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Japanese art and Keisai Eisen: Reality and unreality and the View of Shogetsu Pond

Japanese art and Keisai Eisen: Reality and unreality and the View of Shogetsu Pond

Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

If one views the stunning image of the View of Shogetsu Pond by Keisai Eisen, then only images of tranquility, order and a nation at peace comes to mind. It appears that nature, order and a majestic rural life fits smoothly together. Therefore, one can easily depict an image of idealism whereby nature and humanity blend together.

Likewise, if we take this image by itself and try to analyze the artist from such a scenic piece of art, then it would appear that the artist was at peace with himself. After all, buildings are in the background and the natural towering strength of the mountains in the distance seems to imply order and control. Also, the individuals in this piece of art seem in a natural order and the same applies to the pond, trees and every single aspect of the View of Shogetsu Pond.

However, looks can easily be deceiving because the artist Keisai Eisen faced many demons related to drink and owning a brothel. This reality seems a million miles away from the delightful scenery of the View of Shogetsu Pond.

Yet, Keisai Eisen was also known for wit and one never really knows how deep his drinking was. Likewise, was the brothel the “real deal” or something that the artist played up in order to generate rumors and whispers? In this sense, just like the image of the View of Shogetsu Pond, it is clear that many things are a mirage in life but often people change mirages and believe that they are true.

Or, it could just be that Keisai Eisen was disillusioned with the trappings of life. Therefore, this piece of art represents a distant desire within his soul. Yet, of course this is nothing more than pure speculation. In saying that, it is speculation which the artist would appreciate because he was blessed with so many talents related to art and writing.

Keisai Eisen once stated that he was “…a hard-drinking, rather dissolute artist.” This statement is clearly a mirage to reality. After all, Keisai Eisen was blessed with so many skills in the field of art and writing. He clearly knew that many individuals thought highly about his skills and this statement suits the wit of this amazing artist.

Turning back to the brothel comment then it is factual that this type of business did exist in Nezu, Tokyo. Yet, the reasons related to the usage and the role of Keisai Eisen remains debatable. Many individuals have stated various statements about the reality of this brothel. However, these comments are often conflicting. Therefore, speculation remains the order of the day with regards to the true nature of his role in this brothel.

It also could be that the View of Shogetsu Pond by Keisai Eisen lacked any real meaning to the artist. Yet, if you view this one majestic piece of art by itself, then it is nice to dream and think deeply. In this sense, the image and nature of Keisai Eisen represent the mirages of life whereby individuals try to understand the bigger picture. However, in the distance of time, then does the bigger picture mean anything?

http://www.viewingjapaneseprints.net/texts/ukiyoetexts/ukiyoe_pages/eisen3.html 

http://www.artelino.com/articles/keisai-eisen.asp 

leejay@moderntokyotimes.com 

http://moderntokyotimes.com 

 

China, Japan and South Korea fashion show was more than just style and culture

China, Japan and South Korea fashion show was more than just style and culture

Kanako Itamae, Sarah Deschamps and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

China just held the East Asia fashion show in Beijing and the venue was given extra importance because of the current status of Japan and China relations. Indeed, tensions have also increased between Japan and South Korea because of similar issues related to territory and ownership. Therefore, the East Asia fashion show was a timely reminder that outside of the political realm you have enormous sanity.

Junko Koshino, a Japanese fashion designer, commented that “Politics and culture are essentially different…We will go down together if we remain affected by political fallout.”

This statement may be a little over dramatic because while trade and cordial ties are obviously important between the three nations involved in the East Asia fashion show. It is also factual that each nation is blessed with a diverse trading angle and in times of crisis each respective nation will respond by implementing diversification. Of course, hiccups will occur on the way and this isn’t desired but clearly the sentiments behind the statement by Junko Koshino were deeply appreciated.

China is “the new kid on the block” when it comes to fashion because of past constraints by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). Yet since the economic reforms of Deng Xiaoping (1904-1997) under his leadership, then China began to open up in the economic arena. Following on from this came the loosening of outside influence because greater openness became the norm and a new China emerged.

Therefore, not only did the domestic nature of fashion in China change but also with each passing year more and more international boutiques desire to enter the vast market of this nation. In South Korea K-pop (Korean pop music) is making waves both regionally and internationally. Not surprisingly, the fashion angle is also starting to blossom outside of South Korea because of the growing awareness of culture from this nation. This isn’t surprising because Korean culture is extremely rich.

Japan, of course, is internationally famous for fashion and this applies to various angles. For example, from elegant and refined fashion designers to kawaii (cute) culture and many subcultures within major cities like Tokyo and Osaka. Likewise, the quality of Japanese fashion is extremely elegant and the fabrics used are of the highest when it comes to high-end fashion in this nation. One only needs to visit trendy fashion districts like Aoyama, Ginza, Harajuku, Ikebukuro, Omotesando, Shibuya, Yurakucho, and many other parts of Tokyo, to understand the power of fashion within this country.

The East Asia fashion show didn’t disappoint because Beijing pulled out all the stops in order to make it a great success. Exquisite designs and the richness of culture were clearly visible because China, Japan and South Korea are blessed with fabulous designers. Also, areas like Confucius values are shared easily between all these nations despite the impact of modernity and new influences which have entered each nation.

Zhang Zhifeng from China and Chang Kwang-hyo from South Korea also echoed the sentiments of Junko Koshino. Therefore, these three amazing fashion designers, and other important individuals who participated in this fashion show; highlighted the need to build new bridges in order to overcome political obstacles.

leejay@moderntokyotimes.com

http://moderntokyotimes.com

 

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