Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties Center for Conservation Science
Department of Art Research, Archives and Information Systems Japan Center for International Cooperation in Conservation
Department of Intangible Cultural Heritage


Seminar Held by the Department of Art Research, Archives and Information Systems – Unexpected Interaction between a Japanese-style Painter and Philosophers

Sketch of by Gaho HASHIMOTO (Source: “Collection of Gaho’s Rough Sketches” edited by Shuho HASHIMOTO)

 Gaho HASHIMOTO (1835-1908) is a renowned painter, who tries to innovate the modern Japanese-style painting together with Hogai KANO. Mr. Junichiro TANAKA (Ibara Municipal Denchu Art Museum) gave a presentation titled “Expressions in Figures by Gaho Hashimoto – Over the Possessed by Toyo University,” which has not been referred to so much among his works, at the research meeting held by the Department of Art Research, Archives and Information Systems on June 27.
 The , where the four sages of Socrates, Buddha, Confucius and Kant are depicted on a hanging scroll, is now housed at Toyo University, but it is a very rare one among Gaho’s works. This scroll was painted at the request of Enryo INOUE (1858-1919), who is the founder of the University and a philosopher in the Meiji period. The four sages directly reflect Enryo’s perspective of philosophy, regarding them as the greatest philosophers of all ages and countries. This scroll has been used for the Philosophy Hall Ceremony organized at Philosophy Hall (Four Sages Hall) located in Nakano, Tokyo for many years. However, there are still unclear points about the scroll, including when it was painted and its background. We are curious about the sources on which Gaho was based to depict the unprecedented motif of Socrates and Kant in the authentic Japanese-style painting. Anyway, it is true that this is a unique work which implies unexpected interaction between a Japanese-style painter in the Meiji period and philosophers of the world.


Seminar Held by the Department of Art Research, Archives and Information Systems organizes a workshop – “Oishii seikatsu”: Look at Japanese culture in the transitional stage to the tertiary industry

A scene of the venue of the Japan World Exposition (Osaka, 1970)

 “Oishii seikatsu” (delicious life) is an advertising catchphrase hammered out by Seibu Department Store in 1982. While a high-speed growth era in which people sought material affluence was brought to end, in an era represented by this catchphrase where people try to build an individualistic lifestyle, how did artists respond to the trend? At a workshop organized by the Department of Art Research, Archives and Information Systems of the Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties (TNRICP) on April 25th, 2017, Ms. Midori YAMAMURA (Special Researcher of the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science) gave a presentation titled “‘Oishii seikatsu’: Look at Japanese culture in the transitional stage to the tertiary industry,” which was an attempt to explore the society and the origin of culture in the 1980s.
 According to Ms. YAMAMURA, artists who emerged from the end of the 1980s to the 1990s were greatly influenced by the Japan World Exposition held in Osaka in 1970. Artists participated in the World Expo, which excited enthusiasm in a great many Japanese people, through designing pavilions or exhibiting a piece of art. Meanwhile, those contemporary artists who were critical of the event’s stance of accepting the information industry or urbanization ended up becoming further alienated from people at large. A younger generation of artists, however, began conducting production activities by snuggling up to an everyday sense of ordinary people in the city. It is safe to say that the “Saison culture” based on a cultural strategy spelled out by the Saison Group, a distribution powerhouse centered on Seibu Department Store, which disseminated art, music, play or cinema that was in the forefront of the era between the 1970s and 1980s, played a role in fostering those artists’ flexible sensitivity.
 The workshop invited Mr. Yuji MAEYAMA of the Museum of Modern Art, Saitama, who made a remark on the cultural context in the 1970s to 1980s. Due in part to the fact that many participants underwent the same era, opinions and views were exchanged passionately, going beyond the framework of specialty. The content of the presentation is scheduled to be complied in the First Chapter of the book titled Japanese Contemporary Art After 1989 to be published by REAKTION BOOKS.


Seminar Held by the Department of Art Research, Archives and Information Systems

 The Department of Art Research, Archives and Information Systems held its monthly workshop onJanuary 12nd, where the following presentations were given:
 - Building dynamic websites utilizing WordPress and resulting effects – the web version of ‘The Articleson the Deceased’ and ‘TheAnnals (General News) of theArtWorld’ used as examples” byTomohiro OYAMADA, Research Assistant at the Department
 -“The significance of Christian art paintings in Gyokuyo KURIHARA’s art works” by Tai TADOKORO , Associate Fellow at the Department
 In his presentation, OYAMADA reported actual improvements made on the website of the Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties. The Institute has been publishing the “Year Book of Japanese Art,”a data book that summarizes trends in the art world in Japan, since 1936. On the other hand, the Institute has also made data accumulated in editing the book, including those on exhibitions and literature, available to the public on the Internet. As part of this effort, in April 2014, the Institute published database improved by using WordPress software. The database covers “The Articles on the Deceased,” a compilation of brief descriptions of the deceased who had careers in art, and “The Annals of the Art World,” which summarizes events in the art world for each year. As a result of this effort, the number of visitors to the website has significantly increased. In the presentation, OYAMADA made a comparison of the website designs before and after the improvement, and reported the effects of their new functions based on specific analysis results.
 TADOKORO made a presentation on the work of Gyokuyo KURIHARA (1883-1922), who had a successful career as a female painter in Tokyo in the Taisho period. Gyokuyo focused on painting under the theme of Christianity from 1918 to 1920. Among the works of art during the period, “Asazuma Sakura (Christian girl Asazuma with cherry blossoms),” presented at the 12th Bunten exhibition in 1918, is said to be one of her representative works. The painting visualizes a story that developed in the Edo period involving Asazuma, a prostitute at Yoshiwara, who was arrested for her Christian faith under the anti-Christian edicts and executed under cherry blossoms in full bloom as her dying wish. In his presentation, TADOKORO discussed Gyokuyo’s reason for painting “Asazuma Sakura” and the position of the painting in her works. He further gave an in-depth discussion of the significance of Christian art paintings for Gyokuyo. For the entire collection of Gyokuyo’s art works, please see TADOKORO’s other disquisition entitled “Initial Research on Gyokuyo KURIHARA” in The Bijutsu Kenkyu (The Journal of Art Studies) No. 420 (issued in December 2016).


Seminar Held by the Department of Art Research, Archives, and Information Systems-Letter to Kuroda Seiki from Yamamoto Hosui

Image: Dated April 5th, 1895, a handwritten letter from Hosui YAMAMOTO to Seiki KURODA The illustration depicts Hosui himself returning from China with a dog in his rucksack and a daffodil in his basket.

 The Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties (TNRICP) owns several letters written to painter Seiki KURODA(1866–1924) who later in life was closely involved in the establishment of the institute. These letters are valuable materials for elucidating KURODA’s network of personal contacts during his life. For the reprinting and annotation of the letters, the TNRICP sought the cooperation of researchersoutside of the Department of Art Research, Archives and Information Systems. As part of the research work, the department hosted a seminar on Dec. 8th, 2016, inviting Mr.Akifumi SHIINO of the Fukui Fine Arts Museum to give a talk on “The Reprinting and Annotation of the Letters of Hosui YAMAMOTO to Seiki KURODA.”
 Hosui YAMAMOTO (1850–1906) was a leading Western-style painter of the early Meiji Period. During his time studying painting in France, he is known to have encouraged KURODA to become a painter instead of a lawyer. After returning to Japan, he established a painting academy, the Seikokan, which he later handed over to KURODA. He also joined the new artists’ society formed by KURODA, the Hakubakai, maintaining a strong friendship. The institute owns 14 letters written by YAMAMOTO to KURODA, documenting their friendship in Japan. Of these, nine were date-stamped in 1896, when they had both just returned from service as artists in the Sino-Japanese War. The letters dealt with their painting activities and YAMAMOTO’s thoughts on KURODA’s “Morning Toilette,” which sparked a controversy on nude painting when it was submitted for the 4th National Industrial Exhibition. One letter includes a self-drawn image of YAMAMOTO immediately after his return to Japan from China; many things he writes are amusing. These letters are noteworthy primary materials that shed light on YAMAMOTO’s disposition after his return to Japan, whereas he is primarily known for his lighthearted character in the social world of Paris’ artists and intelligentsia. SHIINO’s talk also touched on the positions of the two artists in the world of Western-style painting in Japan, both of whom were held in high esteem while being 16 years apart in age.


Rescued Cultural Property Afterward – Restored Shochuhi memorial in Sendai

Bronze Black Kite Being Hoisted by the Crane on October 13th
Restored Shochuhi memorial (Photographed by Mr. Takashi OKU)

 As repeatedly reported through this activity report, the Committee for Salvaging Cultural Properties Affected by the 2011 Earthquake off the Pacific Coast of Tohoku and Related Disasters having its secretariat in this Institute provided rescue activities for numerous cultural properties damaged by the Great East Japan Earthquake in March 2011. The Shochuhi memorial (managed by Miyagiken Gokoku Shrine) standing on the site of the inner citadel of Sendai Castle (Aoba Castle) is one of them. The monument was built to console the souls of war victims related to the Second Division in Sendai in 1902. Due to the earthquake, a bronze black kite installed on the stone tower about 15 m in height fell to the ground. Its broken pieces were collected and the main body was relocated as Cultural Properties Rescue Operations by the Committee. After the completion of the Operations in 2014, the Monument was restored as the Disaster-Affected Museum Reconstruction Project in Miyagi Prefecture. The joining work for the broken black kite conducted at Bronze Studio located in Hakonegasaki, Tokyo from FY2015 was finally completed. From October 11th through 17th, 2016, the black kite was installed at its original location in Sendai.
 The bronze black kite (4.44 m in height, 5.68 m in width, 3.819 t in total bronze weight), whose original virile appearance with its wings widely spreading was restored in Tokyo after about five and a half years, was transported to Sendai by trailer on October 12th, 2016. On the next day, the bronze statue was installed in the lower front of the stone tower by crane, under the watchful eye of the people concerned, local mass media, and tourists visiting Sendai Castle. The bronze black kite, which had been placed on the top of the tower, was installed at the foot of the tower for security, considering the possibility that it may fall again from the tower top when another large earthquake occurs if placed in its original position. This bronze statue was commissioned, and then produced and cast at Tokyo Fine Arts School (Tokyo University of the Arts, today). Now, you can get a close look at the dynamic appearance of the huge black kite produced with the united efforts of the art school in the Meiji era, although it is now located in a place different from its original position.
 The restoration process that has taken over a little more than five years has revealed a lot of unknown facts about the Shochuhi memorial. The boring survey conducted in June, 2016 showed that there is a large hollow surrounded by brick walls inside the tower. Another fact that one of the wings of the black kite had toppled over due to an earthquake on November 3rd, 1936 prior to the Great East Japan Earthquake was confirmed with a newspaper at that time.
 According to the restorers of the bronze statue, the restoration process has revealed a variety of techniques made full use of for production. Particularly, the lead and concrete filling the inside of the statue to fix the rail inserted as an iron core connecting the black kite and the stone tower, as well as to balance the black kite in weight, was removed in this restoration for weight reduction. On the other hand, for installation of the restored black kite, steel pipes with different diameters are connected like inserts are used as a support rod inside the bronze statue. To join the steel pipes, lead was cast to fill the gap for fixing. The fixing method used for this statue clarified during the restoration process was applied to this approach. Thus, the Shochuhi memorial has been revived from the earthquake damage by utilizing the excellent technique of our predecessors. We sincerely hope that this valuable monument in the Meiji era will be handed down from generation to generation for ever after re-realizing the value of new knowledge obtained during the restoration process.


Seminar Held by Department of Art Research, Archives, and Information Systems — Letters to Seiki Kuroda from His Foster Mother, Sadako

Seiki Kuroda and his foster mother, Sadako
Part of a letter from Sadako to Seiki Kuroda dated July 9th, 1886

 The Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties (TNRICP) possesses a number of letters addressed to Seiki Kuroda (1866-1924), a Western-style painter who contributed greatly to the foundation of the Institute. As these letters are important materials for understanding his human network, the Department of Art Research, Archives, and Information Systems has been working on their transcription and investigation. Among them, there are letters that were exchanged between Kuroda and his family. With the objective of also focusing on such communications with his family, Mr. Jun TANAKA, Research Assistant of the Department, gave a research presentation titled “Transcription and Bibliographical Introduction of Letters to Seiki Kuroda from His Foster Mother, Sadako Kuroda” at the Departmental seminar.
 Sadako Kuroda (1842-1904), the wife of Kiyotsuna Kuroda who adopted Seiki as his heir, raised Seiki from his infancy. The letters sent to Sadako from Seiki during his period of study in France had already been transcribed and published in “Diary of Seiki Kuroda” (Chuo Koron Art Publishing Corporation, 1966). At this seminar, over 70 letters from Sadako to Seiki were introduced. As was the case with the letters from Seiki to Sadako, the letters from Sadako were also written in plain kana characters with colloquial expressions inserted here and there. The contents pertain mostly to family news, telling Seiki, who was studying abroad, the recent events of family members in detail and her husband Kiyotsuna’s intention. She thus seems to have been serving as a mediator between the father and the son. In particular, when Seiki, who had left for France to study law, decided to direct his efforts toward becoming a painter, it is worth noting that Sadako, together with Kiyotsuna, expressed her support by writing, “It’s a very, very good idea” in her letter dated July 9th, 1886. It would be no exaggeration to say that the painter Seiki Kuroda came into being thanks to such emotional support from his foster parents. This seminar has given us an opportunity to reaffirm the importance of family ties in Kuroda’s accomplishments as a painter.


Special Exhibition: Seiki Kuroda, Master of Modern Japanese Painting: The 150th Anniversary of His Birth

The exhibition hall –Seiki Kuroda’s atelier is reproduced and sketches of Talk on Ancient Romance and others are on display.
The exhibition hall – From the section that reproduces the mural painting for the entrance of Tokyo Station for the Imperial Family, Wisdom, Impression and Sentiment is viewed.

 This year marks the 150th year since the birth of Western-style painter Seiki Kuroda (1866-1924) who made a great contribution to modernizing Japanese art and establishing the Institute. To commemorate this milestone, the Special Exhibition: Seiki Kuroda, Master of Modern Japanese Painting: The 150th Anniversary of His Birth was held at the Heiseikan, Tokyo National Museum from March 23rd through May 15th, 2016. The Institute, which has continued to conduct research and studies on Kuroda since its estublishment, was involved as an organizer in planning and composing the exhibition, resulting in making the exhibition that reflects the outcome of our research.
 In this exhibition, over 200 pieces of his works were collected together ranging from those he created while he was studying in France to those sent to Hakubakai that he led and those exhibited at Bunten, to sketches in his late life, not to mention familiar masterpieces such as Reading and Lakeside. Moreover, as an attempt unique to this exhibition, paintings by French painters who influenced Kuroda while he was studying in France and those by Japanese Western-style painters with whom Kuroda got involved were also exhibited. As regards French paintings in particular, we invited Mr. Atsushi MIURA, an expert of French modern art and professor of the University of Tokyo, as a guest curator. French works, including Shepherdess with her flock (owned by Musee d’Orsay) by Jean-Francois Millet whom Kuroda looked up to and Froreal (owned by Musee d’Orsay, deposited in Musee des beaux-arts d’Arras) by Raphael Collin, his mentor, were also on display, providing a good opportunity to compare these with the counterparts by Japanese Western-style painters in order to identify what Kuroda learned from the mainstream of Western art and tried to bring over to Japan.
 In the exhibition, while the audience appreciated Kuroda’s original works, real-size images of works that were destroyed by the fire during a war, including Morning Toilette and Talk on Ancient Romance, were also displayed. The mural painting for the entrance of Tokyo Station for the Imperial Family completed in 1914 based on Kuroda’s concept was burnt down in an air raid in 1945, but based on some photographs, a corner was set up to allow the audience to feel the ambience using images of Tokyo Station in those days as well.
 The exhibition not only coincided with the cherry blossom viewing season and Golden Week holidays but also received good reviews from various media; as a result, it drew as many as roughly 182 thousand visitors in total. With this exhibition, the Institute believes that Kuroda’s great presence was felt anew. The exhibition offered an opportunity to take a comprehensive view of his career as a painter and life on the one hand. On the other hand, there are still materials yet to be elucidated, including the letters addressed to him that the Institute owns. The Institute will continue to conduct research and studies on Kuroda and publicize the outcome on the Bijutsu Kenkyu (The Journal of Art Studies) and its website.


Seminar Held by the Department of Art Research, Archives and Information Systems: Reading letters addressed to Seiki Kuroda from Yoshimatsu Goseda

Yoshimatsu Goseda (right) and Seiki Kuroda
From a commemorative photo of a get-together among Bun-ten exhibitors (“Bijutsu Shinpo” Vol. 12, No. 2 December 1923)

 The Institute owns a large number of letters addressed to Seiki Kuroda (1866-1924), a Western-style painter who was deeply involved in establishing the Institute. Regarding them as valuable materials that help us look into a network of personal contacts involving Kuroda, the Department of Art Research, Archives and Information Systems has worked on their republication and research, while seeking cooperation from outside researchers. As part of this initiative, Mr. Takuro Tsunoda, a curator of the Kanagawa Prefectural Museum of Cultural History, was invited to give a presentation titled “Reading letters addressed to Seiki Kuroda from Yoshimatsu Goseda – Profile, Tokyo School of Fine Arts, and History of Western-style Painting in the Meiji Period” at the seminar of the department held on April 21.
 In recent years, Yoshimatsu Goseda (1855-1915), who is one of the leading Western-style painters in the first half of the Meiji period, has been reevaluated and reviewed through exhibitions and studies by Mr. Tsunoda. Yoshimatsu, who grew up in a family of machie-shi (town painters), went to France earlier than Seiki Kuroda and won a prize at a salon, displaying his talent. After returning to Japan in 1889, however, his activities were rather low-profile. Thus, he was treated as a person whose existence has been forgotten in art circles. Mr. Tsunoda’s presentation this time dealt with the details surrounding the latter half of Yoshimatsu’s life, which had not been told very much, through 25 letters that he addressed to Kuroda since 1908. In many of these letters, Yoshimatsu, who was trying to sell his old works to the Tokyo School of Fine Arts, asked Kuroda, who was a professor of the school, to go between. Kuroda replaced the previous generation, including Yoshimatsu, and led the world of Western-style painting in those days. In fact, a great many Western-style paintings that Yoshimatsu created in the early Meiji period while he was in Europe, such as “Ayatsuri Shibai,” were included in the collection at the school, where Kuroda worked, allowing you to make a survey of the trends in Western-style paintings from the early to the late Meiji period. Mr. Tsunoda’s presentation was an attempt to find positive significance in the creation of the history of Western-style painting in the Meiji period from exchanges between Yoshimatsu and Kuroda, which went beyond their respective positions, and reminded us of the importance of these letters that describe the background.


Retirement Lecture of TANAKA Atsushi (Deputy Director General)

TANAKA Atsushi lecturing on artist KISHIDA Ryusei

 As a part of the comprehensive study meeting program for the researchers of the Institute, the lecture meeting of TANAKA Atsushi (Deputy Director General) who was retiring at the end of this fiscal year was held on March 1st. Tanaka has been with the Institute since 1994 and engaged in research study on the contemporary art and published many literatures concerning Japanese modern Western paintings especially in the Meiji and Taisho eras. His books include “TAIYO TO JINTAN: Aspects of Japanese post-impressionism and modernism, 1912-1945” (Brücke Co., Ltd., 2012).
 In the lecture titled “The substratum of the modern Japanese art ― with the focus on KISHIDA Ryusei,” the relationship between KISHIDA Ryusei as an artist of Western painting and the collectors surrounding him was viewed and discussed as the “substratum” that had supported his creative work. Tanaka’s view has deep-rooted in his research approach that was adopted in the above literary works and that he has developed over the past years. Furthermore, his lecture using abundant materials based on solid research has revealed that Kishida’s network with SUMITOMO Kanichi who was the eldest son of SUMITOMO Shunsui (the founder of the present Sumitomo Group and a well-known art collector), ODAKA Sennosuke who was a staff member of the Institute of Art Research (the predecessor of the National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo), and others led the artist of Western painting to become an ardent admirer of the Eastern art such as Ming & Xing-era paintings and Ukiyo-e.
 In addition to the Institute’s staff members, the lecture meeting was also attended by many former staff members of the Institute who used to work with Tanaka. A reception was held after the lecture, which was filled with a warm and friendly atmosphere just like that of an alumni reunion.
 After retirement, Tanaka will continue to support the Institute as its honorary fellow and a visiting researcher of the Department of Art Research, Archives and Information Systems.


Rescued Cultural Property Afterward – Report on Current Restoration Status of the Shochuhi memorial in Sendai

The Shochuhi memorial is being restored at Bronze Studio in Tokyo (on November 7, 2015)
A bronze black kite spreading its wings is placed on its back. Referring to the pre-earthquake photos pinned on the board behind, the broken pieces are put back together one by one.

 As repeatedly reported through this activity report, the Committee for Salvaging Cultural Properties Affected by the 2011 Earthquake off the Pacific Coast of Tohoku and Related Disasters having its secretariat in this Institute have provided rescue activities for numerous cultural properties damaged by the Great East Japan Earthquake in March 2011. The Shochuhi memorial standing on the site of the inner citadel of Sendai Castle (Aoba Castle) is one of them. The monument was built to console the souls of war victims affiliated with the Second Division in Sendai in 1902. Due to the earthquake, a bronze black kite installed on the stone tower about 15 m in height fell to the ground. Its broken pieces were collected and the main body has been relocated as part of the Cultural Properties Rescue Operations by the Committee. Since the completion of the Operations in 2014, the Monument has been restored as the Disaster-Affected Museum Reconstruction Project in Miyagi Prefecture. In this fiscal year, the broken black kite pieces have been transferred to Bronze Studio located in Hakonegasaki, Tokyo, and joining operations are now under way. Here, I would like to report on the restoration process of the black kite based on my visit to the Studio on November 7, 2015.
 The broken black kite was delivered to Tokyo twice on June 3 and July 10. First, as a step prior to the joining process, the concrete and lead inside the largest part of the broken black kite (approx. 5.1 t) was removed. The black kite was filled with these materials to fix the rail inserted as an iron core connecting the black kite and the stone tower, as well as to balance it in weight. After the three months it took to remove them, the process to join the broken bronze pieces started on a full scale. Based on the images taken during the research before the earthquake, the pieces are being put together in such a way as to return them to their original form. Since the head and wing tips of the black kite are crushed, small pieces are being assembled like a jigsaw puzzle.
 The construction of the Shochuhi memorial , on which a huge black kite weighing over 5 tons was installed on a tower 15 m in height, was really a feat of strength. According to Mr. Yuji Takahashi of Bronze Studio, the on-going restoration process has revealed the painstaking craftsmanship dedicated at that time, such as fine parts that are now produced with machines were manually processed one by one. The restoration process made us recall the time-consuming endeavors undertaken by the people involved in the construction of the Monument during the Meiji period. These piecing operations will proceed on to the next fiscal year. After the completion of all processes, the black kite will go back to Sendai. On the other hand, however, the stone tower has deteriorated due to the infiltration of rainwater. Although five years have passed since the earthquake, many challenges still remain over the conservation and restoration of the Monument. Long-term initiatives are required.


The donation of the photo materials of Hata Shokichi during his study in Paris received

Self-portrait of Hata Shokichi. Taken in 1910
He pointed the camera lens at the mirror to shoot himself pressing the shutter. His writing on the negative tells that it was taken in Hotel Soufflot in Paris that was a favorite place to stay for Japanese intellectuals and artists.

 Hata Shokichi (1882-1966), a sculptor, was a professor at the Tokyo School of Fine Arts (present Tokyo University of the Arts) and Tokyo Higher School of Arts & Technology (present Chiba University), and created commemorative medals and reliefs as a non-regular employee of the Japan Mint and Decoration Bureaus. He went to France as an overseas business trainee of the Ministry of Agriculture and Commerce between 1907 and 1910 and became the first Japanese sculptor admitted to the École nationale supérieure des beaux-arts (National School of Fine Arts) where he studied sculpture. Twelve negatives during his stay in France have been kept by his bereaved family and Mr. Fumio Hata, a grandchild of Shokichi, donated them to this Institute. The photo negatives include those of his self-portrait, him with Yasui Sotaro, Fujikawa Yuzo and other Japanese artists who were in Paris at that time. We may say that the negatives are highly precious materials that help us look at his association with other Japanese in a foreign country. We will convert these negatives into digital photos and make them available on the web.


The Holding of a Study Meeting of the Department of Art Research, Archives and Information Systems “Issues Related to Letters to Seiki Kuroda from Saburosuke Okada”

A postcard written by Saburosuke Okada, dated December 5, 1896
A letter partly written by Yachiyo Okada under the name of Saburosuke Okada, dated June 30, 1911

 The National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo, possesses a large number of letters sent to Seiki Kuroda (1866-1924), an oil painter deeply involved in the establishment of the institute. The Department of Art Research, Archives and Information Systems promotes republication and study on the letters as important materials to suggest a network of people surrounding Kuroda, while also asking for the cooperation of researchers outside the institute. As part of the efforts, we held a study meeting on August 31 for staffers at the department on letters from Saburosuke Okada, who established academia of Japan’s modern oil painting together with Kuroda. Presenters and titles of their presentations are as follows.
· Ms. Yuri Takayama (curator at the Fukuoka Prefectural Museum of Art)
“Letters to Seiki Kuroda from Saburosuke Okada: Republication and Bibliographical Introduction”
· Mr. Seiichi Matsumoto (deputy director of the Saga Prefectural Museum and the Saga Prefectural Art Museum)
“The Image of Saburosuke Okada observed in the novels of Yachiyo Okada”
 Seiki Kuroda said that letters in Saburosuke Okada’s own handwriting “are worthy of designation as a national treasure in the future.” This means that Okada rarely wrote a letter on his own. In the presentation by Ms. Takayama, she suggested that there is a difference in the handwriting in the letters sent to Kuroda under the name of Okada, and provided further insights into the persons who wrote the letters under the name of Okada. Okada’s wife Yachiyo, one of such persons, was also active as a novelist and drama critic. In the presentation by Mr. Matsumoto, he introduced a newly discovered manuscript of Yachiyo’s novel reflecting her own view on married couples as well as letters sent to Kuroda that were written by Yachiyo under the name of Okada. He showed the image of Okada through the eyes of a woman who was married to a painter. While letters in the modern age are generally seen as important as primary documents in the sender’s own handwriting, this study meeting offered an opportunity to reaffirm the difficulty of understanding letters through the case of letters written by other people under the name of a sender and the excitement of revealing new human relationships surrounding a sender by discovering his/her relationship with people writing letters for the sender.


The holding of a monthly workshop by the Department of Art Research, Archives and Information Systems: About “Sansui Zukan” said to have been painted by Gion Nankai and the Gajo (an album of paintings) possessed by the Metropolitan Museum of Art

“Monkeys” painted by Kawanabe Kyosai, in the Kindai Nihon Gajo album of paintings possessed by the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
©The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Charles Stewart Smith Collection, Gift of Mrs. Charles Stewart Smith, Charles Stewart Smith Jr., and Howard Caswell Smith, in memory of Charles Stewart Smith, 1914

 The Art Research, Archives and Information Systems held a monthly workshop on the topic and with the presenters mentioned below on June 4.

– Takuyo Yasunaga (researcher at the department): About “Sansui Zukan,” said to have been painted by Gion Nankai (possessed by the Tokyo National Museum)
– Ms. Eriko Tomizawa-Kay (Sainsbury Institute for the Study of Japanese Arts and Cultures) “Modern Japanese-style painters observed in collections of paintings outside Japan and their drawing activities – mainly about the establishment and acceptance of ‘Kindai Nihon Gajo (commonly known as the Brinkley Album)’ ”
 
 On the topic of “Sansui Zukan,” a painted scroll in the Edo period that is said to have been painted by Gion Nankai and depicting the Kumano pilgrimage routes running from Wakayama to the Nachi falls via Nakahechi, Hongu, and Shingu, Ms. Yasunaga discussed the possibility of the work having been painted by Gion Nankai [1676-1751], based on the geographically accurate depiction of Kumano and the characteristics of its expression by comparing the scroll with Nankai’s other newly found works and other measures. In addition, she also pointed out the scroll’s relationship with the learning activities of Chinese paintings by early Japanese bunjinga (literati painting) painters and new expressions of actual sceneries. However, attendees of the workshop provided various remarks such as the issue of whether the painting scroll was just a sketch and the relationship with other paintings of the same age.
 Ms. Tomizawa made presentations based on the survey of “Kindai Nihon Gajo” possessed by the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. While paintings included in this gajo are separated individually at present, it originally consisted of 95 paintings created by seven Japanese-style painters who were active in the Meiji era, including Kawanabe Kyosai, Hashimoto Gaho and Kawabata Gyokusho. Ms. Tomizawa’s research revealed that dealer and collector Francis Brinkley (1841-1912) originally asked Kyosai to create an album of 100 paintings. However, as Kyosai died in 1889, the creation of the album was divided among the other six painters, according to her research. Charles Stewart Smith, a prominent U.S. entrepreneur who stayed in Japan in 1892 and 1893, purchased the album from Brinkley and Smith’s bereaved family donated the album to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The album remains in the museum’s possession to this day.
 Among the paintings included in the album, 12 painted by Kyosai were temporarily returned to Japan and exhibited along with their sketches (possessed by the Kawanabe Kyosai Memorial Museum) at the exhibition “KYOSAI-Master painter and his student Josiah Conder” held at the Mitsubishi Ichigokan Museum, Tokyo, in the Marunouchi district of Tokyo from June 27 to Sep 6. The elaborate brushworks are prominently respected among other paintings in the album, so we recommend that you see them on this occasion.


A database of images from Bijitsu Gaho (The Magazine of Art) is available for public access

Imaging of A Painting of Mahamayuri

 Bijitsu Gaho(The Magazine of Art) is an art journal that was first published by Gahosha as Nihon Bijitsu Gaho in June 1894. In addition to “new works” by artists at the time, the journal also featured artworks and handicrafts dating from before the Edo period as “reference works.” The journal provides a glimpse into what works were considered classics in the Meiji era. The name of the journal changed to Bijitsu Gaho in 1899, and the journal continued publication until 1926.
 A database featuring images from Nihon Bijitsu Gaho and Bijitsu Gaho is now available for public access via the Institute’s website. The database allows searches by the names of artists and the names of pieces.
http://www.tobunken.go.jp/materials/gahou
The database currently contains images from Japanese Art Pictorial Vol. 1, No. 1 (June 1894) to Vol. 5, No. 12 (May 1899). Plans are to make images from subsequent volumes available as well. In addition, volumes prior to Vol. 3, No. 12 (June 1897) can be viewed with a book viewer, which users can peruse like flipping through a book, so we invite you to have a look.


Seminar held at the Department of Art Research, Archives, and Information Systems: Korea’s “Dong Yang Hua (East Asian Painting)”

The seminar featuring a presentation by Ms. INABA Mai

 The Modern and Contemporary Art Section of the Department of Art Research, Archives, and Information Systems has continued Research on the History of Cultural Exchanges of Modern and Contemporary Art. This research project covers modern and contemporary art from Japan and other parts of East Asia. As part of that project, a seminar of the Department of Art Research, Archives, and Information Systems on February 17th featured a presentation by Ms.INABA Mai, an Associate Professor at Kwangwoon University in South Korea. The presentation was entitled Korea’s “Dong Yang Hua(East Asian Painting)”.
 The genre now known as Dong Yang Hua in South Korea originally developed when Nihonga(Japanese style Painting) took hold in Korea during the era of Japan’s colonial rule. In criticism of Oriental Painting after the end of that rule, the term South Korean Painting referred to the same genre of painting but connoted establishment of an ethnic identity. The term Han Guk Hua(South Korean Painting) came into vogue starting in the 1980s. Professor INABA’s presentation described the political context for the term Dong Yang Hua and events leading up to use of the current term South Korean Painting. The presentation also covered related topics and featured examples of representative works.
 The concept of Nihonga was established after Japan’s modernization. This concept was actively discussed by critics, art historians, and artists in Japan from the 1990s to the early 2000s. Over the past few years, artists producing Nihonga have been re-examining the concept in light of Mineral Pigment Paintings and Gouache Paintings that have developed in parts of East Asia such as China and Taiwan. The seminar looked at the nature of Korea’s “Dong Yang Hua in light of its shared origins and its unique developments within national boundaries. The seminar provided a good opportunity to reconsider Nihonga in comparison. Friction between Japan and South Korea with regard to an awareness of history is constantly discussed. The seminar was attended by Ms. KIM Kibum (a curator at the National Hansen’s Disease Museum), who remarked that “we should not ignore the unfortunate circumstances under which the two cultures met. Instead, researchers from the two countries should delve further while looking at each other with fresh eyes.” Hopefully, researchers will ponder KIM’s words and events like this seminar will lead to future research.


Reopening of the Kuroda Memorial Hall following renovations

The Special Exhibits Gallery of the Kuroda Memorial Hall. From the right, the pieces are KURODA Seiki’s Woman Reading, Maiko Girl, and Wisdom, Impression, Sentiment. The gallery is open to the public for 2 weeks during the New Year holidays and 2 weeks in the spring and fall.

 The Kuroda Memorial Hall that stands in one corner of Ueno Park is the Institute’s birthplace. The building where the Hall is now located was built in conjunction with a bequest by the Western-style painter KURODA Seiki, who is revered as ”the father of Japanese modern Western-style painting.” This is the same building in which the Art Research Institute, the predecessor to today’s National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo, was established in 1930. The building houses the Kuroda Memorial Hall, a repository and gallery that showcases KURODA’s career as a painter. In addition to his bequest, KURODA Seiki also donated pieces of his work. These works, which include Lakeside and Wisdom, Impression, Sentiment, have been put on public display. In 2000, the Institute took over the building’s role as an exhibition site, and the Institute continued to manage the building until 2007, when the Tokyo National Museum assumed control over its management. Over a period of about 3 years, the building has been earthquake-proofed, and on January 2 the building reopened.
 Renovations involved the creation of a new gallery, designated the Special Exhibits Gallery, that seeks to give visitors greater insight into KURODA’s career as a painter. In addition to the works Lakeside and Wisdom, Impression, Sentiment, the gallery now also houses Woman Reading and Maiko Girl, which are works that were previously curated by the Tokyo National Museum. The gallery provides a place in which one can enjoy signature works by KURODA Seiki (the gallery will be open to the public for 2 weeks during the New Year holidays and 2 weeks in the spring and fall). The Kuroda Memorial Hall has exhibited KURODA’s works since its establishment. The Hall will be open to the public on days when the Tokyo National Museum is open, providing even more opportunities to enjoy KURODA’s works. Exhibitions at the Hall are arranged to allow an overview of KURODA’s career as a painter.
 Since the Institute relinquished its control over management of the Kuroda Memorial Hall, it has continued to focus on research into KURODA Seiki, who was closely involved in the Institute’s founding. Volumes on Kuroda that the Institute has published can be perused in the Library on the second floor of the Memorial Hall. In addition, the Institute’s website http://www.tobunken.go.jp/kuroda/index.html offers access to basic information for research into KURODA, such as high-resolution images of his works and the text of the diary he wrote. Please feel free to have a look.


Donation of materials relating to SHINKAI Taketaro and release of a database of glass dry plates

Photos for production of Kane no Ne (“Sound of a Bell,” 1924) by SHINKAI Taketaro From the recently donated documents relating to SHINKAI Taketaro. In order to produce Kane no Ne, Taketaro asked ABE Insai, who he always relied on to cast his own work, to pose as a model. The photographs of the model, taken from various angles, have survived.
Search result for Kane no Ne (“Sound of a Bell”) from the database of glass dry plates relating to SHINKAI Taketaro

 SHINKAI Taketaro (1868–1927) learned sculpture in Europe, and produced many notable works such as Yuami (“Bathing,” 1907, an important cultural property). He is known for making a major contribution to the modernization of Japanese sculpture. As noted in our activity report for November of last year, SHINKAI Takashi, grandson of Taketaro, has donated to our institute a set of glass dry plates primarily featuring Taketaro’s works. Recently he also donated a set of documents relating to Taketaro, including his notebooks, and photos/documents relating to his sculpture production. These documents are mentioned in the book SHINKAI Taketaro (Tohoku Shuppan Kikaku, 2002, in Japanese) written by TANAKA Shuji (Associate Professor in the Faculty of Education and Welfare Science, Oita University), who arranged these donations, and they are known to be important documents for elucidating the productive activities of Taketaro. Taking the recent donation as an opportunity, we plan to ask TANAKA to describe these materials in The Bijutsu Kenkyu, our institute’s journal of art studies. The documents also contain the notebooks of HIRAKO Takurei (1877–1911), a scholar of Buddhist art from the Meiji period who was close to Taketaro, and in the future we hope to examine these materials not only from the perspective of the history of modern Japanese sculpture, but also the history of Buddhist art.
 The glass dry plates donated last year have been digitized, and we have begun releasing them as a database on the institute’s home page (http://www.tobunken.go.jp/materials/sinkai). This site was produced by OYAMADA Tomohiro, Research Assistant, Department of Art Research, Archives and Information Systems. It showcases digital images of 182 glass dry plate photographs of the works of Taketaro, and paintings in the Nanga style by the father and son artists HOSOYA Fuo and Beizan under whom Taketaro studied in his home region of Yamagata. The database can be searched with text strings such as the names of specific pieces. It contains images of representative works of Taketaro as well works which are no longer extant. We hope you will make use of this resource.


A KURODA Seiki exhibit at the Museum of Kyoto

A gallery talk by UEDA Sayoko (curator at the Museum of Kyoto) at an exhibit of images based on an optical study of Wisdom, Impression, Sentiment
A life-sized image of Talk on Ancient Romance

 Spurred by a bequest from the oil painter KURODA Seiki, the Institute located the Kuroda Memorial Hall to highlight his achievements. The Hall displays KURODA’s masterpieces works, such as Lakeside and Wisdom, Impression, Sentiment. An exhibit entitled “A Master of Modern Japanese Oil Painting: The KURODA Seiki Exhibit” has been shown once a year since 1977 at art museums around the country. In 2007, KURODA’s works were transferred to the Tokyo National Museum. Since then, the Tokyo National Museum and Our Institute have jointly organized a traveling exhibition of his works. This year marks the 90th anniversary of KURODA’s death, so the exhibit was shown in Kyoto, which was occasionally the setting for KURODA’s works like Maiko and Talk on Ancient Romance. The exhibition took place at the Museum of Kyoto from June 7 to July 21. 
 In addition to KURODA’s works such as Lakeside and Wisdom, Impression, Sentiment, the exhibit featured an installation with images from an optical study that was conducted at the Institute. The massive work Talk on Ancient Romance was destroyed during the war, but a life-sized image (189×307 cm) of the work was created based on surviving photographic plates in the Institute’s collection. This image was shown at the exhibit, providing an opportunity to again appreciate the size of the work. On June 7, the day that the exhibit opened, SHIOYA Jun delivered a special lecture on “KURODA Seiki and Modern Art in Japan.” On June 21, UEDA Sayoko, a curator at the Museum of Kyoto delivered a lecture entitled “What did KURODA Seiki see in Kyoto?” based on the results of the latest research. On June 20, students from the Music Department of the Kyoto City University of the Arts put on a concert of French music, which was fitting since KURODA studied in France. Such events delighted a number of guests. The exhibition was warmly received before it concluded, with attendance of close to 40,000 visitors. This figure clearly surpassed the usual number of visitors to the traveling exhibition. 
 The Kuroda Memorial Hall that normally shows KURODA’s works is undergoing renovation. Once the Hall re-opens on January 2, 2015, the traveling exhibition that took place each year will end with the exhibition in Kyoto. In addition to Lakeside and Wisdom, Impression, Sentiment, other works by KURODA such as Woman Reading and Maiko will be displayed in the special room. The Hall will be open on additional days so that more visitors can appreciate KURODA’s works in Ueno.


Seminar of the Department of Art Research, Archives, and Information Systems: Letters from LIAN Quan to OMURA Seigai

A portrait of LIAN Quan (from the Educational Materials Office of the Faculty of Fine Arts, Tokyo University of the Arts)

 The Modern/Contemporary Art Section of the Department of Art Research, Archives, and Information Systems is proceeding with a research project on “Research on the history of cultural exchanges in modern and contemporary art.” This project covers modern and contemporary art in Japan and other countries in East Asia. As part of this project, ZHAN Xiaomei, Associate professor at Tokyo Institute of Technology delivered a presentation entitled “Letters from LIAN Quan to OMURA Seigai” at a seminar of the Department of Art Research, Archives, and Information Systems on April 25. LIAN Quan (1863‐1932) was a modern Chinese man of letters who was active as a collector of calligraphic works and paintings and as a poet. LIAN made several trips to Japan, where he exhibited his collection and published catalogs. LIAN wrote to OMURA Seigai (1868‐1927), who was known to be an authority on Oriental art history, and 34 of those letters were among the materials related to OMURA that were recently donated to the Educational Materials Office of the Faculty of Fine Arts, Tokyo University of the Arts. ZHAN’s presentation was based on a study of those letters. LIAN Quan had 1,000 or so fans with paintings by Ming and early Qing painters such as TANG Yin, WEN Zhengming, and WANG Jianzhang. The letters to OMURA mostly concern the sale of LIAN’s fan collection, and the text indicates the extent of the trust LIAN had in OMURA. The letters also reveal that OMURA was indebted to LIAN Quan since LIAN introduced OMURA to notables in the world of calligraphic works and paintings such as WU Changshuo and WANG Yiting when OMURA traveled in China from year 10 of the Taisho era (1921) to the following year. The letters are valuable documents that vividly depict the exchange between Japanese and Chinese at the time. TAKIMOTO Hiroyuki, a writer and researcher of Chinese painting and YOSHIDA Chizuko of the Educational Materials Office of the Faculty of Fine Arts, Tokyo University of the Arts attended the seminar and furthered discussion. Plans are to reprint the letters by LIAN Quan in the research journal Bijutsu Kenkyu (The Journal of Art Studies), which is edited by the Department of Art Research, Archives, and Information Systems, and have ZHAN Xiaomei describe them.


Donation of photographic plates related to SHINKAI Taketaro

Image of Resolve by SHINKAI Taketaro (created in 1907, no longer extant) from a photographic plate

 SHINKAI Taketaro (1868–1927) studied sculpture in Europe and he presented works such as Bathing (an important cultural property created in 1907). SHINKAI is known as a sculptor who contributed significantly to the modernization of Japanese sculpture. SHINKAI Takashi, grandson of SHINKAI Taketaro, donated a set of photographic plates through TANAKA Shuji (Associate Professor in the Faculty of Education and Welfare Science, Oita University). The plates feature SHINKAI’s works and Nanga (Southern School paintings) by HOSOYA Fuo and his son HOSOYA Beizan whom SHINKAI studied under in his home prefecture of Yamagata. SHINKAI himself was asked to take the photos. The plates also include images of works that are no longer extant, such as Resolve, which won first prize at the Tokyo Industrial Exhibition in 1907. SHINKAI’s photographic works are valuable materials that relate the history of modern Japanese sculpture. SHINKAI Takezo, Taketaro’s nephew, posthumously compiled photos by his uncle, and these photos joined the Institute’s collection prior to World War II (they can be viewed in the Library). The donated plates were used to produce the photos compiled by SHINKAI Takezo. Plans are to make copies of all of the images featured in the plates and include them in digital archives on the Institute’s website.


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