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Monthly Archives: April 2012

Edgar Degas and Japanese art: inspired by ukiyo-e

Edgar Degas and Japanese art: inspired by ukiyo-e

Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

Japanese ukiyo-e inspired many artists in distant lands and Edgar Degas was one of the many international artists who came to admire this art form. Edgar Degas (1834-1917) was born in Paris into a wealthy family and he was blessed to study at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris. This intriguing individual in time would join the Impressionists but he also adored the art of the Renaissance.

Therefore, after studying he moved to Italy and copied the great masters of the Renaissance for five years. During this period he learnt the richness of this era and meticulously he would study the artists who blessed the art world with their respective lasting legacies. Not only did he study in Italy about the heritage of Renaissance art but he also copied each detail and this methodology suited his style.

The Impressionists were also igniting the art world during his lifetime and Edgar Degas was deeply inspired. Therefore, from 1874 to 1886 he also became fully embroiled in this art movement and entered his work to be shown in the many exhibitions of this timeframe. This period enabled Edgar Degas to expand and grow and not surprisingly the fusions of many different art forms blessed his art and creativity.

Ukiyo-e was also very important to Edgar Degas who was fascinated by the richness of Japanese art. Van Gogh had commented that “I envy the Japanese artists for the incredible neat clarity which all their works have. It is never boring and you never get the impression that they work in a hurry. It is as simple as breathing; they draw a figure with a couple of strokes with such an unfailing easiness as if it were as easy as buttoning one’s waist-coat.”

Edgar Degas also loved the diversity and creativity of ukiyo-e and you can draw parallels with his art regarding ballet dancers, bathers, stage performers, and other areas. Van Gogh, Paul Gauguin, Claude Monet, and a host of other artists, felt the pull of Japanese art and clearly Edgar Degas was also inspired. Therefore, if you change the ballet dancer and stage performers to bijin-ga and kabuki, you can see a rich vein materializing whereby his own artistic culture fused with Japanese art.

Also, not only did Edgar Degas collect ukiyo-e prints but many of his friends had a deep knowledge of this art form. Therefore, artists like Utamaro, Hokusai, Sharaku (an individual shrouded in mystery), Hiroshige, and other famous ukiyo-e artists, were highly admired. This factor clearly rubbed off onto Edgar Degas and just like Renaissance art and Impressionism had inspired him, the same can be said for Japanese art.

On the Yale Univeristy Press website Jill DeVonyar and Richard Kendall comment about the book calledDegas and the Art of Japan that “Degas and the Art of Japan explores the French Impressionist’s lifelong fascination with the work of his Japanese counterparts. Adding substantially to previous studies, the authors propose new links between some of Degas’s characteristic themes, such as laundresses and horse racing, and the woodblock designs of Ukiyo-e masters. Fresh light is also shed on another signature trait of the artist—his fascination with women in their public and private lives—which is echoed in the prevalence of female subjects in Japanese woodblock imagery.  Equally significant are revelations about Degas’s access to specific Japanese prints belonging to collectors and dealers in Paris.”

“Works by Degas in all media are considered—paintings, pastels, drawings, lithographs, etchings, monotypes, and sculpture—and juxtaposed with Japanese prints, illustrated books, and decorated fans. Comparable human predicaments and parallels in visual language are all part of this wide-ranging analysis, which deepens our understanding of one of the world’s greatest artists.”

The book called Degas and the Art of Japan clearly digs deep within the many aspects of his life. This notably applies to the legacy of the Japanese connection and how ukiyo-e inspired this amazing artist. Therefore, just like other notable artists he also understood the richness of ukiyo-e and this further sheds more light on this amazing art form.

Dieter Wanczura, a notable individual with rich knowledge of Japanese art, comments that “All things Japanese were suddenly stylish and fashionable. Shops selling Japanese woodblock prints, kimonos, fans and antiquities popped up in Paris like mushrooms. The Impressionist painters and Post-Impressionists like Claude Monet, Edgar Degas, Toulouse-Lautrec or Paul Gauguin were attracted and impressed by Japanese woodblock prints. In 1875 Claude Monet created his famous painting La Japonaise, showing his wife dressed in a Kimono and holding a Japanese fan.”

This was the art world in this period of history in Paris and other major artistic cities where Japanese prints were growing in stature. Yet, the individuality of Edgar Degas also shines through because he was also an intriguing artist who fused many different art forms within his work.

http://yalepress.yale.edu/book.asp?isbn=9780300126334 

leejay@moderntokyotimes.com

http://moderntokyotimes.com

 
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Posted by on April 26, 2012 in EUROPE, Japan

 

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Syria: terrorist bomb factory blows up and Christian churches destroyed

Syria: terrorist bomb factory blows up and Christian churches destroyed

Murad Makhmudov, Boutros Hussein and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

The people of Syria have become the target of “a geopolitical game” by powerful nations in the West and by “Sunni Islamic Wahhabi/Salafi” power games emanating in Saudi Arabia and Qatar, and with Turkey taking the position of both forces. This means that the chances of reaching an internal political solution in Syria, is being reduced by the day because of outside meddling which is fermenting sectarianism. Also, the recent terrorist bomb factory which blew up and killed many individuals in Hama highlights the duplicity of the international community.

After all, just like the military insurrection in Libya, the military arming of terrorists in Syria also happened “overnight” and within a ridiculously short period of time. Therefore, it is abundantly clear that outside meddling; geopolitical games to enter the “vacuum” that opened-up in the Middle East and North Africa; promised deals with military personnel to turn them into mercenaries; the movement of international terrorists via the usual ratlines; and a host of other factors related to “a geopolitical game” and “Sunni Islamic Wahhabi/Salafi” opportunism, have all entered the fray. The upshot of all this is that innocent civilians are being killed and sectarianism is being used in order to weaken Syria because of political and geopolitical factors.

If individuals http://www.sana.sy/eng/337/2012/04/26/414867.htm check this link by the Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) then clearly the photos are harrowing. It is important to note that the so-called “Free Syrian Army (FSA)” and terrorists within the FSA, and other terrorist organizations like Al Qaeda, have no qualms in setting up terrorist houses in the middle of housing and heavily built-up areas. They also have no qualms about attacking religious minorities, killing individuals who don’t support their objectives, firing on the armed forces of Syria, and then melting back into built-up areas knowing full well that the armed forces will fire back in order to defend themselves.

The weakness in the Kofi Annan plan, despite good intentions, is that it means that terrorist bases of various Sunni Islamic terrorist organizations and the FSA, have a free rein to maintain and develop their power bases. This is because outside nations are continuing to send military and economic support to a variety of terrorist and mercenary organizations. Therefore, unless these “forces of darkness” are forced out to a special buffer zone inside Turkey and the ratlines of funding terrorism is stopped – then how can political dialogue and the Kofi Annan plan work?

Clearly, nations which are meddling into the internal affairs of Syria desire to see the Kofi Annan plan fail. After all, the deaths of Syrians killing Syrians doesn’t concern them because Western powers have political objectives to pursue and Saudi Arabia and Qatar have religious objectives to implement by stealth – with Turkey being sat in the middle and happy with both situations. This means more violence and the death of innocent civilians who are caught-up in all of this because the FSA and various other terrorists organizations, have built up their forces within major cities.

Therefore, while many international media outlets mention the ongoing crisis in many parts of Syria, not enough are focusing on what it is like under the control of the FSA/terrorist organizations which are spreading their hatred. This is where the picture breaks down because in areas controlled by the government of Syria all individuals, irrespective if Alawite Muslim, Sunni Muslim, Orthodox Christian, Roman Catholic, Druze, or irrespective of having no faith – all reside in peace and based on the mosaic of Syria. In contrast, areas under the control of the so-called opposition are based on sectarianism and destroying the mosaic of Syria.

The Guardian newspaper in the United Kingdom published an interesting article written by Constanze Letsch (link below this article). This writer comments that A few streets down, Ferit’s schoolfriend Ahmet was sitting in his garden, chatting with his parents-in-law, Ibrahim and Meryem, who are from Homs. At the end of February they fled their house in Hamidiyeh, a predominantly Christian neighbourhood, to live with relatives in Tartous, and two weeks ago, they joined their daughter Rana, their three granddaughters and their son-in-law Ahmet in Samandagi.”

“Armed men of the opposition have destroyed all 12 churches in the neighbourhood of Hamidiyeh,” said Ahmet, a master tailor. He added that many houses had been severely damaged, while others had been vacated by people fleeing from the violent conflict in the city.”

“In some cases, opposition members allowed people to take their possessions,” Rana said. “But the insurgents live in the houses now, fighting against the army.”

“Asked if he had recognised any of the armed men, Ibrahim shook his head.”Their faces were covered. Some of them wore bandanas that said: ‘There is no God except Allah.’”

“Meryem said she has been threatened for not wearing a headscarf.”They told us: ‘We will cover you up, too’ and ‘It will be your turn [after the Alevis].’ We are very scared.”

In another article about Syria published by Modern Tokyo Times it was stated that If democrats in the West believe that their version of history is winning, then not only do these people have blinkers on, but more alarming they are supporting forces which are hostile to democracy, religious pluralism, the rights of women, and all progressive forces. The Muslim Brotherhood, Saudi Arabian, and Western alliance, is a “strange bedfellow” if looked at rationally. Therefore, is the alliance based on Western governments supporting Islamism or is it based on naivety, a picture unseen, or other factors?”

“Either way, for Alawites, Christians, the Druze, Sunni Muslims, secularists, women, and so forth; the growing menace of radical Sunni Islam threatens the civilization of Syria and the multi-religious nature of this society. The so-called forces of “democracy” have killed over 2,000 soldiers and police officers in Syria; attacked Christians; threaten the rights of women; and are spreading their terrorism throughout Syria.”

It is essential that the FSA/terrorist organizations are forced out of major cities because until this happens then the bloodshed will just continue. The government of Syria can’t be forced to sit and watch, while terrorists continue to enter the country and internal mercenaries persecute religious minorities and women.

Turning back to the article by Constanze Letsch it was also stated that Mehmet, the owner of a textile shop across the street, said he had had to fire all of his four employees.”Business dropped by 95%. There used to be many Syrians who came for a day or two to shop here, but that has stopped.” He paused. “Many of us want Bashar [al-Assad] to stay, and stability to return to Syria. We were better off before.”

“They are not the only Turks who quietly express support for the regime in Damascus. Religious minorities including Christians, Alevis (a Turkish Muslim sect) and Alawites (their Arabic-speaking counterparts) are increasingly anxious that the government’s active support for Syria’s armed opposition could have a distinctly negative upshot.”

“Cemil Mityasoglu, a Christian wholesale market trader from Antakya, summed it up: “For many Alevis and Christians, Syria seemed like a safe haven. For them it was reassuring to live so close to the Syrian border, knowing that they could always go there if things became ugly in Turkey.”

Whatever the real truth is about the situation in Syria and why so many Syrians have been killed. It clearly can’t be separated by the funding of Saudi Arabia and Qatar to spread radical Sunni Islam in Syria – and the political agreement with certain Western powers and Turkey to enter the “political vacuum,” which was opened by the so-called Arab Spring. The current situation in Syria began because of outside meddling and the ongoing chaos suits their agenda. After all, many outside nations desire direct military intervention in order to not only weaken Syria but to alter the political and religious landscape based on religious fundamentalism.

The religious mosaic of Syria is being threatened and the same applies to the rights of women. It is essential that political reforms come from within the government of Syria and with other political organizations which are opposed to outside meddling and terrorism. If the center in Syria collapses then a future nightmare awaits Syria because over 100,000 people in Iraq were killed and even today terrorism is a daily threat. Similarly, in Afghanistan you have had over 30 years of chaos and untold numbers of people have been killed because of outside meddling. This applies to firstly supporting radical Sunni Islamic terrorism and organizations – and then, after September 11, fighting former allies. Either way, both periods just engulfed the people of Afghanistan and after 30 years the country is worse off than before.

http://www.sana.sy/eng/337/2012/04/26/414867.htm 

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/apr/25/tough-times-turks-border-syria

leejay@moderntokyotimes.com

http://moderntokyotimes.com

 

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Tokyo fashion: Vera Wang to open a new store in Ginza

Tokyo fashion: Vera Wang to open a new store in Ginza

Sarah Deschamps, Michel Lebon and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

Vera Wang is focused on expanding throughout Asia this year and her base in Japan will be in the exquisite fashion district of Ginza in Tokyo. Her first flagship store in trendy Tokyo will open in June this year. Also, her partnership with Hatsuko Endo means that things should take off rather quickly.

Ginza was a natural choice for Vera Wang because of the delectable fashion angle to this vibrant district in Tokyo. The bridal sector in this amazing city will certainly be reinvigorated when it comes to the exquisite side of amazing designs by Vera Wang. Therefore, the opening in Ginza is designed to pave the way for future expansion throughout Tokyo and this applies to new lines by Vera Wang.

She is known internationally for sublime couture bridesmaid gowns which highlight the creative nature of this fashionable lady. The same applies to her stunning wedding gown collections which highlight the deep passion of Vera Wang. Also, this trend setter in her field of expertise designs elegant outfits for female figure skaters. This is a natural correlation to her early career whereby she was a figure skater.

Vera Wang grew up in New York City where she was born in 1949 and she obtained a degree from Sarah Lawrence College in art history. From the age of six she began to do figure skating and this took her all the way to competing in the 1968 United States Figure Skating Championships. The turning point for Vera Wang turning to the fashion industry happened after failing to qualify for the United States Olympics team in figure skating. However, her passion for skating remains firmly entrenched and she stated that “Skating is multidimensional.”

Turning to her fashion career then Vera Wang worked for Vogue for 17 years in the capacity of being a senior fashion editor, with this internationally famous company. This period served Vera Wang extremely well because of the abundant connections she made. Also, her own creativity and flair meant that she understood the high end fashion market and the richness of international boutiques. After leaving Vogue she became a design director for Ralph Lauren for two years and clearly both establishments served Vera Wang well.

The year 1990 would witness her own design salon in New York which was based in the Carlyle Hotel. Her bridal designs soon began to woo the rich and famous because many famous individuals had their wedding gowns designed by Vera Wang. This applies to Mariah Carey, Ivanka Trump, Chelsea Clinton, Sharon Stone, Alicia Keys, Jennifer Lopez, Victoria Beckham, Uma Thurman, and many others, including Avril Lavigne. Also, Michelle Obama was seen in her evening wear and this sums up the high octane nature of her stunning designs.

In time Vera Wang entered new markets based on fragrance, jewelry, shoes, luggage, eyewear, tabletop, fine papers, bedding, and flowers. This complements her creativity and search for new areas to expand. Therefore, while the bridal sector and designing for female figure skaters is internationally known alongside other fashion clothes – it is clear that you have many angles to Vera Wang.

Tokyoites will soon witness the exquisite nature of Vera Wang and given the creativity of Tokyo then clearly new thought patterns may emerge within future designs. Ginza is a natural base for such a trend setter in her area of expertise. Therefore, in all likelihood, the venture should soon witness new lines entering her flagship store in Ginza in the near future.

http://www.verawang.com/

Lee Jay Walker gave assistance to both Sarah Deschamps and Michel Lebon

leejay@moderntokyotimes.com

http://moderntokyotimes.com

 

 
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Posted by on April 26, 2012 in Japan, NORTH AMERICA

 

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Japanese art and Yasui Sotaro: the allure of Paris and uniqueness of Japanese art

Japanese art and Yasui Sotaro: the allure of Paris and uniqueness of Japanese art

Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

Yasui Sotaro (1888-1955) was born in Kyoto and he is famous for yoga (Western-style) portraiture. It is clear that this talented individual understood his vocation because he pursued a career in art despite his family desiring a more commercial career. Therefore, from an early age he was clearly determined and focused and in time he would blossom in the art field.

He was very fortunate to have studied under Asai Chu who sadly died in 1907 when Yasui Sotaro was still a teenager. Asai Chu was a stunning Japanese painter who inspired many artists in Japan. This notably applies to Yasui Sotaro, Suda Kunitaro, Umehara Ryuzaburo, and other artists who were inspired by Asai Chu.

Not surprisingly, Yasui Sotaro also moved to France just like Asai Chu had done during his lifetime. He moved to Paris in 1907 and stayed until 1914 and this period of his life was very beneficial. Indeed, it is clear that Yasui Sotaro was extremely lucky to have studied under Asai Chu in Japan and then under Jean-Paul Laurens at the Academie Julian.

During his stay in Paris he became influenced by the art of Paul Cezanne, Jean-Francois Millet, and Pierre-Auguste Renoir. It is stated that he was especially influenced by Paul Cezanne. Therefore, the fusions of Japanese art and European art along with the rich vibrancy of the Paris art scene, impacted greatly on this talented individual. However, with the outbreak of World War One he had to return to Japan but Paris had clearly inspired him during his stay in France.

Yasui Sotaro, Umehara Ryuuzaburo, Ishii Hakutei, and Fujishima Takeji, had all gained from their experience in France. They also studied in this country in the same timeframe. Indeed, the power of France influenced Ishi Hakutei to introduce the art of Rodin and Renoir to the Tokyo art scene.

The following decade witnessed recurring problems related to the health of Yasui Sotaro but from an art point of view it was a time of further growth. Yasui Sotaro in this period focused on vibrant colors and outlines which were clear. Therefore, you can notice his style within the landscapes and portraits that he produced. Also, traditional Nihonga techniques fused naturally with realism and other thought patterns that he learnt  in France.

Notable art pieces by Yasui Sotaro include Black-haired Woman, Portrait of a Woman,  Early Summer, Autumn at Lake Towada, A Suburb of Kyoto, Girl in New-Year Clothes, Roses, and Chin-Jung.However, throughout his career he produced many stunning pieces of art which have blessed the art world.

 

leejay@moderntokyotimes.com

http://moderntokyotimes.com

 

 
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Posted by on April 26, 2012 in Japan

 

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Japan tourism: glimpses of beautiful Japan in Kurobe and Wakayama (Part One)

Japan tourism: glimpses of beautiful Japan in Kurobe and Wakayama (Part One)

Sarah Deschamps and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

The mystery of Japan is best summed up by the stunning nature of this adorable nation which beckons tourists to “another world” where dreams and memories are made. The Shinto faith with its deep roots and unity with nature influenced the Buddhist faith which reached this nation and these fusions created “a huge well” for various Buddhist sects. Therefore, irrespective if a Shinto shrine is in the countryside or in the mega city of Tokyo, the backdrop always looks at one. This representation and reality is what makes Japan tick because irrespective if the theme is continuity or individual new ways, the old world and new world is still at peace.

In this article it is impossible to highlight all the places to visit because you have a plethora of tourist attractions throughout the entire nation. Also, each prefecture provides a unique angle and clearly all individuals will feel something special depending on individual interests and how the respective experience remains deep in the soul. Therefore, two special areas of Japan were selected in the first series about Japan tourism.

The two authors have different experiences for their special places which stay within the soul. For one author, the stunning nature and adorable Buddhist temples in Koyasan will always stay with this individual. Indeed, Koyasan and Wakayama prefecture will always stand out for one author because of the stunning nature of this prefecture and the richness of culture and religion.

If you view (http://www.tb-kumano.jp/en/index.html)the website of Tanabe City Kumano Tourist Bureau then you will notice the many amazing places to visit in the stunning prefecture of Wakayama. This especially applies to Koyasan where the Buddhist preacher Kukai made his home; the amazing temples of Negoro-ji and the surrounding area which is blessed with great places to visit: the unbelievable Kumano Kodo pilgrimage (Kumano is in the Kii Peninsula and not all of this region is within Wakayama) whereby you have so many stunning walks and rich cultural places to enlighten the individual; Shirahama and stunning beaches whereby you can forget everything; the magnificent Wakayama Castle which is rich in history and is blessed with exquisite grounds; Kumano Nachi Taisha and the beautiful waterfall and stunning Shinto shrine; and so many other amazing places to visit.

Alternatively, the other author adores Kurobe in Toyama prefecture because the scenery just “blew her mind away.” Toyama is equally blessed with stunning nature and approximately one million tourists visit the Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route.

The massive Kurobe Dam is also a very popular tourist destination and the panorama views are amazing. This equally applies to the Tateyama Mountain Range and North Alpine Area. Also, between June 26 and October 15 this period is very popular because individuals can witness the water discharge from the Kurobe Dam.

In a past article by Modern Tokyo Times about Kurobe it was stated that “Also, you can enjoy lovely boat trips on Kurobe Lake and walk around the lake and Kurobe Dam. In every direction you have stunning views and it is a real treat. The Kurobe Gorge is truly beautiful and thanks to the Kurobe Gorge Railway transportation system you can travel in style and get a birds-eye-view alongside ropeways and cable cars, which blend naturally into the magnificent scenery.

“Other stunning places to visit in this lovely prefecture apply to the Kurobe Valley; Gokayama Village which is a World Heritage site; the Unazuki-onsen which is a real gem and soothes the body and mind; the Zuiryu-ji Temple which is famous in Japan; the stunning Shogawa-kyo Valley region; and many other stunning places to visit.”

Indeed, the local government has done great work in preserving the exquisite nature of this beautiful prefecture. Also, the close proximity to Nagano is a huge pulling power because many individuals often visit both prefectures on a twin holiday. Therefore, Kurobe is an ideal tourist destination and between the middle of April and the end of May you have adorable “Snow Walls.” The changing seasons also creates a lovely dimension to the entire area.

The tourist options in Japan are unbelievable and it is well worth checking the many destinations to visit. Of course, cities like Tokyo, Kyoto, Nara, and others, hog the limelight but the beauty of Japan is that each prefecture provides countless places to visit and explore this stunning country.

Therefore, if you have never been to Japan then you will be amazed by the amazing beauty of this country. Also, for individuals who reside in Japan you have so many “hidden treasures” and fantastic places to visit.

 

 

http://www.tb-kumano.jp/en/onsen/index.html Tanabe City Kumano Tourist Bureau in English.  Also, you have information in other languagesand this applies to Japanese, French, Chinese, and Korean.

http://tb-kumano-news.blogspot.com/ Kumano News Blog

Other websites about Wakayama

http://www.negoroji.org/

http://www.pref.wakayama.lg.jp/english/charm/01.html

http://www.nk-kumano.com/ (Nachi Katsuura)

http://www.shukubo.jp/eng/ (Koyasan)

http://www.kumano-experience.com/01/en/ (Kumano Experience)

http://www.sekaiisan-wakayama.jp/english/index.html (Wakayama)

http://www.nanki-shirahama.com/eng/index.html (Shirahama)

http://farstrider.net/Japan/Castles/Wakayamajo.htm (Wakayama Castle)

http://moderntokyotimes.com/2012/03/08/japan-tourism-and-amazing-wakayama-tanabe-city-kumano-tourist-bureau/  Past article about Wakayama

http://www.jnto.go.jp/eng/location/regional/toyama/index.html

http://www.alpen-route.com/english/

http://www.kurotetu.co.jp/en/index.html

http://www.info-toyama.com/english/index.html

http://www.alpen-route.com/english/Highlight_theater/index.html

http://www.kurobe-dam.com/

http://www.alpen-route.com/english/map/index.html Alpine Route Map

http://www.jnto.go.jp/eng/location/destinations/

leejay@moderntokyotimes.com

http://moderntokyotimes.com

 
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Posted by on April 5, 2012 in Japan

 

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Japanese art and Ito Shinsui: bijinga and fashion in stylish art form

Japanese art and Ito Shinsui: bijinga and fashion in stylish art form

Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

Ito Shinsui (1898-1972) is a “famous son” of Japanese art because his art is blessed with elegance, sophistication, and serenity. This is equally matched with natural simplicity and adorable color schemes when applied to his images of beautiful ladies and landscapes. Therefore, if you want to imagine the natural beauty of “the old world” and the stylish nature of traditional Japanese fashion styles for ladies, then Ito Shinsui does this with panache, amazing color schemes and elegant depictions of stunning ladies.

Indeed, the art work of Ito Shinsui is not only extremely beautiful and charming but the facial features of the ladies are very mysterious. This reality of the art work of Ito Shinsui is most striking. For he possesses a style which conjures up sublime beauty but within settings which are at one with nature and which don’t need to be sensationalized.

Also, the adorable color schemes highlight the exquisite beauty of traditional Japanese clothes for ladies. In terms of fashion, he enables the richness of Japanese culture to be seen through the majestic styles and color co-ordinations of traditional clothes, which just beg for admiration.

Therefore, in the modern world of fashion you will see many amazing boutiques which highlight the rich embroidery, creativity, and amazing fabrics, of modern day fashion. The same applies to visiting famous fashion shows in Paris, New York, Milan, Tokyo, London, and other high octane fashion exhibitions which highlight elegant models and various styles. However, the art of Ito Shinsui and the amazing styles he depicts would grace any modern fashion show. This applies to panache, grace, color schemes, rich fabrics, buzzing creativity, and other important factors.

On the website called Fujiland by B.C.Liddell it is stated that Shinsui Ito was a central figure in Japan’s artistic identity crisis during the 20th century. As wave after wave of artistic ‘isms’ from overseas broke upon these shores, native artists felt compelled to either abandon their own rich artistic traditions or embrace them even more strongly. Ito … was one of those artists who chose the latter course, joining the Nihonga movement, which looked to Japan’s past for inspiration rather than the confusing plethora of ideas pouring in from abroad.”

“When he was 18, he joined Shinhanga Undo, a group which aimed to revive the methods and styles of ukiyo-e. This had a profound influence on the style and themes of his paintings which abound with the images of nature and feminine beauty found in traditional Japanese wood block prints. Joshin (Unsullied Morning) (1930), a beautiful picture depicting a group of naked women bathing in a natural hot spring combines both of these aesthetics. The color of the bathers is so softened by the steam and blended into the surrounding nature, that it is only the blackness of their hair that first alerts us to their presence.”

“Nihonga differs markedly from Western painting in the materials used. The emphasis, as with so much in Japanese culture, is on the use of entirely natural materials. Paper and silk, mounted on board, wall scrolls or on folding screens, are used instead of canvas.”

The most notable comment on this website about Ito Shinsui is that “Japanese art inspired by the imported artistic movements of the 20th century often looks derivative and dated, but the work of Shinsui Ito retains its sincere beauty and timeless appeal.”

Therefore, not only did Ito Shinsui maintain a connection with past Japanese art but his bijinga art is also timeless. This most certainly applies to his finest collection because you can connect the image with the most exquisite kimonoduring the Taisho and Showa period. However, because of the adorable color schemes and highlighting the stunning nature of traditional Japanese clothes – then, the fashion angle is equally rewarding because his powerful art isn’t out of place in the modern period.

Ito Shinsui truly belonged to the Shin Hanga art movement and Watanabe Shozaburo, a famous publisher, must be credited with opening up many doors for this amazing artist. Their relationship would remain strong for many decades and both individuals benefited.

The beauty of Ito Shinsui is that he connects the old art world of Japan with the new world in a way which is natural. His gracefulness is a wonder to behold. Therefore, he is fondly remembered for the art he produced and the “timeless” nature of his art is truly remarkable.

 

http://www.artelino.com/articles/ito_shinsui.asp

http://www.hanga.com/bio.cfm?ID=36

http://www.vernegallery.com/japanese-prints/Ito-Shinsui/32

http://frclarke.com/shinhanga/shinsui/shinsui.html

http://www.hanga.com/series.cfm?ID=29 

http://fujiland-mag.blogspot.jp/2010/10/exhibition-shinsui-ito.html

leejay@moderntokyotimes.com 

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Posted by on April 5, 2012 in Japan

 

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Pola Museum of Art in beautiful Hakone: The Development of Impressionism

Pola Museum of Art in beautiful Hakone: The Development of Impressionism

Sarah Deschamps and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

The Pola Museum of Art(http://www.polamuseum.or.jp/english/index.phpin Hakone is situated in a very beautiful part of Japan because this area is famous for stunning nature. Therefore, many artists have flocked to Hakone in order to paint countless scenes of the countryside. Also, the cultural aspect of this amazing area is a real bonus because tourists fuse their holiday in Hakone by visiting many stylish museums and other cultural aspects of Japanese culture.

Currently the Pola Museum of Art is showcasing a special exhibition called The Development of Impressionism: Monet, Renoir, and the Next Generations which will be shown until July 8, 2012This special exhibition is a pure delight because of the artists on view and the global impact of this art form.

The first section of the exhibition focuses on Monet and Renoir and internal convulsions which occurred in 1886. Then the exhibition highlights the two above name artists and focuses on their pursuit of art and other important aspects within this art movement during the 1880s. This is followed by looking at the Last Impressionist Exhibitionand the significance of Neo-Impressionism. Therefore, other artists like Paul Gauguin and Odilon Redon enter the equation. Finally in this section, important attention is put on Paul Cezanne and his own personal artistic quest.

The second section of this adorable exhibition which is extremely well represented is titled Impressionism after 1990: Monet, Renoir and the Next Generations. Monet and Fauvism is the initial theme and this applies to the creativity of Monet and his influence on other artists. Therefore, Henri Matisse, Andre Derain and Maurice de Vlaminck come under the microscope in this intriguing exhibition. This is followed by the close friendship of Pierre Bonnard with Monet and Renoir respectively. After this, the exhibition moves on to Matisse and his frequent visits to Renoir’s last place of abode in Cagnes-sur-Mer in southern France. Finally the exhibition closes with the artistic influence of Renoir on Pablo Picasso and this applies to the period called “Neo-Classicism.”

The Pola Art Musuem comments on their website thatMonet, Renoir and the other Impressionists transformed French painting in the late 19th century. Using bright colors, they vividly depicted the worlds of nature and urban society, as caught in their own eyes. Starting in 1874, they organized group exhibitions in Paris, although these did not continue long. The eighth show, in 1886, in which “Neo-Impressionists” – namely Georges Seurat and Paul Signac – took part, virtually put an end to their group activity.”

“This exhibition examines how French Impressionism, led by Claude Monet and Pierre Auguste Renoir, influenced artists active in the 20th century such as Pierre Bonnard, Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso. It consists of approximately 60 French works produced between the second half of the 19th century and the first half of the 20th: the core of the Western painting collection of the Pola Museum of Art.”

Other adorable exhibitions currently on show include the art work of Itozono Wasaburo, Masterpieces of the Pola Museum of Art, Cosmetic Utensils, and Oriental Ceramics. The ceramics exhibition is a true delight because the richness of Chinese culture can be seen by the awesome display of amazing ceramics. Also, the mixture of Japanese artists and Western artists is a real treat and this especially applies to foreign tourists who may not know about the exquisite nature of Japanese art.

Visitors can also enjoy the stunning scenery of Hakone and eat scrumptious European cuisine which is served up at the restaurant within the museum. Alternatively, visitors can enjoy tea, coffee and snacks at the café. Also, the Museum Shop is well worth a visit because of the quality products available. Therefore, the needs of visitors are catered for and relaxing after visiting the various exhibitions on show is a great way to enjoy your stay and soak up the special atmosphere of this adorable museum.

In a past article about Hakone it was stated thatHakone is situated in the Fuji Hakone Izu National Park and the entire region is a tourist paradise whereby stunning nature is in all directions and you have so many cultural treasures to view. This notably applies to the Narukawa Art Museum for modern Japanese paintings; the Hakone Open Air Museum; the Pola Museum of Art; Venetian Glass Museum; Suzuhiro Corp. Kamaboko Museum; volcanically active Owakudani geysers; Hakone Botanical Garden of Wetlands; Odawara Castle Donjon; Local History Museum; Museum of Saint Exupery and the Little Pince in Hakone; Hakone Old Takaido Road Museum; Hakone Mononofu-no-Sato Art Museum; Hakone Art Museum; Honma Yosegi Museum; Kanagawa Prefectural Museum of Natural History; and you have a wealth of parks and special walks to go on.”

Overall, the Pola Museum of Art in Hakone is an amazing place to visit for art lovers and for tourists who want to focus on the richness of culture. Also, the stunning mountains of Hakone and the many places to visit, means that individuals can enjoy the best of both worlds. This applies to stunning nature and the richness of culture and art.

Therefore, a visit to this stylish museum is highly recommended for tourists who will visit Hakone. After all, it is very rare to find sublime nature and so many museums and special places to visit which are located in the same environment. Hakone is also not so far from Tokyo if you travel by express train.

 

http://www.polamuseum.or.jp/english/index.php  Pola Museum of Art

http://moderntokyotimes.com/2012/02/29/japan-tourism-and-culture-hakone-jinja-historical-treasure-museum-and-mount-fuji/

Images in this article relate to the artists which will be highlighted and not to any specific art pieces which will be part of the exhibition.  Please view the website of the Pola Museum of Art to find out more.

 

leejay@moderntokyotimes.com

http://moderntokyotimes.com

 
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Posted by on April 5, 2012 in Japan

 

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Syria: outsiders support terrorism and US & Saudi Arabian jigsaw under Obama

Syria: outsiders support terrorism and US & Saudi Arabian jigsaw under Obama

Murad Makhmudov and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

The so-called “Friends of Syria People” held a meeting in Turkey, a nation which invaded Cyprus and where the Kurds have been brutally suppressed for decades, with the end result being to increase terrorist forces and to ignite sectarianism. Issues related to preventing further bloodshed, crushing terrorism, genuine dialogue, and so forth; were clearly not on the agenda. Instead the most hostile forces showed their hand by supporting mutiny, arming the terrorist opposition, and seeking to weaken the position of Syria in the Middle East.

Maria Zakharova, spokeswoman for the Russian Foreign Ministry, expressed her dismay at the Istanbul meeting which stipulated supporting the military option by providing greater logistical support. She commented that this will “run counter to the goal of a peaceful settlement of the Syrian problem.”

In an article published by RIA Novosti (Russian Federation) it is stated that “Calls by some of the countries in the Friends of Syria People group to supply arms and render logistical support to the Syrian opposition are at odds with the Syrian peace plan outlined in the UN-backed Annan Plan, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Monday.”

However, “the Syrian problem” is clearly not an internal issue which can be solved by all interested parties. On the contrary, the Istanbul meeting highlights the role of outside meddling and that certain nations not only ignited the crisis but they desire to enforce their diktat on the Syrian people. This applies to supporting sectarianism, terrorism, and an agenda which will destroy the last major bastion of secularism in the Arabic speaking Middle East. Therefore, the war mongering reality of the “Friends of Syria People” was made clear by Hillary Clinton who is intent on doing the bidding of Saudi Arabia and other nations which have ulterior motives.

America, not content with the deadly carnage of over 100,000 people being killed in Iraq, and knowing that sectarianism haunts this nation, is still intent on spreading disinformation and more chaos to the Middle East. Obviously, issues related to 90% of Christians fleeing Homs in Syria means nothing to the American administration. This isn’t surprising because 60% of all Christians have fled the carnage of Iraq after the American led invasion and at no time did this concern the political hierarchy in Washington.

Syria under the leadership of Bashar al-Assad supports the unity of the Syrian people irrespective of religion. Secularism is the binding theme which enables different sects within Islam and Christianity to co-exist and the same applies to the Druze community. However, the “radical Sunni Islamic agenda” of Saudi Arabia, the Muslim Brotherhood, Al Qaeda, and other “dark forces,” care little about religious pluralism and the rights of women. Instead, they all want to crush “progressive forces” which support modernization and a strong unitary state based on religious pluralism. After all, “the reality of Syria” shames the gender and religious apartheid of Saudi Arabia.

Sunni Muslim clerics in Syria who support a unified Syria also have much to fear from “radical Sunni Islamic forces.” They know full well that in nations like Pakistan that firstly the Sunni Islamists attacked the role of women; then they persecuted non-Muslims; this was followed by attacking Ahmadiyya Muslims; then sectarian attacks killed thousands of Shia; and now moderate Sunni Muslim leaders face death and persecution if they support religious co-existence and speak out against Sunni Islamists. Equally alarming, is that the “ray of sunshine” within the Sunni Islamic community is then “strangled” by Sunni Islamic indoctrination emanating from Saudi Arabia – with the upshot being the crushing of natural diverse thought patterns because of “the rule of fear.”

In Indonesia, a nation where secularism is enshrined it is clear that “traditional Sunni Islam” in this land is also facing the “wrath of the Sunni Islamic inquisition.” In Somalia the same is happening because Sufi Muslims are now deemed to be infidels and clearly the hands of Saudi Arabia and international terrorism are behind the rise of such backwardness and hatred. Therefore, the rich civilization of Syria, which is nurtured by all the communities of this nation, faces an uphill struggle to preserve their richness from the encroachment of Talibanization and outside meddling.

Homs, the media distortion, is a precursor of what the opposition would do to the people of Syria. This applies to sectarianism and the religious cleansing of minorities based on the reality that the vast majority of Christians have been forced to flee to areas under the control of the Syrian army. Indeed, the Syrian army is a unified military whereby all religious communities serve the people of Syria by fighting to protect the “rich mosaic of this nation” from hostile forces which seek chaos and sectarianism.

It is abundantly clear that Sunni Islamic terrorism is spreading its hatred against all moderate forces in Syria. Terrorists and their ideology of hate seek to rule by fear and the victims of their hatred are all moderates within Syria irrespective of religious affiliation or having no religion. Therefore, the government of Syria and the armed forces are inclusive and central mechanisms are fighting to protect the “rich mosaic of Syria” from the “dark forces” of “monoculture.”

In an article by Anne Barnard, New York Times, called Syrian Rebels Continue Assassination Campaign, Killing 2 Military Officials, it is stated that “It was hard to tell whether the assassinations represented a coincidence or a new degree of organization on the part of rebels who recently announced the formation of military councils in various cities to coordinate the loosely knit armed groups.”

“Either way, the tactics — along with roadside bombings of military vehicles and buses carrying pro-government fighters — are similar to those of insurgents in places like Iraq, where the American military characterized them as “terrorist” attacks, as Mr. Assad does.”

“Mr. Assad and his supporters say that they have the right to use force against an unpredictable armed movement that is attacking institutions of the state — and that Western critics of his military response are hypocrites.”

It would appear that Iraq means nothing to the American administration and this applies to the one hundred thousand plus individuals who died; the dire reality of sectarianism; the negative impact of the “new Iraq” for women; the 60% reduction of the Christian community; and other negatives which means that Iraq is still suffering from a war based on “the manipulation of language” and “fabrication.” The Obama administration appears not to even care for innocent American soldiers who were forced into the “Iraqi quagmire” by political leaders who had an agenda. After all, the Obama administration knows full well that the same Sunni Islamic terrorist networks which killed innocent civilians and thousands of American soldiers in Iraq – is now, astonishingly, the same network which is being used by the so-called opposition in order to spread carnage in Syria (following the Libya model). This means that the Obama administration and individuals like Hillary Clinton are in the same anti-Bashar al-Assad alliance, which includes terrorist networks that killed American soldiers. For it is abundantly clear that Sunni Islamists based in Iraq are now moving to Syria and killing innocents.

Hillary Clinton during an interview with the BBC comments that “We have a very dangerous set of actors in the region, Al-Qaeda, Hamas, and those who are on our terrorist list, to be sure, supporting – claiming to support the opposition [in Syria].” If you watch the video by the BBC (link provided at the end of the article) then right at the end Hillary Clinton comments that “many parts of Syria are unaffected” but what she doesn’t say is that this is because these areas are firmly under the control of the government of Syria.

In the interview with the BBC it is clear that Hillary Clinton isn’t giving information about the bigger picture. However, in The Daily Telegraph (United Kingdom paper) in an article called Libya’s new rulers offer weapons to Syrian rebels which was written by Ruth Sherlock, it is stated that “”There is something being planned to send weapons and even Libyan fighters to Syria,” said a Libyan source, speaking on condition of anonymity. “There is a military intervention on the way. Within a few weeks you will see.”

“The Telegraph has also learned that preliminary discussions about arms supplies took place when members of the Syrian National Council [SNC] – the country’s main opposition movement – visited Libya earlier this month.”

“The Libyans are offering money, training and weapons to the Syrian National Council,” added Wisam Taris, a human rights campaigner with links to the SNC.”

“The disclosure came as rebels raided an air force base outside the city of Homs and killed six pilots, according to a statement by the country’s military.”

Webster Griffin Tarpley, author of George Bush: The Unauthorized Biography (1992) states in his article called The CIA’s Libya Rebels: The Same Terrorists who Killed US, NATO Troops in Iraq, that“According to West Point authors Joseph Felter and Brian Fishman, Saudi Arabia took first place as regards absolute numbers of jihadis sent to combat the United States and other coalition members in Iraq during the time frame in question. Libya, a country less than one fourth as populous, took second place. Saudi Arabia sent 41% of the fighters. According to Felter and Fishman, “Libya was the next most common country of origin, with 18.8% (112) of the fighters listing their nationality stating they hailed from Libya.”

This means that almost one fifth of the foreign fighters entering Iraq across the Syrian border came from Libya, a country of just over 6 million people. A higher proportion of Libyans were interested in fighting in Iraq than any other country contributing mujahedin. Felter and Fishman point out: “Almost 19 percent of the fighters in the Sinjar Records came from Libya alone. Furthermore, Libya contributed far more fighters per capita than any other nationality in the Sinjar Records, including Saudi Arabia.” (See the chart from the West Point report, page 9).”

Therefore, note how America supports Saudi Arabia and the forces of Libya who defeated the regime with the help of NATO. Also, note that both Saudi Arabia and Islamist movements in Libya were the main parts of the world where foreign Sunni Islamic terrorists were fighting and killing American soldiers in Iraq. This once more backs up the fact that America is allowing its own soldiers to die for political reasons, while supporting the forces which are killing them. This is similar to attacking secular Iraq after September 11 despite nearly all Islamists who did this terrorist attack being from Saudi Arabia.

Further down in the same article it states that “Looking back at the tragic experience of US efforts to incite the population of Afghanistan against the Soviet occupation in the years after 1979, it should be clear that the policy of the Reagan White House to arm the Afghan mujahedin with Stinger missiles and other modern weapons turned out to be highly destructive for the United States. As current Defense Secretary Robert Gates comes close to admitting in his memoirs, Al Qaeda was created during those years by the United States as a form of Arab Legion against the Soviet presence, with long-term results which have been highly lamented.”

The article continues by stating that “For those who attempt to follow the ins and outs of the CIA’s management of its various patsy organizations inside the realm of presumed Islamic terrorism, it may be useful to trace the transformation of the LIFG-AQIM from deadly enemy to close ally. This phenomenon is closely linked to the general reversal of the ideological fronts of US imperialism that marks the divide between the Bush-Cheney-neocon administrations and the current Obama-Brzezinski-International Crisis Group regime. The Bush approach was to use the alleged presence of Al Qaeda as a reason for direct military attack. The Obama method is to use Al Qaeda to overthrow independent governments, and then either Balkanize and partition the countries in question, or else use them as kamikaze puppets against larger enemies like Russia, China, or Iran. This approach implies a more or less open fraternization with terrorist groups, which was signaled in a general way in Obama’s famous Cairo speech of 2009. The links of the Obama campaign to the terrorist organizations deployed by the CIA against Russia were already a matter of public record three years ago.”

Irrespective of different information from many sides it is clear that secular Syria is the last nation in the American-Saudi Arabian “Sunni Islamic jigsaw” being played out by the Obama administration. Bush had naively believed that democracy would become a domino theory in the Middle East after the invasion of Iraq, with the main emphasis being Iran but clearly this never happened and over 100,000 people have been killed by this failed policy. The Obama administration, on the other hand, is clearly anti-secular in the Middle East and within the American-Saudi Arabian “Sunni Islamic jigsaw.”

Therefore, supporting aspects of the Al Qaeda Islamist network and Muslim Brotherhood objectives can be seen by the collapse of secular governments during the leadership of Obama. This means that the multi-religious reality of Syria under Bashar al-Assad and the secular nature of this nation is a threat to the American-Saudi Arabian “Sunni Islamic jigsaw” based on the policies of the current government of America, when it comes to the Middle East and North Africa.

The government of Syria is fighting for the rich civilization of the Levant where you have countless Muslim and Christian sects and where women have a million times more freedom than the US supported regime of Saudi Arabia. The roles of women were expendable in Afghanistan, Libya and Iraq. Therefore, the same will happen in Syria if the terrorist opposition defeats the secular government of Bashar al-Assad.

What is clear is that the government of Bashar al-Assad is fighting for an inclusive Syria where Sunni Muslims, Alawites, Christians, the Druze, and others, have religious freedom and where women have rights that can only be dreamed about in Saudi Arabia. The armed forces of Syria are trying to protect this rich diversity from outside forces which are meddling in the internal affairs of this nation. Also, the government of Syria knows the nightmare of Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and Pakistan, after Sunni Islamists grew in power. Therefore, the government of Syria is fighting for the richness of the Levant. However, nations like America and Saudi Arabia are supporting networks which desire a Sunni Islamic monoculture and where all religious minorities are crushed – this will be followed by Saudi Arabia spreading its indoctrination and crushing liberal thought patterns within Sunni Islam in Syria.

This civilizational war is being manipulated by many media outlets but images of modern day Syria under Bashar al-Assad highlights the mosaic of this country. In stark contrast the reality of Saudi Arabia is based on the suppression of all non-Muslims, keeping women in the shadows, crushing the Shia, and maintaining that moderate forces within Sunni Islam are kept out in order to enforce a puritanical Sunni Islamic state – which is ruled by un-puritanical elites who have enormous wealth bases.

 

http://tarpley.net/2011/03/24/the-cia%E2%80%99s-libya-rebels-the-same-terrorists-who-killed-us-nato-troops-in-iraq/

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-17170775

http://en.rian.ru/russia/20120402/172558287.html

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/30/world/middleeast/aleppo-syria-attackers-kill-two-officers.html

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/syria/8917265/Libyas-new-rulers-offer-weapons-to-Syrian-rebels.html

leejay@moderntokyotimes.com

http://moderntokyotimes.com

 

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