ukiyo-e woodblock print) art. I have a few posts about exhibits I’ve seen before (click here to read one I wrote almost exactly twelve months ago).

But this exhibit was different.

Traditional 浮世絵 (woodblock print) art was done from the 江戸時代 (Edo era (17th – mid 19th centuries)) until the 明治時代 (Meiji era (1868 – 1912 (Japan’s modernization period))).

During the 明治時代 (Meiji era), traditional arts such as 浮世絵 (woodblock prints) began losing popularity because they were seen as dated and old-fashioned…and Japan was in a rush to “modernize” during this period.

But, ironically, while Japanese people were losing interest in 浮世絵 (woodblock prints), they were becoming chic and popular in America and Europe during these years.

So during Japan’s 大正時代 (Taisho era (1912 – 1926)) until the first half of the 昭和時代 (Showa era (1926 – 1989), a new, modern style of 浮世絵 (woodblock prints) emerged.
They’re called 「新版画」 (“Shin-hanga“…or “New style prints”).

Due to the popularity of 新版画 (Shin-hanga) in America and Europe during these years, many American and European artists came to Tokyo to learn the art of 新版画 (Shin-hanga) from the “masters”.
So the exhibit that I went to today had art by Japanese 新版画 (Shin-hanga) artists…as well as Japanese-style Shin-hanga prints by American and European artists.
It was very interesting!

Unfortunately after World War II, Japanese society changed alot and now there are very few 浮世絵 (ukiyo-e) or 新版画 (shin-hanga) artists today.

But there is good news, it seems that 新版画 (Shin-hanga) is currently becoming popular again both in Japan and overseas…so maybe more artists will study the craft and keep this tradition alive.

「増上寺の雪」 ("Zojoji Temple in Snow") by Kawase Hasui (昭和28年 (1953))

「増上寺の雪」 ("Zojoji Temple in Snow") by Kawase Hasui (昭和28年 (1953))

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「東京タワー」 ("Tokyo Tower") by Kasamatsu Shiro (昭和34年 (1959))

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「両国橋」 ("Ryogoku Bridge") by French artist Noel Nouet (昭和11年 (1936))

写楽

1 Sep

Today I went to a 特別展 (special exhibit) at the 江戸東京博物館 (Edo-Tokyo Museum) titled: 「写楽幻の肉筆画」 (“SHARAKU and Other Hidden Japanese Masterworks from the Land of Narsicaa”).

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This is a collection of Japanese 浮世絵 (woodblock prints) and paintings that were collected by Greek art collectors (mostly the Greek Ambassador to Japan) about 100 years ago.

It seems that records were not kept in Japan about the most of the pieces and even some of the artists. So, when Japanese art scholars learned of these pieces in an art museum in Greece they were very excited and arranged for an exhibit of the pieces back in their “home” (Japan).

This 特別展 (special exhibit) ends next Sunday (2009 Sept 6).

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Woodblock prints like this were sometimes used to to decorate 扇子 (Japanese fans)

Woodblock prints like this were sometimes used to to decorate 扇子 (Japanese fans)

The 江戸東京博物館 (Edo-Tokyo Museum) is next to the 国技館 (Tokyo Sumo Arena).
Here’s a sign advertising an upcoming Sumo tournament:

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浮世絵

16 Nov

I like 浮世絵 (ukiyoe: Japanese woodblock prints).

Have you ever seen 浮世絵 (ukiyoe)?
It’s a traditional style of Japanese “painting“. Instead of using a brush, the picture is carved into woodblocks which are used like a printing press to make the picture.
But the whole picture isn’t carved into one block…different parts of the picture are carved into different blocks. So the picture is printed in layers.

It must have been alot of work!

I have seen a number of 浮世絵 (ukiyoe) exhibits at museums over the years.

As with many people, my favorite artists are 北斎 (Hokusai) and 広重 (Hiroshige).

One of the most famous (if not the most famous) 浮世絵 (ukiyoe) works is 神奈川沖波裏 (“The Great Wave Off Of Kanagawa“) by 北斎 (Hokusai):

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I like that picture alot, too. But my personal favorites are the 妖怪 (monsters):

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浮世絵 (ukiyoe) subjects aren’t usually 妖怪 (monsters) though. Common themes of 浮世絵 (ukiyoe) are 相撲 (sumo), 歌舞伎 (kabuki), 芸者 (geisha) and 自然 (nature).

Anyways, this month, the 江戸東京博物館 (Edo-Tokyo Museum) in Tokyo is having a couple of special exhibits.

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One is the 浮世絵 (ukiyoe) collection from The Museum Of Fine Arts, Boston of America, and the other is a 「浅草今昔」 (“Asakusa: Then And Now“) exhibit.

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I went to see them yesterday. It was pretty crowded in the museum because it was a Saturday, but it was enjoyable. As I said, I like 浮世絵 (ukiyoe) and I also like 下町 (traditional downtown areas of Japan) like 浅草 (Asakusa).

The 浮世絵 (ukiyoe) in the exhibit from the Boston Museum were items that were from three American’s personal collections.

It was interesting to see the types of art that Americans like to collect compared to the types of 浮世絵 (ukiyoe) that a Japanese person might choose.
Americans seem to like the very colorful, almost flashy pieces…but Japanese tastes tend to be more simple. I’ve lived in Japan for awhile now…I guess my style is more Japanese now.
It’s just an observation. Not to say one culture is better than another…just interesting to compare.

Inside the museum, there are places that it’s indicated that it’s OK to take a photo…but the 浮世絵 (ukiyoe) and 浅草今昔 (Asakusa: Then And Now) areas were marked 「撮影禁止」, which means “No Photography Allowed”, so I couldn’t take any photos of those exhibits.

But there was a traditional Japanese dance show at the museum that I was able to take a few videos of.

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I took eight short video of this group, and uploaded them to My YouTube Page. They’re pretty good, click here to visit my YouTube page and you can see all of my videos.

Here’s one video of them:

After the museum, we walked to 浅草 (Asakusa), and visited a Japanese Garden there.

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There was a man at the Japanese garden playing a 三味線 (Shamisen) which is a traditional Japanese instrument.
I took this video of him:

Photos

28 Aug

I went thru some of my photos and decided to post a bunch of them on my blog. Mostly as Slideshows.

For convenience, here’s a menu of the pictures, slideshows, and video on this post:

Turtle Butterfly Beetle
Cicada Kawasaki Halloween Kamakura Horseback Archery
Asakusa Horseback Archery Asakusa New Years Tokyo Disneyland
Park Cherry Blossom Viewing Ibaraki
Yokohama Kameido-Tenjin Harajuku / Shibuya
Ueno Tokyo Tower Tokyo Dome area
Tokyo Stn / Imperial Palace University of Tokyo Tobu Zoo
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First are some of the small animals that have been living in our house recently.

Our ミドリ亀 (Red-eared slider turtle):

My YouTube video of our ミドリ亀 (Red-eared slider turtle):

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The アゲハ蝶 (Swallowtail Butterfly) (and his (cocoon)).

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Here’s a slideshow of our カブト虫 (Rhino beetle) eating gelatin.

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A slideshow of our (Cicada) emerging from it’s moult (outer shell).

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Here’s ハロウィーン (Halloween) at 川崎 (Kawasaki):

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And here’s a slideshow of the 流鏑馬 (Horseback Archery) at 鎌倉 (Kamakura):

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And the 流鏑馬 (Horseback Archery) at 浅草 (Asakusa):

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And here’s a slideshow of New Years at 浅草 (Asakusa):

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東京ディズニーランド (Tokyo Disneyland):

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A park near our house:

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花見 (Cherry Blossom Viewing):

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茨城県 (Ibaraki) is a countryside prefecture to the north of 東京都 (Tokyo):

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横浜 (Yokohama):

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亀戸天神 (Kameido-Tenjin Shrine):

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原宿 (Harajuku) and 渋谷 (Shibuya):

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These photos are from 上野 (Ueno):

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東京タワー (Tokyo Tower):

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The 東京ドーム (Tokyo Dome) area (including the amusement park and 小石川後楽園 (Koishikawa-kourakuen Japanese Gardens)). There happened to be a cosplay event on the day I took these photos:

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東京駅 (Tokyo Train Station) and the 皇居 (Imperial Palace):

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東京大学 (The University of Tokyo):

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東武動物公園 (Tobu-Doubutsukouen Zoo):

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両国 (Ryougoku), the area of Tokyo with the 国技館 (Sumo Arena):

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Please leave a comment of what you think of these photos!

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ペリー

16 Jun

Yesterday I went to the 江戸東京博物館 (Edo-Tokyo Museum) to see the マシュー・ペリー (Matthew C. Perry) exhibit.

Matthew C. Perry was a Commander in the U.S. Navy in the early 1800’s.

At that time, Japan was closed to foreign countries, and Perry was sent here by the American president to negotiate with Japan to signing a trade agreement with the United States.

The fact that Perry had a fleet of black, intimidating war-ships just off the coast of Japan played a big part in convincing Japan to open to the West.

The museum had, among many other interesting things, some 浮世絵 (Woodblock prints) that Japanese artists painted of Perry.

This was the first time any of them had seen foreigners or heard them speak. So the pictures that they painted of Perry had exaggerated features, such as huge noses and wildly curly hair.

And a couple of them had Perry’s name spelled (in Japanese) incorrectly. They wrote: ペルリ (Peruri) and ペロリ (Perori), instead of ペリー (Perry).

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By the way, I’m currently in the process of redesigning My Website ( http://www3.ocn.ne.jp/~tokyo5 )…it’s gonna look nicer, I think.

I’ll let you know when it’s done.