Department of Art Research, Archives, and Information Systems Seminar: Two Research Presentations on letters addressed to KURODA Seiki

KO Hui-Dong (1886–1965), Self-portrait with a Crown on the Head, 1915, Tokyo University of the Arts collection

 The Art Research Materials Section of the Department of Art Research, Archives, and Information Systems has been conducting a research project involving Documentary Research on Cultural Properties. This project seeks to reveal the diversity of value systems expressed in art from Japan and other parts of East Asia by analyzing primary materials. One of those primary sources consists of about 7,400 letters addressed to KURODA Seiki. These letters are curated by the Institute, which has been organizing and itemizing them.
 Research on letters addressed to KURODA Seiki has been conducted as part of this project, and one result of that research was a seminar that was held on August 6. The seminar was based on letters from students from parts of Asia, such as China and Korea, who were studying at the Tokyo Fine Art School and who were taught by KURODA as well as letters from the painter FUJISHIMA Takeji, who was closely associated with KURODA. During the seminar, YOSHIDA Chizuko (Tokyo University of the Arts) delivered a presentation entitled “Photographic Reproductions and Reprints of Letters from Foreign Students Addressed to KURODA Seiki with Annotations” and Kaoru KOJIMA (Jissen Women’s Educational Institute) delivered a presentation entitled “Letters from FUJISHIMA Takeji addressed to KURODA Seiki and KUME Ichiro.” YOSHIDA’s presentation covered 6 letters from figures who studied at the Tokyo Fine Art School and who then became highly active in the art world in their own respective countries. One such figure was KO Hui-Dong (1886–1965), a student from Korea. YOSHIDA’s presentation described the students and the contents of their letters. KOJIMA’s presentation, based on 37 letters from FUJISHIMA that are curated by the Institute and letters in the collections of other facilities, covered communication between KURODA and FUJISHIMA Takeji as the latter accepted his post in the Department of Oil Painting of the Tokyo Fine Art School. This growing closeness between FUJISHIMA and KURODA and KUME has not been noted in previous research on FUJISHIMA Takeji. KOJIMA’s presentation also corroborated the personnel situation at the Fine Art School.
 Plans are to subsequently feature the results of research by both presenters as Research Materials in Bijutsu Kenkyu (The Journal of Art Studies).

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